Grand Slam (2006)
The original Grand Slam was one of my favorite figures early on in my childhood GI Joe collecting days. It actually remained so and saw regular use even through the release of many more colorful and specific characters. Something about it resonated with me. I guess design wise it was the red pads, the deep green, and of course the silver repaint version. Being the “driver” of both the HAL and the JUMP didn’t hurt either. The file card painted a very cool picture of a guy who seemed real, and who had a cool specialty.
Years went by, and when I came back to GI Joe collecting, I was disappointed to see that James Barney had not gotten a second figure. Replacements for Flash, like Sci-Fi, got their due, but not good old GS. It wasn’t until the DTC series that he saw the spotlight again. The result was an interesting homage, and one that wasn’t totally devoted to recreating the original.
Most of the figure is a redeco of the new sculpt era Bazooka, itself a departure from an expected look, but a good figure nonetheless. The unique padded uniform lends itself well to approximating the iconic 1982 design while taking it in a new direction. Strategic red highlights also call back to the old figure, the strangest of which are the red highlighted boots. They’re not exactly the thigh or arm pads of old, and they make no sense, but I love it.
While the file card focuses on Grand Slam’s artillery background, the figure includes a weapon that to me reflects the silver pad version’s JUMP jet pack laser rifle. I’m not usually heavily dependent on homage figures being devoted to perfectly recreating the past, but I will admit that I would loved to have seen a clear visor rather than a simple black goggled helmet. Either way, I’m still jazzed that Hasbro gave us another Grand Slam.