G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)
“G.I. Joe is a highly skilled, on-demand, special operations force of men and women from around the globe. These extraordinarily talented heroes are selected for their elite abilities and tasked with defending the world from Cobra, a ruthless criminal organization bent on total domination. With unwavering courage and steely determination, the brave members of G.I. Joe are prepared to seek out Cobra in any environment on the planet. From hostile jungles to ice-clad arctic peaks…wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there.”
Back in April, I took my first look at the Classified Series, Hasbro’s new attempt at relaunching G.I. Joe as a line of 6-inch figures in the same vein as The Black Series and Marvel Legends, with their fancy deluxe Snake Eyes figure that they offered up as a Pulse Exclusive. That guy was pretty darn awesome and definitely got me excited for the rest of the line. Well, just four short months later I’ve finally gotten my hands on the first series proper, and I’ll be kicking things off with the most rhyme-tastic member of the Joes, Marvin F. Hinton, aka Roadblock!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Roadblock is figure 01 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, the first of the five figures that make up Series 1 of the line. Roadblock at first glance seems sort of odd as number 1, but Hasbro’s really been pushing him as a main character as of late, so this tracks with that. At 6 3/4 inches tall he’s the tallest of the initial set of figures, and he has 37 points of articulation. From a movement, he’s got all the same sorts of joints as what we saw on Snake Eyes, but his mobility is slightly more restricted, both by Roadblock’s slightly larger frame, and also by the presence of a somewhat thick vest piece overlay on the torso. He’s still quite capable of attaining plenty of the necessary Roadblock-appropriate poses, and then some. For my figure, his legs are a touch loose at the hips, but otherwise, the articulation is solid. When these figures were unveiled, Roadblock’s design was under quite a bit of scrutiny, with people generally feeling it didn’t look enough like the character. He’s certainly not a pitch-perfect recreation of the V1 figure, that’s for sure. He is, however, a pretty close update of Roadblock’s 1986 V2 design (minus a t-shirt, and plus a couple of armored bits on the legs), which, among other things, is the design that was used in G.I. Joe: The Movie. So, it’s not like that look doesn’t have its own level of prominence. Now, is it quite as quintessential and appearance? Perhaps not, but it’s still a valid Roadblock look. Personally, I might have liked to see them throw a tank top under the vest and make the vest a little more easily removed, but I’m sure a more classically-inspired Roadblock is very definitely in the cards moving forward. Taken on his own merits, this Roadblock’s sculpt is still rather impressive, and makes for a cool looking figure. The detail work on his uniform is nice and sharp, and it’s cool to continue to see Roadblock portrayed as noticeably larger than the other members of the team. His paintwork is generally pretty solid stuff. There’s certainly a lot going on. I know people weren’t big on the golden armor plates. I’m not super crazy about them myself, but I also don’t find myself all that upset with them either. They’re just there. I do really dig the tattoo on his left shoulder; that’s a fun little piece of character added to the figure. Okay, so, let’s talk about the other area that people weren’t so big on: the accessories. Or, more specifically, the primary accessory. Roadblock is the team’s heavy gunner, and he was originally packed with an M-2 Browning. This figure replaces that with a more sci-fi-y rail gun-style weapon. The thing is, it’s actually far more sensible for him to be carrying something like this in the somewhat sci-fi driven world than it would be for him to be carrying an actual WW2-era M-2 Browning, which is almost a century old at this point. So, I can really understand Hasbro’s desire to update. It’s a cool weapon with a cool design, and I really dig its removable clip/battery pack. And, if you don’t dig the rail gun, I find that Deathlok’s mini gun makes for a pretty awesome replacement. In addition to the rail gun, Roadblock also includes a small knife, which can be sheathed on his vest.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Going into this line, Roadblock was probably the figure I was looking forward to the least. You see, for all the defending of the changes to the figure I did up there, I will admit that they amounted to a figure that did feel a little bit less Roadblock-y to me. Ultimately, he was at the bottom of my list. However, All Time ended up getting in their Roadblocks a week before the other figures, so I wound up with him on his own, and that allowed me to enjoy the figure in a vacuum. He’s still probably my fifth-favorite figure in the set, but he doesn’t trail quite as far behind the others as I’d feared he might initially. He’s actually a pretty fun figure.