Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
HAVOC MK 1 & MK 2 Courtesy of Scott "Madmac41" McAllister
Heavy Ordinance Driver – Code name: Cross Country
2014 G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Membership Renewal Figure
As a young Joe fan, Cross Country was never top of my favorites list. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with him-- quite the contrary. My semi-malaise toward the character is more of a result of his status as a “mid-level” character as opposed to one of the top-tier cast that received the most exposure. However, there are a few instances in which he really stood out in my mind. The first was his HAVOC vs. Thunder Machine duel in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #51 in which his single-minded determination was clearly evident. The second was during the infamous Benzheen storyline where he, Duke, and Falcon were the sole survivors of the SAW Viper’s murderous rampage. Lastly, he was the central focus of the final Sunbow episode “ Into Your Tent I Will Silently Creep”-- a bizarre story about stolen tape decks, mutant rats, and the first canonical mention of the Coil. It was due to these stories that Cross Country became a character who was “on my radar” and I was thrilled to see that he was chosen to be this year’s GIJCC renewal figure. Does the final product live up to my anticipation? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s opinion!
As far as this hobby goes I’m much more of a “purchaser” than a “customizer”. I’m not one of those guys who can look at a figure and instantly tell you which part came from which version of the character. I leave that type of identification to my peers. That being said it would seem that the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club was very clever in choosing parts both new and old to replicate the debut design of the HAVOC driver. As far as I can tell, Cross County is built using the torso of the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper, the upper arms of the Rise of Cobra Sgt. Stone, the lower arms of the Rise of Cobra Arctic Assault Storm Shadow (v34), the upper legs of the Rise of Cobra Disguise Zartan (V17), and the legs of the Rise of Cobra Sgt. Flash figure. The legs and lower arms are an especially inspired choice as they really go capture the design aesthetic of the vintage figure perfectly. I’m especially happy with the red paint applications used on the boots and the pants pockets as these really help the figure’s design “POP!”
On their own, these parts produce a nice overall figure with a solid range of motion. However, over the top of all of this is added a newly-tooled vest that takes this body and transforms it into the Rat Patrol-inspired driver! Honestly, the vest is fantastic-- with more sculpted detail than you can shake a stick at! From the fabric folds to the diagonally slung bandoleer, this new piece from Boss Fight Studio is a real winner. Interestingly enough, the vest extends down below the waist and includes the figure’s belt--including his signature “Stars & Bars” belt buckle. In this age of hyper politically correct speech I’m pleasantly surprised to see this detail make it through the production process.
If the body and vest are nice, the head is honestly outstanding. A lot of people took issue with the head sculpt used on last year’s Iceberg renewal figure and it would seem that the Club listened. (Personally I had no issues with it but that’s covered in another review!) Boss Fight Studio seems to be taking over at the GIJCC’s in-house sculpting and design shop and it shows. This head sculpt seems to have come right off either the pages of Marvel Comics or out of a cell of Sunbow animation. In fact, it’s the opinion of this particular Joe fan that the Boss Fight sculpt is superior to the vintage “woodchuck head” in every way. This new head carries with the personality that we saw Cross Country display in the Sunbow series. Let’s face it-- he wasn’t the most likely guy in the world. He was cocky, impatient, and more than little opinionated. However, it worked for the character then and it works for the head sculpt here. The design has a confident smugness that I’ve not quite seen captured in plastic before. The hint of a smirk just helps convey this even further. Plus, let’s address the elephant in the room here--- Cross Country has a mullet! Yep, a freaking MULLET!!! It’s FANTASTIC!!! Of all of the Joes out there, Cross Country is the one character I can see rocking the mullet confidently while blaring some Billy Ray Cyrus out the tape deck in his HAVOC. Oh yeah--- the crew a Boss Fight nailed this character perfectly!
When it comes to gear, Cross Country is travelling light. He comes equipped with the following:
The M4 has seen quite a bit of use from the Club over the past few years but it’s a solidly sculpted accessory. The pistol works well with the functional holster and the the wrench is a nice inclusion. Sadly, the latter two accessories are molded out of a different grade of plastic than the rifle and the result is a wrench and pistol that are almost “gummy” in nature. No exaggeration-- the wrench bends easily with the slightest application of pressure. From what I understand about plastic, the softer the grade the more details it holds and the cheaper it is to produce. Apparently the factory opted for cheapl on the production of some of these accessories as they are some of the softest I can remember. Still, this is an effective kit befitting the character. Even better-- Cross Country can hold ALL of his accessories which is a huge plus in my book!
At the end of the day, is Cross Country worth tracking down? I’m going to go ahead and shout a hearty “YEE-HAW” as an affirmative. This figure is one of those rare pieces that excels both in terms of form and function. The design is spot-on to the vintage figure while the head actually improves upon the original design. (One word: MULLET) The accessories are practical even if the wrench is incredibly soft. However, what really makes this figure shine to me is the fact that I don’t already have 5 other versions sitting on my shelf of the same character. A successful incentive figure should be just that-- something that fans have an incentive to acquire. In this case, Cross Country is a character without a previous Generation 3 update. As was the case with Footloose, Dial-tone, and Iceberg, the means to get a Cross Country figure is ultimately through the Collector’s Club.
The Bottom Line: A fantastic update to a classic character! The newly sculpted parts from Boss Fight Studio elevate Cross Country above many other Club offerings as one of the best pieces they’ve ever produced. A must-have for ARAH fans!
Questions? Comments? Want a gummy wrench of your very own?
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