GI JOE Classified: Roadblock by Hasbro

If you needed proof of how excited I am about Hasbro’s new 6-inch GI JOE Classified series, you need only look to the fact that I’m turning in my third Classified review in as many weeks. Hey, that’s pretty good for me! So far, I’ve checked out Scarlett and Destro, I’m still waiting on my Snake Eyes to show up, and today I’m opening up Roadblock! Out of my way you Cobra punk… I’m gonna kick Destro in the junk!

Have I told you how much I love the packaging? Yeah? Well here we go again! Literally, the only thing I would change here is to put the red, white, and blue back into the lines in the GI JOE logo. Otherwise, you get some bitchin’ character art on the front and right side panel, some specialty icons on the left side panel, and a great piece of artwork on the back teasing some classic JOE vehicles and some more characters. The packaging is collector friendly, and like the Star Wars Black Series, the figures are numbered based on release.

While Classified Roadblock is clearly a new design, it looks like Hasbro drew inspiration from the Real American Hero 1986 (v2) figure. Gone is his original camo tank top and instead we get a green tactical vest. It’s not the spitting image of the RAH design, but clearly the three red flaps, the left shoulder pad, the right pocket, and the knife and scabbard are all nods to that outfit. It’s true that the first version figure will always be my Roadblock, but with that having been said, I still dig this look a lot!

The vest is molded in soft plastic and worn over the buck, which gives him some appropriate levels of bulk. There are some excellent details in the vest’s sculpt, including what looks like a socket wrench on his right shoulder. I like that the colors are muted, with the exception of the gold, and the star on his pocket was a nice touch. Additionally, he has sculpted brown trousers with plenty of pouches and nice texturing. And finally some gold armor on his boots and left knee.┬áThat big gold knee-pad is really the only thing here I don’t care for. It’s not so much that it seems out of place, but that it’s so adhoc the way he just has the one. I know that by 1986, most JOEs just wore whatever crazy shit they wanted, but the one lone knee-pad seems contrary to military uniform design. But that’s just me nitpicking.

Roadblock has a sweet lion tattoo on his upper left arm and he’s got a pair of red and green gloves sculpted onto his hands. Overall, the paint detail on my figure is pretty sharp.

Hasbro has been doing a solid job with the portraits in this line, and I’m happy to say that Roadblock is no exception. He’s easily recognizable by me and I especially like the sculpting on his beard and mustache. Yeah, he does have a seam line running across his bald head, but it’s really faint and hard to notice with the naked eye.

The articulation here is quite similar to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line. Indeed, the big departure comes in the torso where there are two ball joints: One in the waist and one again under the torso.

In addition to a little knife for the scabbard in his vest, Roadblock’s main accessory is his giant um… gun. Yeah, this giant laser(?) gun would not have been my first choice as a weapon. Hasbro’s got a ton of really good machine guns in this scale. Hell, they should have just pulled the one last seen with Crossbones in the Marvel Legends Thunderbolts SDCC set. I’m not saying this is a bad looking gun. It’s got plenty of detail, a nice silver finish, and some blue and red paint applications. If you’re a fan of that wacky sci-fi shit that eventually permeated the Real American Hero line, then this might be right up your alley.

The translucent blue plastic near the beam emitter is cool and the magazine (or in this case battery(?) is removable. He can hold it from the regular grip and trigger, but there are handles on the top so that he can also wield it like a chaingun, and I think that looks more credible, considering it’s taller than he is!

I’ll confess that my first thoughts upon seeing this figure teased was that he looked kind of generic. But once I got him in hand and started messing around with him, I found myself quickly impressed. Is he exactly what I would have asked for? Nah. I would have preferred the original RAH look and a conventional machine gun. But, this line is proving to be full of surprises and I’m willing to let my preconceptions go when presented with a fun and great looking figure like this one. Next week… Duke!

GI JOE Classified: Destro by Hasbro

GI JOE is back in the toy aisles, sporting some new designs and a six-inch scale! Last week I checked out Scarlett and this week I was originally going to open up Duke or Roadblock, but then Cobra’s Weapons Supplier showed up at my door and I just had to push Destro to the front of the line. Sorry guys, you’ll get your turn.

Once again, the packaging kicks ass. We get some wonderful colors and artwork, which separates these boxes from the boring presentation of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars line by leaps and bounds. Destro’s character art is freaking amazing, and I really dig the way it wraps around the corner of the box. Plus you get the iconography on the side panel showing the characters specialties. Destro’s appears to be all about making weapons and money!

And here he is freed from his box and ready to supply you with all your terrorist needs! While Scarlett was a complete modern redesign, Destro is more of a touch up, as he retains everything about his Real American Hero look that makes him so iconic. The black suit includes sculpted combat boots, knee-pads, and some reinforced patches on his chest, back, and shoulders. Destro has a metallic gray belt with some red accents, metallic gray bracers on his forearms, and red rockets mounted on his right arm. Oh man, I’m glad Hasbro kept those! Finally, he has a red holster on his right hip, which is attached to his belt, wrapping around his right thigh with a molded pouch. I love this look so much and I’m so happy that Hasbro didn’t mess with it.

But what makes this figure truly iconic is his portrait. The silver metal mask is a combination of organic curves and chiseled features with some subtle panel lining on top. It extends down to the base of his neck, where it is secured with a ring of bolts. His chest is exposed, and he flaunts his high collar with a red interior that’s evocative of a cobra’s hood. The look is tied together by his amulet and chain, which is sculpted as a separate piece and hung around his neck. Yup, that’s my Destro!!!

The articulation here is Marvel Legends through and through. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and there are swivels at the biceps. He has a swivel at the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and he is loads of fun to play with.

As for accessories, Destro comes with two guns and a briefcase. I was a little surprised he didn’t get a backpack, but what we got is still plenty good. His primary sidearm is very reminiscent of the weapon he carried during the RAH years. It has a long barrel, a scope, and a decidedly sci-fi feel to it. It sports some excellent detail and feature some red paint applications to give it some character and match it to his outfit. Destro has two trigger finger hands, so he can wield the weapon in either one, and it also fits in his holster.

His second weapon is a much smaller gold pistol, no doubt to be kept hidden as a back-up. Again, it has a strong sci-fi element to its design, and Hasbro packed a lot of detail into it’s sculpt.

Finally, Destro comes with a Cobra-branded briefcase. The Cobra emblem is sculpted into both sides, but only painted on one. Open it up and there’s a computer on one side and a bunch of money on the other. The computer side is pretty well detailed, but sadly they didn’t print any details on the money. His gold pistol can also fit inside the case.. The only downside of this case is that the hinge is just bendy plastic, so it will likely stress and probably break after a lot of opening and closing.

While Scarlett represented a complete modern redesign of her character, Destro here is just a touch-up. And a refreshing one at that! I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Destro appear sporting the design I’ve known and loved since I was a small child. It also sends a clear message that Hasbro is not looking to ignore the RAH roots. Indeed, Destro here is everything I could have hoped for in this line. He’s damn near perfection. We’ve also had some new revelations this past week, namely Gung-Ho and Cobra Commander, and I really like what I’m seeing. It feels great to want to shout YO JOE!!!! again!

GI JOE Classified: Scarlett by Hasbro

Folks, I can’t tell you how great it feels to be sitting down to review a brand new GI JOE figure from Hasbro. I have been a strong proponent for Hasbro to apply this once great franchise to their now tried-and-true 6-inch scale figure formula. I’ve been hoping against hope that we’d see familiar classic Real American Hero characters mixed with the accessories and play-ability of SIGMA SIX. Finally Hasbro listened and we have the new GI JOE Classified series. The first wave consists of Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, and Snake Eyes, and I’m kicking things off with a look at Scarlett. Did this line seem like it’s going to be all that I hoped it would be? Not exactly. Is she a great figure? Well, at the risk of spoiling the review… Heck, yeah!

For starters, Hasbro gets major props for this packaging, and since this is the first time seeing it, I’ll spend a little while with it. It’s a simple window box similar to their Star Wars Black Series, only now infused with some amazing colors and artwork. We get an original character portrait on the front and the GI JOE logo and character name at the bottom. My only complaint here is that the three bars after the logo aren’t in red, white and blue.

The left side panel shows that these figures are numbered and also introduces this cool iconography for the characters, which suggest their specialties, with some being more obvious than others. The right side panel has a beautiful montage of Scarlett in action. Saving the best for last, the back panel has a gorgeous piece of art showing off characters and vehicles and giving us a glimpse at what some other characters will look like in this line. I love how iconic the vehicles look, and I can only hope that we’re going to get a Trouble Bubble or RAM Cycle down the road. But that’s me getting way ahead of myself, because here we are at the very first wave. Let’s have a look at Scarlett…

I’m not going to lie, I was hoping for a straight up RAH revival that took the basic look of the originals and just infused them with more detail and tons of accessories. That’s not what we got here. Instead Scarlett’s design takes the broad strokes of the character and than goes off in its own direction. The result is a figure that is both familiar and different. This approach is likely to vary from character to character. With Scarlett, I was only fairly satisfied with what I saw in the original solicitation pictures, but with the figure in hand, I’m absolutely in love with it. Her outfit is a mix of tactical suit and armor. I can get a whiff of her old yellow-cream-colored tactical onesie, boots, and gauntlet in the yellow armor here. Her red shoulder pad has migrated to her left and evolved into a full on armor piece, but hey, she still has her row of shuriken-like weapons on her left gauntlet. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I feel like Hasbro might have retained an element or two from their Overwatch figures. Damn, I really need to finish reviewing those some day!

I do like the body sculpt here. Hasbro uses some subtle textures on the underlying suit for some areas, while others are smooth with quilted panel lines. The armor pieces feature various panels and raised areas, and the detail on her gloves is quite nice. She has a belt that hangs on her hips with a gold buckle and a sculpted pouch on her left hip. She also has a separate shoulder strap that supports the quiver on her back and a functional knife sheath on the front. About the only thing on the uniform I don’t care for is the left shoulder piece. The star looks great, but this piece pops up too awkwardly for my taste. I wish it cupped her shoulder more closely. As for the colors… she’s certainly a flashy figure and there are a lot of colors on her, far more than I’m used to seeing on Hasbro’s other 6-inch lines. The gold and yellow are vibrant, while the red and blue add a nice kick. It’s pleasing to look at, but I’d like to see this figure repainted with a more subdued color palate. And if I know Hasbro, I’ll probably get it.

The head sculpt is a total winner. She’s cute, with a confident expression. The hair is especially nice as it partially covers her right eye and spills out the back in a ponytail. I could have stood it to be more red than orange, but I’m not going to split hairs. HA! I really dig the printed facial features and the freckles are a nice touch. She even has little earrings, which I’d like to think are tracking devices or micro-explosives or some other kind of cool spy gear.

For articulation, we do get a few new surprises. Her ball jointed hips appear to be anchored with dog-bone-style joints giving them a little extra range of movement. Otherwise the legs follow the Marvel Legends model with swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Being a girl, Hasbro doesn’t believe Scarlett should have double-hinges in the elbows, so instead she gets rotating hinges in the elbows and no bicep swivels. Boo! Her wrists are on rotating hinges, and she only comes with the one set of hands. She has two ball joints in the torso, one in the waist and another under her chest. Nice! And finally her neck is ball jointed. It’s not a huge departure from what Hasbro’s been delivering, but there are some improvements.

Scarlett comes with four accessories and three of them are knives. I don’t usually associate Scarlett with packing a lot of blades, but knives are cool! Knives come in handy in a fight. I like knives! The smallest of the three fits into the sheath across her chest. It has a curved sculpted grip and something like a drop-point blade. It’s cast entirely in black plastic and she can hold it well in either hand.

The other two are a matched set and oddly enough these fit into the top of her quiver. These pieces of cutlery have similar handles and bigger, more imposing blades with saw-backs. They’re also sculpted entirely in black and I’m tempted to take a silver sharpie to their blades to give them a little more oomph. Maybe Hasbro blew the budget on the figure’s paint operations and didn’t have anything left for the knives. Or maybe they’re intentionally black so they don’t glint off the moonlight in night missions.

And finally we have Scarlett’s trusty crossbow pistol. It’s a chunky and detailed sculpt that breaks down into two pieces. And like the knives it’s also cast all in black plastic either for tactical reasons or to keep costs down… you decide!!! I like that it’s stout and not all frail and bendy. The two pieces do come apart sometimes, and I’m tempted to use a spot of glue to keep them together as I really don’t see any reason to ever separate them. There are no loose bolts to load into it, but she does have some sculpted bolts coming out the bottom of her quiver.

Scarlett’s new design is likely to make her a divisive figure, but she did manage to win me over and I’m hoping she will have the same success with other collectors. Her outfit is not what I was hoping for, but she is an absolutely fantastic figure showing off some great sculpting, quality paint applications, and fun articulation. I do wish the accessories rose to meet the days of SIGMA SIX, instead we get a decent assortment, but nothing mind-blowing. I’m still waiting on my Snake Eyes, which has been bumped back time and again by Hasbro’s own Pulse Shop. Indeed, I had all these figures pre-ordered on Pulse, but wound up cancelling them when they showed up on Amazon with that Fast & Free Prime Shipping. In the end, I wound up getting them in hand from Amazon probably a solid week before they would have ever even shipped from Hasbro. And that, Hasbro, is why when my Free Premier Membership with Pulse expires, I won’t be renewing it with a paid one. In any event, I’ll be back next week with a look at another one of these new JOES!