Cesspool (FSS 2.0)
Sometimes as a toy collector, you find you have to set rules for your collection so you don’t wind up breaking the bank in pursuit of your passion. However, as Joe Con taught me in 2009 (and again in 2016), sometimes those rules need to be bent. Once in a great while, the GIJCC winds up making something that I think is so cool, I feel I have to break my rule of not spending more than $25 on a figure to get something while it’s still at least somewhat readily available just because if nothing else, if I don’t jump on it now, it’ll cost even more on the secondary market should I decide later that I want it. At Joe Con in 2009, it was what turned out to be the last (they literally had to pull the display set from the store wall to fill my order) General Mayhem con set. In 2016, it was buying a Freefall in the store the night before the parachute drop just to ensure that I got one. However, this time I’m talking about the Cesspool figure from Figure Subscription Service 2.0. He definitely exceeded my self-imposed spending limit on a figure, but man was he ever worth it. Plus, when the opportunity to buy him presented itself, I was actually rather flush with cash for a change so it didn’t feel like I was making a reckless decision dropping a bit more money than I usually prefer to spend on figures to get him via BigBadToyStore.
Cesspool has always been one of my favorite named Cobras. I think Iron Grenadier Destro and Cesspool were probably the two Cobras that saw the most use when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Battle Armor Cobra Commander, but Destro and Cesspool both had him beat on the cool factor. Plus, I had Battle Armor Cobra Commander probably since 1988 or 1989, so by the time Iron Grenadier Destro and Cesspool joined my collection, he was pretty play worn. So for me, Cesspool had some pretty high expectations and I have to say, the GIJCC did not disappoint. The parts selection is great, though I do miss his exposed cybernetic arm. However, that doesn’t preclude me from assuming it’s still there. If you’re working in a laboratory environment, you’d want to have your prosthetic limb covered anyway to ensure that it doesn’t cause a break in quarantine, so while he may not have it on display, I can still pretend he’s got his cybernetic arm underneath his cleansuit. The legs come from 30thAnniversary Sci-Fi and while I wasn’t initially sold on the choice, when I put him side-by-side with my vintage Cesspool, I was surprised at how well they worked. He’s still wearing tall, mechanical boots and the battery packs on the thighs do have an analogue on the original figure. Cesspool originally had a calculator on one leg and some straps on the other. The details on Sci-Fi’s legs do a surprisingly decent job standing in for these details. His chest comes from 30th Anniversary Techno-Viper and while it still does have the same problems as it does from its original use (namely that it’s too thick to close properly), I’m surprisingly okay with seeing it here. I do miss the ostentatious raised Cobra motif on his chest, but I understand that would be a little too expensive for the GIJCC to do. However, the piping on the shoulders and around his chest do reference Cesspool’s original fancy uniform very well. It also appears that the GIJCC was able to get rid of the little puckered imperfection inside the trapezoid on his chest that drove me a little mad on the Techno-Viper. I’m not sure if this was a modification to the mold itself or just paintwork that effectively minimized the problem, but either way, the chest piece looks a lot better than it did. His arms were originally used for the 30th Anniversary version of Airtight and that’s an excellent choice. It makes sense for Cesspool to share some parts with Airtight since they’re both chemical weapons experts. I loved how realistic the Airtight arms looked when they were first used and I appreciate the designers adding in an element ofrealism to Cesspool’s look as well. Finally, we take a look at Cesspool’s only new piece—his amazing new head sculpted by the folks at Boss Fight Studios. The original Cesspool’s head was apparently based on a real person who worked at Hasbro and though the new sculpt is a bit different, it’s still amazing and wonderfully captures the crazed, evil personality I always saw in Cesspool. The original Cesspool’s hairline was a bit further receded and he looks just a little older, but that’s really about where the differences end. The left side of Cesspool’s face looks normal and he looks like a CEO. He’s an older man and I definitely get a Gordon Gekko vibe from him. I can see Mr. D’Alleva leading a corporate takeover, cutting companies to the bone and flipping them to net a huge profit for himself and his shareholders. However, the right side of his reveals an even more sinister side to Cobra’s resident corporate raider. Cesspool’s scar starts up in his hairline and runs all the way down to the bottom of his chin. It also encompasses his entire right eye socket. Whatever injured Cesspool definitely did a number on him, and the detail work is incredible. Not only do you have the brutal jagged scar but the designers actually sculpted his skin differently on that side of his face to reflect how the skin and underlying musculature had to adapt to the damage that’s there. That’s an incredible level of detail to be crammed into such a small space and it all looks great. It really helps sell the character and brings everything together quite nicely.
While the GIJCC took some necessary liberties to update Cesspool’s look, his color scheme is straight out of 1991 and that’s a great call. Cesspool was definitely the best-looking Eco-Warriors figure back in the day and his colors definitely help tie him nicely to Cobra while still not looking out of place in the laboratory. Cesspool’s jumpsuit is a very classy-looking dark teal. It may not be Cobra blue, but it’s close enough that it definitely fits with Cobra. The Sci-Fi boots look very good in black and fit the original aesthetic very well. However, Cesspool did lose a surprising amount of purple trim. The original Cesspool had a lot of purple on him, but here, it’s relegated to the gloves, belt and the battery packs. That’s not a good or bad thing, I was just honestly more surprised at how much more dark purple there was on the original figure compared to this one. It’s a good color and it works well with the teal so I would have been okay with seeing it used more. Conversely, Cesspool picks up a bit more gold trim. There’s gold on the shoulder piping that’s carried down around his chest plus there’s gold at the top of the gloves. I’m a firm believer that gold is a color that should be used sparingly on action figures and while that’s a bit more gold than I was anticipating, it still looks really good. It really pops well against the dark teal of the jumpsuit and the purple of the gloves. Finally, we have to talk about my favorite part of the paint work on his body, the Cobra biohazard logo. I loved this logo when it first showed up on the Hazard Viper. In fact, my only criticism of it back then was that they didn’t really display it all that prominently. The GIJCC used it very prominently on this figure and it looks really great on Cesspool’s chest. The tampo is crisp and clean. My only real complaint is that I think the color they used was just a bit too dark. The orange is a great nod to Cesspool’s original figure, but it feels just a little too muted. I really want that sigil to pop and while it does, it’s not quite as strong as I’d like it to be. The paintwork on the head is also excellent. The red paint in his scar suggests that it’s a bit fresher wound and I like that. It’s a wicked wound and I like that it looks rather offputting. The paint is expertly placed in the wound track and it really helps accentuate all the work the guys over at Boss Fight did on this. Cesspool’s slick-backed white hair looks natural and the paint work for his good eye andeyebrow adds a little bit of menace to his stare. The overall paintwork is excellent and I have to give credit where credit is due to the GIJCC. They really brought their A-game here with Cesspool.
Cesspool’s accessories, while not quite as iconic as his 1991 counterpart’s were, still work well and I’m actually glad they made a couple of changes between the original digital mock up and what we received. The biggest change was in the backpack sprayer system. I’ve never been a big fan of the functional sprayer system the Pursuit of Cobra Arctic Assault Destro had. I appreciate that Hasbro tried something a little different, but I just never liked the look of it all that much. I found the choice of that piece (especially since it would probably be the non-functional version that came with the 30th Anniversary Hazard Viper) a bit disappointing. However, when I first started reading reviews on Cesspool, I was pleasantly surprised to see they’d swapped it out for 25th Barbecue’s backpack and hose but they kept the sprayer that Arctic Assault Destro came with. This is a far better look in my opinion since it’s unique. I can see Cesspool being the first member of the Cobra bioweapons group to use the toxic sprayer so it’s going to be a bit different, and better, than the mass production model that his Hazard Vipers are going to use. It’s more compact and it looks a lot better on Cesspool’s back than the big Destro sprayer did in the digital mock-up. The hose hooks on to the bottom peg pretty well.
Some reviewers have found a way to insert the hose into the hole in the butt of the gun, but I just couldn’t get that to work so I improvised and I think it works fine plugged into the bottom of the gun. Like any Cobra scientist, he’s also got the injector tool that we first saw during the Rise of Cobra days and it works pretty well. It’s still not my favorite piece, but I do like the fact that all the Cobra scientists do have one piece of equipment that’s the same. Lab equipment should be pretty universal regardless of who’s using it so I like that Cesspool, Rex Lewis and James McCullen Destro all use the same injector tool for their experiments. The choice of briefcases also surprised me. The inclusion of a briefcase in the original mock-ups led me to assume it was just going to be the biohazard case we’ve seen a couple times and I was perfectly fine with that. However, when reading reviews before making my decision to purchase him, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Cesspool was getting the Pursuit of Cobra City Strike Destro briefcase full of cash instead. It’s great piece and it’s one we haven’t seen quite as much so I’mdelighted to see it here. Either briefcase would have been appropriate, but I do feel the need to applaud the GIJCC for not going with the obvious choice of briefcases. It makes sense for Cesspool to have a case full of money since he’s probably the point man for any Cobra chemical weapons sales. The only accessory Cesspool came with that I have a problem with is his helmet. The Sci-Fi helmet is a good stand in for Cesspool’s original helmet, but it’s just too small. It doesn’t fully cover his face and honestly, I’m concerned that I’m going to transfer some of the purple inside the helmet onto Cesspool’s nose if I use it too much. It’s not a big deal since Cesspool’s head sculpt is so great I don’t want him wearing his helmet, but I do wish they’d made his helmet bigger so it actually worked. However, Justin Bell over at GeneralsJoes did point out that the original Cesspool’s helmet (which I’d always thought was a bit too large for the original figure) fits perfectly on this new head. I haven’t been able to lay my hands on my original Cesspool’s helmet, but I hope to find it soon and swap it out. While I was searching for the helmet, though, I did find Cesspool’s original acid-spitting chainsaw and man does it look great in this new version’s hands. I always thought that it was just a bit out of scale for Cesspoolback in the day, but this big chainsaw looks nasty in modern Cesspool’s hands and still seems in scale. Even better, the gold the GIJCC used for his accessories is a close enough match to his original gold chainsaw that it doesn’t look out of place when he’s carrying his other gear. I’m a little sad the GIJCC didn’t give us a new chainsaw, but I love that the old chainsaw looks great in his hands.
Cesspool had a lot to live up to in my mind. He’s probably my favorite obscure named Cobra and from the looks of it, some people at the GIJCC (and possibly Boss Fight Studios as well) share my opinion regarding Cesspool’s awesomeness. This is definitely a convention-quality figure and that can’t always be said about FSS pieces. However, they really pulled out all the stops here and made a great modern update of one of those great, late-line gems that doesn’t get the respect he deserves because he was part of a less-than-popular subteam. Add in the fact that he looks great alongside the rest of the Cobra Eco-Warriors from the Zombie Initiative con set, and you have a great piece that really meshes well with the rest of the GIJCC’s recent offerings. I don’t want to see the FSS fleshing out all the con sets with people that should have been included in the con sets to begin with, but I’d like to think that Cesspool might have been a test balloon to see if people were interested in an Eco-Warriors themed con set. Considering how quickly that happened, apparently the feedback and sales on Cesspool were strong enough to get the GIJCC to take a chance and let a subteam from 1991 anchor a con set.