The very first online purchase I made was for the 2000 Firefly. Things were different back then, and I was a tad leery about online deals in general. I wasn’t sure if I wanted some dude in Tennessee or wherever knowing where I lived, but the 2000 Firefly was part of a 2 pack that went for a TON of money, so being able to pick the figure from the Firefly/Undertow 2 pack that I really wanted, at a measly 8 bucks was something that made me willing to take the chance that some guy on a G.I. Joe message board, that I’d never had any interactions with, would actually send me this figure.
Then I got the figure.
Sometimes quality issues can lead to dismissal of a figure. The first 2000 Firefly I owned, I bought in 2002, and he unfortunately had two strikes against him. Firstly, his shoulders were incredibly floppy, so the figure never really had the range of motion that made the figure capable of holding most poses. There was also some globs of the flesh colouring used in the hands, that had found itself in the figure’s wrist bombs or whatever those things on his left arm is. Either way the 2000 Firefly was a figure I had really wanted, but ended up as somewhat of a dud (funny how that can happen, based on quality issues). So 18 years later I figured I should probably upgrade that copy, I’m not really sure why, but I guess ARAHC Nostalgia is similar to the ARAH nostalgia people had in 2000.
The 2000 figures were interesting, in that Hasbro had come up with a fairly novel concept to get past spending money on camouflage paint apps, where they’d use marbleized plastic in a way that would simulate camo. Some figures definitely took it better than others, and I honestly think the 2000 Firefly was the best example of the marbleized plastic. Mainly because it’s a great sculpt, that never had another forest/jungle interpretation, and more importantly, Hasbro didn’t leave the figure completely devoid of paint apps, as he got black for his sweater, grenades, pistol and boots, and a splash of colour with a red time bomb. The figure overall is still somewhat drab, but he still has enough paint apps that he doesn’t feel cheap, whereas figures like Double Blast or Dial Tone from the same era, don’t overcome the drabness and lack of paint apps. Firefly is one of the top 5 figures in the G.I. Joe line, in my opinion, so I might feel this version is superior to other 2000s era ARAHC figures, just based on that bias, rather than if it’s an actual measurable quality increase.
Environmentally specific versions are a great way to do repaints of characters. It allows a character more opportunities for use, without stepping on the toes of the original figure. While the 1984 Firefly looks great in most locales, a figure like this one allows the character a little more life, as he’s not some dude dressed up for the city, while standing in a field. The use of dark brown and green, was actually quite a good choice, because it’s a neutral enough scheme that this version of Firefly doesn’t look too out of place in some desertscapes, either. For a character like Firefly, this is actually quite important, because his character and specialty requires him to be more of a globe trotter. Plus the majority of his figures were quite urban oriented.
The use of marbleized plastic led to no two Fireflies being the same, I’m sure that probably drives some people up the wall, but I don’t really care that much. My original figure had a fair amount of green, while the one I picked up to replace it was much more brown, I’m glad that’s the case as it gives me both extremes of the 2000 Firefly. However if you look at the filecards for the 2000 figures, you see that they were originally going to be painted like traditional G.I. Joe figures, the Firefly portrait shows a brown body with green tiger stripe camo. General Hawk’s 2000 figure shows a white jacket with brown camo. I’m not really sure what I’d have preferred, though I think at the end of the day the traditional style paint jobs would’ve been better received, and would’ve aged better, considering that 20 years later, few of the marbleized figures are still even thought about.
The Firefly character wasn’t really much in the media, as he didn’t really do much, nor did he succeed when he did do things. However he looked cool, and was usually the character that received a lot of people’s personal character building. I always felt that since he was wearing a commando sweater like an 1982 Joe, he obviously was just as talented and combat savvy as they were. Plus the figure had that early 80s blank stare, which made him look more evil than some of the angrier looking figures. There’s something sinister about a guy who looks like he couldn’t care less about the fact his life’s work revolves around using explosives to kill people and cause property damage.
The 2000 Firefly, featured Hasbro making a change to how they painted the Firefly character. The ’84 and ’98 releases featured his balaclava having an opening around his eyes. The 2000 and later releases (Except for the Convention versions), were done with a strip of whatever colour the mask was, going over his nose, and between his eyes. It’s not really an improvement for the look, but it was something Hasbro decided they were going with. It did give Firefly more of an IRA guy look, though.
Few ARAHC figures were great. Those that were often didn’t take chances, there’s plenty than can be said about that, but not all of the great ARAHC figures were just bare updates of classic molds, as this Firefly was a great departure from the typical Firefly figure, as it was not the urban saboteur he was known to be, this is a field soldier now. It’s also perhaps the best example of the marbleized plastic that Hasbro attempted to use, which gives this figure some extra points because it showed that if the overall effort was put in, taking chances with a G.I. Joe figure could be rewarding.
Still, one of the the things that I think about whenever I see this figure is the fact it was the first time I decided to buy something over the internet. It’s funny as it was a figure that quality wise wasn’t really what I was expecting, but there was a thrill to getting something I actually wanted in the mail, and the ability to get long unavailable G.I. Joes was quite something.