It was a simpler time. G.I. Joe had just barely made it’s splash back at mass retail, and the biggest debate at the time was o-ring vs. no-ring (though it wasn’t much of a debate, to be honest) and how many paint wipes Hasbro was lathering on their tail end TRU releases. The property as a whole still felt very fresh, Devils’ Due was getting in the groove, and Fun Publications was introducing their first entries into the 3 3/4″ convention realm. Things were amazingly uncomplicated.
In 2002, Hasbro experimented with an online exclusive and shipped out a white-box package of o-ring B.A.T. army builders. Rather than dipping into the more familiar 1986 well Hasbro went with repaints to the 1991 version, including a classic themed deco and the fantastic Inferno B.A.T., a transparent red repaint that immediately became a fan favorite.
Obviously tooling limitations leave the Club a bit ill equipped to do a true vintage inspired homage, so as they have done in the past, they blend a few different inspirations together, and bring us the FSS Inferno B.A.T. which is conceptually pretty awesome, but unfortunately in execution it drops the ball somewhat.
Leveraging the nearly perfect 25th Anniversary B.A.T. as a template, the Club shifts gears a bit and gives him Retaliation Storm Shadow’s lower legs. I can only view this as some kind of homage to the new sculpt B.A.T., as both iterations of that figure have streamlined metallic legs rather than the more typical pantlegs of the earlier versions. I actually think it’s a great choice and I love the look of it, though the more we get these rocker ankles that can’t fit on existing battle stands, the more tired I get of them being used. It’s a shame because the figure looks great with these different lower legs, but the battle stand thing is a real pain in the rear end.
Like the original Inferno B.A.T., the Collectors Club goes with transparent plastic throughout most of the figure, to pretty great effect. It’s not quite as stark and clean looking as the vintage figure, but the basic effect remains spectacular. Over the top of the transparent plastic they drop some black trim and sprinkle some gold, both as a manner of homage to the older version. By and large, these additions are great, until you get to the chest.
For whatever reason the transparent plastic didn’t carry through to the front half of the torso and so the Club just elected to go all black, and the look is not a good one. I’m not sure if there were some kind of production or factory issues, but whatever it was, the way the black jumps away from the red makes the figure look slapped together and incomplete. I love the inspiration for the transparent red, unfortunately they were not able to pull off the execution as I’d imagine everyone wanted them to.
The FSS B.A.T. comes with a number of the same accessories that the 25th Anniversary version did, with two hands, a laser gun, flamethrower, and the familiar opening claw. However, this version of the B.A.T. also comes with the terrific long bladed sword that was initially released with the new sculpt B.A.T. in the early 2000’s. This is also meant as an homage to an older version of the figure, and I love the addition. It makes for a really great new weapon that further enhances this figure’s release.
Like most of the attachments, the backpack that holds them comes with the figure as well, and the Club has added some interesting deco to the back, making it strongly resemble to look of the gears in his chest. A neat touch.
I wanted the Inferno B.A.T. to be awesome. It isn’t a figure that many fans have been clamoring for, but the way the Club was approaching it seemed interesting. Unfortunately for whatever reason the transparent plastic didn’t “take” or wasn’t applied to the front half of the torso and the end result is a figure that could have looked amazing, but unfortunately ended up tipping the other way towards disappointing. They took a chance at trying to do something pretty cool and outside the box, but it was a chance that hurt this particular figure in the end.
Beyond that disappointment, much of the figure is really interesting from a design perspective, with the Storm Shadow lower legs and the new sword attachment leading the charge.
FSS 4.0 Inferno B.A.T.
I loved the original release of the Inferno B.A.T. and would have loved a nicely executed update, but unfortunately this version misses the mark. It’s very close to excellent, but some execution areas in the deco arena bring it down, and the final result is a figure that doesn’t match up to the vintage version from twelve years ago. Not the worst FSS 4.0 figure so far, but certainly not close to the best.