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GI Joe Figure Subscription Service
by yo go re

If Cover Girl was the Figure Subscription Service release everybody wanted the most, Grunt was the one they wanted least. Well, maybe it's a tie.

It might seem paradoxical to have a general infantry trooper in a special missions force, but Grunt is no ordinary soldier. Even in an army of thousands, General Hawk took notice and saw in Grunt the consummate soldier. Grunt was always the backbone of every unit to which he was assigned and exceeded expectations in countless operations. This type of outstanding service record led to Grunt being chosen as one of the original members during the formation of the GI Joe team. On Duke's advisement, he left the service to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, and tried his hand at life in the mundane business world. However, when it became clear the evil menace was stronger than ever, he reenlisted to get back to fighting Cobra.

Grunt believes that constant training and education are the keys to staying one step ahead of the enemy, and he constantly qualifies himself with the latest infantry weapons and equipment. To that end, on rare occasions he will strap on a personal winged glider backpack for silent attacks into enemy territory, through the prefers to keep his boots in the mud.

As far codenames go, "Grunt" has to be the least imaginative one possible. He's Army infantry - their everyday nickname is "grunts!" That would be like releasing guys named "Squid," "Flyboy," "Coastie" and "Leatherneck!"

Grunt was one of the 13 original Joes, so every part he was built from was shared with others in that initial 1982 lineup: his arms were shared with Hawk, Short-Fuze, Stalker, Steeler and Zap; his torso was shared with Breaker, Hawk, Snake-Eyes and Stalker; his legs were shared with Breaker, Clutch, Hawk, Rock 'n' Roll, Short-Fuze, Stalker, Steeler and Zap. Keeping that in mind, there's no shame in the fact that this Grunt reuses the TFAC Snake-Eyes mold that's been seen so often since its introduction. At least his bare hands don't have glove wrinkles on them.

He gets the same head as Zap, but that's okay too: 1982 Grunt and 1982 Zap used the same head (so did 1982 Grand Slam, for the record). Yes, Zap was molded with a mustache that's now painted fleshtone on this figure, but it just looks like he has a prominent philtrum. The facial features are painted the same brown as his hair, which is a throwback to the way Joe heads used to be painted: some call this lazy; we say it's obviously an intentional nod to the past.

Of course, the fact that it let the club save a little money on paint apps probably didn't hurt at all. Not that a lot of corners have been cut when it comes to Grunt's paint apps, but he's definitely a cost-saver, helping to off-set some of the more lavish figures: totally reused sculpt, totally simple paint. Well, not totally simple - not like "Dollar Store" Short-Fuze, with all his unpainted details. Grunt's uniform is tan, but the straps on his legs and the pockets on his sleeves are painted black. His boots are black with tan laces, amd his webgear is black, but the grenade sculpted on the strap is silver (as are a few of his buckles). There's one problem, though: just like the missing paint app on Sure Fire's arm, Grunt has a paint mistake; in his case, his neck is left unpainted. Fortunately, since his base color is tan, it's easy to overlook (and easy to understand why the factory would overlook it, too).

Grunt comes with an AR-15/SP1 fitted with an underslung Mossberg 500 shotgun, a Beretta ARX-160 with GLX-160 grenade launcher, as well as the knife and pistol that fit in Snake-Eyes' webgear. As hinted at on the filecard, he also has a brown and black version of the glider that Resolute Snake-Eyes came with. It's a backpack, with two spring-loaded arms that pop out at the touch of a button; a hand swivels at the end of each arm, and the "wings" are real cloth. Two plastic clips attach to the figure's ankles, providing stability. All that plus a helmet that's too loose for his head!

The reason this figure includes the wingsuit is the same reason he's tan. See, while the original 1982 Grunt was wearing green, he was re-released in 1983 with a new colorscheme. Yes, Grunt was the first GI Joe character to be released more than once, beating Snake-Eyes by two years. Anyway, his second release was with the Falcon glider, and it was tan. Of course, since he was included with a vehicle, there was never any standalone packaging art for this version of Grunt. While the Club could have just recolored the original figure's art, they did something better: the image on the card is based on the Argentian release, named Sokerk. So just like "Pilot Scarlett" was really Glenda, this figure doesn't have to be another Grunt if you're one of the 11 people who already got the G3 version (released in a TRU-exclusive three-pack in 2008). He's a stealth international figure! He should have come with one of the silver stands.

Grunt appeared on more Marvel GI Joe comics than any other character - and yes, we said "on," not "in." For years, the corner box of every issue of GI Joe featured a tiny image of Grunt raising his fist and firing his gun. So he may not have been a major part of the story, but he's definitely an iconic Joe, and this is a classic look that had yet to be updated. It's still not an exciting release, but he's not junk.

-- 05/24/13

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