G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Roadblock (Dojo Battle 3-Pack)
In the immortal words of Jay-Z...
...what the hell are these things in my hands and why can't I put them down?
Yes, that's right, G.I. Joe fans. This version of Roadblock, which I assume is the same basic tooling as the initial single-pack release, has his "Battle Kata" weapon system embedded into a fixed-grasp, and the weapons do not come out.
Now, you would think "all is not lost"! I've got some spare hands I can throw on there. No problem.
Well, it turns out... kind of a problem. I know, I know... "just swap out the hands". And yes, that works in some cases. But you have to find the right hands. It took some experimenting, but it appears that any hands with the multi-joint wrists should work. I tested several standard swivel-wrists, but they were no good, even the large hands you see above that belong to Night Adder. But then I tried Retaliation Snake Eyes, and they worked, mostly thanks to a larger "knob" on the end. I also tried PoC Snake Eyes and PoC Low Light and they both worked as well. Now, I would love it if he came with open hands to begin with, but the fact is, if you're willing to work at it, you can come up with suitable replacements, which improves the figure dramatically.
Now as you can see above, depending on what hand you use, you'll likely have to deal with a little "bulb" action at the wrist (similar to the original Renegades Duke). Most figures with these multi-joint wrists have some sculpting on the end of the arm so the bulb isn't quite so evident, but when it's not there, you can really see the funky shape the added articulation gives the figure. Not a deal breaker, though, and still my preference over having no functional hands whatsoever.
But, please keep in mind...these are pre-production samples. THINGS COULD CHANGE. Things very well might change. A quick look at a couple images from Toy Fair would certainly indicate that as well:
As we can all see, in Toy Fair images for the 3-pack version, both hands are open. The Toy Fair images for the single pack version has one hand open. So, will the final versions come with swappable hands? Will the final boxed version actually only come with open hands? At this point it is impossible to tell. Again, this is a pre-production version of the figure, and it is VERY possible things will change by the time these hit retail. It seems very unlikely that Hasbro would have open-hands tooled up on these figures at Toy Fair and not include them with final release, but time will tell.
From the perspective of this review, though, I can only go by what I have in hand, and what I have in hand is a mixture of elation, impressiveness, but also some crushing disappointment.
My first reaction to this figure was elation, to be honest. The face sculpt is a truly awesome rendition of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Roadblock. It looks just like him. The musculature was amazing, too. His shoulders, pectorals, and vein-covered biceps are loaded with professional wrestler type excrutiatingly realistic details that emphasize just how huge this guy is. And it's not just his musculature...I stood him up next to the Resolute Roadblock, which is already a large figure, and WOW. He's a monster.
Sporting a skin tight tank top, sculpted shoulder straps, and pretty basic combat pants, this version of Roadblock is truly a sight to behold. He is insanely well sculpted and even for being a "basic" figure design looks amazing and impressive.
But of course, the hands could make or break this figure entirely. If Hasbro finds a way to include open hands with this figure, it will almost totally redefine my impressions from "okay" to "awesome", but if he comes like this... it will be disappointing. Granted, the option for swapping hands out redeems it to a degree, but such a decision seems unnecessary.
I didn't even discuss the whole knee or ankle situation yet either. Now, to be honest, I don't mind it a whole lot here. I'm surprised by the fact that I don't mind it. His knee bends remarkably well for only being single-jointed. The lack of ankle articulation is disconserting, but really it's not a deal breaker. I still love my vintage figures, and none of them have double-jointed knees or ankle joints. So really, based on that, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, this figure rocks (no pun intended) with the exception of the hands.
I love the paint apps, too. While his skin tone is oddly a bit more Caucasian than the single pack version, his black pants, black tank top, and awesome black camouflage gives off a very cool "night ops" vibe. Of course everyone has probably already seen the Arashikage symbol on his shirt. I'm not exactly sure what to take from that beyond what we know about his Arashikage training for the second film. At least there is no tattoo!
As I already mentioned, you have to give or take the idea that these accessories are all paired with the right character. The press images and Toy Fair images had these accessories lined up with Roadblock, so I gotta figure this is how it's supposed to work.
Of course the press images also had him holding these weapons with open hands, so....
Now, what is a big deal is that Roadblock comes with some neat accessories.
And he can't hold any of them.
What the heck?
This seems only to further prove the fact that perhaps the final version will come with some open hands. I can't fathom the idea that Hasbro would release this 3-Pack with the keystone, main character figure, having weapons permanently afixed to his hand, and they aren't even compatible with any of the included weapons. That seems nonsensical. Truly nonsensical. Neither the chain gun nor the rocket launcher has a hole that fits his hand-attachments, so as it stands, he truly cannot hold these weapons at all. Weird.
We'll see what the end result is, as I said, I can't imagine Hasbro would release the figure to retail like this.
He also comes with the very cool Resolute era pouched vest that fits very nicely, but these facts are somewhat overwhelmed by the hand situation.
So yeah. There are so many great things with this figure. So many very cool aspects that it almost pains me to think the hands would ruin that. Hasbro has shown fantastic design sense over the past couple of years, I wouldn't think that would take such a drastic left turn at this point, but time will tell. If Roadblock does come with open hands of some sort, it would greatly enhance my love for the figure, even with some articulation issues in his lower legs. Now if his legs had full articulation as well as open hands? Well, it would be a whole other story.
Obviously I feel like I focused a lot of attention here on the hands, because the way they are here is very disappointing. But I do want to emphasize that beyond this hand issue, the figure is remarkably cool, even with limited articulation. I desperately hope the retail release offers an opportunity for a figure that can actually hold some guns and that this very basic functionality isn't sacrificed in the name of a "play feature" that doesn't even work with the included gear.
Hasbro, you can do better....hopefully you did do better.
(With afixed hands)
(With open hands)