Avalanche (Force of Battle 2000)
Battle Force 2000 is a bit of a strange subteam for me. It was another one that KansasBrother and I only had one figure each from growing up, but it never really captured my attention all that much as an adult. However, having a brother who’s your partner in Joe crime is a bit of an interesting thing sometimes. We were talking about the con set after Joe Con (but before the stuff was available in the Club Store) and he and I were both a little more sold on the set than we were when the GIJCC was accepting registrations for Joe Con. I was leaning towards snagging myself a set (and trying to get KansasBrother a bagged set as well) a little later, but when the GIJCC announced they had several souvenir sets left over (and we both liked the vehicle two packs that were still available), it was enough to seal the deal for me. The Force of Battle 2000 set is a far more solid entry than I initially gave it credit for (though to be fair, my expectations were pretty low), however, you folks know the drill when I review con sets and that means I start with the weakest figure, and that means I’m covering Ian “Avalanche” Costello first.
Even as I’ve been looking at the original Battle Force 2000 figures as research to write this Field Report, Avalanche has always left me a little cold, and the modern version really doesn’t do all that much for me, either. His vintage look was a little odd and the GIJCC had to use a relatively complicated build to recreate that look, and unfortunately, it still looks a bit off. His legs are a combination of 25th Anniversary Wraith lower legs, the knees that I still can’t quite place that the GIJCC used for Project: Downfall Cloudburst, and the upper legs of Retaliation Ultimate Cobra Commander. This combination does replicate Avalanche’s original looks decently, but they just don’t come together quite as well as they should for some reason. They’re not bad legs, they just look a tad awkward. Avalanche’s chest is shared with Retaliation Street Luge Firefly and he’s wearing 25th Anniversary Duke’s bandolier over it. The Firefly chest does a decent job standing in for Avalanche’s heavy, quilted torso but the high collar still looks a little awkward. I’ve always seen the Battle Force 2000 figures as ones that are wearing a lot of high tech armor and the torso works okay for that, but with the collar it looks more like a heavy jacket than some sort of high tech armor that’s designed to keep out the cold and still be super light weight. Avalanche’s arms come from an even more surprising choice, 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadiers Destro. I think this is the first time we’ve seen these arms not on a Destro figure and I kind of dig them. They’re pretty bulky, so they fit with the high tech armor aesthetic and actually, they mirror the details on the vintage figure surprisingly well. The only real complaint I have is that since they’re such comparatively old parts, the wrists are a bit pre-posed and lack any articulation beyond a simple swivel, making it a bit harder for Avalanche to hold his gear naturally. Topping off the figure, Avalanche has a brand new head, though we do already know we’ll be seeing it against with FSS 6.0 Windmill. Honestly, this head sculpt looks a lot more like Windmill than it does Avalanche, which is a bit of a problem. The general shape of the helmet itself would be okay for Avalanche, but it’s missing the more pronounced ridge on the top of the helmet that would make it look more like Avalanche and it has the side pods that make it look more like Windmill’s helmet than Avalanche’s. The face also looks a little off. A lot of Joes with static helmets still look like they’re people wearing helmets. The sculpt lacks a defined break between Avalanche’s face and his helmet, and so it leaves his face looking more like a face plate than someone’s face that’s visible. The GIJCC picked some decent parts to reference Avalanche’s vintage look, however, unlike some figures that use parts from a variety of Joe eras, Avalanche just doesn’t quite come together as well as he should, even though those parts, individually, do a serviceable job at replicating his original look.
Avalanche’s paint scheme is just a little odd. Avalanche is Battle Force 2000’s cold weather survival specialist, so Hasbro made him an arctic figure. That means the base of the figure is white, but he’s got tan camouflage splotches on the white that just seem a little odd. I know nothing in arctic is pure white, but white with tan blotches just doesn’t seem that effective as arctic camouflage to my way of thinking. He’s also got a surprising amount of silver for the armor on his boots, his bandolier and the armor on his left shoulder. What’s visible of his face is painted with a Caucasian skin tone, though it seems to be painted on awfully thickly and leaves his face looking just a little flat. The GIJCC did a fine job replicating Avalanche’s vintage colors, but I always thought that colors scheme was a little weird, and that opinion continues on to this figure as well.
Battle Force 2000 was all about high-tech looking soldiers with futuristic looking weapons. In a surprising move from the GIJCC, this year they devoted a lot of tooling money to modern versions of the vintage Battle Force 2000 weapons. However, if you aren’t a fan of the futuristic weapons, the GIJCC made sure to have you covered and gave each Battle Force 2000 figure a more realistic weapon as well. For his more realistic weapon, Avalanche has a fairly basic rifle. Considering Avalanche’s filecard talks about his life growing up in the woods of Maine, I like the callback to his own personal history with this weapon. It’s a fairly basic rifle, but I can see this being a rifle quite similar to the one that he used when he was growing up, so he prefers using it because it’s something his already familiar with. Surprisingly, Hasbro never really defined what each figure’s special weapon was. As such, I’ve been kind of creating my own backgrounds for these weapons. Avalanche’s rifle reminds me quite a bit of the sonic rifles Marvel Comics busts out every now and then when someone is tasked with bringing down Venom, so that’s kind of what I see this piece as. Avalanche uses the sonic cannon to drive Cobras away from whatever Battle Force 2000’s objective is in an effort to keep from having to kill them outright. It’s a piece that definitely looks futuristic and doesn’t look like anything used in the military today. However, it also looks a bit more like a toy than an actual weapon and that’s kind of a shame. Part of why I loved the Rise of Cobra pulse rifles is because the actual design of the weapon was still rather realistic even though they were purely fantasy weapons. That’s not something that can be said about Avalanche’s sonic cannon. Finally, rounding out his gear, Avalanche has a small knife to fill the sheath on his left leg. The vintage Avalanche figure had a microphone that plugged into the side of his helmet, and surprisingly, the GIJCC didn’t think to reference that either as an accessory or even a painted detail on his helmet and that’s probably a bit of a bummer to people that are bigger fans of Battle Force 2000 than I am. He may not have a lot of accessories, but they’re all pieces that fit with Avalanche’s character, and I like that.
Avalanche has never been my favorite vintage Battle Force 2000 figure and the modern version really doesn’t do anything to change my opinion of him. He’s a solid enough figure, but with the construction that decently replicates his design but just doesn’t hang together quite as well as it should and the rather odd color scheme, he’s not all that great. The modern version of his vintage rifle is a nice touch, but beyond that, there’s just not much to get excited about here with Avalanche.