Review and photos by Phillip Donnelly
Oh, Comic Pack #11. When I first saw you lo those many months ago at Comic Con International, I asked myself why we needed another Beachhead, especially after the very well done version 10 from 2007. And Dataframe? Not another lost copyright! Arrgh! My, how first impressions can lead you astray.
Yes, Beachhead (v11) is yet another homage to his first version. Aside from version 10 mentioned above, there's also version 4, and to a lesser extent version 7 and version 9. The less said about version 4 the better. Let's just say the asssortment it showed up in was where the "proportion issues" that plagued the line for a few years first showed up. Version 10 did an admirable job, I thought, though I did secretly wish his vest didn't separate in the middle. Well, looks like Hasbro read my mind, because here we have a figure that mimics the original right down to the color palette!
The figure itself uses the body of Beachhead (v10) with a new head. At first, I wasn't too keen on the new headsculpt. I wasn't really a fan of the neckerchief/balaclava combo the original mold had, and no updates kept it. I did warm up to this look when I had the figure in hand, though. It probably helps that his noggin isn't so freakin' huge like the original is! But wait, as they say, there's more! There's a second head! Yes, for the first time, we get an official Hasbro mold showing Beachhead's unobscured face. It's nice enough, though the goatee doesn't really match what Sunbow thought he should look like. Another neat gimmick: Beachhead comes with two ammunition clips! One fits in his rifle, and the other in his satchel. And they look like the clips on his vest! Very cool. The only thing missing is his backpack, though pilfering it from the version 10 figure is easy enough.
Dataframe is, sadly, the lesser figure of the pack. Whereas Beachhead had a great mold to build upon, Dataframe uses a hash of existing parts that just don't feel all that right together. Along with his new head, he uses parts from Shipwreck (v11), Spirit Iron-Knife (v3), and Snake Eyes (v28). I think the biggest problem with this figure is the huge left hand from Spirit. It throws things off when looking at the smallish face. And speaking of faces, wow, did Hasbro emphasize the old-soldier aspect of his character. Some definite lines there, not to mention a cleft chin that would make Kirk Douglas proud. Perhaps it's the helmet, but his face looks a little too flat to me. Oh well.
Despite the mish-mash of parts choices, the figure does create a solid approximation of the original Mainframe. The added bandolier and holster help, though I do wish we could remove that pistol in there. The three stars over his right breast is an odd choice, though. Perhaps the Hasbro designers need a new pair of glasses as the original figure is sporting Airborne wings there. As to his accessories, well, it's blindingly obvious his backpack is missing. That radio accessory is just too small on its own. It needs to connect to something! Thankfully, his computer shines. Finally we have the legs that seem to have been planned for the original computer. And who doesn't appreciate the included carboard 3 ½" and 5 ¼" floppy disks? Unless, of course, you're too young to know what those are.... Awkward.
The comic book that comes with these figures is amusing enough. It's something of a comedy of errors with Beachhead and Dataframe accomplishing a mission despite the Baroness' and Zarana's best efforts to stop their unseen foes. It does seem as though the switch to "Dataframe" was a last minute change, though. He's called "Mainframe" in issue 9, after all.
Is the set worht the purchase? I would recommend it on Beachhead alone, honestly. If you passed on version 10, then this should be a definite pick-up. If you're a fan of Mainframe like I am, the figure is a bit of a disappointment, though it's his first figure in 22 years. No telling how long it'll be until he gets another!
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More action shots:
Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly
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