Wednesday, September 17, 2003

2003 Funskool Incinerator

Back in September of 2001, I profiled the original Incinerator figure. At the end of that profile, I mentioned that I would like to see this mold used again, even if it was by Funskool. Well, I got my wish! At the time, I made my prognostication based on the fact that Funskool had pulled a lot of 1991 molds out of the warehouse and put them into production. It only made sense that they would likely have the Incinerator mold. Fortunately, the figure they finally released was not too "Funskooled" out and makes a nice addition to a Cobra army.

This version of the Incinerator figure is nearly identical to the American release. As the original figure was rather brightly colored, though, I'm not certain if the similarity is due to Funskool liking the loud colors or if it was contractually mandated. The only real differences are that the face shield of the Funskool figure is orange as opposed to the American red, the Funskool figure has a black Cobra sigil rather than a red one, the Funskool figure has small yellow highlights on his upper chest straps, the Funskool figure has a black belt buckle, and the Funskool version has fully painted black feet whereas the American figure has some orange patches sticking through. Truthfully, the Funskool figure is actually more detailed than the original American figure in this case. The real difference lies in the accessories. In this arena, the Funskool figure fails. Rather than including the well done original Incinerator accessories, the Funskool figure comes with a neon green version of the Toxo-Viper backpack and a bright blue version of Dodger's gun. Properly colored, these weapons might have worked. However, as they are in useless hues, this Incinerator figure will have to be re-accessorized. The nice thing, though, is that many of the new sculpt figures include accessories that would work for this figure. As such, finding accessories that fit him won't be too much of a problem.

As I said in my original Incinerator profile, I use these figures as supporting troopers. They are called into situations where typical Cobra infantry has run into trouble and needs the Incinerators specialty. However, I have felt that the notion of a flamethrowing soldier is a bit out dated. Even the best protective gear will not save a poor soul whose pack full of highly flammable fuel is set ablaze by a stray bullet or shrapnel. As such, the job of setting something on fire is left to fearless BATS. As I still like the Incinerator mold, though, I have found other uses for them. Their color makes them less useful as gunners, but they do work well with Alley Vipers and I often mix the two together. Incinerators carry HEAT Viper weapons (as they are readily available from many 2002 figures) and serve as heavy weapons soldiers in support of the Alley Vipers. From time to time, I also use them as a subset of the Toxo-Vipers whose suits are a bit more protective. I could also see them filling as pilots in some of the newer Cobra aircraft. Really, the mold is versatile and can be adapted to many uses. This is a feature I really look for when I'm assessing a figure's value to my collection.

In my view, one of the areas where Funskool most helps American collectors is in the area of non-standard army builders. American collectors have been feasting on the overkill of Viper and Alley Viper repaints for the past year. As such, many people have been able to build nice Cobra armies, though only of a few figure types. This isn't a bad thing, but, if you are like me, you want at least some diversity. While the Python Patrol set from earlier this year helped that some, there really hasn't been any other alternative for some non-standard Cobra army building figures. This is where Funskool has played a major role. Their offerings of Night Vipers, Toxo Vipers, Crimson Guard Immortals, Eels, Hydro Vipers, Desert Scorpions and Incinerators have given the American collector a chance to build his Cobra army with some different figures. In just about every case, these figures are similar to their American counterparts and fit into an American collection with few problems. Going forward, I hope Funskool continues in this role. I don't want to see them focused primarily on army builders, though I doubt that would happen as all the American Funskool sellers combined do not even sell one day's worth of figure production for any one Funskool mold in an entire year, but I would like for them to continue to offer alternatives to the traditional American releases. In this capacity they can be very beneficial to American collectors and will serve as another way for us to supplement our collections as Hasbro moves away from producing a diverse selection of ARAH-style figures.

Soon, Incinerators will be everywhere. You can get them from all of your favorite online Joe dealers for about $5 or so. To me, this is a great way to supplement my Cobra army. I don't ever see myself having a dozen or so of these guys, but I could see myself ending up with 4 to 6. The nature of the Incinerator makes him more prone to smaller quantities in collections. But, as he is one of the few non-standard army builders out there available at retail, I could see me ending up with more of them as time progresses. As I usually do, I really like this latest offering from Funskool. He is of near Hasbro quality and is quite a change from the typical perception of Funskool figures. In this case, the figure is similar to the American version and blends perfectly with any of those you might already have in your collection. If you've been wanting to check out the new higher quality Funskool figures but have been put off by the likes of Grunt and Big Brawler, you should really try the Incinerator. He is a well done figure that makes an excellent addition to any Cobra army.

2003 Funskool Incinerator, India, 2002 Metal Head

2003 Funskool Incinerator, India, 2002 Metal Head

2003 Funskool Incinerator, India, 1991 Incinerator, Comparison

No comments:

Post a Comment