Saturday, December 14, 2013

Enough


All of the killing... 
When will it stop...
How much more...

Resolute Duke - The Pivot Point

With the return of GI Joe to retail in 2007 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Real American Hero characters, of course everyone's favorite GI Joe Boy Scout returned. Duke was back. In those first couple of years as Hasbro was exploring this new figure construction format, it seemed to me that there were fewer hits and more misses. Odd crotch construction. Bizarre arm and hand construction. Figures may have looked pretty decent, but they were often not very playable. There were exceptions to the many odd balls. The Cobra BAT still remains as one of the best figures from those first formative years. Poor Duke, he sucked so bad those first two years.
Bring me another, I broke this one.
Until GI Joe: Resolute happened in 2009. Things changed. The figures began to change. Resolute Duke appeared and a revolution began.

This new Duke figure took the Resolute character design and became a plastic reality. There was new detail to the figure and the articulation was greatly improved. Hands were improved to allow for a much better grip on weapons. The ankle articulation had been improved, allowing for better stances. The hip articulation had been cleaned up to allow him to do just about anything. Hasbro began to turn the corner toward a path of action figure greatness.


In my mind, Duke had gone from this GI Joe poster boy to a bad ass soldier. Plus this version of Duke was just so photogenic. He's been such a great figure to photograph. Since the GI Joe: Renegades version had come out, I had used that Duke head sculpt as my default version of Duke. Rightly so, because Hasbro had improved the detailing on the head sculpts. One drawback to Resolute Duke has always been his almost cold dead stare. Didn't matter too much to me because he was such an improvement over previous figures.

Bad ass regardless of size!
I'm sure all of this has been said somewhere else in the past four years, but I've only just rediscovered Resolute Duke. The base body was so well done, I bought every one that I came across with the intention of creating customs.
Hell, I even modded my 12" Duke to look more like Resolute Duke. Not too bad. I really need to keep an eye out for better web gear. Maybe something will turn up at Joelanta 2014.
Resolute Duke even became the base for several more figures, primarily from the Resolute story. Flint and Beach Head made use of the legs and moving forward, PoC Hawk's torso came from Res Duke.



Duke & Stalker have a "discussion."
I was swayed by the Renegades Duke head sculpt and swapped out the cold dead stare head for this newer version, but that was only after a brief appearance by a couple newer versions of Duke. More on that later.

So Res Duke disappeared into the spare parts bin for a few years, lingering... sad and alone. I finally got around to organizing some of my figures and came across a Duke body and eventually a head. What the heck happened? Does your collection ever get like that? A little bit of organization mixed in with much more chaos?


But for a few years, especially through the ups and downs of the Rise of Cobra figures, Resolute Duke was a key component in my photos and dios. Tatum Duke was never Duke to me and still isn't. I don't know who he is; for now, he's just a GI Joe.


Resolute Duke got to share some screen time with some interesting characters during his tenure as the top dog.

Even Hell Boy stopped by GI Joe command to chat with Duke.


[I'm stalling out here for a bit... I'm going ahead and publishing, but I'm not finished. To my loyal fans - (both of you? three?) - stay tuned, I'll be adding more commentary.]


So do I try to keep my train of thought going as if I haven't read the comments yet?

I would agree with Monte that Resolute Duke is a bit mediocre, primarily based on the lifeless head sculpt, but something about him was a little extra special than those that had come before. Change was coming for GI Joe. There have been so many great figures to show up since Resolute Duke. And yes, there have been some stinkers, too. 

Blowtorch, anyone?
I hate ninjas.
I previously stated that Res Duke was a subject of many pictures over the years and he also served as a teaching tool for photography as well. His pasty plain face was always getting washed out by the flash or other light sources, so I had to learn a little more about lighting.

Yeah, Duke hates ninjas.

The original red ninjas were some of the better offerings from the early years of the "new era" of GI Joe.

Hasn't someone come up with a classification system for all the different levels of small Joe figure construction? I recall something, but I don't know how well it was received across the fan base.

My 2nd comment asks what this big green vehicle is next to Duke.

Any guesses?

It's probably one of my favorite of the big vehicles from the ARAH era.

Always reminded me of those huge firetrucks seen at most major airports. Big massive beasts.

Any guesses yet?

It's the Rolling Thunder!

I'd love to carve this sucker up and turn it into an R/C vehicle. I'll bet that it would be possible. A lot of work, but possible.

The Rolling Thunder was another prime example of play value over realism. C'mon, guys, where's the drive system to move this beast? And ballistic missiles launching out of it's guts? Whatever... It still looks cool as hell!

So back to Resolute Duke.

And then after Rise of Cobra, these two guys showed up... and the game changed...





Did Jungle Duke show up first? Maybe Rocket Back-pack Duke showed up first. Either way, both of these Duke figures worked so well with each other primarily because the head sculpts were so well done and so close to each other. You knew that both figures were Duke. Both of these guys were bad asses. Duke had been reborn again and those creepy figures from 2007 and 2008 faded into distant memory. So both of these guys replaced Resolute dead-face Duke and relegated him to storage and I was okay with that.

Until Renegades Duke showed up...

I really didn't like the body that Renegades Duke came with. Yeah, it was pretty close to his animated version, but it just didn't work for me. Initially, I went with a Res Duke body and that worked fine for a while. I eventually switched to an extra PoC General Hawk body (kick ass custom potential) with a Steel Brigade vest.

So this guy here is my default Duke. I don't know if he'll be replaced. I really like the head sculpt because he looks intense and there seems to be some age to him. He's an older troop, battle hardened, but still with plenty of fight left in him.

Wait, what about Retaliation Duke? Nope. No Tatum Dukes allowed! Even the "Ultimate" Duke figure doesn't work as Duke for me. Oh, the horror! 

Dr Syn's comment about putting Ren Duke's head sounds interesting. I think I tried it and it worked out pretty well. Loose, but that's an easy fix. I'm just not over-excited by the newest Duke figure, primarily because of the arm/vest conflicts with holding weapons. I've got three of them and I just consider them as soldiers for right now. One day, I'll have to post about them again; they are still pretty cool!

It's been fun digging out Resolute Duke and thinking back to how cool he was and how cool he still is, but his time has passed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Have Collectors Damaged GI Joe's Future?

Who doesn't love to army build? Seriously, buying all those extra Cobra soldiers? Just creating a massive Cobra army! Awesome stuff! 
Right?

Well, maybe... maybe not.




I'm running on memory here, so my numbers may be a little off. Of just the modern era figures, here are my estimated numbers of the figures that I can think of at the moment.

Cobra Viper - 15
Cobra Trooper - 18 (original POC/30th)
Cobra Trooper - 12 (Blackshirts - DG)
Cobra Trooper - 8 (Blueshirts - DG)
Cobra BATs - 28 (original, Resolute, & Jungle)
Cobra Trooper - 12 (Resolute)
Desert-Viper - 8 (Rise of Cobra)
Elite-Viper - 9 (Rise of Cobra)
Dr Rex Lewis - 8 (customs)
Helix - 6 (customs)
PIT Commando - 4
Shipwreck - 6 (green DG)
Shipwreck - 4 (blue DG)
Snake Eyes - 6 (PoC - customs)
GI Joe Trooper - 8 (Retaliation)
Steel Brigade - 8
Red Ninja - 4 (Retaliation)
Dark Ninja - 3 (Retaliation)
"Ultimate" Duke - 3 (Retaliation)
Cobra Combat Ninja - 3 (Retaliation)
Storm Shadow - 5 (black & white - DG)
Storm Shadow - 3 (orange & white - DG)

I know that there are more multiples of figures, but I just can't think of any more at the moment. Of course, all of the individual characters and their multiple versions have to get added into the count.

It can be easily assumed that I have a pretty big collection of figures and it may be actually a pretty small collection when compared to other collectors.

So what's the point of this post?

I wonder, if we, the collectors who have disposable income to buy these toys, have ruined GI Joe in the market place. Well, maybe not ruined, but severely damaged the line at retail.

Just look at my list. Did any kid have a chance at buying these figures? Well, if I didn't buy them, some other collector (or scalper) may have swooped in and snatched them up. Maybe that's the problem. Adults who played with the figures as children and fueled by nostalgia and money probably bought a large percentage of the product.

Have you ever seen any of these figures at a garage sale? Maybe kids didn't have any to get tired of and sell off at the family garage sale.

I just wonder if adult collectors have damaged GI Joe's presence at retail by not allowing kids to buy the bulk of the figures. Maybe I'm just crazy, maybe I'm just getting older, maybe I'm just seeing the burden of this growing ridiculous collection.

"Support the brand!" - the cry rings out across the collector/fan-boy landscape. Where are the kids who should be loving GI Joe?

My hope is that Hasbro does a nice decent tribute to GI Joe next year for his 50th birthday and then just radically revamps the concept with the original target audience in mind - the kids!

Hopefully, collectors will see it and both support it and reject it. By that I mean, with an attitude of "Yeah, it's pretty cool, but not my thing. I'll leave it for the kids."

If Hasbro has to rely on the collectors market to keep GI Joe alive, GI Joe will die as the collectors die off. Harsh, but true.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

FSS 02: Wide Scope & Skull Buster

I am disappoint...

So the next two GI Joe Club FSS figures have come in. From all appearances, I figured these two would be the first ones that I would open. Never really a big fan of Skull Buster and the original Wide Scope figure was a new sculpt era odd ball. So, yeah, let's open up these rascals and see what we've got.


Oh boy, here's Skull Buster, looking so cool in his nice package. i was a fan of the Range Viper when they came out. I never got any of the RV's from the Defense of Cobra Island set, but I did get a couple from the Whirlwind/Range Viper "Ross exclusive" Rise of Cobra set from a few years ago. Hasbro did a decent job on those figures, so I figured the Club was just reusing the mold. Not so fast... Stay tuned...


Wide Scope - a Shockblast, no, a Shockwave knock-off that had a nearly horrific figure back in the new sculpt era. Such a disproportionate mess! But it was still cool to see a new character introduced into the GI Joe mythos and I'm glad that the Club took a chance on him. so is he any good?

 There's not much new sculpt with Wide Scope. He's just a straight re-use of the awesome Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper body and vest. I don't recall where the head sculpt came from, but it is a reuse. Is the dog new? Maybe? I think the hat may be new, I don't recall the bend in the brim in other caps.


 Here's Wide Scope next to another straight re-use of the Shock trooper body - the Retaliation Cobra Combat Ninja. What the hell? Okay, whatever with the ninja stuff. So the biggest issue that I have noticed with commentary online is that this basically re-use figure costs so much more as a Club exclusive. Well, no shit. The Club is making figures at a much lower production run than Hasbro, so, yeah, their figures are going to cost a bit (much) more. Tough shit. If you don't want to pay the price, don't buy the figures! Deal with it!

Overall, I'm pleased with Wide Blast, no, Shock Scope... Oh yeah, Wide Scope. The Club did a decent job of recreating this new sculpt era character. Am I really thrilled about him? Not so much, but he's pretty cool. Maybe a strong 3.75 out of 5. Don't like the decimals? I'm a math teacher, deal with it!


Okay, on to Skull Buster. Like Wide Scope, he's pure reuse of parts and I'm okay with the Club for doing that and I understand the pricing issues. Fine. Whatever. But those damn forearms just don't work. They used everything from the Range Viper except the forearms and hands. 

I get it. They wanted to add the new swivel hands. Cool. But they got the forearms from Shadow Tracker, a taller figure. So now the arms almost hang down to his knees. Damn...



I just don't know about this guy. Sure, I opened him, but I carefully opened him. Do I repack this guy and try to make back some of my money? Are there enough shitty reviews about this guy where no one will want to buy him? Based on the first four releases, this guy is the stinker. So far... And actually, I hope he'll be the only stinker.


It wasn't until it was pointed out on Joebattlelines.com about the height differences just between the 25th/RoC figures and 30th/RET figures. Huge differences in height. Not too bad, the Range Vipers can work as smaller body types, but SB is just too short to be the leader of the Range Vipers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FSS 02: Airtight & Shipwreck

The first two offerings from the official GI Joe Club's FSS 2 have arrived and I'm not too impressed. There is a decent mix of figures with this assortment, with some of the figures being definite keepers, some mixed opinion, and some to sold on the secondary market.

These first two figures didn't show up on my "keeper" list. The Club used the Tiger Force theme for these first two figures, Airtight and Shipwreck. Both figures look pretty cool, but I'm just not overly impressed.

Airtight is a straight repaint of the awesome 30th/Renegades update from a couple years ago. I was tempted to hang on to this new version, but he just didn't quite get me interested enough. I've got two of the original version, so I really didn't need another, despite the new uniform colors.


Shipwreck is one of those characters that I am nearly so very tired of seeing. A Tiger Force version just doesn't work for my collection. I'm not sure of where all the body parts came from to make this version, but he looks pretty good. I can't stand that goofy grin on his face.

It's been a while since I had an interest in buying every figure. I really don't need to have a complete collection. I never found the 30th Crazy Legs figure at retail (who did?). Retaliation figures are very difficult to find. I may totally miss out on the Blind Master, Jinx, and the Cobra Combat Ninja and I'm okay with that. The new versions of Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Cobra Commander are of little interest to me. And I'm okay with that.

The FSS is offering up some pretty decent figures that I am very excited about and look forward to their arrival. For now, these first two will be finding a new home around the end of the month. The two Oktober Guard figures? They'll probably be headed out as well whenever they arrive.

I'm really hoping that Tollbooth and Keel Haul won't be numbers 11 and 12!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Troops of Doom is back!

Or should that be Troops of Doom are back? Whatever.


Troops of Doom, the most awesome-est web comic featuring the ongoing battle for galactic supremacy featuring the forces of GI Joe, Cobra, and the Empire from Star Wars is back!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cobra Blackshirt Upgrade


The MARS troopers from the over-priced Rise of Cobra preview set were so laughable. Well, that's a bit harsh. Given the construction methods that Hasbro was using at the time, they really weren't that bad. When you compare them to more recent offerings, they do kind of suck.

The only real benefits that I have found from them is stealing their gear. I first stole the trooper web-gear and re-outfitted my POC/30th Cobra Blueshirts - because their web-gear sucked.

I was digging around through my various plastic storage containers and came across my MARS troopers. (Okay, the storage containers once held sandwich meat, alright? Deal with it!) 

Hmm... Black helmets... Cobra Blackshirts from Dollar General. I wonder? A quick test fit and the helmets fit nice and snug on the Cobra trooper heads. I like the touch of red to the overall look as well.

The MARS officer helmet is a little different with the sculpt and the silver paint. Officers? Sure, why not?

The only problem is that the helmets tend to move upward on the heads, obscuring their eyes. Not a huge deal.

So my 12 Blackshirts are now geared up with MARS helmets. Nine troopers with the red masks and three officers with the silver masks. Or is it 8 and 4? I'm not at home, so I don't remember.

Either way, the troops get equally divided up into small teams of an officer and either two or three troopers. Equally divided - that satisfies my bit of OCD weirdness.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GI Joe: Retaliation Extended Cut

Finally!

I finally saw the extended "action cut" of Retaliation. I had bought the movie at Best Buy when it first came out, but have not had a chance to actually see the updates yet.


I had already read about the various extended scenes and was pretty much prepared for the changes. I'm not going into the specifics of all of the changes. I'm usually so late to the game, it's not like beating a dead horse, it's like kicking around the dead horse's skeleton.


In general, I liked the added material and I thought that it added some important bits of character elements. The most important part of Retaliation or Rise of Cobra is to remember that these ain't the characters you may have grown up with. These are brand new takes on familiar characters.

And of course, all of the outrageous plot holes were completely filled in, right? Not even close. But the movie was still pretty damn fun.

My favorite part of the film has to be basically the first half, up to and including the decimation of the Joe team. Plot holes really get crazy after that point.The N. Korea mission, barracks scene, Pakistan mission, and the attack on the team were the best moments. Yeah, the ninja battle was cool, but I liked the combat scenes much better.

Still two thumbs up for this movie. 

Here's hoping GI Joe 3 will kick butt even more, and most importantly, Hasbro will get behind their unique in-house brand that put them on the frikkin' map.







Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quick Customs

The Dollar General Shipwreck body has proven to be an excellent base for some easy customs. Probably one of my favorite aspects of collecting these figures is the customizing aspect. With a simple head swap or gear swap, new characters emerge. I've got four of the green and three of the blue versions of Shipwreck, each one destined for customization.

From left to right: 
Tunnel Rat - shoulder harness, bandanna, and head swap for a new taller version. I actually prefer the Renegades T-Rat as my default version, so this guy could be someone new. Oh, the blasphemy!
Breaker - way back to the 25th Anniversary version. Head swap and gear from RET Alley Viper for a new spin. Doesn't look very communication-tech oriented, but he still looks pretty decent.
PoC Recondo - I never really could grasp this head sculpt as Recondo. That screwed up neck really ruined it for me as well. The Steel Brigade vest is such an excellent piece and it works well with these colors. Not quite satisfied with this head - keep reading!

I really didn't like the web gear that came with the Club's Footloose figure. I had to switch it out. There was still something about the figure that just seemed off to me. The head sculpt is excellent. In a "what the hell" moment, I tried the "Leatherneck" head on the body and I really like it! The head comes from the 1st version of Leatherneck from a "Ross exclusive" vehicle. Decent enough, but needed some help. I'd love to get the Con exclusive version, but I doubt that will ever happen.
So what to do with Footloose's head? Why not a Shipwreck body? Looks pretty good. He doesn't have to be Footloose. The look on the head sculpt just doesn't seem like Footloose to me. maybe someone new?

How about the PoC Recondo head on battle kata Roadblock's body? Pretty dang cool! Skin tones match up nicely. Wouldn't be bad to have another big dude on the team.

Mutt & Junkyard - maybe on this one. I like it so far. Mutt's head is very loose and needs a little attention to tighten it up. I think this switch works well enough. I like it!

One more with Recondo's head. How about Bench Press's body? Skin tones match up pretty well. More added bulk and height. Could this be Gung Ho? Maybe?

I really enjoy the LBC aspect of these figures. I think my very first custom was buying an extra swivel-arm Breaker way back in 1983 and switching out the arms with straight arm Clutch rather than buy another Vamp. I've done some carving and cutting on a few, primarily the old o-ring figures. Somewhere, I've got a four-armed Blanka who looks pretty cool!

I'd love to get into paint apps on my customs. I'm unsure of a good local source for appropriate paints to use. Plus this old man's eyes are getting blurry, so close up work gets irritating when reading glasses are involved.

Never too old to stop buying action figures, though!

The Mighty Kwinn

Kwinn!


I really would have never imagined that Kwinn would make it into action figure format. I know he first appeared in winter gear in a two-pack during the o-ring revival, but I really didn't care too much at the time.

I was never a rabid fan boy about his appearances in the original Marvel comic either. He was a decent character and since he got killed, I figured that he wasn't on the "to make" list.

Apparently, he's a huge fan-boy favorite. And maybe that's more understandable to the actual kids that bought the toys and played with the figures, rather than the "adult" collector that I was.

Well, whatever the reason, Kwinn finally made it into plastic format after a couple years of being teased by images from Hasbro. And I'm glad Hasbro released him. This guy is largely made for the now adult collectors who were those kids who played with and read about the adventures of GI Joe.

A "5 out of 5" or "10 out of 10" - whatever your scoring stats are, Kwinn makes the cut. I guess that the only issue that I would have with him is that his included pistol fits a little too loosely into his holster. No big deal, I've plenty of extra guns to find a fit.

I still haven't figured out his role in my twisted, bizarre Joe world, but I know he's pretty much like his original character - just not dead. An independent contractor who largely works for the good guys, but isn't a member of GI Joe.

Come all without, come all within. 
You'll not see nothing like the mighty Kwinn.

Ultimate Flint - Wave 3.5

The first retaliation version of Flint looks away, unable to gaze at his future greatness, ashamed of his own failures and limitations.

There's a reason I've never reviewed the first version of Flint from the Retaliation line. Basically, he sucked. And yet, I bought him. The primary issue with the 1st version is not the lack of articulation or the crazy, bizarre rope thingy. He just looks goofy. True, he doesn't have the web gear in the picture, but the unpainted jungle Duke gear just didn't work with the figure.

Plus the head sculpt is just too dang big for the small frame of the body. Decent weapons, a great head sculpt, and the beret - that's the best elements of that 1st Flint figure. I think the body may work well with a smaller head sculpt, maybe one from the 25th era.

This new version, this Ultimate Flint, really kicks ass. Everything just clicks with this figure. The excellent head sculpt, great vest, great paint apps, and a great assortment of gear. He even comes with a parachute based on the designs from the one that came with the first RET Cobra trooper, except it is now in green.

The range of motion for Flint really excels on this figure. He can be easily posed in a two-handed firing stance and even can match some of the moves that DJ Cotrona went through in the movie.

The paint detailing on the pants is excellent. A gray MARPAT pattern that is ultra detailed. You can really tell when Hasbro puts some extra work into a figure.

It would have been nice if the beret was also included in the ultimate version, but he can snatch it from his previous incarnation.

Lady J and Flint together - at least in the movie world. Perhaps there is a hint of a beginning relationship that may be developed later. We'll see if that happens in GI Joe 3.

The side by side picture highlights the huge difference in skin tones used for these two figures. No big deal, but it really makes it difficult to do lazy head swaps with the darker skin tones of Flint. Budo has been the closest skin tone so far.

Based on all of the wave 3.5 figures that I currently own, Ultimate Flint ranks as #1. There is so much "right" with the entire figure. Everything just works. I suppose I would have liked more gear than the parachute, but you've got to think about the kids. As long as the figure actually makes it out into the brick and mortar stores and some kids actually buy him.


Flint had to scam Kwinn's shotgun to get properly geared up.

The biggest issue that I have is purely personal. Is this guy really Flint in my twisted GI Joe world? I really like the Resolute version of Flint and he has been may default Flint since that time. I don't know if I'm ready to make that change. The same holds true for Lady J. Is the movie version really Lady J or does the bowed set version still remain as my default version?

I don't have an answer to these pressing questions right now. Hell, does it really matter in the broad scheme of things? Nope.

Just enjoy the toys.

Budo Samurai Warrior

Budo Samurai Warrior

That's quite a mouthful for identifying an action figure. I suppose Hasbro didn't have the rights to just "Budo" and had to add the Samurai Warrior to still be able to identify the character.

In his original ARAH version, he just had a funky samurai helmet and a hook on his belt to hang his sword. This new version is full-on samurai warrior. Armored plates on the arms, protective skirt and robe/jacket and an impressive samurai helmet with huge antlers to top off his uniform.

The figure looks incredible. Hasbro did an amazing job with all of the attention to detail on his gear. He looks very much like a traditional samurai warrior. So how does that make him as an action figure?

Skip the action.

His legs are barely movable, even with the fancy new feet. There's just no range of motion to put him in any sort of action pose. His arms have limited articulation due to the upper arm guards. And the helmet doesn't too well, either!

He looks like a nice guy, though. Underneath all that gear is a decent head sculpt. 

But how useful is he in this state in a modern combat unit? Not very. There is only so much he can do with all this gear on.

I don't think he would be ready for combat against a horde of BATs.

While reading various reviews of him across the web, I noticed that his skin tone was darker than the standard Caucasian soldier. He seemed to be much closer in skin tones to the newest version of Flint.

So I bought an extra Ultimate Flint and Budo and did the head swap. Not bad.


The camera really picked up the distinct differences between the skin tones, but in hand, they aren't very noticeable. At least not to my old blurry eyes. A quick vest switch and he's altered enough to change his role from Budo Samurai Warrior to Budo Combat Specialist.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ultimate Roadblock - Wave 3.5

Roadrock, I mean Roadblock, gets a serious update in this fourth version of the Rock's character from GI Joe: Retaliation. This first version was the single carded nightmare with the thing molded into his hand. Plus limited articulation. Good torso sculpting, though. The second version came from one of the first two 3-packs of figures. better hands, but crappier skin tones and paint apps.

The third version finally got Roadblock headed in the right direction. He came with the "battle kata" system of weapons. Pretty cool stuff, but those thigh holsters were just crazy.

Now we have the "Ultimate" version of Roadblock. He's still got the battle kata gear, but he also comes with some cool extras. Thankfully, he doesn't have the huge thigh holsters and has a more suitably sized holster for a regular pistol. His vest still holds all of his battle kata gear and his belt still holds the grips, so that's till pretty cool. 

Careful with those pieces, they're so small, they're almost pre-lost. A baton, two small blades, two large blades, two grips, and the two pistol mounts round out the battle kata system. I wonder what the deal was with all of this stuff? I don't recall any of it from the movie. There were hints of it with RB's fight with Firefly, but that was so quick.

I think it was planned, Hasbro made the toy plans, and it was scrapped from the movie. Probably something to do with the "training with Snake Eyes" comment during the movie.


New are sculpts and new paint apps create a more movie accurate version of Roadblock. But what about that face? What the hell happened? Was the Indiana Jones action figure crew in charge of the eye painting? Yikes! What a mess! Fortunately, version 3's head matches nicely with this new version's skin tone and it just works better. I'll have to add a new picture later.

Fully loaded with his battle kata gear, Roadblock looks pretty dang cool. Plus he's such a huge figure - very imposing when compared to other Joe figures.

I don't have him front of me as I write, so I'll have to rely on the pictures and memory in regards to all of the extra gear. He comes with an awesome M-249 SAW that he can easily hold with a two handed grip.

Hasbro did a really nice job with this weapon. Is it new? I'm not sure if it has ever been used before. It's a really nice piece and it works much better than the other huge machine gun that he comes with.

Speaking of the big beast, Hasbro did a great job on the sculpting of the 50 cal. It's huge and impressive. It also comes apart. The barrel comes off, along with the handle. The trigger unit also comes off quite easily.

If you're not a purist with your toys, I would recommend gluing it together. There's also a belt of bullets to feed into the side of the big beast.

Roadblock can hold it easily enough, but the firing mechanism, while more accurate, is a little awkward to hold.

It's one of the best sculpted heavy machine guns that has ever come with a Roadblock figure throughout the entire small figure toy run. The first version was iconic and worked quite well with the original Roadblock. Subsequent guns just kept getting bigger and bigger.

The coolest aspect of the big 50 cal is that it fits into the gun mounts on the new Tomahawk. It really looks cool, too! There's still the problem of the Tomahawk being actually undersized for the new figures. It's almost undersized for the 50 cal as well. The rear of it just sticks so far back into the cabin. Looks good, though.

I suppose it would be justification to pick up another Roadblock for another 50 cal for the other side. Plus another bad-ass M-249 SAW.

Another great feature of Ultimate Roadblock is the paint app of the Rock's upper arm tattoo on his left bicep. It's a pretty decent match for something so small and is well done. 

The paint apps on my figure are a bit sloppy. The edge of the molded sleeve and the painted edge of the sleeve don't seem to match up.

The bigger question for me remains if this guy is actually Roadblock in my bizarre GI Joe world. I've integrated figures from nearly all of the modern spins on GI Joe - from 25th to Rise of Cobra to Resolute to Pursuit of Cobra to 30th to Renegades to Retaliation. There have been quite a few different versions of various characters. A modern version of Roadblock made a couple laughable appearances in the 25th line. 

Along comes a RoC version exclusive to Walmart that later got reused in the Resolute line. That version kicked ass and really remains my standard for Roadblock. A big and bulky figure that just looks the part. I really don't want to give up that figure as Roadblock.

Don't get me wrong, Dwayne Johnson did a great job as Roadblock in the film, but I don't really want to use him as Roadblock in my twisted toy world. Maybe one day I'll figure out how he can be a different character.

Hey, why can't he be Sgt. Dwayne Johnson, code name: Rock? Works for me!