1997 Bronze Bombers Scorch

1997 Bronze Bombers Scorch

The Bronze Bombers have a real interesting history with the Joe line, which has been covered by a few sources at various points. To my knowledge, it went from a novel set of near-bootlegs nobody cared about, to a coveted collectors item, and back to novelty most don’t speak much about, or at least that’s how it seems to me these days.

Originally, the Bronze Bombers were a line of GI Joe competitors similar to The Corps, that came out in the late eighties. After going off shelves for some period, the company that made them, Olmec, tried a half-assed revival as they were going out of business by making a Toys “R” Us exclusive set of figures out of licensed GI Joe molds.

Now, things from here get real short-sighted on Hasbro’s end… These figures came out in 1997. One can assume that the licensing agreement between Olmec and Hasbro may have occurred at some point between ‘95 and ‘96, but by the time this set came out, Hasbro had already brought back ARAH! Better yet, because Olmec was filing for bankruptcy, all of the GI Joe molds were forever lost to red tape. I’d be tempted to assume that decisions like this were the fault of spiteful Kenner employees, but a chronic lack of foresight is such a trademark of Hasbro by this point, I really wouldn’t know.

The good news in all of this, is that most of the molds featured in this set are things Hasbro would’ve certainly let go to waste otherwise. Maybe the Club would’ve gone and made some Dreadnok army-builders from a few of them, but I’m pretty sure that still means we didn’t lose out on anything.

Scorch here is a fairly bizarre figure, which is in line with most of the Bronze Bombers. He’s a repaint of the ‘86 Motor Viper, now entirely rendered in navy-blue with green trim, and a bright blue visor. The coloring is so odd I don’t really feel like this figure blends in so well with a standard collection of Motor Vipers, but that uniqueness is really part of the appeal with oddities such as this. On another note, his waist tooling is swapped with the Strato-Viper repaint also included in the set, and for what reason, I have no clue.

Because of this however, I’ve still not really found a role for this guy in my collection. At the moment, I somewhat like the idea of him simply being Scorch, who is a unique Motor Viper apart from the rest of that division. This works too, in that I won’t have to worry about army-building him if only one exists. But exactly what his rank and role is, I’ve not quite ironed out.

The plastic seems pretty brittle on these Bronze Bombers, from what I can tell. It has a decent feel to it and doesn’t seem as delicate as say, Slaughter’s Marauders, but it’s definitely something where I shy away from giving them accessories. If these were a little easier to get ahold of, I wouldn’t give it much thought, but at this point it’d be pretty unfortunate to break one.

As Scorch came in a box set, the accessories are a generic lot intended to be used interchangeably with any of the figures. So, as a quick run down, the set included the Frag Viper’s SMG and Darklon’s gun in white, the Tele-Viper’s camera and Track Viper’s pistol in brown, and some recolored squirt guns from Eco Warriors. Given that like the figures, all of these sculpts were subsequently lost, you can start to see where a few parts went to. Hasbro made a recasting of the Tele-Viper camera, but without the peg on the grip, which was always a little frustrating.

Bronze Bombers were going for a lot of money a while back, but I’ve noticed that their prices have gone down by a lot in recent years. Complete sets will still run around $400, but the figures by themselves generally hit around the $20 – $30 mark at auction. The catch is, they’re relatively rare. There’s probably a generous amount of these floating around, but they don’t show up too often, so finding a particular figure takes patience.

gi joe bronze bombers scorch 1997 motor viper olmec gi joe bronze bombers scorch 1997 motor viper olmec

1997 Bronze Bombers Scorch Links:

Forgotten Figures

PS: If anyone has some more links about Scorch or Olmec as a whole, feel free to drop them in the comments.

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3 Responses to 1997 Bronze Bombers Scorch

  1. Mike T. says:

    Scorch isn’t a bad match for the Dreadnok Stinger. But, that’s about the extent to which I use him.

    Olmec’s demise was very interesting. There was some financial impropriety and a former Secretary of Transportation was involved. The government actually seized their assets and sold the molds for scrap. There used to be a really good write up of the events by an investigative reporter out there, but it’s been lost to the ether.

    Toys R Us distributed these sets based on demographics. Certain stores in certain neighborhoods got tons of them. While, other stores in other neighborhoods never got them. That’s why some people never saw them and didn’t know they existed while others found them on clearance.

  2. A-Man says:

    This is one of those things. Do we know the molds were lost? Was that from someone at Hasbro? It’s been repeated for some 20+ years now.

    I remember stumbling across this set at a TRU in the late 1990’s. It was all of $12 or something. I foolishly only got one. It was strange because these figures at the time seemed more like legit Hasbro quality product than the 1997 figures.

    Scorch has a look like he could’ve been a 90’s vehicle driver for one of those driver less vehicle releases. That’s neat.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    Scorch is an odd duck, as he’s one of the better Bronze Bomber repaints, but he doesn’t really fit in with anything. The Motor Viper commander is a decent enough role, especially if it’s one of those trooper leaders in the vein of Rip-It or Skullbuster.

    I wouldn’t mind snagging some of the Bronze Bombers figures, but surprisingly the one I like the most is that mustard yellow Skidmark figure.

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