25th Anniversary Flash
The Original 13 Joes have always had something of a mythical standing in the Joe collecting community. It’s not really a surprise since they were the ones that started it all. However, it’s always kind of baffled me that with as much as people criticized the 25th Anniversary Joe line for parts reuse that the Original 13 are so beloved since they also all relied on a very small parts library. When Silver Pads Grand Slam was released in the Target exclusive vehicle sets, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Flash showed up in the 25th Anniversary line. I was pretty excited by that fact. I hoped the Original 13 would all get 25th Anniversary updates and while I don’t have the Hasbro-made Grunt (not counting the one from Rise of Cobra), it is pretty cool to have the entire original Joe line up on my shelf in modern style. That said, though, not all the members of the Original 13 fared as well as they probably deserved considering their iconic status in the Joe brand.
Flash and Grand Slam have always been padded clones so I was perfectly happy with the fact that Hasbro’s version of Grand Slam was the later silver padded version. It meant that when Hasbro eventually released Flash, I wouldn’t have two nearly-identically painted Joes on my shelf. The Flash mold, while good, is one of those 25th Anniversary molds that time really hasn’t been too kind to. While the mold captures Flash’s look, he’s got some problems. First of all, his proportions seem a little off. He’s got some unusually long legs and some arms that seem just a little too short. I’m a tall guy, but my arms still reach closer to my knees than Flash’s do. It’s a little surprising that Flash has some proportion issues since that was one of the things that the 25th Anniversary line did really well, but after pulling him out of storage, I noticed he just looks a little wonky. His other big issue is his mid-torso joint. The joint splits his chest pad pretty badly and there’s another design issue with the pad as well. If you want the front of the pad to line up properly, the straps on the back of the pad are misaligned and vice versa. I wish Hasbro would have done his chest pad as a removable piece. It would have looked better without the line cutting through it but still preserved the poseability. Plus, he has the same problem a lot of early 25th Anniversary figures have, a very visible chest joint. As Hasbro has gotten better with this new style of construction, they’ve been able to use the mid-torso joint very effectively while disguising it in natural breaks in the design. However, some of those early figures like Flash/Grand Slam and Snake Eyes had shockingly prominent ones. I’ve been kind of harsh on Flash’s construction, but they did do a good job with his design. The thigh pads, chest pad and bicep pads all have the gridded texture of the original Flash. The stirrup pants are well detailed and there’s even a strap on the back of each of his calves. The arms have wrinkled detailing under each of the bicep pads, like they were added on to a standard military technician jumpsuit because Flash wanted a little extra protection. That’s part of why I like Flash’s overall look. It’s clear that this protective suit was kind of put together on the fly. The base figure is a great olive drab coverall that would be useful working in the motor pool, but with some additional padding, it becomes much more useful to an experimental weapons specialist. Finally, we also need to take a look at Flash’s head. Just like back in the day, he
shares it with Grand Slam. It’s not really my favorite head sculpt around. It’s awfully generic. Yes, the Original 13 had pretty basic and shared sculpts, but all the other 25th Anniversary updates of those guys got nice, new sculpts except Flash and Grand Slam. They’re still twins and the really bland and uninteresting face is kind of a drawback. I realize Flash and Grand Slam didn’t really get a lot of attention in the comic, so they didn’t look that different from their figure counterparts (unlike Zap), but it would have been nice if Hasbro had finally rectified the Flash and Grand Slam clone saga for the 25th Anniversary line.
Flash definitely has some construction and overall design problems, but Hasbro did a great job with his paint work. Back in the day, Flash was one of the more colorful Original 13 Joes. Even back in the day, Hasbro still used bright some colors. The red pads stood out in pretty sharp contrast to his olive drab military uniform. The same can be said for the red used on this modern Flash as well. My only real complaint is that the red paint seems a bit too thickly applied. It kind of mutes the texture molded into the figure. Aside from that, though, it’s very well applied and there’s not any slop. The silver around the chest pad is well done, though I’m a little surprised that borders of the bicep pads don’t get the same silver the chest pad did. They went to the trouble of molding the detail, why not actually paint it? I realize Hasbro couldn’t do that back in 1982, but this figure came out in 2009 so why not paint all the details they molded into the figure. The silver continues around to his back with the straps for his chest pad. Other than the red, the figure is mostly olive drab, though he is wearing long brown gloves and a black shirt underneath the coverall. Overall, everything comes together pretty well on his body. The paint work on his face doesn’t do his bland expression any favors. Much like the Tatum-Dukes, Flash has a pretty blank stare on his face and that’s a bit of a drawback. If the eyes had some fire behind them, I could forgive his rather bland face sculpt, but as it stands, his face is just one big slice of blandness. I do appreciate that they made sure to give Flash his red hair. That was the one defining trait of his original head so I’m glad it came through here, even though you’ll never really see it since Flash is probably going to spend most of the time with his helmet on.
Flash doesn’t have many accessories, but Hasbro recreated his original gear extremely faithfully. Starting off small, Flash is wearing your standard visored Joe helmet. It looks pretty utilitarian, but it fits his head well, which couldn’t be said for some helmets from the early days of the 25th Anniversary line. It’s a very faithful recreation of Flash’s head gear so I’m okay with its simplicity. Flash was the team’s original laser trooper and Hasbro did a great job recreating his laser rifle and power supply. I really like the design of this laser rifle. It feels a little cobbled together, like Flash is still tinkering with it in the lab between field tests. I like the 1980s aesthetic a lot here. While I question a soldier bringing out such a fragile prototype into the field, it’s a great recreation of Flash’s classic gun. My only real issue is the plastic hose that attaches it to the backpack. I realize that’s exactly how the gun hooked into his backpack back in the day, but I still don’t like it. It seems way too fragile and I’ve always been a little concerned that it was going to snap while it was on display. Plus, it kind of defeats the purpose of the other attachment point on the backpack. The rifle has a peg on it that can plug into the backpack for storage, but the hose is so rigid you can’t really move the rifle into its storage position. While I have some problems with the rifle, the backpack is spot on. There are all sorts of details, like the power level indicator and wide variety of knobs and button, and I like them here. They add an extra level of realism since you wouldn’t want just a battery pack on your back. You’d want to know how much charge is left and would likely need to do some recalibration and power management in the field with a prototype like this. The last piece is an usual one. Flash is wearing his traditional belt with the old school Hasbro logo as its belt buckle, but it’s a removable piece rather than something built in as part of the mold. The figure doesn’t look good without it on, so you’ll never be removing it, but I figured I would mention it here since it is a removable piece.
Flash is another one of those figures that was good at the time but has really started to suffer once Hasbro really nailed down how to make their modern figures. Flash got a nice restyle during the Rise of Cobra line, but it was missing a lot of the classic Flash elements in my opinion. I’d like to see Hasbro revisit him, possibly putting the Resolute comic pack Destro’s padding over the Retaliation Data Viper mold. Give him a new head and I think you’d have a great figure that takes the original Flash aesthetic and design but updates it to the point that it looks good. The torso gap is an especially big problem here and it hurts Flash a lot. I really did enjoy having all the Original 13 Joes on display when I had the space for it, but since so many of them used parts from the early days of the 25th Anniversary line, they started looking really dated, really quickly. For the time, Flash was a great figure, but he definitely needs (and possibly deserves) a newer, better figure.