Special Force AKA Dollar Tree Firefly (2013)
I talk about knock-offs here and there, but I’ve not really covered an honest to gosh low-rent cheeseball one until now. Most of the “me-too” figures I’ve posted, like those from the Corps or National Defense, have been GI Joe imitations in terms of concept and construction. This one takes a GI Joe design and simplifies it into a cheap approximation of a favorite. He really has no name, as the card just sports the title “Special Force”, but I can’t help but think I’ve seen this guy somewhere before. Maybe I’ll just call him Pseudo-Fly.
Most of the appeal for me with knock-offs comes from the sheer craziness that ensues when a fly by night toy maker gloms onto a legit concept and throws things together randomly. Pseudo-Fly is fashioned closely after the 25th anniversary Firefly figure, as evidenced by details like the belt buckle, web gear, gloves, boots and even the knees, which are shaped just like the more articulated version. It’s all very familiar, yet slightly different. One of the biggest changes are the dozen or so weird little holes in the back of the figure. While you’re taking a gander at his backside, don’t look too close at the paint apps, because you’ll notice the camo doesn’t continue back there. Oops.
Accessories are all over the map, with 1991 Sci-Fi’s gun and backpack looking out of place packed with the Cobra saboteur mold. There’s actually a representation of the real Firefly backpack included with another figure in the assortment, so they almost got it right. The famous radio/phone is present, and that fact alone puts this thing into a higher category of coolness than these poorly produced and drably decorated dollar store dogfaces can usually manage. Though he’s not articulated as well as a real Joe, Pseudo-Fly is far beyond junk like STOP vs. SCUM.
As a figure, it’s a goofy take on a classic character, but I have to say there’s something interesting about seeing an actual Joe mold knocked off again in the dollar stores. Who knows, maybe the sight of cheap knock-offs is a sign that Joe really is on the upswing again. Whatever the case, this is actually quite a charming figure, in a cheesy sort of way. Like the saying goes: If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best.