Wednesday, August 31, 2005

1993 Battle Corps Law

In the history of the Joe line, Hasbro really produced some clunkers. While the line if chock full of some amazing figures, you can also find some examples that are just really, really bad. In some cases, the mold was just poorly sculpted. In other cases, the colors were horrendous. As the line progressed, some were just poor molds for the characters that they were chosen to represent. The subject of this profile, the 1993 Law, was a combination of the last two. This is a poor mold choice that has little to remind you of the classic character and it was poorly colored. However, he does still have some potential uses as I will outline below. My first encounter with this figure was when I found him hanging on a neglected clearance shelf at the Bloomington, Indiana K-Mart during Christmas break in 1995. At that time, I picked up any Joe figure I did not have, so I added this Law to my collection. However, I was stymied as to his purpose in my collection.

Even back then, I had multiple versions of V1 Law and used that figure as an army builder. The Law character was not someone who had ever really been developed in my Joe world and this figure just didn't lend himself to an important, named character. As such, I packed the figure away into a plastic bin where he would emerge every now and then in various meaningless capacities. One day, though, I put him on the crew of my Shark 9000. When I did this, I finally found a purpose for this figure.

Now, in my collection, 1993 Law's are nameless, faceless maritime vehicle operators and gunners. They are also full fledged combat divers, but only perform that duty in times of extreme duress. (Other figures like the '93 Payload and '94 Shipwreck better fill the full time role of combat diver.) Mostly, these figures can be found manning the guns on the Shark 9000 or even the Whale. They might be the helmsman on the Tiger Moray. Most times, though, they can be found as the sole pilots of the Devilfish. This figures colors actually kind of work with the bright orange Devilfish and I think the figure looks decent as its captain. (If you have the blue Devilfish from India, this figure matches it even better.) It's very much a bit role, but this isn't the type of figure who demands to be a major player in a collection. As such, I think that he works well in this capacity.

As was proven by the Shock Viper, Joe molds can be converted to successful Cobra army builders. One look at this mold and you could easily see how this figure colored in Cobra blue and dark grey and outfitted with air tanks, some flippers and a spear gun could easily be turned into a new version of the Cobra Eel. I think that would be the type of thing that would earn Hasbro raves as it would produce a cool figure of a character that needs to return in ARAH format as well as offer collectors something new and original. Hopefully, if we will get the opportunity to see something like this down the road. Hasbro's non-convention ARAH figures have been bland at best for some time now. While there is little to indicate that this will change: there is always the hope that a breakout figure will appear at some point down the road.

At first glance, this figure isn't that bad. His base color is a soft grey (that perfectly matches the color or Torpedo's backpack) surrounded by deep blue trim. Had the figure stopped there, he would be very useful. As he was released in 1993, though, he would not be complete without the requisite splash of neon. So you see his chest is now covered in a bright greenish-yellow that makes it harder to find a use for the figure. The mold itself, though, isn't that bad. The head is quite detailed, even though the detail are not painted. The body is bulky (probably as his intention was as an urban combat specialist) but has some minor trappings that give him more depth than it would, with a cursory perusal, appear. His accessories are terrible as they are neon versions of bad weapon molds. He does have a neat little feature on his spring loaded launcher, though. Law included a (neon!) shield that fit over the barrel of the spring loaded weapon. The idea behind it was neat, even though the execution was poor. If Hasbro were to revisit the idea today, I think they could make a very nice weapon/shield combo that would become one of the better accessories in the line. But, as it was '93, this version is only useful for the concept.

This mold had a short history. 1993 was supposed to have its own D.E.F. subset as a carry-over from 1992. After the '92 D.E.F. bombed at retail (It really had nothing to do with the figures. It was a matter of economics. Why would a parent buy a D.E.F. figure for $5 when a similar figure in the regular series sat next to it on the shelf for $2.79? The price point was the failure: not the concept or the figures.) Hasbro canned the '93 version and just threw the '93 D.E.F. figures into the regular Battle Corps assortment. These figures sat around, too, as the Joe line died around them and were easily found at clearance stores well into 1995 and 1996. In Australia, though, the figure was released on a D.E.F. card. There was no difference in the figure: just the card. Sometime around 1995, the mold was released in Brazil as Bolidus. The colors were slightly different, but still bright. As he was one of the final Brazilian releases, it is doubtful that Hasbro has access to this mold. If Hasbro had intentions of bringing this figure back as Law: then it is a good thing that the mold is likely gone. However, if they were going to bring it back in a faction-switching role as I mentioned above: then it is our loss that it the mold is in Brazil.

If you want a 1993 Law, you won't have to look very hard or spend very much. MOC, you can get them for under $3 at times. Dealers will sell complete versions for more: mostly because they can't justify handling a figure that they can only sell for a dollar or two. If you scour Ebay, though, you can get nice versions of this figure for nothing. Collectors simply don't care about him and never will. I've found that he's useful in a collection to a point. I have a few of them that I use to man various positions on my aquatic vehicles. Beyond that, though, his use is limited and I have little desire to add any more to my collection unless I get them for a ridiculously cheap price. Most collectors feel the same way and this figure is likely to forever remain one of the more obscure releases in Joe history.

1993 Battle Corps Law, DEF

1993 Battle Corps Law, DEF

1993 Battle Corps Law, DEF, 1985 Lamprey

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