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Buzzer

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

You have to admit, college classes would be a lot more engaging if the instructor was waving a chainsaw around the whole time.

Buzzer was an extreme left-wing Cambridge sociology don who went to Australia to research the biker gang phenomenon only to be transformed into the very object of his research. Years of intellectual displeasure and extreme indignation at society's two-faced morality manifested into the intense desire to chainsaw apart the expensive geegaws of technological society.

...I thought the Dreadnoks were supposed to be the baddies? Because wanting to violently tear apart signs of conspicuous consumption is perhaps the most relatable thing ever. We've got actual US servicemen out here immolating themselves because it's the only way to protest America openly supporting a genocide, and we're supposed to think Buzzer's a villain because he wants to take out his generalized frustration on inanimate objects? Buzzer's been planned for this line long enough that he had an entry back when they used to have a website: "Buzzer is the well-educated brains of the Dreadnoks who acts out his complete distrust of society through destruction and mayhem. He loves books, but is happiest in battle, thrashing vehicles and wreaking havoc on everything around him with his diamond-toothed chainsaw." And that's why his stats are Mercenary 2, Bladed Weapons 3, Science 1, PsyOps 2. Because he's a smarty!

While all the Dreadnoks wore glasses, the old cartoon colored Buzzer's gray (or at least light blue), which I, as a kid, always read as him wearing actual glasses, not sunglasses - an interpretation that was only solidified when I learned he'd been a professor. Annoying, then, that this is the first Buzzer ever to have black lenses in his specs. The glasses are also a separate piece, which would probably be fine if they actually fit over both ears, instead of being too short to properly reach behind the right. They should have just been sculpted on.

A surprising amount of this sculpt is reused, though it's all nearly unrecognizable. If we didn't mention it right now, would you have guess that Buzzer completely reuses Destro's legs? The pelvis is new, because who else is going to have a big crotch-plate and a skull-and-crossbones belt buckle, but the shirt? It's not identical, but the starting point for the digital sculpt was Shipwreck's torso. Like, the collar has been changed, Buzzer has some dog tags sticking out of his pocket, that strap running over his shoulder is molded on for some reason, but every wrinkle and button is the same for Richard Blinken-Smythe as it was for good ol' Hector Delgado. His bare arms suggest that maybe the Crimson Twins are secretly the Crimson Triplets, or at least that they've shared their workout routine with Buzzer.

He does get the ripped edges where his shirt sleeves have been torn off, and pieces around his wrists to make the upper edges of his gloves - his left wrist, in fact, even gets a wider piece that has a watch on it. The vintage 1985 toy had strange padding on its legs, black areas broken up by horizontal gaps; this figure has cleverly interpretted that as being smooth armored plates held on by straps running over them. Keeps the visual, but increases the physical logic. Neat! If Hasbro had wanted to do any other advancements over the old design, they could have given him something like the armored shoulder pad he wore in G3, or the red baseball cap he picked up during the IDW comics run (which I, personally, like to assume was meant to show us that he was self-conscious about losing his hair - Buzzer's always had a rather severe widow's peak, and eventually that ponytail is going to stop fooling people).

Considering how many of his parts are shared with other figures, it would be weird if Buzzer had different articulation from them. Wait, sorry, he's from Cambridge and moved to Australia, I should probably say different "to" them, becase Brits just have an adorably baffled relationship with the language they invented. You can't be "different to" something any more than you could be "similar from" it. He has swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, pectoral hinges, hinged and balljointed neck, and a balljointead head. They should have done his ponytail as a plug-in piece with a swivel, so you could turn it out of the way and tip his head back. Plus, since the strap for his grenades is sculpted on rather than being its own piece, it gets out of alignment if you move the waist even slightly.

All the Dreadnoks had their own signature weapons, and Buzzer's was a chainsaw. Or more accurately, a chainsaw blade attached to a rifle stock. That was what he carried all the way through Generation 1 and Generation 2, but the 25th Anniversary Collection turned that into just a regular chainsaw (with flames painted on it). This one is mostly normal, though it does have a rear grip like the Terminator's minigun, which is not standard equipment as far as I'm aware. He gets a knife and a small pistol that can both be stowed on his legs, and a weapon that's a throwback to the 1985 toy: it's basically an axe head attached to a flail, which seems preposterously dangerous for the wielder. Then, rather than the gas tank backpack every other Buzzer has come with, there's a kitbashed axe made by affixing two halves of a circular saw to the sides of a baseball bat with a spike on the end. Okay, sure. That's something new, and it fits with his gimmick; change approved!

It's very cool that we're getting Classified Dreadnoks (even if it means I'm going to have to start looking for 1:12 scale motorcycles now), but a couple little oddities keep Buzzer from being his best. His glasses should have been sculpted on (or we should have gotten an alternate head), there should have been articulation for his ponytail, the strap on his chest should have been separate, he should have come with his old backpack and gas tank in addition to all the things he already comes with. This toy is good, but it could have been better.

-- 03/01/24


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