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Heavy Artillery Roadblock

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

Boy, it sure would have been nice to know about this figure before it sold out.

A one-man wrecking crew, Roadblock lives up to his codename with exceptional strength and the courage to stand and face any threat. Loves massive weapons with awesome stopping power and is the foremost expert in heavy weaponry. A gentle giant and a foodie at heart, with a passion for fine meals and culinary arts.

Okay, if that bio is going to paint Roadblock as the be-all and end-all of "heavy weapons guys" (which he is), then why are his stats Vanguard 4, Heavy Weapons 3, Strength 4, and Artillery 4? Always on the front lines? Yes, give him a 4. Immense physical power? Yes again. Powerful weapons to destroy targets? Yeah, sure, but there are artillery specialists who do it better. So why not give him Heavy Weapons 4 and Artillery 3? Looking at the website, no one on either the Joe or Cobra sides have a 4 in Heavy Weapons, so Roadblock should be at the top of the heap.

This is, amazingly, the third Roadblock in the GI Joe Classified line. Three Four Snake-Eyes, three Cobra Commanders... and three Roadblocks. Why him? He was one of the first few characters released (#01, in fact), then showed up again as the only Target exclusive you ever saw in-store, and now as this Amazon exclusive.

The first Roadblock was, like the other early figures, a new design that built on what we'd seen before. Unfortunately, this release is his more classic look - unfortunate, because "the same thing, but bigger" is not a healthy direction for any toyline to take. It's a creative dead end, a cul-de-sac with nowhere to go. Here's the thing you saw before, slavishly re-created in a new scale! Why innovate when you can duplicate! This 2020s figure is wearing the exact clothes as the 1984 figure, he just stands 6" tall instead of 3¾". Whoop-de-doo!

So what are those clothes? A green camo tank top and pants that are so brown they're verging on orange. How do you update that into something suitable for the Classified line? I don't know, I haven't thought about it. Resolute did it, Renegades did it, fricking SpyTroops did it, Classified could have done it. You don't need to just copy what already exists. Duke never had a green band across his shoulders until now, that's the kind of change we're talking about: keep the idea, but change the specifics. Roadblock doesn't even get any of the fancy armor or the little comms devices all the other Joes have worn. Is he even on the team?

He does get the usual articulation, so that's good. Classified figures have 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. The legs and arms are reused, but his torso is new since no one else has been wearing this kind of shirt (it also makes him slightly taller than the other two Roadblocks). He's weirdly got a new left knee, since these legs always had a single kneepad before; that seems like a minor thing to worry about.

The original Roadbloack(s) came with some sort of futuristic rail gun, which was just too much of a departure from Marvin's typical .50 cal. Like, yes, "big gun" </Ragnarok Hulk voice>, but it's supposed to be a big style of gun, not just any humongous weapon. This one still doesn't get a Browning M2, but rather a fairly mundane minigun that's also used in the Breaker/RAM set. The barrel can be turned, and there's a removable ammo drum that can attach to bottom (which the motorcycle one lacked). He's also got a realistic pistol that fits in the holster on his right leg, and a helmet that's simple, but nicely detailed. Still, we don't want "real" weapons; this is a fantasy military property, we want stuff that could be used a couple years into the future.

Really, the dumb gun was the only bad thing about the first Classified Roadblock. His costume was a cool update of the "v2" 1986 figure, which is about a thousand times more creative than this one. Yeah, I like the 84 design better. Always have. But if you're not going to do anything creative with it, there's no damn point in bothering to update. We don't want taller versions of things that existed when we were children, we want something better. This is just half-assed.

-- 04/29/22

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