GI Joe Classified B.A.T addendum

According to yo in today's review, the Classified Series Battle Android Trooper is a disappointment, because it looks too much like the vintage figure.

What could have been done to make it a better toy? Let's look.

The original BAT was released in 1986; in 1991, Hasbro released what is popularly known as the "BAT v2," a new sculpt done in a rather ghastly orange and neon green. That same '91 mold was reused for a 2003 internet exclusive, painted in the traditional black and yellow. That combo made it possible to both look like a BAT and to not look exactly like the original BAT - proving that what we wanted for the Classified figure is doable. But we also don't want an exact copy of this figure, so let's continue.

(This is from Super7's Super Cyborg line, which is still the standard G1 design, but offers something interesting: if Hasbro was intent on doing a removable panel on the chest, why not make it the full chest itself? Being able to remove the full chest to reveal more of the mechanics inside would have been a change from the vintage toy, and better than the blank black slate we got.)

This is very similar to the standard look, but the larger alternate weapon hand on the right leg and the inclusion of a yellow tactical vest make it slightly different. Hasbro could have attached the vest padding to the removable chestplate, giving an excuse for not showing the internal workings at all times.

The limbs on this one are more mechanical, and the belt has been turned into part of a tactical harness. The patterns remain the same: a yellow strap (with grenades hanging from it) extends up the chest and around the neck, though that part is more of a collar here. This design even would have left the chest panel exposed, so Hasbro could still do the swappable plates if they wanted to. Adding a visor pushed onto the forehead above the faceplate is a cool idea, too.

This concept makes the belt more modern, with a Cobra sigil buckle in the center, and adds a framework over the exposed machinery in the chest. The silver on the head now extends to the top of the head, which is definitely a change, but the addition of glowing ports on the joints of the arms is a cool element.

This custom by Stronox uses G3 parts to create a modern take on the BAT design. The chest is armored, which could have been done for the Classified toy's chestplate, and there are nice Cobra sigils on the yellow shoulderpads. There are still straps over the shoulders, plus small mechanical parts hanging in various spots.

Or maybe they could have used some work they'd already paid for. Or been paid for, as the case may be. IDW's Real American Hero #230 introduced the BAT v6, as designed by regular series artist SL Gallant.

As a licensed book, everything in the comic had to be approved by Hasbro, and belongs to them after, so this design is already something Hasbro has control of in their library, and thus is perfectly available to be made into a toy.

So as you can see, there are many options for creating a B.A.T. that is instantly identifiable as a B.A.T., without having to merely up-scale the 1986 figure. Why, then, did Hasbro take the worst possible route for their new toy?

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5 Responses to GI Joe Classified B.A.T addendum

  1. James says:

    "Why, then, did Hasbro take the worst possible route for their new toy?"

    Because when G.I.Joe Classified figures first came out, there was a lot of backlash about the characters looking too much like they came out of a video game (which to my understanding, they partially did) and about their sci-fi weapons. "These aren't *my* G.I.Joes", lots of people would complain. So, of course, Hasbro relented and gave them *exactly* what they asked for: upscaled versions of 3.75" figures they grew up with, even though IMO it moved the needle too far in the other direction.

    And, of course, just upscaling an old 3.75" figure is a lot less design work, so it's also cheaper. =/

    • Ai Muhao says:

      Yeah, I do recall not really digging Scarlett's design when I saw it on the shelves long ago. It wasn't BAD or anything, but compared to Cobra Commander or Destro I personally did feel like the Joes kinda sorta looked like, as you said, they came out of a video game. The fact that those designs were used for that G.I.Joe video game from a couple years back didn't help.

      Not too fond of the B.A.T., though. That black blank plate on the chest really bugs me, since I do feel that seeing some sort of splash of colour there is an integral part of the design. I guess it'd be kind of like having an Optimus Prime that doesn't have the traditional window pecs + grill abdomen combo?

      • yo go re says:

        Yeah, but it was mainly the guns and the neon lights on the armor people disliked, not the overall designs as a whole; you can fix those without needing to lazily re-do the '80s...

  2. Well now I just want a Classified BAT v2 in neon complementary colors!

    • Ai Muhao says:

      You know, I'm not that into this B.A.T. design, but I might go for that. Like, I don't much like this B.A.T. design because I just don't feel that "cheap, easily assembled and deployed cannon fodder" idea that was part of their characterisation back in the old days.

      I mean, yeah, the bio for the Classified B.A.T.s says these ones aren't supposed to be like those old ones, but having them done in really eye-searing neon colours would really sell the idea that Cobra is going, "Yeah, we know there's no way you can miss these things coming for you. But you know what? That's not gonna help you anyway."

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