Bullhorn (FSS 4.0)

By KansasBrawler

As a Joe child of the 90s, I have very fond memories of characters like Freefall, Ambush, and Bullhorn. The DiC Joe cartoon didn’t really air much in my area, so those characters were all ones I got to develop myself with just the filecard as a guide. Because of that, I saw Bullhorn as one of the litmus figures in FSS 4.0 and I am very pleased with how he turned out. I know a lot of reviewers are upset that the GIJCC decided to do their best to make the accessories as accurate as possible while not trying to do the same thing with the figure itself, but honestly, to me (as someone who had the vintage Bullhorn figure), Bullhorn was another figure that was kind of defined by his unique equipment, so getting that right was pretty important to me. I think the GIJCC did a fine job with Bullhorn. He may not be a game changer, but he’s a pretty obscure figure who I have very fond memories of, and I’m pleased with how he turned out.

From the neck down, Bullhorn uses Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper parts. This was a pretty major point of contention in the reviews I’ve read of this figure. I wish the GIJCC had done something a little different just because those parts have been used a lot, but I don’t mind that Bullhorn’s legs are off model because neither of the sets of legs that have the more vintage accurate-combat spats (25th Anniversary Resolute Duke and 25th Anniversary Resolute Cobra Trooper) are great. The 25th Anniversary Resolute Cobra Trooper legs are awfully scrawny and the 25th Anniversary Resolute Duke legs have that odd issue where they seem to be just a little uneven. I’ll take off model legs if they’re good legs that don’t have issues like “more appropriate” ones do. The Pursuit of Cobra Shock Viper legs are nicely detailed and look appropriate for a Joe that specializes in tactical interventions. The Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper torso and arms are solid pieces, though I’m still not wild about how smooth the torso is while the arms are much more wrinkled. Again, this is something that the GIJCC could have adjusted, but truthfully, the Shock Trooper parts work well for the figure, so I’ll give it a pass. I’m not sure what I would hypothetically use in their place and if I can’t come up with a better solution to an issue I have with a figure, I’ll let it slide. To cover the overly smooth torso, the GIJCC wisely uses the webgear from the Retaliation Cobra Trooper. The vintage Bullhorn figure had three or four small grenades on his chest, and the Retaliation Cobra Trooper gives him that detail. In fact, I kind of like the grenades on his chest a little better now because they’re smoother. The grenades on the vintage figure had detailing that made them look like pineapple grenades. However, with the smooth grenades, I see them more as smoke grenades or flash bangs, something that could be useful in Bullhorn’s line of work. Up top, Bullhorn uses the Pursuit of Cobra Dusty head, something that pissed off most reviewers because that the GIJCC has used this piece a lot over the years. However, I don’t mind seeing a head a few times if A) it’s a good piece, and B) the GIJCC does something with it that hasn’t been done before. Yes, Dusty’s parted hair isn’t vintage accurate, but considering how often the same reviewers complained about the GIJCC and Hasbro making dumb calls for the sake of vintage accuracy, I don’t get why Bullhorn changing his hairstyle after 26 years is such a sin. Personally, I would have preferred seeing 25th Anniversary Colonel Hawk’s head here since I’ve always seen Bullhorn as someone that’s older than the rest of the Joes, but that’s just a personal preference and I think that older head might have looked a bit too small on this figure. The Dusty head is a passable choice and the 30th Anniversary Red Dog headband does disguise the reuse just enough that at a quick glance if I had him on display next to Pursuit of Cobra Dusty it’s not that noticeable. The Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper body works well for a figure that I’ve always seen as an urban operations expert and the Dusty head is a decent stand-in for Bullhorn’s head. That’s honestly all I need from him.

The paintwork on Bullhorn is solid, though I’ve always wished that Bullhorn’s color scheme was different because I felt his specialty lent itself to urban operations and the vintage Bullhorn color scheme looks more at home in the desert than any place else. Like the vintage figure, Bullhorn has brown pants and gray boots. Since the figure lacks spats, the lighter brown camouflage pattern is put on his kneepads and I think it looks great there. The two-tone camouflage on the kneepads is neatly applied and both colors are different from the color used on his pants so it pops nicely. The figure’s torso is a very light tan with gray used for his webgear and gloves. Again, these are vintage accurate colors and they still hold up after all these years. Bullhorn still has black hair and a black head band and the brown camouflage applied to his face looks good. It’s not quite as detailed as it is on the card art or the vintage figure, but it still gets the idea across effectively. Personally, I’ve always wished Bullhorn had been done up in an urban camouflage color scheme somewhere along the lines of the vintage Low-Light figure, but the GIJCC did a great job recreating his vintage look. The paint work is crisp (likely a function of the fact that figure is mostly molded out of the base colors he needs) and he looks quite sharp.

Bullhorn had a pretty impressive gear set back in the day and this version is no slouch in the gear department either. The GIJCC faithfully recreated every piece of gear he had. Starting off with his primary weapon, the GIJCC tooled up a new rifle based on the scoped Styg Aur rifle the vintage figure carried. This has never been my favorite weapon because the vintage figure had trouble holding it (and so does the modern version) but it has a striking silhouette and much like the Spearhead rifle, it’s a pretty iconic piece and it’s nice to see it again after all these years. Next, we have his eponymous piece—the bullhorn. This is a great piece and it still looks wonderful in his hands after all these years. Also, I feel the need to address a criticism that I’ve seen from reviewers about this piece, that it’s too flimsy. My bullhorn is solid and doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart at the drop of a hat, so I don’t quite know where this criticism comes from. Maybe I just got lucky and got a solidly-built bullhorn, but from my experience with this piece, I have to say it’s a good piece. On his hip, Bullhorn has a small pistol to fill the functional holster that’s part of his webgear. It’s not a piece I’m familiar with (likely because it only came with the Retaliation Cobra Trooper figure) so it’s new to me and I think it’s a nice little touch for Bullhorn to have. I remember as a kid, the accessory that most impressed me was Bullhorn’s backpack with the broken down rifle inside. The GIJCC would have made a huge misstep if they hadn’t included Pursuit of Cobra Low-Light’s sniper rifle to recreate that piece, but smartly, they remembered to include it. The rifle bag is great, though mine is really tough to get open. Seriously, I had to use a small cuticle tool that I keep on my desk to get this thing open the first time and that’s a problem I’ve never had with this piece. The rifle fits snugly inside it, though I do think the original Hasbro designers made a mistake by not making the rifle bag a bit bigger so there was also room to store the rifle’s silencer and bipod in it as well. Without it, that means that Bullhorn’s silencer and bipod just have to sit on his figure stand next to him. That’s something I’ve seen a few people criticize the GIJCC for, but truthfully, I have to blame the original designers at Hasbro for not making the rifle bag big enough to hold all the parts of the rifle in the first place. The sniper rifle is a great piece and everything snaps together snugly. I like that Bullhorn has a sniper rifle as a backup in the event that he’s not able to talk the hostage-taking terrorists down. Rounding out his gear, Bullhorn also has a gas mask. Again, this accessory is straight out of 1990 and the modern gas mask looks great on his face. The gas mask is why I like that the grenades on Bullhorn’s chest now look like smoke grenades instead of frag grenades. I can see him putting on the gas mask, kicking down a door, and tossing in a few smoke grenades before leading a Joe raid during a hostage situation. All Bullhorn’s accessories work well with the character and just like with my vintage figure, they all give me great ideas for how to use Bullhorn in the field.

Truthfully, FSS Bullhorn is a great figure and anyone that says otherwise is just wrong. The overall design is a tad uninspired since it’s just a simple headswap with the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper as a base, but I think it still works fine for Bullhorn. The new gear is great and is clearly where most of Bullhorn’s tooling budget went, however, I’m fine with that. I feel the accessories for this figure are just as important as the look because I had all those pieces with him back in the day. The vintage-accurate gear helps sell the Bullhorn look even better and the few off model choices for construction are fine with me. Even though he uses most of the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper body, the new accessories add value to the figure, even if some people don’t agree that the vintage-accurate accessories aren’t as important as a vintage- accurate look. I think Bullhorn is solid and I feel the GIJCC made smart choices in allocating his tooling budget to the new accessories. Bullhorn just wouldn’t be the figure I knew without those pieces and the figure they made looks close enough to the vintage piece without new parts. It’s great that Bullhorn finally got some attention in a modern form and I’m glad the GIJCC did it. They created a solid figure with great accessories and that’s exactly what I remember Bullhorn being back when I got the figure back in the day.

2 comments

  • Great detailed review on this lesser known character.
    Bullhorn was an awesome example of Larry Hama trying to inject a sense of realism into the G.I. Joe universe. He did an amazing job introducing characters with military occupational specialties that were based in reality and were not as general as “machine gunner”, “missile specialist” or simply “Commando”.
    Hats off to you Mr. Hama!

  • It’s not bad for its mold limitations. But how have they not worn out that Shock Trooper tooling yet?

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