I’ve more or less been out of the GI JOE scene for a while now. I still pick up a Hasbro figure now and again, but that’s about it… until Sideshow started doing Cobra figures, and that opened up a whole can of
snakes worms. It all started with pre-ordering Cobra Commander, then picking up a Crimson Guard to hold me over, then pre-ordering Baroness and Destro, and now adding Major Sebastian Bludd to my collection. I was originally going to go for Zartan first, but he’s still available at a lot of e-tailers and Bludd’s limitation seems to be a lot stricter. I didn’t want to risk missing out on him, so I used my “Emergency Toy Fund,” an extra $200 that I keep squirreled away in case something comes along that I hadn’t planned on. Clearly, this release was one of those occasions. Plus, I had some Reward Points itching to be spent. Today we’ll check out the packaging and the figure itself and I’ll swing back tomorrow to look at the accessories and the Exclusive goodies.
The packaging is in the same retro Real American Hero style that we saw when I featured The Crimson Guard, and that’s a very good thing because I love the presentation here. Besides tugging at my nostalgia strings by mimicking art from the vintage figure cards, the overall wow factor of the box design is a lot better than what I got out of my last couple of Hot Toys figures. The artwork is great and you even get a vintage style file card on the back. You also get a tiny glimpse of two other figures in the line, including Zartan (who will be next for me!) and that terrible, terrible Snake Eyes figure. I seriously think they must have farmed that sweater-wearing mofo out to another company… there can be no other explanation.
The front flap is secured with a magnet and opens up, and here’s where there’s a little step back from the Crimson Guard’s package. That figure had two opening flaps, one which held the tray with all the weapons and accessories and another with the figure. You don’t get that with Major Bludd. You don’t even get an instruction sheet or anything. You do however get some additional bitchin artwork in the interior tray. The trays contain two layers of goodies. The top has the figure along with his helmet, extra hands, and his exclusive extra head. The next tray has the figure stand and everything else. Let’s get him out of his plastic prison and check him out…
I was expecting the Major to require some advanced assembly, but he actually comes with his armor and belt rigs on and ready to go. The most involved thing you need to do is hang his five dog tags around his neck. Holy crap… he comes with his dog tag trophies! Each one is on a little chain and has tiny printing on it and some of them are spattered with blood. That’s some dark shit, Sideshow, I love it! You can actually just put them right over his head, but it’s easier if you pop off his mellon and put them directly on the neck post.
Bludd’s helmet includes some optional padded stickers for the inside to make it fit better, but I don’t think they’re necessary. It fits great, although it is prone to falling off when I’m posing him. It’s absolutely fine for display purposes, although I may just use a tiny spot of blue tack to hold it in place. So long as we’re talking about his head, let’s check out his noggins.
The stock head is a thing of beauty, and by that I mean it’s hideous and grizzled and a great likeness for the character’s traditional portrait. It’s missing that bizarre spark of life that Hot Toys somehow imbues into their head sculpts, but then again, this figure isn’t patterned off a real person anyway. And the last thing I want to do is disparage the work they’ve done here because it really is a fine sculpt. The creases in his face betray his battle hardened experience and the sculpted mustache is pretty convincing. The buzz cut hair doesn’t quite match the realism of the face, but I doubt I’ll ever display him without his helmet on, so that’s not a big issue for me. It’s worth noting that while the eye patch is permanently affixed to the head, the strap is an actual string. It does have a habit of sliding down over his good eye if you touch it and it’s certainly something to be weary of when handling the figure.
The Sideshow Exclusive head features the Major sans patch and in all his ocular deformed glory. It’s a nasty mess under there with realistic looking scarring that makes the whole part of his head look a little puckered. The paintwork also makes it look just a little bit juicy around the wound. Gross! but it gives him a chance to use his targeting device, which I’m guessing somehow restores his sight in the bad eye? The device just clips on to the rim of his helmet. It looks good, but truth be told, I will probably never display him with this head. It’s always nice to have options, but I prefer Bludd in all his iconic eye-patched glory.
Bludd’s outfit is especially well done. He’s got brown fatigues and some sturdy looking chest armor that fits over his torso in several pieces. It’s a tad bulky and I was worried it would give him too much of a turtle look, but happily that’s not the case. There’s also enough room to tuck the dog tags under the chest armor if you prefer it that way. The armor has a nice gun metal grey finish that matches the Major’s artificial arm. The tarnished Cobra beltbuckle really ties the whole ensemble together. A very nice touch!
“Oi, Major Bludd, you look ‘armless!” Yes, Bludd sports his trademark artificial arm, which is sculpted beautifully and colored to match the same finish as his armor. Sideshow took a bit of a liberty here by making the arm a bit slighter than I remember it on the vintage action figure. I happen to love it because it accentuates the fact that it’s an artificial arm and not just armor. The arm features the same shoulder and elbow articulation as Bludd’s real arm but has the added bonus of individually articulated fingers! Each finger features FOUR hinges and the thumb is ball jointed and has a single hinge. Holy shit that’s amazing!
Besides the crazy articulation on Bludd’s right hand, the figure spots a great amount of poseability. I’m not familiar enough with the core body used here to catalog them all, but there aren’t a lot of poses that I can’t get the Major to do. His joints are easy to work with and unlike a lot of my Hot Toys figures, there the outfit doesn’t restrict his movement at all. If I had one gripe it would be that some of his joints feel a little too loose, but then seeing as how he’s going to spend most of his time on a figure stand, that’s not a big deal. I guess I’d rather have his joints a little loose than too tight and restricted to work with. The truth is, he’s a fun figure to play around with and I can do so without damaging him.
Alrighty, I’ve gone pretty long already, so I’m going to break here for the day. Tomorrow I’ll be back to look at all the wonderful toys that the Major has in his arsenal.