Firefly (50th Anniversary)
By the end of the relaunch era, I was a bit tired of the vintage Firefly figure. I’d never had it as a kid, but I had at least three versions of it by the time that era of the Joe line had ended. It’s not a bad mold, but it had gotten awfully overexposed by the end and the tooling was clearly starting to break down after all those uses. We’ve also seen a lot of vintage-inspired Firefly figures in the modern line, but for some reason, I’m not quite as tired of him this time around. Almost all the modern Firefly figures have been based around that vintage look, however, there have been enough changes each time that I’m not bored by it. However, after getting the 50th Anniversary Firefly figure in the Sneak Attack set, I think (unless through some miracle the GIJCC decides to take a crack at the 1992 version) we’ve probably done all we can and all we need to do with Firefly.
During the Retaliation line, Firefly showed up in the Cobra Invasion set, but I didn’t want that set because, while Firefly was cool, the other two figures were pretty uninspiring. I’m glad I didn’t get that set because I think the Sneak Attack Firefly is an even better figure. I believe the figures use the same parts, which is a good call. The Cobra Invasion Firefly was probably the best modern-style Firefly out there. The legs come from Pursuit of Cobra Desert Battle Snake Eyes II with the knees Hasbro used for Retaliation Ultimate Firefly. However, this time around, Firefly gets some different pouches and accessories on his legs. He’s still got a functional sheath for his boot knife, but it’s much slimmer. The same is true for his holster. There’s a pouch on his left thigh as well. The slimmer holster and sheath help make Firefly look a little more streamlined and make the legs look surprisingly different from Pursuit of Cobra Desert Battle Snake Eyes II. The torso comes from Cobra Invasion Firefly as does the webgear. These are two great pieces. The torso is far more detailed since it’s not a repurposed 25th Anniversary Beachhead body and the webgear actually rides on his body properly. The webgear has a set of pouches on his right shoulder and four grenades over his left. The explosive charges are more firmly attached on this figure than they were on the Cobra Invasion version. From what I understand, the ones on the Cobra Invasion Firefly fell off just by looking at them funny, but these seem to be pretty solidly attached. The webgear and torso combination is excellent and I’m really glad Hasbro finally remade the Firefly webgear and fixed all its problems. Firefly’s arms come from 30th Anniversary Lifeline, meaning they’re mostly Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper but have slightly tighter wrist cuffs. The wrists have the added articulation that has become more common since they were first released and it’s great that Firefly is so mobile. Up top, Firefly has a great head sculpt. I’m sure this head has been used before, but I’m not sure which version of Firefly it’s from. In the end, it really doesn’t matter, though. Unlike Tiger Force Wreckage’s head, it’s proportional and that’s the most important part. Firefly is a sharp-looking figure and this I’m very glad I was able to find this set. It was a little hard to track down at first, but it was worth the wait.
Where this Firefly differs from most modern interpretations of the classic figure is the color scheme. Rather than go with the traditional light gray based urban camouflage that Firefly has used a lot over the years, Hasbro switched things up and uses a dark gray for the base color with light gray camouflage blobs throughout. It honestly reminds me of the souvenir Firefly figure from the Operation: Anaconda con set. It’s a nice look and I don’t know if the reference was intentional or not, but it’s a great call. Firefly looks great in these darker colors and it’s not something you see a lot. Plus, it fits with the Sneak Attack theme since the Joes are also decked out in darker-than-usual uniforms. It’s a dark figure, but it’s not overwhelming dark and you can still make out the molded details. I like the darker look for Firefly and I think it honestly looks better than the light gray based figures he so often gets.
Like many modern figures, what takes Firefly from good to great is his incredible equipment. I’m not 100% sure on this, but I think all his gear is new. That’s something we haven’t seen in a long time (which is part of why I’m not sure if something he has is something reused that I’ve just never seen before). Firefly’s primary weapon is a great, modern assault rifle. The front end looks like it has a suppressor on it and the overall silhouette reminds me of something made by H&K, but I’m not 100% sure on that front. Up top, it’s got an additional top sight. Overall, it’s a great looking piece and I’m glad Firefly’s carrying it. It looks perfect in his hands and fits with his commando nature. Firefly gets two knives to fill the sheaths (one on his boot and one on his backpack). They’re definitely new molds, but I’m not sure what I think of them. I appreciate that Hasbro is finally making some thinner knives, but the handles are so thin that it’s hard to get him to hold them properly. However, I did find that you can kind of fake it so he looks like he’s getting ready to throw the knife by taking advantage of the extended trigger finger. It’s not a perfect solution, but I do think it looks pretty cool. Firefly’s pistol is one that most collectors give to Dusty, but it’s thinner and fits better in the holster so that’s why I had Dusty and Firefly swap pistols. Once again, it’s a piece that hasn’t seen a lot of use if it’s not new so I like seeing it here. Finally, we have to talk about Firefly’s great new backpack. I always thought the vintage Firefly backpack was a bit dated. The detailing was soft and while I’m sure I would have loved the removable panel when I was a kid, I just really didn’t like how the backpack looked with that feature. This new backpack is designed to look like the vintage Firefly backpack but it’s got a lot of added details (which get a lot of attention from the paint team) and instead of a removable panel, it’s got a place to plug in one of Firefly’s two red mines. I’ll admit, I wish Firefly could carry both mines on him somehow, but one is good enough. This new modern Firefly back pack is great, and I’m still a little blown away at how well the functional knife sheath on the backpack works. Everything looks proportional and functional at the same time. If this is an indication of what Hasbro is still able to do, I’ll be intrigued to see where things go from here.
I’ve always really liked Firefly even though I just had the 1992 version. The classic look is a classic for a reason, but it’s nice to see Hasbro doing something a little different here. The darker colors fit Firefly well and the new gear he picked up is great. It’s a great reference to the classic figure while not being a complete recreation and that’s what I like seeing from the modern Joe line. I do like it when Hasbro recreates figures in their original looks, but it’s nice to see a fresh take on an old character every now and then as well. I think Firefly has now gotten his “ultimate” version (even in non-vintage colors), so I hope we don’t see him that much going forward. This is an excellent figure and I’m not sure Hasbro could find a way to top it. Hopefully, Hasbro will let him lie fallow for a while like they did for Ultimate Cobra Commander and then bring him back a few years later. It will free up slots for other characters and keep Firefly from getting old. This is a great modern take on Firefly, and the last thing I want is for him to start to feel played out because Hasbro uses him to death.