Here we are at the Sixth and final part of my look at the first 25th Anniversary Battle Pack for G.I. JOE. If G.I. JOE isn’t your bag, I appreciate you indulging me this week. On the other hand, if you’re just stopping back to see if I’m still doing G.I. JOE… go to hell and come back on Monday!!!! Ahem… so far we’ve looked at Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes, and Gung-Ho and that brings us to everybody’s favorite rhyming and machine gun-toting chef, Roadblock. The character has garnered a lot of attention since being played by The Rock in that questionable follow up to the equally questionable G.I. JOE live action movie. Let’s see how he fared in the 25th Anniversary line.
Well, he looks pretty damn great! Ok, so his shoulders kind of look like Whoppers malted candies, but otherwise I’d say Hasbro presented us with a nice amalgam of Sunbow and vintage figure. There’s nothing too crazy here in the sculpt. You’ve got a nice camo wife-beater and brown trousers. He also sports a separate web gear piece with some pouches and a grenade. I should also note that the head sculpt looks exactly like somebody I work with, facial hair and all, and ever since I met the guy, I can never look at this figure the same way again. Anyway, Roadblock is a simple, understated but effective figure. Nice job here, Hasbro!
In addition to his removable helmet and personalized figure stand, Roadblock comes with his trademark machine gun. The gun is a nice sculpt and comes in two parts if you include the detachable tripod. Unfortunately the gun is cast in green plastic, which was an odd choice since all the other weapons in this set are appropriately cast in black. I should also note that the tripod is fairly useless. I can’t get Roadblock into a convincing prone position to have him firing it. The only time I’ve ever used the tripod for display was to have the gun standing next to him or to have it standing on the hood of the VAMP while he’s firing it.
Along with the machine gun, you get a belt of ammo and a magazine backpack. I love this idea, and connecting the ammo belt to the gun and the backpack looks fantastic, although you really have to work at it to get the backpack, the belt, the gun, and the figure all play along together. Which brings me to…
Playing around with Roadblock and his gear is a frustrating endeavor. First off, the peg holes in his feet are larger than the other figures, so the figure stands I use tend to fall right off of him. More importantly, his arms have Duke arm issues, where the hands are clearly sculpted to get him to hold the machine gun in both hands, but because his arms don’t bend at the elbows as much as they should, and because the wrists aren’t hinged, it’s tough to get him to hold his weapon with any conviction. Posing Roadblock brandishing his kick ass gun and mowing down Cobras by the dozens should be fun, but I can’t count the number of F-bombs I dropped trying to get him ready for a shot, only to have the gun pop out of his hands or the figure stand fall onto the floor. It’s amazing that even with all of these frustrations, I still love this figure.
And that puts this week long feature to bed. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and I kept putting it off because I didn’t think I’d get too into it. Turns out I loved pulling this set out and looking at it again. So much so, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other two Battle Packs in the 25th Anniversary line turn up here before too long. In fact, I may pencil in the Cobra set for a week in July.
I’ll freely admit that a lot of the 30th Anniversary figures were nearly perfect from a technical standpoint. I don’t think I’ve seen better 3 ¾” figures in terms of articulation, sculpt, and gear. And yet I hardly bought any of them. Why? Because I still prefer the style and charm of these 25th figures. These are the JOEs I grew up with and these are the ones that made me into an avid collector again. When they went away, I wandered away from the franchise. I’d like to say the reason why JOE isn’t a major player in the toy aisles anymore is because Hasbro abandoned this line, but I don’t think that’s the case. The 25th figures were all over the clearance aisles and I was able to pick up more than a few for next to nothing at Marshall’s and Ross. For some reason kids just stopped loving JOE and that… well, that’s just a bummer. I don’t know why, but I’m open to hearing speculation.