Psyche-Out (FSS 3.0)
Everyone really loved the Night Force con set a few years ago from the GIJCC, but I wasn’t totally sold on it. I thought it was cool, but I also thought that it was a little lame that those characters were all getting released in color schemes that came from a relatively hard-to- find set of exclusive figures rather than their classic colors. Fast forward a couple years to FSS 3.0, and a lot of those great Night Force figures are coming out in their classic colors and I couldn’t be happier. I didn’t necessarily want a Night Force version of Psyche-Out, but I love having a Psyche-Out that looks like the figure I had growing up. While he may not be a 100% accurate update to the Joe’s deceptive warfare expert, I’m glad to have Psyche-Out back in my collection in all his kind of weird 80s-styled glory.
I’d not realized how simple a figure the Nocturnal Fire Psyche-Out was until I got this figure and really started paying attention to the parts choices when I started reviewing him. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is surprising how simple his parts recipe is. From the neck down, Psyche-Out uses the exact same parts that Pursuit of Cobra Desert Duke does. That means his legs are shared with Pursuit of Cobra Zartan, which is a great call. The PoC Zartan legs are a nice pair of basic legs with angular kneepads and I think they work well for Psyche-Out as well. Up top, the PoC Desert Duke chest armor really stands in well for Psyche-Out’s original torso. I doubt Hasbro designed PoC Desert Duke’s chest with Psyche-Out in mind, but the shapes are similar and it really helps complete the look for him. The PoC Desert Duke arms also work well for Psyche-Out. Like the legs, they’re nothing fancy, but they work well and that’s all I need. Topping off the figure, Psyche-Out uses the same new head the GIJCC had the people over at Boss Fight Studios create for the Nocturnal Fire Con Set. It makes sense for Psyche-Out to have a new head because no one else rocked the look he did back in the day. I saw a lot of customizers make convincing Psyche-Out figures using the Resolute Arctic Duke head, but this is definitely the better way to go about it. All the classic details are there. Psyche-Out is still wearing his headset with an antenna and he’s got a little bit of the 80s feathered hair going on. Psyche-Out’s stare is pretty intense, but I’m okay with it. I kind of see it as Psyche-Out sizing up a problem and figuring out which tactic to use to best get in the head of his opponent. However, his new head does have a couple of problems. First of all, it feels just a little too big. It’s not as bad as 25th Anniversary Breaker, but it still looks just a little too big for the rest of his body. The other problem comes more from the torso choice than the head itself. The high collar, coupled with the slightly too large head, really restricts Psyche-Out’s neck articulation. You can’t get any up and down movement out of the balljoint and I think that’s kind of a shame. After all, Joes have been able to look up and down since they introduced the balljointed neck in 1985 and it’s a bit lame that a modern Joe has the same range of motion in his neck as the pre- 1985 figures do. The modern Psyche-Out is a great figure and while he does have some minor flaws, it’s still not enough to detract from my overall enjoyment of the figure. Everything comes together very well and Psyche-Out definitely looks like Psyche-Out.
To help complete the look, FSS 3.0 Psyche-Out is also using his classic 1987 colors and I’m very happy about that choice. Psyche-Out is wearing dark gray pants just like back in 1987 but this time, they are accented with the black kneepads. It’s simple, but effective. Up top, Psyche-Out is wearing a green shirt with a light gray undershirt underneath his silver and red chest armor. The green is a few shades darker than the original figure’s, but that’s fine.
Back in 1987, Psyche-Out was bordering on being neon and since everyone seems to hate neon colors, the GIJCC wisely decided to tone Psyche-Out down a little for this release. The green looks nice and I think it does look a bit better than the brighter green shirt he wore back in 1987. His lower arms have three little black dots on them, just like the original figure did, though they’re just paint this time rather than sculpted elements. I like the visible undershirt because it reminds me of Under Armor, something a lot of military folks wear to wick the sweat away from their bodies. The chest armor looks nice in silver, red and black, but unfortunately, the paint work itself isn’t that great. There’s a bit of red slop on both straps leading down to the chest armor. I was a little surprised by that since the GIJCC’s paint team usually does incredible work. Psyche- Out’s paint work isn’t any worse than some mass market figures, but considering how much the GIJCC prides itself on good paint work (and considering the FSS figures cost quite a bit more than a standard retail release) I do expect more from them. Apparently, whoever was in charge of the red wasn’t that good at their job because there’s also a bit of red over paint on his face as well from his headset. Thankfully, the over paint stays right in line with the headset so it’s not as noticeable as it could be, so since it blends in, I’m a little more okay with it. I still wish the person applying the red had done a better job overall on the figure, but at least there’s not a random stray mark on his face. The head sculpt is very well painted and his eyes have a lot of intensity behind them. I like seeing so much character in these modern Joes’ faces. The original Psyche-Out’s eyes were pretty weak but the modern figure’s eyes look realistic and add some character to Psyche-Out, which is good because as a “deceptive warfare” expert, I do remember having a little trouble coming up with a good characterization for him as a kid and that’s not an issue I have with this modern interpretation.
The biggest change between the FSS version and its Nocturnal Fire counterpart is in his gear. This version of Psyche-Out is traveling a little lighter, but I’m okay with that. I really like the gear they gave him and I think it fits a little bit better with Psyche-Out than what they used for Night Force Psyche-Out.
As much as I love the 30th Anniversary Lifeline rifle, it seemed like some awfully heavy firepower for a guy whose primary job is to get inside the enemy’s head. This time around, his primary weapon is the 25th Anniversary Resolute Cobra Trooper submachine gun. It’s compact but it looks like it can still pack a pretty good punch and I think it looks perfect in Psyche-Out’s hands. It looks a little bit more high-tech than a standard gun so I think it fits with Psyche-Out’s slightly sci-fi aesthetic. Psyche-Out’s other weapon is a small pistol. It’s a slightly different mold than we’re used to seeing and it’s a great backup piece for him. Of course, Psyche-Out’s most interesting accessories were his radar dishes and his sonic emitter that he would use in battle to emit ultra low frequency sound to mess with the enemy. The radar dishes look good on him, but the one I have clipped on his right arm is awfully loose. That’s why I put it on his right arm. Since he’s holding his weapon in that hand, his arm is bent which helps keep the radar dish on a little more securely.
Of course, my major issue with the radar dishes is that they’re black. The vintage Night Force Psyche-Out had black dishes while the original release had red ones. When the GIJCC made their two Psyche-Outs, they decided to swap their colors and I really do miss the red ones. It’s not a deal breaker, but I do think I’d have him wearing his dishes instead of storing him in his backpack if they were the classic red instead of the black since they pop a little more and look a bit more visually interesting. In his left hand, Psyche-Out is carrying his sonic emitter and I’m impressed at the GIJCC’s ingenuity on this piece. I never would have thought that just sticking a dish on the end of 30th Anniversary Airtight’s handheld Geiger counter would make the piece look so different and look like Psyche- Out’s original emitter, but it does and it’s a genius move. Growing up, I really didn’t use Psyche- Out’s special equipment all that much, but with this modern version, everything just works so well together that I like having him carrying around his sonic emitter. The other change in accessories between the Nocturnal Fire version and the FSS version is the backpack. I appreciate that the GIJCC tried to recreate Psyche-Out’s original backpack with two antennas by trotting out the Pursuit of Cobra Recondo backpack, but I feel it was a rare miss in terms of the GIJCC repurposing accessories. For the FSS version, they kept things a little simpler and used the Rise of Cobra Zartan backpack. Though it lacks the antennas, the shape is a lot more in line with Psyche-Out’s original backpack so I think it’s more effective. Plus, the backpack is big enough to hold his spare pistol and his radar dishes so if I don’t want him wearing them, they don’t have to be sitting on his figure stand. I love when figures can carry all their gear with them, and so I think that’s another great thing about Psyche-Out.
I don’t know why, but my kid brain really latched on to Psyche-Out back in the day. I think I just thought his funky look was really cool. I always had a little trouble figuring out how to use a deceptive warfare back in the day and I think I mostly used him as a spy, but Larry Hama’s filecard did explain the general concept very well. Not every Joe is going to be a frontline fighter and in today’s military environment, I can see someone with Psyche-Out’s skills being very useful to the Joe team in countering online propaganda and laying out some for America. While the Night Force version didn’t necessarily appeal to me, the classic styled version hit all the right nostalgic spots for me. The GIJCC did a great job of recreating Psyche- Out’s classic look while not having to invest a lot of money in new tooling. From what I understand, part of the reason we got the Nocturnal Fire guys in their classic colors is to help offset the costs for tooling up the new heads, but I’m fine with that. I think that a lot of the standard color schemes are great and considering how hard Nocturnal Fire was to get, I like getting a second shot at those figures in the colors that I honestly prefer a little better. Yes, Psyche-Out’s colors aren’t the most realistic, but I don’t care. His whole look is kind of out there and I think that’s what drew me to him originally. I mean, Psyche-Out never showed up in the cartoon and I didn’t read the comics when I was a kid, so I’m guessing his crazy look is the big reason I bought him instead of the other Joes that were on the pegs when I found him. It’s nice to see Psyche-Out in the look I remember and it’s great that the GIJCC did such a great job with it.