One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to the way some folks have approached G.I. Joe is that everyone seems so hung up on re-doing vintage figures they don’t leave room for new concepts. Hasbro, in my opinion, has been doing a good job, especially with this recent rendition of their 50th Anniversary line, to explore new ideas as well as revisiting some classic looks.
We got great versions of Gung Ho and Storm Shadow, but also a brand new character in Sightline, and a whole new team in the Wolf Squad. It’s enough to satisfy two different camps. With this “Sneak Attack” 3-Pack there are some new concepts brought to the table, though I’m not sure how successful they all are.
Hasbro elected to put together a different parts formula for Bazooka rather than rely on his 25th Anniversary version, and from a sculpting perspective, I’m glad they did, though using the Retaliation Roadblock parts makes the character a lot larger and more muscular than he might otherwise be perceived to be. The larger base figure also makes the head look pretty small sitting on top of those tall, broad shoulders.
Bazooka uses the torso and arms from Ultimate/Battle Kata Roadblock, but uses the legs from the Wave 1 Roadblock, which unfortunately has reduced knee articulation. Of course, the original Bazooka did as well. One nice thing about the use of the Roadblock Torso is that the split-torso joint is far enough down on the body so the entire “14” from his football jersey sits above it, which means no unsightly split in the middle of the numbers. I like that aspect a lot.
What has me scratching my head, just a bit, is the paint scheme. Designers went outside the box a little bit with the paint apps here, going with a darker blue and very light blue camouflage scheme for reasons unknown. Now, G.I. Joe in the past has certainly been known to use strange camouflage colors and patterns, so I don’t have any major issues with those decisions necessarily, but I do wish some reason had been used for it. Bazooka’s super light (almost white) blue jersey with powder blue numbers doesn’t really resemble anything specifically (though at JoeCon, Mark Weber mentioned, tongue firmly in cheek, that perhaps this was Bazooka’s “away jersey”). The colors here are somewhat bright, though not obnoxiously so, I just wish some reason was given for the eclectic choices. His pants are blue and white camouflage, which might work for a water based operative or parajumper (in fact on one of my early customs, I used a blue and white “Cloud” type camouflage for a parajumper) but Bazooka is really neither.
Again, though, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time a G.I. Joe figure was given a bright, odd color scheme, and it hasn’t bothered me terribly in the past. I think the reason it gives me more pause now is that G.I. Joe in recent years has tried hard to make itself more grounded, and this feels like a departure from that, but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Heck, I’m just glad to see a figure that isn’t meticulously tied back to how the figure looked 30 years ago.
Bazooka comes with lots of his familiar gear, including his excellent backpack with four removable bazooka rounds, plus the bazooka that the rounds can actually fit into. He has his trusty helmet with chin strap, and in case he fires all four rounds, he has a nice tactical shotgun as his backup weapon. Not a ton of gear, but enough and it all works well for the character.
Bazooka’s portrayal in the Sunbow animated series had always soured me on the character, but I’ve learned to appreciate what the cartoon writers were doing with all of these over-the-top characterizations of some of these guys. He’ll never be a character that is central to my G.I. Joe mythology, and this update doesn’t blow me away. I think it makes sense to get Bazooka out there in the same year as characters like Shipwreck, Alpine, Dusty, Gung Ho, and Spirit and it’s quite interesting to stand back and look at this collected group of vintage favorites and see how things have changed.