The Blaster in Question #0078: Battle-Kata Blaster



“G.I. Joe is the world’s greatest special-ops fighting force with top-secret ninja training from the toughest of masters. Led by ultimate ninja commando Roadblock, these elite heroes defend the globe from the evil forces of Cobra. Fight your way to protect the innocent and defeat the guilty with the G.I. Joe Battle-Kata Blaster Toy! The adventures you imagine will sometimes call for a blade and sometimes for a blaster. This Battle-Kata Blaster toy is a 2-in-1 battle combo! In blaster mode, fire the included darts when the battle calls for marksmanship. But when your enemies move in close, switch to blade mode! You’ll be double trouble for evil with the Battle-Kata Blaster toy!”

Since its inception in 1964, the G.I. Joe brand has been subject to all sorts of changes over the years.  They were basic soldiers, peace-loving adventurers, an anti-terrorist organization full of colorful characters, ’90s action heroes, and movie stars.  And, apparently, also a gun?  Weird.  So, how about a look at some merch from the best live-action G.I. Joe movie starring the Rock, G.I. Joe: Retaliation!


The Battle-Kata Blaster figure was released in 2012, as part of the mass product drop for G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  This means that, like all of the other products for Retaliation, the Blaster was on shelves almost a year before the film it was meant to tie-in to.  Yay for proper coordination of movie makers and merchandisers!  As you would expect from toyline that’s the original source of the term “action figure”, this blaster that is not at all a figure was the undisputed centerpiece of the product line.  And how could it not be?  Check out this poster!  This bad boy’s front and center!  It was going to be a star!  An up and comer! So, how’d this thing turn out in toy form?  Well, it stands 5 1/2 inches tall and it’s got…ummm, like some movement, I guess.  It’s hard to classify it as articulation.  Like, the little latch at the top moves back and forth.  And I guess the trigger counts as some movement too, though it can’t really hold any poses beyond “waiting to be pulled.”  The point is, you won’t really be getting poses beyond what you see here.  The Battle-Kata Blaster was sporting a brand new, totally unique sculpt, based on its appearance in the film…more or less.  It’s supposed to be a Colt 1911/Kriss Vector mash-up with some stuff tacked on it, and there’s kind of this brass-knuckles set-up around the grip.  It’s reasonably well-sculpted, though obviously a little softer on the details than the look from the film.  Can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want 100% accuracy on something like this.  The right side is definitely this thing’s “hero” side; the left has all manner of screws and what not visible for all to see.  The Battle-Kata definitely has some stability issues.  Keeping it upright under its own power is very difficult.  Just getting it to stay up for the photos seen here was quite a bit of trouble.  It’s going to definitely need some assistance.  As far as paint goes, there’s not really much for the Battle-Kata Blaster, since it goes for the molded plastic color approach.  Said molded plastic mostly orange and green, which everyone knows is just the most aesthetically-pleasing color scheme of all time.  But, if they don’t do it for you, Hasbro’s been kind enough to also throw in some pale grey.  You know, for kids.  Hands down, the best piece of the paint, though, is that “Caution” warning you not to swing this thing at people or animals.  Because the last thing you want a weapon to do is to harm anyone.  That’s just outlandish.  There are two action features built into the Battle-Kata.  The first is a missile launching feature, which works in conjunction with that weird trigger movement thing that was going on.  The missiles don’t go particularly far, but I guess it’s a neat gimmick.  Plus you can store the extra missiles in the two ports on the face of the blaster.  There’s also a slight transforming gimmick (because Hasbro is just all about that cross over), where you can unhook the handle from the gun and connect it to the front.  One good pull later and, boom, it’s a knife…a really warped and slightly scratched up knife.  There’s not really any way for it to like hold the knife or anything, but you can kind of rest them up against each other.  Not the best display option, but I guess it works.


The Retaliation product was all sort of a strange beast, but no stranger than this one.  Movie accuracy really isn’t there and the gimmick is kind of strange.  It doesn’t scale with any of the other product either, making it an all around odd offering.  I mean, it can’t even stand on its own.  What’s it good for?  I don’t really know, but there it is nevertheless.

#0700: Joe Colton




Hey! I made it to 700 reviews! Cool! Alright, it’s another milestone, so, faithful readers know it’s time for another Deluxe Review! Let’s take another dip into the world of high-end collecting, courtesy of Hot Toys.

Now, G.I. Joe is the very first action figure, and it’s also completely owned by toymakers Hasbro. It’s very rare that one toy company allows another to make toys from an in house property, especially Hasbro, who are notorious for not even letting other companies anywhere near licenses that they merely hold, not own outright. So it was a bit of a shock when they allowed Sideshow to make 12-inch versions of their A Real American Hero characters, and even more of a shock when they let Hot Toys have the license for 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation. They only made a small handful of figures, one of them being Bruce Willis’ Joe Colton, namesake of the G.I. Joe team.


Colton3Joe Colton is another figure from HT’s main Movie Masterpiece Series. He was technically an exclusive to San Diego Comic Con 2013, though he wasn’t actually available at the con; he just went up on the Sideshow site shortly after. So, he really wasn’t much different from a normal release. He’s figure number 206, putting him right between fellow exclusives “Star Spangled Man” Captain America and Evil Superman. The figure stands roughly 12 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” according to Sideshow’s website. I’ll trust them on that. Joe is, obviously, based on his appearance from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Specifically, he’s presented as he looks during the film’s big climactic fight scene (more or less).

Let’s start things off by taking a look at the head sculpt. It’s another fantastic piece of work from Hot Toys. The likeness is absolutely spot-on to Willis, right down to his slight, sarcastic sneering, grin. The lack of any sort of hair adds actually adds to the realism of the figure, and it helps that HT’s managed to get Willis’ head shape down pretty much exactly. The paint on the head lives up to the sculpt, further enhancing the likeness, and adding even more to the realism.

Colton2Joe’s costume is a pretty cool little nod to the history of G.I. Joe, actually. It’s based on the uniform of the Adventure Team Commander from the G.I. Joe: Adventure Team line from the 70s, who, by extension of appearing to be the same guy as the original Joe, is the guy Colton is supposed to represent. The outfit is made up of three main pieces, a t-shirt, a pair of combat pants, and jacket, as well as an assortment of additional parts, including two different belts, hip and shoulder holsters, and a pair of boots. The boots are sculpted pieces; they’re pretty nicely detailed, though they seem harder and less movable than previous boots. The holsters are also sculpted, and they fit their corresponding guns pretty well. The rest of the outfit is made up of tailored parts.  Everything fits pretty well on the body, though maybe not quite as perfectly as I’d like. The jacket in particular feels just a bit bulky when placed on the figure. That said, most of outfit sits very nicely with a minor amount of futzing. In an odd move for a HT figure, the pants of Joe’s uniform are just a bit inaccurate to the film; the right leg is permanently tucked into the boot, which is odd, and the left leg sports a kneepad not seen in the film, which cannot be removed. I’m not sure why HT decided to do these things; one would assume the more accurate straight green pants would have been easier to produce.

Joe makes use of one of HT’s more posable bodies. It also happens to be the body that balances look and posability the best of HT’s standard bodies, which makes it a good choice. The only real drawback is that the body uses a rather obvious set of double joints at the elbows, which is a bit of a bummer if you want to display him without the jacket. That said, the movement allowed by these joints is essential to him properly holding his weapons, making it a worthy trade-off.

Colton5Joe includes a decent selection of extra pieces, though he was lighter than some others. He included:

  • 6 different hands
  • Machine gun
  • Spare Magazine
  • Shot gun
  • 3 pistols
  • 5 ammo clips
  • Display stand

The hands come in a nice variety of poses, with basic relaxed (R and L), trigger finger (R and L), gun holding (R), and fist (L). The hands are very realistically sculpted and painted, and each fulfill their intended purpose quite well. Willis is left-handed, so I was happy to see the gun grip hand was his right, allowing him to hold the guns as he actually would. That seems like it should be a given, but the poor T-1000 didn’t even get a proper left-handed trigger finger, so you never know.

The machine gun is very nicely handled. It’s exact model is a SCAR-L*. It has a removable clip and a folding stock, as well as a strap, allowing it to be slung over his arm. It’s impressively detailed, with tons sculpt and paintwork, all of which do a good job of passing this off as a miniaturized version of the real thing.

The shot gun is my personal favorite of the weapons, mostly due to it being his most used weapon from the film, and it just working very well visually with the figure. It’s the Benelli M4*. It’s admittedly not quite as exciting as the machine gun, since it’s a more simplistic design to begin with. Still, it’s got a moving stock and a spring-loaded breach and it looks pretty cool in his hands.

The three pistols are mostly just there to fill the three corresponding holsters. Two of the three are identical, and the third isn’t far off. All three are Colt 1911s*. They’re well sculpted, and they have moving slides and removable clips, which is always cool. Unfortunately, the included trigger fingers aren’t really optimized for a smaller weapon, so he really can’t hold them all that well.

The ammo clips are the same as the ones in the three pistols, placed into nice little sculpted holders. They can be hung on is belts, or removed if you so choose.

The display stand is fairly run of the mill. It’s just the basic black oval stand, with a little tag for his name and the film’s logo printed on the base.


Like so many of my Hot Toys figures, Joe was pre-ordered from the online store of Sideshow Toys, the North American distributor for HT’s stuff. He ended up being the last thing I ordered from their site, and in fact, I almost cancelled the pre-order. Not because I didn’t want him or anything, but because I had gradually been moving away from HT. I’m glad I never got around to cancelling it, since he’s actually a pretty cool figure.

*Thanks to Tim Marron, of Timsical Thoughts, for helping me ID the specific models of the guns.


#0688: Storm Shadow




G.I. Joe: Retaliation was….ummm….well, it was a movie with G.I. Joe in the title. It was also about 90 minutes long. It was shot using cameras. It had a script, with words even. Was it a good movie? No, not especially. It had its moments, but that’s really the best that can be said. On the plus side, Hasbro did make a line of figures to go with it, and they didn’t totally suck. Let’s look at Storm Shadow, one of the film’s many ninjas and just the worst human prop of all time.


StormShadowR2Storm Shadow was released as part of the first series of G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures. You know, the ones that came out a full year before the film’s release due to Paramount pushing back the movie’s release date at the last minute? Yeah, fun times. Technically, he’s based on Storm Shadow from the movie, but, in reality, he’s a mostly made up design. Granted, I like it more that the movie design, so I’m not complaining. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Unlike several of the early Retaliation figures, Storm Shadow didn’t have any points of articulation cut, so he retains full movement, which is a definite plus. Structurally, the figure sported a brand-new sculpt. As noted above, it’s not really accurate to the movie’s design. That being said, it’s actually a pretty sound sculpt, with nice proportions and lots of fun detail work. Interestingly, though he’s a movie figure, he seems a bit more stylized than other figures, to the point that he almost seems like he’d be more at home with the Resolute or Renegades figures. It’s nothing really overt or anything, but there’s definitely a bit of flair to this guy. One small nit: his collar is a separate piece, and it doesn’t fit exactly to the body, making it rather obviously a separate piece. It’s slightly annoying. The paintwork on Storm Shadow is pretty decent overall. It’s nothing too fancy, but the grey accents are nice and the small bit of flesh tone and the eyes are pretty clean. The Cobra logo is well done, though it’s actually inaccurate, since (SPOILER) Storm Shadow is no longer affiliated with Cobra in Retaliation. The figure was packed with two swords (one long, one short), a backpack that holds them, and one of Hasbro’s signature oversized missile launchers. Yay!


I mostly skipped out on the Retaliation stuff when it was released, mostly due to being unable to find the few figures I actually wanted from the line and then not really caring enough to buy them when I did find them months later. So, why do I have Storm Shadow? Clearance. He was $3 at Toys R Us, and I was already buying other things, so he felt worth it. (Also, Super Awesome Girlfriend was with me at the time and she will literally not let me put an action figure back.)  After opening him and playing around with him a bit? He was definitely worth it.

#0219: Roadblock, Beach Head & Kamakura




Two G.I. Joe reviews in a row?  What are the odds?  Well, G.I. Joe’s are about 5% of my collection, so take of that what you will.  This time around, the figures are from the film G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the second like-action movie based on the Real American Hero incarnation of the franchise.  Retaliation wasn’t by any means a good movie, but it did have its enjoyable moments.  Also, being a toy movie, there were toys.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a sucker for toys!


Roadblock, Beach Head, and Kamakura were released in the Ninja Dojo three-pack.  The set was part of the first set of offerings released to tie-in with the movie.  Thanks to Paramount’s decision to move the film’s release back, the set ended up on shelves almost a year before the film’s release.



Roadblock is the only figure in the set actually based on a character from the movie.  However, he doesn’t appear to be based on any of the character’s looks in the movie.  The figure stands just over 4 inches tall and features 16 points of articulation.  Hasbro seems to have decided to rid some of their figures of a few points of articulation, and Roadblock is one of them.  He’s got single jointed knees and no ankle articulation, which greatly limits the figure.  The figure’s sculpt is shared with the regular line’s release of Roadblock, with a new right hand.  The sculpt looks okay overall, and does bare a passing resemblance to Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, who played Roadblock in the film.  The paint is my biggest issue with the figure.  Everything is cleanly applied, but there’s one glaring problem:  he’s waaaay too pale.  Roadblock is very definitely supposed to be black, and this guy definitely isn’t.  It’s very distracting.  In addition to the coloring issue, they’ve also turned his goatee into more of a subtle stubble (that’s kind of a neat term.  Subtle stubble.  I should make that a thing.)  The figure comes packed with a rifle, a mini-gun, ammo, and an ammo box. (The nun-chucks are actually Kamakura’s, but I put them in Roadblock’s picture.  Oops!)


BeachHead(Retalliation) (2)

Beach Head is G.I. Joe’s resident drill sergeant.  He’s been absent from the films so far, but Hasbro gave the character a movie style revamp for this set.  The figure stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation.  Beach Head is made from all reused parts.  His head is reused from the Pursuit of Cobra version of the character, and his body is from one of that line’s versions of Snake Eyes.  Both figures are top notch, so the pieces being reused are good choices.  The level of detail in the textures of the sculpts is downright amazing.  Beach Head also makes use of add-ons for his web gear and knee pads, which add some great depth to the figure.  The paint work on the figure is nice and clean, with no bleed over or slop.  He’s been given a rather muted color scheme, which is in keeping with the style of the film.  Beach Head includes a rifle, two different submachine guns, two knives, and a pistol with a removable silencer.  These are all re-use from other figures, but they’re great pieces, so it’s sensible.



Kamakura is one of G.I. Joe’s numerous ninja members.  Interestingly enough, he wasn’t added during the line’s Ninja Force incarnation, but instead first showed up in the Devil’s Due run on the G.I. Joe comic in the early 2000s.  He’s only had a small handful of figures, and none of them were really all that good.  The figure is about 3 ¾ inches tall and features 22 points of articulation.  Like Beach Head, this figure is 100% parts re-use.  His head comes from the Resolute version of Storm Shadow, his hands and feet come from another POC version of Snake Eyes, and the rest of him comes from the 30th Anniversary Storm Shadow.  These are all well sculpted pieces, although I do feel one of the other Storm Shadows may have more accurately represented Kamakura’s usual balaclava.  Regardless, they’re good pieces, and they work well for the character.  The paint work is all nice and clean, but I do feel like it’s a little basic compared to some of the other figures in the line.  Kamakura is accessorized with a removable hood, three different swords, a set of sheaths, a machete, a submachine gun with a silencer, a claw thing (which the internet informs me is called a “Tekagi”) and a set of nun-chucks.


I pretty much only bought this set for Kamakura.  I enjoy the character, and, like I said, he hasn’t really had any good figures.  This one’s not perfect, but he’s certainly an improvement.  While Roadblock will forever be relegated to the bin of shame, Beach Head is actually a pretty decent figure in his own right.  All in all, it’s not a bad set, depending on what you’re looking for.