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Heavy Duty

GI Joe Sigma 6
by yo go re

When the Sigma 6 line started, old Joe fans were a bit uneasy about what had been done to their old favorites. Duke was a young punk. Spirit looked ridiculous. And for some reason, Roadblock had been renamed Heavy Duty!

Heavy Duty began as a weapons support operative in low-security missions. His extreme physical strength quickly made him the top choice for covert ops teams who needed someone to overcome heavily reinforced buildings and large enemy forces. He volunteered to work with the advanced systems division so that he could learn everything there is to know about weaponry, both existing systems and those in development. Both his systems expertise and his raw strength were instrumental in ending a siege at a heavily barricaded facility. His superior knowledge of how to overcome solid obstacles and powerful enemies made him a top choice for the Sigma 6 Team.

Okay, so this isn't really Roadblock with a new name: there was an obscure old Joe with the name first released in 1991. When the 3¾" figures returned to the mass market in 2002, Heavy Duty had taken Roadblock's spot on the team as the big black guy with a giant gun. Must have been some sort of trademark issue or something. Anyway, Heavy Duty quickly became a familiar name, which is why he was one of the first figures released in the new 8" line.

Roadblock Heavy Duty is absolutely huge. Sigma 6 is an 8"-scale line, and he stands 9" tall. The design aesthetic of the figures make them look like they all share the same body, but Heavy Duty disproved that right away. His body armor just covers his torso, so he can show off the big guns. His pants are real cloth, with working pockets, a snap fly and a belt that clips shut. Softgoods never really work right on action figures, but Heavy Duty is just big enough to make the trousers look not terrible.

Heavy Duty also wears removable green goggles and an orange bandana (plastic, not softgoods). His head is bald, but he's got a goatee and an angry look in his eye. There's a bandaid on the bridge of his nose, which seems like a very "anime" feature - which isn't uncalled for, considering the line's stylistic influence. Maybe his goggles chafe. The bandana has notches so it fits over his ears, but it can be a bit tough to get the goggles lined up properly when it's in place.

The main reason Heavy Duty feels like the "Emergency Backup Roadblock" is that he's got a definite Roadblock kind of weapon: a giant Gatling gun. Okay, technically it's a plasma cannon with a cold fusion backpack generator [it generates cold fusion backpacks? --ed.], but that's just blustery toy-speak: you know, trying to make the weapon sound both more powerful and less deadly. It's a huge Gatling gun with a belt running from a backpack: he's armed like Vulcan Raven.

The backpack clips around Heavy Duty's chest, and is hollow inside. A lid on the top flips open so you can load one of two power cores - blue plasma or green pulse - and the design is very nice. There's a padded brace that presses against Heavy Duty's back, since carrying something this heavy would have to hurt, and there appears to be a metal frame giving the whole device support. It's all just molded plastic, of course, but looks real.

The gun itself is less realistic, but not entirely outlandish. It's 8½" long, features a removable missile launcher (with blue and green missiles, matching the backpack's power cores), a two-piece green handguard and a real spinning gun barrel: twist the dial until it clicks, then press the tigger and the barrels spin. It's a surprisingly long spin, too. The sound the mechanism makes and the way it makes the gun shake around just add to the illusion of it actually firing. It's very cool. The gun and backpack are connected by a 9" ammo belt which clips in place easily.

The figure has the typical Sigma 6 articulation, which means balljoints, balljoints, balljoints. Since his arms are larger than average, he has the added benefit of bicep swivel, which helps him look more natural when he's holding the gun. It's not really necessary, since the elbows are balljoints and therefore already take care of that kind of movement, so it's nice that Hasbro gave us the joints just to make the figure look nicer.

Heavy Duty may have started out as the poor man's Roadblock, but ever since the Joe line restarted, he's really come into his own. Granted, it's not like he's had a big role to play in the comics, but he did show up in the "World War III" story (looking exactly like this) and he'll be appearing in next year's live-action film, which may just cement him as one of the "important" Joes. Whether you want to call this figure Roadblock or Heavy Duty, it's still a good toy with a really impressive accessory.


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