#2723: Cobra B.A.T. V1.8

COBRA B.A.T. V1.8

G.I. JOE: COLLECTOR’S CLUB (HASBRO)

Though they have so far been absent from the most recent incarnation of G.I. Joe (well, the toys, anyway; the video game is a slightly different story), Cobra’s robot forces, the Battle Android Troopers, have been a ready fixture in the franchise since their introduction in 1986.  They’re generally quite privy to adjustment tweaks over the years, under the guise of “upgrades.”  The 25th style figures generally just focused on re-interpreting the classic BAT for a new generation, but there are plenty of different Cobra BAT designs to choose from, and we did *just* manage to get one of those before Hasbro put 3 3/4 Joes on hiatus a few years back.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cobra BAT V1.8 was released as part of the “Force of Battle 2000” boxed set, which was a Collector’s Club-exclusive set offered up at the International G.I.Joe Convention in 2017.  There were actually eight of this guy packaged in the set, alongside a commander and the Battleforce 2000 contingent of G.I. Joe.  I’ve just got the one, though.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  This BAT serves as an update of the V2 BAT from 1991.  That figure was a completely unique sculpt from its predecessor, where as this guy actually relies pretty heavily on parts from the V1-inspired 25th Anniversary figure.  Given the common features between the two designs, it’s not the worst call, and it helps that the 25th BAT is probably the nicest sculpt of that era.  There’s just a lot of depth to it, especially what’s visible of the inner workings of the torso (actually sculpted, as opposed to the lenticular of the older BATs), and how you can make out the robotic frame beneath the uniform.  To bring the sculpt more in line with the V2 design, the figure gets a new head, which is a pretty spot-on recreation of the original toy, and also ditches the 25th figure’s shoulder strap with grenade.  It makes for a respectable approximation, although there do still remain some elements that don’t quite match, such as the thigh holster, and the slightly more robotic lower arms.  Ultimately, I find the design works a touch better in this incarnation, and I don’t mind the changes, but your mileage may vary.  Since the V2 BAT was a ’90s Joe, he had a ’90s-esque color scheme to match, which this figure replicates.  He’s very bright and obnoxious, and I love it.  I do wish we had maybe seen a little bit of accenting on the mechanical sections, as we did on earlier uses of this mold, but in their defense on this one, I don’t know how that would have mixed with the orange.  The BAT V1.8 has an impressive selection of extras, including the standard hands for both sides, a flamethrower hand, a blaster hand, a claw hand, and a sword hand.  He’s also got the V1-style backpack to hold a few of them, a gun, a display stand, and the standard and damaged torso plates that later versions of the 25th mold sported.  You’ve got a lot of options for those eight figures that came packed into this set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was pretty heavily into the 25th through 30th lines, I fell out of Joes during all of the Retalliation tie-ins, and was completely gone for all of the club-exclusive stuff, so I didn’t get this guy new. However, he came into All Time last summer as part of a rather large, rather spread out collection, and I’ve always liked BATs, especially on this mold, so I was a pretty easy mark for this one.  He’s a pricey boy these days, but that doesn’t make him any less of a cool figure, especially with all the extra pieces.  If they weren’t so darn expensive, I wouldn’t mind having a few more.  Alas, not for now.

#2060: Cobra B.A.T.s Army Building Set

COBRA B.A.T.S ARMY BUILDING SET

G.I. JOE VS COBRA (HASBRO)

1986 was a good year for G.I. Joe, if you’re me at least.  Not only was my all time favorite army builder, the Cobra Viper, introduced that year, but so was my second all time favorite army builder, the Cobra Battle Android Trooper, better known as the Cobra B.A.T.  After two variants in the vintage line, the B.A.T.s disappeared from G.I. Joe for over a decade, but would return triumphantly in 2002, as the backbone of Cobra’s forces during the “Sound Attack” iteration.  They got a brand-new sculpt in the main line, as well as an online-exclusive rerelease of some old molds, designed expressly for army building.  I’ll be looking at the latter today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Cobra B.A.T.s Army Building set was available exclusively through online retailers in 2003.  The line-up was not quite the one seen here, as it actually had one less standard B.A.T., one more Inferno B.A.T., and the commanding officer Overkill.  They were, however, all sold sealed in little baggies, which means that getting them after the fact is pretty much always going to involve buying a bunch of loose figures.

COBRA B.A.T.S

This was the fourth version of the basic B.A.T. to grace the line.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 15 points of articulation (again including an extra joint on the right forearm).  Since (most of) the original B.A.T. tooling was lost prior to the line’s re-launch in 1997 (part of the reason there was such a gap on B.A.T. figures), this figure instead is built on the body of the V2 B.A.T.  It’s not the same, and really just not as strong a design as the original, but the original was gone, and this is far from the worst substitute.  It’s overall a slightly bulked up B.A.T., apart from the head, which is actually quite a bit pared down from the usual B.A.T. design.  It’s definitely a lot less of a melding of sci-fi and military, falling more firmly on the sci-fi side.  While it results on a figure that’s more internally consistent, it does also remove some of the more definitive flair of the original concept.  This one could really be any sci-fi-robo-henchman.  The main thing that this figure does to the V2 is try and give it the V2 colors, which is an interesting experiment.  I’m not sure how I feel about a ’90s Joe sculpt that’s not done up in its proper neon.  It’s not an displeasing look at all, but it’s definitely different.  Like his predecessors, he’s got the lenticular in his torso, detailing his robotic innards, and I will say that this one is designed to stay more firmly in place than the original, which is certainly a plus.  The B.A.T.s each included an alternate gun-arm attachment, as well as a black display stand.

COBRA INFERNO B.A.T.

Not content to just give us a bunch of standard B.A.T.s, Hasbro also created a new style of B.A.T. for this set, the Inferno B.A.T.  Designed as more independently operating troops, they also had a gimmick where they were always overheating, which gave them the distinctive design we see here.  The body is the same as the standard-issue trooper, but now it’s molded in a translucent red.  It’s actually a pretty solid look, and the brighter palette just feels “right” on this sculpt.  He had the same stand as his fellow troops, but swaps out the black gun-arm for a bright red one.  I dig it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on these when they were new because I was upset that they weren’t the V1 mold.  I was a picky child.  I didn’t get them until a decade after their original release, when I fished these five out of the loose Joes bin at Yesterday’s Fun.  They didn’t have a second Inferno B.A.T. or an Overkill, so I just had to make due with what I got.  They’re not my favorite versions of the B.A.T., but they’ve grown on me, and I can definitely appreciate them for what they are.

#0753: B.A.T.

B.A.T.

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO

BATVint1

After being a fairly straightforward military-based line of toys, and then a mostly down to earth adventure series for the first 20 years of its life, in the 80s, G.I. Joe gave up on that whole real world thing and threw caution to the wind. Okay, that’s not true. The first year of the 3 ¾ inch line was actually pretty modest. Then 1983 added Destro and Gung-Ho to the line and all bets were off. Prepare for the neon colors, the wacky specialists, and even the Battle Android Troopers!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BATVint2The B.A.T. was released in the 1986 series of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (which, as I noted in my Lifeline review, was a pretty good year for the line). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has 15 points of articulation. That’s one more point than most of the line! Structurally, the figure was all new at the time, though his pieces would get used for a few other figures (though, none of them were B.A.T.s. It depicts the B.A.T. in its Cobra uniform, but there are actually some nice hints at it being a robot under the clothes, rather than just a normal person. The details are generally pretty sharp, at least for a figure of the time, and the mechanical arms in particular are very nicely detailed. The B.A.T. definitely looks unique from the other Cobra forces, while still fitting in great stylistically. The figure originally had a lenticular piece in the middle of the torso, detailing some of the B.A.T.’s internal mechanics. Sadly, my figure does not have this piece. The paint on the B.A.T. is decent, though not the greatest thing ever. The orange/yellow bits are a bit on the sloppy side, especially around the edges. That said, the overall look is pretty good. The Bat is pretty well accessorized, with four different right hand attachments (normal hand, claw, flame thrower, and gun), as well as a backpack to hold the extra attachments. Also, my figure has a small pistol thrown in, but that isn’t from the original figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the B.A.T. loose from local toy store All Time Toys this past summer. I’ve always loved the B.A.T. design, and I’ve had several of the figures over the years, but I never had the original. Now I do! He’s a pretty nifty little figure, though I do think he’s been surpassed by a few of his successors.

BATVint3