It’s hard to deny the power of GI Joe week just over a week ago. It boosted traffic here at Infinite Hollywood to our highest yet and with those kind of numbers we definitely have more Joe in store for you. So much so that today we’re reviewing a figure set that hasn’t been reviewed by any other toy website out there, not even GI Joe sites have reviewed this guy yet. As you know here at Infinite Hollywood we specialize in tedious comparisons of one Joe figure to a similar one released decades before (heh), naturally. Of course it’s not all motivated by greed and lust here either, the fact of the matter is I’m purchasing a lot of GI Joes so I might as well review them so you can take a gander if you want to purchase them as well.

Today we’re looking at a figure who has only had five versions in his entire history and whose newest version is not only the best version of the figure to date but also his most authentic. It’s Grand Slam! Although an original member of GI Joe or one of the coveted Original 13 as they’re known, Grand Slam hasn’t gotten much love through the years. Perhaps it’s because he’s named after a Denny’s Breakfast special. Perhaps because his original figure was nearly identical to Flash but had Grunt’s head but more than likely Grand Slam has always suffered because he’s always been packed with a vehicle.

Has any of this changed with this newest version of James Barney? Nope, he follows the exact same formula for nearly every Grand Slam ever released. So what makes him special this time around? Well read on.

Packaging:
Since this is a Target exclusive, it’s packed in one of those neat little boxes. These are some really nice exclusives featuring one Joe figure and a small vehicle. Similar to Snake Eyes and the Arashikage Cycle which I reviewed right here. I’m quite impressed with the packaging as they didn’t cheap out on it at all. It can be hung up via it’s hanging peg or can be set down like a box. You might check around at your Targets because don’t seem to have a set place for them. I’ve seen them hanging and standing.

Inside he’s placed in a semi-dynamic pose but not enough to really mess with the figure. No warping at all on mine which pleasantly surprised me. Be careful though as he is really strapped in with one of those rubber bands. Be sure to cut it, there is no use in trying to snap it with your hands. Even if you get it to break it might damage the figure.

Target has really been a hero when it comes to Grand Slam and GI Joes in general. If you’ve been collecting the 25th line you’ll know that the last time Grand Slam came out, he was a Target exclusive too. Target has been really supportive of the line and they’ve also been supportive of the Original 13! Grand Slam here especially. A lot of folks asked me about the little briefcase included in these Target exclusives last time. It slides open to reveal bit about the Target “Chase the Case” game on Target’s website. Mostly it’s useless paper junk, but I find the little briefcase is good for holding weapons.

Articulation:
This figure uses parts entirely from the 25th Anniversary line, thus it has all the same points of articulation. Not that the Rise of Cobra figures sport any new articulation either, but it’s worth noting. He has a ball jointed head, ball swivel hinge shoulder, ball swivel hinge elbows, swivel wrist, torso joint ball, t-bar ball legs, double knees and swivel hinge ankles.

It’s scary to think that the first Grand Slam figure didn’t even have swivel arm battle grip. It’s definitely a huge improvement to be able to maneuver your Grand Slam figure into so many positions. To me Grand Slam’s real claim to fame came as a result of GI Joe Marvel comics issue #17 in which he saved the day by busting onto a movie bus (practically in a scene out of Speed) and beat the holy hell out of Major Bludd. It was a real surprise and instantly made Grand Slam cool in my book. Of course Grand Slam also screwed the pooch by completely missing the fact that Scarface was also on the same bus, but it’s been 25 years I think ol’ James Barney has had enough grief about that.

Sculpt:
The very first Grand Slam figure was nearly identical to Flash. He came packaged exclusively with the Heavy Artillery Laser (HAL). Most people try to forget that version since it was almost exactly Flash. The second version came out just a year later and was packed with the much more popular JUMP Jet Pack that has become a staple of GI Joe vehicles for decades. Since the JUMP was popular, this made the second version of Grand Slam the “default” Grand Slam.


Better head sculpt.

That version of Grand Slam introduced his silver pads which was his calling card from that point on. He basically was Flash with a set of silver pads. The first version of Grand Slam in the 25th Anniversary line was exactly that. Flash repainted to be Grand Slam and sold in a Target exclusive pack with the Night Spectre (SHARC) in the infancy of the line. Most folks were content with that aside from a little bit of grumbling about the head.

This new version of Grand Slam is his 6th incarnation and finally he looks the part of Grand Slam. Of course he still doesn’t get any parts to call his own but if you didn’t know any better you’d think he had a newly tooled head and parts of his body. In actuality he has Ace’s head (but cast in flesh tone making it seem different) as well as the standard Flash body with Clutch’s lower legs. It really makes a difference and makes this Grand Slam look stellar.

To separate this Grand Slam from the previous release they’ve repainted him into almost a blue color on his pads. It’s a shiny, metallic silver blue and I think it looks phenomenal. Although Grand Slam is typically depicted in the more plain silver, I think this could easily become the new default version of the character just as the JUMP version did decades earlier. His body is cast in a ever so slightly darker green version than before and his paint ops are just slightly different helping him stand out as well.

I really like that he uses Clutch’s lower legs which gives him a more real world approach to things. Grand Slam wasn’t as sci-fi as Flash so it’s only fitting that he has quick access to a pistol in his boot and the holster works perfectly. It’s nothing new, but I’m always impressed when they can get a figure’s holster to work so well at this scale.

Another thing you can’t help but notice is the new belt. I’m sure the belt comes from someone else although I don’t recall who. It’s removable as well. The original version came with the Hasbro H belt, while cool, it started to look a little silly being on both Flash and Grand Slam, so I appreciate having the option now to have him without that H belt.

The head sculpt is really the selling point. It’s not like you could just pop off Ace’s head and shove it on the first release of Grand Slam and have this figure. It’s just not the same. The way its’ cast, the paint work and of course the fact that they suped up his body makes this guy a real star. It’s nice for Grand Slam to get some respect after all these years. Even if he’s still a FrankenJoe, he’s finally got some attention paid to him.

In 2006 they released another Grand Slam made from the mold of Bazooka. I wasn’t in love with him as Grand Slam, he seemed more like Flash to me since he had the red pads. I used Bazooka as Grand Slam (since he really didn’t seem like Bazooka to me either) and Grand Slam as Flash. A ironic twist of fate that was. However I’m really pleased to finally have the opportunity to just be happy with a release of Grand Slam.

Accessories:
Grand Slam wouldn’t be Grand Slam without his helmet, so he includes that of course. He also has a removeable pistol in his holster as well as an old school Joe rifle. The rifle which first belonged to Spearhead from 89 is a nice throwback weapon. Unfortunately I find the rifle to be a bit big and it doesn’t work too well with the figure, but you can get him into a couple of poses with it if you try.

Thankfully he finally comes with a stand as well. The previous release didn’t come with any weapons or a stand. Of course those early Target exclusives were only $10 and included a medium sized vehicle so I never complained. The other thing he comes with is his vehicle. It’s the Air Assault Glider which first appeared in 2005 during the Valor versus Venom days.


Over 10 inch wing span.

Although the Glider isn’t as good as perhaps the Snake Eyes Cycle was, it’s still a fun little vehicle. Grand Slam is a natural fit for this since he’s been known to fly the JUMP jetpacks and I’m glad they gave us a “new” vehicle instead of just packing him with another JUMP. The Air Assault Glider has been partially retooled to allow it to fit the new style figures.

It’s a pretty impressive Glider that has a gattling gun molded into the top. It also has two detachable missiles and a removable handle bar. The other really nice part about the Glider is that it has two forms. You can take it apart and sort of play Transformers and have two version for him to fly in. Nice little bit of extra play value that is.

The wingspan on the Air Assault is pretty impressive too. As is the paint work which is simple and effective. It matches Grand Slam but it’s also neutral enough it could be used with any other Joes or even a Cobra!

Additional Notes:
It’s always been a shame that Grand Slam hasn’t gotten more love through the years. Here was a guy who punched out Major Bludd, helped rescue Dr. Adele Burkhart and spent the majority of his time partnering up with Clutch in some kick ass hilarity. This figure truly helps make me feel like the Original 13 are back together in awesome fashion.


“I ain’t no breakfast meal!”

Value:
Since Grand Slam has always been packed with a vehicle, less people through the years have had him. His first 25th Anniversary release only cost $10 and he came with a pretty large vehicle, but no accessories. This time around he’s got a decent amount of accessories and a smaller vehicle. Yet he still retails for $10! Not too bad at all. While the regular Joes can cost anywhere from $6.99 – $8 you’re getting much more bang for your buck here. Plus he’s like the best Grand Slam ever

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Air Assault Glider, Helmet, Pistol, Rifle
Value – 9
Overall – 9 out of 10

The GI Joe Rise of Cobra toys continue to be a real hit. Who would have thought that this line would be giving us more complete versions of the original Joe team?! Certainly not me and I absolutely applaud Hasbro and Target for putting this set together.

Grand Slam may not be the most exciting Joe. He may not be as flashy as Flash (pun intended) and he may be named after a Denny’s value meal, but damn it, he'[s awesome and you should make sure you pick this guy up when you get a chance. He’s an old school Joe that brings a smile to this old school Joe fan’s face.

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9 Responses to GI Joe ROC: Grand Slam w/Air Assault Glider

  • Sam says:

    Nice review for an okay figure. To me this figure is an improvement over the last one in the ways you mentioned, but not enough to warrant a buy with all the other Joe stuff out there on the shelves right now.

    Btw, did the way we leave comments change? I don’t recall this “open Id” stuff before.

  • Pretty sure OpenID has always been an option. That way you can use your AIM, LiveJournal or whatever to respond.

  • Sam says:

    might have been i was convinced i had been posting as “revsears” but now it changed to Sam too. I just can’t remember why, if it was an old blog account or what.

    Thanks for the reply.

  • No problem. Thanks for all the replies. It’s good to have new people posting and good comments at that.

    As for Grand Slam, I can see him not being worth a purchase in comparison to all the stuff that’s out there right now, but I also think this is one of the few guys who definatively fits into the 25th stuff and polishes up that collection a bit.

  • Anonymous says:

    The Glider is in it’s fourth release since it’s introduction with 2003’s SpyTroops Barrel Roll. And I still think it’s a terrible wing-thing.

  • Sam says:

    I’ve actually posted before, just as revsears. not sure why it auto-changed my name.

    As for the air glider, it fit better with Barrel Roll in my mind, and I like it better than the claw.

  • Yeah it has been released several times, but this is NOT the same as the version with Barrel Roll. There has been signifigant retooling since the SpyTroops release and labeling it as such would be a serious distortion in my view. The SpyTroops version had a huge Cobra logo molded on it amongst other things.

  • Sam says:

    actually that cobra logo is removable and was part of the spy-troops gimmick. That whole piece was held in by two pegs.

  • Interesting. I have about a dozen of them, I guess I should get one out and look.

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