Frostbite (1993)

We’re officially into summer here in the US, and it’s been getting really hot around my neck of the woods lately, so why not break out a figure photo that I took in the dead of winter and write about it? It’s kind of like eating an ice cream cone after playing basketball in the driveway all day in 104 degree heat. Long time readers may notice that I’ve written about this guy before, but hey, I find him to be a really interesting looking figure. So here he is again.

What’s the funkiest aspect of Battle Corps Frostbite? Is it his orange grenades or orange missile launcher? Well, they’re odd, but sort of par for the course for 1993. How about the inexplicable presence of a machete for an arctic figure? I think that could be explained away as necessary for some sort of survival purpose in the cold. Maybe he uses it to slice open cans of beans, or fight off wayward polar bears.

No, the strangest and most oddly fascinating part of this figure is the mask. Just what is it? Well, the file card helpfully points out that it’s a frost-free face mask. Okay. Nice to know that it won’t get frosty on him. But just what in the Sam Hill purpose could it serve? Is Frostbite going to be the goalie in a pickup hockey game at the Joe team’s winter outpost? I still can’t quite figure this thing out, and added to the fact that it just looks outright creepy, has kept me interested in this figure.

Actually, there are aspects that make this Frostbite one of my late line RAH favorites, like the unique boots and the surprisingly toned down color palette (aside from the orange grenades). It’s just a really solidly done arctic figure, even with the slasher movie villain face mask.

18 comments

  • Yeah, Creepy-Mask Frostbite definitely was defined for me by that weird mask too. While I applaud the line for trying to do something like a removable facemask at this scale, it just really didn’t work out well. Other than that, Frostbite is a really solid figure from late in the line. Paint the grenades a different color and you have a nice realistic looking figure. Also, the fact that they molded his feet to look like they had crampons built in is a nice touch for an arctic Joe. And I think by that time in the line, that machete was pretty standard issue for Joe. You weren’t part of the Joe team if you didn’t have a machete…gee, with the increased size of the new Joes, those would be nice for a custom of Grindhouse “hero” Machete for the smaller ones he had strapped to his chest under his coat.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I think the machete and the hockey mask make it obvious. Frostbite’s a fan of Jason and the Friday the 13th movies. But, not Jason Goes to Hell. Nobody likes that one.

  • Is it creepy, or is it cute? I’m undecided. Either way, it is ridiculous.

    The rest of the figure is worth the price of admission. I love the boots, the fur around the neck of the coat, and the mostly subtle white and grey color palette.

  • Frostbite… ready to play hockey or ready to kill some frolicking teens around Crystal Lake? The machete definately invokes a sense of Jason though Frostbite seemed to veer more towards The Thing… or The Night They Saved Christmas. Interestingly, his color palette goes towards more realism from the rather wild 1993 yet it’s the accessories that make him wild and goofy (hockey mask, machete). Are we sure this is Frostbite or was he possessed by a mysterious alien invader?

    Any known reason why 1993 had 2 arctic troopers (Iceberg & Frostbite)? Any other year which had more than 2 of a kind, desert troopers, jungle troopers, divers, etc? (besides rivals like Dusty & Desert Scorpion)

    • Little Boa,
      The answer is “1993 was CRAZY!”

      If you count the mail order figures, there were actually 9 arctic troopers just that year.
      Frostbite (v3)
      Iceberg (v2)
      Snow Storm
      Snow Storm (v2)
      Bushido (a Snow Ninja?!)
      Mail-Ins (Arctic Commandos):
      v2 Dee-Jay
      v3 Snow Serpent
      v4 Stalker
      v2 Sub-Zero

      There was something like 88 figures released in 1993. They were selling lower quantities per figure by that time, so they figured if they made more figures they could keep the sales numbers up. A lot of them are pure repaints and many of them just re-use old weapons. It was the dying gasp of a once great brand!

      They would of course make only 44 figures in 1994 and call it a night.

      Until a couple years later when they would fire the o-ring presses up again!

  • Of course, this mold only got reused one time–as the 1997 version of Blizzard.

    Over on Chad and Matt’s site, for the “Matt’s customs” side of things, he used this version of Frostbite as Whiteout, who acts as the radio-man for his winter ops squad.

  • I had this figure for some time and could never get why he wore that mask. Frostbite’s previous version sure didn’t need it, nor did any of his fellow arctic specialists. It’s just one of those things, kinda like forgetting that his hair and beard are supposed to be black, not brown.

    It was still nice to see both Frostbite and Iceberg updated just before the vintage line ended its run. Toss in an extra Snow Cat and you’re good to go.

  • @ Robert Carson Mataxis
    I forgot about Snow Storm for some reason. The arctic mail-in I consider a separate thing. One wonders, maybe Pinatubo’s effects were on their mind? In my part of the Midwest, the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991 didn’t start making things cool til Summer 1992, which was noticeably cold (though certainly no Year Without a Summer). Pinatubo, which was a VEI 6 eruption (one magnitude greater than Mt. St. Helens, same magnitude as Krakatoa) was attributed to be a major factor in the Great Mississippi River Flooding of 1993 by research. It put a huge amount of material into the atmosphere. Not sure what the effects were by Hasbro. Didn’t seem to produce snowier winters. In fact, in my area, it was just colder summers & falls. It didn’t compare to the winters of the late ’70s/early ’80s though January 1994 got extremely cold (some areas recorded one of the coldest days since records began in the 1870s). Maybe a cool summer & fall made Hasbro have a lot of cold-themed figures on their mind? Who knows. Just a random musing off the top of my head. BTW, Pinatubo totally seems forgotten despite the fact that it had a big effect, same goes for that great comet that hung around forever, Hale-Bopp. Funny that the weaker Mt. St. Helens and the disappointing 1986 visit of Halley’s Comet left more an impression on the public memory than those events.

    Some of the repaints seemed to be reappropriated cancelled Eco-Warriors figures, some seemed to be either trying out a new version of the release-the-figure-for-2-years format, repainting them for year 2 (see: Wet-Suit, Firefly, et al), some of it seemed to be throwing anything, any color at the wall to see if it would stick/sell better. I checked thru 1993, it had 21 new molds (of course, some started to see recycled parts, but I’m trying to differentiate from repaints) in Battle Corps, Ninja Force was all new except Slice, Mega Marines was all new. Each new mold costs money, so one has to wonder why they commissioned so many new figures. 6 were DEF, 2 were Eco-Warriors. Trying to get those molds to market made some sense but Frostbite & Iceberg were both intended as Battle Corps figures, which makes it odd. Maybe some of it was trying to keep copyright claim on so many names?

  • Because i’m on the other side of the world [where the toilets flush the other way] its the middle of winter. By that i mean there is a cool breeze and some frost on the grass in the early morning.

    I remeber going to a Toys R us circa ’96 [about the same time my Grandfather died] and seeing a whole endcap full of the “best” Battle corpse figures [the sensible ones, not the neon nightmares] and buying G2 Electros instead. For several years i kept buying G2 Electros onlly to have them disintigrate on the ride home. Eventually all the Joes were replaced with crap like Biker mice and Street sharks.

    This Frostbite is on my Battlecorpse wish list. I think the reason he wears the mask is to protect his face from actual frostbite.

  • IIRC, figures were the best selling GI JOE items, so more figures, less vehicles. Market was also changing, repaint/refresh waves throughout the year were becoming more common in action figure lines.

  • Tundra Ranger Stalker (1989) had a strange face mask that most people forget about.

  • Not a bad Battle Corps figure at all, but he has that “giraffe neck” like many of them do. Seeing as he’s wearing a parka with the hood down, you’d think it’d be higher on his shoulders. I have trouble seeing him as the ’85 Frostibite, but it’s a nice mold. The “slasher” thing is just one of those easter eggs, I think.

  • I liked the Stalker mask a lot more than this one! This one reminds me of the guy from the Mask movie with Cher in it:

    http://www.eric-stoltz.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Sam-Elliott-Eric-Stoltz-and-Cher-Mask.jpg

    I’m not even kidding or trying to be mean, its the first thing I think of when I see that mask.

  • RE: “Some of the repaints seemed to be re-appropriated cancelled Eco-Warriors figures”

    Yup! There were so many Battle Corps branded figures that year because Hasbro pulled the plug on D.E.F. and Eco-Warriors last minute. Snow Storm v1 and Outback v3 were intended to be Eco Warriors, and came out in gaudy Eco Warriors colors. Then Hasbro changed the color palette early on to the more subdued Snow Storm v2 and Outback v4 colors. Lot’s of indecision that year!

  • @Carson not to be confused with Mask [Jim Carrey] or M.A.S.K [Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand]

    I have D.E.F Muskrat and Mace. I think maybe down here, Longarm [no relation to P.J Omally] was also a D.E.F figure. Dont know why we got so many more D.E.F figures as opposed to the US.
    Didnt every major toyline in the early 90’s have an anti drug campaign?
    I think the reason D.E.F went down so badly was because they were trying to preach to kids. But kids already know drugs are bad.

  • @ Skymate

    The biggest drag on D.E.F. was the price. They were, what $5.99 or $6.99 at Toys R Us and other places? The double price wasn’t worth a large light-up accessory. Second, I think was that D.E.F. might of had airs of being “goody two-shoes” (look on the card fronts & backs for the official brand of support), the toys parents want kids to buy (which instantly makes it uncool). What I mean is, the age of kids playing with action figures is usually well before they might even be tempted with drugs and all they hear from adults is D.A.R.E., “just say no”, and the very special episodes (wouldn’t the Saved by the Bell one/ones been around then?). It might’ve rendered D.E.F. like educational games (i.e. very unpopular).

    And I think this was another instance (like Bravestarr as a space Western), where the adults coming up with the toys were out of touch with the kids. In Bravestarr’s case, they grew up on Westerns and were totally unaware Westerns were unpopular with kids then (in their defense, maybe Tatooine in Star Wars fooled them, Sand People/Indians, Jawas and all, the Cantina/saloon, etc). D.E.F. might be a case of adults who played cops & robbers as kids, now D.E.F. & drug cartels for the ’80s/early ’90s, thinking kids would be interested in the same. They weren’t. Didn’t that C.O.P.S. line kind of fizzle out? Maybe they thought N.A.R.C. was more successful in the arcades than it was or thought kids were playing it because they liked playing cops vs. drug lords, not because of the genre it was?

    Last I ever saw of a D.A.R.E. shirt was a drug dealer in high school passing off a bag of an unknown drug to another one. To the kids, a D.A.R.E. shirt was the signal they were a dealer whereas the adults were fooled and felt they were kids “that really took the message to heart”.

  • @Little Boa
    I heard C.O.P.S was just starting to take off in circa 1989 but Hasbro cancelled it and brought out AIR RAIDERS which immediatley tanked.

    I remember from one of the primary schools i was at. There was a ninja turtles poster out the front of the library which said something about drugs being bad. Kids knew drugs were bad at the ripe old age of seven. They didnt need Michelangelo to tell them that. I did encounter a pusher when i was 11 at a different school. All the other kids started throwing sticks at him. One of them said “Why would you even do that, Mr. Drugs are dumb”

    I’m not sure why we [Australia] got so many of the extra D.E.F figures. Mace [whom i’m looking at now on my desk MOC] came with the same moronic head mounted missile launcher Muskrat came with. I can understand MACE being a D.E.F guy as he’s an undercover opperative. But what is Muskrat supposed to be? He looks more at home on my Star wars shelf then anywhere else

    Oh and Mace is of no relationship to the same Mace from C.O.P.S. All the C.O.P.S characters real names are terrible puns

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