Spearhead (2001 Funskool)

By Past Nastification

Funskool usually had two approaches to its color schemes.  The first was to keep figures about the same as their American releases.  The second was to go random with gaudy and clashing colors guaranteed to create motion sickness.  Those figures were fun not because they were good, but because they were outside the norm.  
But every so often, Funskool would produce a figure that had colors schemes that were different from- and superior to- American releases.  Admittedly, this is a bit subjective.  But for my tastes the 2001 Spearhead is one of these figures.

At a quick glance, this Spearhead isn’t much different from the Night Force Spearhead of the ARAH run.  The differences between the two figures are more evident in the photographs than they are to the naked eye, especially the differences in the belt/boot colors.  The dark uniform colors on both figures have a “Night Force” feel, but the lighter brown of the Funskool figure’s vest/body armor creates more contrast against the uniform. The contrast of the lighter brown on the Funskool figure makes the dark parts more dynamic.  The paint applications, even on the eyes, are surprisingly crisp for a Funskool figure.  The pea green backback doesn’t blend with rest of the uniform, but somehow that’s a good thing here.

The figure could have had a few improvements.  Like many Funskool figures, the head plastic is a bit waxy, hiding some of the crisp sculpting.  Poor Max is crayon orange, begging to have been molded in a more bobcat-like color (or better still, a multi-color set).  These are minor things, though, and don’t detract from the overall vibe of the color design. 

Funskool used a slick color set to bring fun to a mold that was over a decade old at the time and really made it stand out.  

    

12 comments

  • Isn’t there a variant that uses Quick Kick’s waist?

    • James From Miami

      You know, that is what they say on the Yojoe.com website, but I have not seen an actual photo that proves that from any of the photos that they have over there of the versions of this character’s o-ring figures. But, I could be wrong.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I never had Spearhead, so my strongest memory of him is being featured on the Tiger Shark box art with non-Tiger Force teammate, Muskrat.

    • James From Miami

      Right, but speaking of that box art, why is Bazooka wearing Copperhead’s pants while piloting that Tiger Shark boat thing?

  • This figure is great because it’s pretty near the US version for often much less. And I kinda like neon orange Max.

  • This is one of the highlights of the Funskool availability era. Solid figure in better colors than the easier to find V1 American figure and the quality was, usually, pretty decent on him. The gear wasn’t terrible as I kind of like the green pack.

    He’s gotten harder to find since the death of cheap Funskool. He’s not Tripwire level expensive. But, he’s not $4 anymore, either.

  • James From Miami

    I have this figure, and to me, I see it as an early 2000’s version of Spearhead that I pose sitting on the unofficial Toys R Us Night Force vehicle, the 2002 Night Rhino. But, I am very upset with the Hasbro folks for not releasing so many of the classic o-ring figures like this one in the United States back in the early 2000’s, but allowing the Funskool folks to release them over there in India. They could have just made a deal with the Funskool folks, and had them make the figures over there in India, and then bring some of them over here to the United States to sell them. Of course, that means that the Hasbro folks would have had to oversee the figures to make sure that things like the colors on each of them was done right. But, in the end, it all would have been better for everybody that would have bought those figures, whether in the United States, or in India, or in any other country that those figures would have been sold back then. What a huge missed opportunity that was. Besides, I wouldn’t have minded at all having an older looking version of Cross-Country with a mustache, as long as the colors would have been done right on it. But, just one question though, whatever happened to those classic o-ring figures’ molds? We already know that they were used during the past decade, so, I’m pretty sure now that they still exist. Those Funskool figures from the early 2000’s, are the proof of that.

    • I thought it was said somewhere that the molds for older figures were destroyed.

      • James From Miami

        Yeah, but does that really make any business sense? They have the molds for some of the old vehicles, like the Snow Cat. They just modify something, like the foot pegs on it, and/or create a new part for it, and there it is, a new version of the same old Snow Cat. They did the same thing with the H.I.S.S. tank. The 2011 Skystriker, and the clone of the Tomahawk, the Eaglehawk, and, the newer versions of the VAMP, are actually made from new molds as far as I know, but some of the other vehicles are not entirely made from new molds. So, that right there gives me some hope for the future. Like maybe, a new U.S.S. Flagg. Anyway, if they still have at least some of the molds for the classic vehicles, then they must also still have at least some of the molds of the classic o-ring figures. That’s all that I’m saying.

        • Funskool cancelled their Joe line in 2004 due to poor sales in India. (Oddly enough, the final few figures like Law and Metal Head included their gimmicks as a way to increase kid interest in the line in India.) Hasbro sent Funskool a large number of the molds used in 2000/2001 when they shifted to JvC style figures as they didn’t expect to ever go back to the vintage design.

          Hasbro then recalled most of the Funskool molds in 2003. (18 initially that popped up on 2004 releases and then, later, some more.) According to Hasbro, many of the molds were in bad shape. And, supposedly, some of the vehicle molds fell into the ocean in a cargo loading mishap. (Including, purportedly, the Skystriker.) Hasbro barely used or never used many of the molds they got back. But, others, like the Dreadnoks and Tunnel Rat, got used to death. Funskool produced a truncated Joe line in 2009/2010 to accompany the movie’s release in India. They are full of small variants. But, mostly are the same figures from the early 2000’s.

          Hasbro destroyed the ARAH molds earlier this decade. Ostensibly, it was because they were old and in poor shape and Hasbro couldn’t justify the expense of storing them. Symbolically, it was a message to collectors to move on as Hasbro had no intent of returning to the vintage molds and wasn’t going to make the mistake of keeping them around again. Plus, in today’s world, it’s cheaper to create to a new mold if you need it than to store it for 20 years in case you might. It’s possible that Hasbro didn’t destroy some of the molds that were used most recently. But, it’s been a decade since vintage Joes have appeared at retail and nearly that long since the last convention release. So, it’s pretty safe to say that the molds are gone and, even if they weren’t, Hasbro would say they were as they are never going to produce figures in that style again.

          Personally, I think Hasbro getting back the molds was bad for collectors. Most of the figures that Hasbro produced from those returned molds weren’t that great. And, the few that were nice were only available as higher priced convention and club items. American dealers were starting to work with Funskool and would have created several Funskool exclusives that were aimed at collectors. (They were redone army builders and new takes on classic characters.) But, Hasbro got the molds back before any of those came to pass. I’d have much rather have purchased Blue and Black Funskool Night Vipers for $4 than the club Night Viper for $15. But, that’s not how things went down.

  • James From Miami

    Sorry for taking too long to send you this comment, but I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to give me that information. I appreciate that very much.

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