Grunt - Figure Subscription Service (Wave 1)

In my Cover Girl review, I admitted I didn't really follow the appeal of the figure, but understood why the Collectors Club might have gone with it, to fill one of those critical 1983 vacancies in the 25th Anniversary run. Well, this figure certainly seemed poised to fill in that last hole, which gives it a certain place of honor, but I've gotta admit, ever since this one was revealed, I was kind of questioning the need.

Now that I've got the figure in hand...well... I'm really questioning the need. I totally understand that the Collectors' Club needs to do figures that don't require much new tooling or paint apps to make up for those that do. It's a tough balancing act where you don't want to produce a figure that requires too much new stuff, or else you need to really sacrifice for another figure so the budget doesn't get too out of whack. I'm not sure if Grunt fell victim to a budget situation or not, but I do know, for a $25 figure, I would expect a lot more bang for my buck.

First of all, this version of Grunt uses the same tooling as that first run of 25th Anniversary figures, and doesn't even get any of the cool upgrades we got with the Cobra Island version of Zap. I suppose the Club did this so the figure would fit in better with some of those early 25th style figures, but the end result is a version of Grunt that would have felt sub-standard enough, but now feels even more so. Granted, these parts aren't terrible, and are probably among the best of the original 25th Anniversary stuff, but in a world of Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary, they have a very hard time measuring up.

The color scheme obviously uses the original tan Grunt paint applications as a source of inspiration, but honestly, I've always felt like the original Grunt was bland as it was. This one doesn't help much. At least the '83 version of Grunt had brown/green shoulder pouches, this version doesn't even have that. At one point I thought a good point of this figure would be perhaps a new Grunt head sculpt, which the character desperately needs, but no dice. Instead of a cool new head sculpt, we got a Cobra Island Zap head with an unpainted moustache. So, to sum it up, the parts that I would have loved to have seen Cobra Island Zap used, he wasn't, but the head sculpt was. Pretty unfortunate. Now, before anyone starts lambasting me... yes, I realize the original Grunt was also just a repainted Zap head, and that this serves as a pretty neat little homage, but figures were also $2.99 back then, so I do have a little higher expectations now, especially since we haven't really gotten a truly new Grunt head in quite a long time.

I think even at retail this would have been a figure that I struggled with, but for a collectors grade subscription service that we are paying a premium for, I think there needs to be far better parts choices, and better source material. I'm hoping I'm not alone in saying that not ALL vintage figures really need to be reproduced in the modern format, do they? I could have done without this one.


Grunt comes with a helmet, the pistol and knife that all of those older 25th Anniversary figures came with, plus a really nice machine gun. However, he also comes with one of those new sculpt era huge machine guns that doesn't really fit the aesthetic of the figure all that well, especially when looking at the crisp sculpting and design of the smaller one. He has his trusty webgear, and also a really great looking "flying squirrel" style backpack, obviously taking homage from the old school Falcon glider. If there are any saving graces to this figure, it is with the accessories. They're actually really nice (the oversized machine gun notwithstanding).

It's 2013 now, I'm happy to leave the 25th Anniversary behind. I can completely see the need and desire to give into fan demand with reproductions of some vintage favorites, but I'm just not sure that tan Grunt was one of those favorites. Even so, I would also think there were some better parts choices at this point than a simple regurgitation of the older 25th Anniversary tooling we'd all hoped we'd moved beyond at this point. But hey, they can't all be winners. I've been largely happy with the Figure Subscription Service to this point, so the Collectors' Club has already earned a lot of good will from me.