Review by Optimal III
Most things I loved as a child and still love now hold the same place in my heart. But G.I. Joe is the one where I love it way more now than I did as a kid. I had my fair share of toys, and the animated movie is awesome to this day. But it's only recently I've discovered the Marvel Comics series.
Holy crap! If you don't know, it's one of the greatest things you've never read. Go fix that right now!
Anyways, I've been primed for a bigger & better toy line. And after a decade of relative silence, which I'll talk about, Hasbro has pulled the trigger. G.I. Joe: Classified is here, and I'm one of the lucky few to have most of the toys. They're numbered too, so I'm starting with 01, everyone's favorite rhyming machine gunner & chef, Roadblock.
The packaging is slick & straightforward. A big, clear window shows everything off up front. A nice piece of art anchors the bottom right corner. And there's a small backdrop inside.
Between the sides & back, you get more art and a number designation. They're making Roadblock look great, and the back really has me excited. Everything catches my eye. I especially spy lots of vehicles and Alley Vipers. I am hyped.
But I'm definitely missing the bio. Hasbro was the best at that, and even though a video game is coming out sharing these designs, this overall approach seems like it'll appeal to long-time fans rather than new ones or kids. Not sure that's sustainable. Time will tell.
The biggest thing Classified has fans talking about is the scale. Hasbro has abandoned 3.75-inches for 6-inch. I'm game, since I find small toys hard to enjoy without some kind of gimmick, transforming for example. Others are fussing because of what this means for price & space, especially if vehicles are planned. So it's definitely a point of preference. But it definitely opens the door for details.
Roadblock looks like a modern version of his second figure, with the green & red vest. I like the sculpting, and it's a nice change of pace to have someone like this in a uniform and gear, rather than a costume. Besides the shin guards and knee pad, everything looks real and/or tactical. Not a ton of sci-fi here, which was the make-or-break for a lot of people with SIGMA 6.
He used to have just the mustache, and has picked up a beard since. Still looks like Roadblock, and looks good. Distinct head and face all round. So it works.
His attire is simple. Boots, a tactical vest, and gloves. There are some non-functional pouches here and there.
Not sure how Classified will scale internally, but Roadblock looks at home amongst his 80's peers, vintage and modern.
Another thing 6-inch opens the door to is way more articulation. SIGMA 6 did it before with 8-inches, but there's something really nice about having it with Joes & Cobras we know and love. Almost every joint you'd want for $20 is here. So Roadblock can interact with everything in his personal space, to great effect. The double-knee & double-elbow joints are especially nice, the former being really stiff.
Some people have complained of loose ab crunches, but if my Roadblock is that way, his vest keeps things tight.
For accessories, Roadblock has a knife. The grip isn't symmetrical, but the blade is, so it fits in the sheath in his vest turned either way.
Aside to enjoy a nice lion tattoo. Certainly nice as toy tattoos go.
He has an ammo clip. Nowhere to store it on his person, but...
...it does fit into his gun. Fits either way.
There are multiple ways for him to hold it, but underslung seems the most natural. And it's well made. Sturdy, well painted & sculpted. But it exemplifies the other thing people are talking about: sci-fi.
Imagination is just that, so you decide whether this gun spits hot lead or hot plasma. Could go either way plausibly. But many fans want things to be more simple, grounded, realistic. Me, I'm fine with the gun. But I'm not completely sold on the leg adornments. So for me, let's say 80/20, real & grounded to over the top.
Here's Roadblock with Heavy Duty (probably supposed to be Roadblock, but Hasbro had rights issues with his name at the time) from SIGMA 6 to give you an idea. Cool in many ways, but definitely lots of anime/sci-fi stuff going on there.
I think the aesthetics in play are good or bad based on your tastes. And Hasbro seems committed (so far), something G.I. Joe as a brand has lacked outside of the IDW comics for over 20 years. But for me, this is a really cool action figure, and I'm excited for what the future holds in G.I. Joe: Classified.
If you're interested and can find Roadblock for $20, I think you'll be happy.
Emphasis on that first part though, possibly the biggest issue Classified has. The toys are next to impossible to find anywhere. I recommend online (Amazon, BigBadToyStore, Hasbo Pulse), but even that's iffy. And scalpers aren't helping at all.
I suspect two problems are in play. First, Hasbro grossly underestimated demand. Second, physical retailers did the same thing and aren't committed. So it's been a #### show. I pre-ordered Roadblock with the rest of wave 1 at BBTS, but the arrival date kept getting pushed back. I finally cancelled after finding other avenues, Roadblock being at my local Wal-Mart. Worked out for me, but lots of fans aren't that patient and are giving up on the line already.
Lots to consider. But even so, Roadblock gets a solid "YO JOE!" in my book.
|Posted 25 August, 2020 - 08:48 by Optimal III|