G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary - Blowtorch
For every good thing I said about Low Light's re-introduction to retail with his inclusion in the 50th Anniversary line, the exact opposite can be said of Blowtorch. I have absolutely no idea why anyone at Hasbro thought it would be a good idea to take a figure that already had a redundant second release, then go ahead and give us a redundant third release. It makes no sense whatsoever.
Even when the Pursuit of Cobra line gave us yet another Blowtorch, I was left scratching my head and wondering what it was about the G.I. Joe flamethrower that made him popular enough to re-release in just a slightly adjusted paint scheme. Certainly rumors ran wild about a green "running change" and they turned out to be more than rumors when actually carded samples were seen in images (and later in physical form at the JoeDeClassified booth in Dallas this year). Alas, the running changes never came to pass, and instead we were just stuck with another yellow and red Blowtorch.
As if that wasn't bad enough, now we have a third.
This version of Blowtorch is an exact 100% duplicate of the Pursuit of Cobra version, right down to the shade of yellow and red, the color of his oxygen mask, and all of the different accessories he comes with. As with Low Light the only real discernible difference is the gold star emblem on one shoulder. Yes, like Low Light there is a plastic quality difference, but it doesn't significantly impact what you can do with the figure.
Of course, as has been the issue since the 25th Anniversary line, my main issue with this figure is that you really can't do much with the figure. The bulky sculpting limits the elbow articulation quite a bit, and the odd slope of his wrists means he cannot hold any of his weapons very effectively. You end up with a G.I. Joe flamethrower that comes with some pretty neat accessories, but he looks silly holding any of them. He cannot hold either weapon two-handed, and can generally only muster a weak point at the floor.
As mentioned, Blowtorch comes with the same stuff the Pursuit of Cobra version did, including the main weapon and backpack (which does hold the flamethrower), his helmet, oxygen mask, assault rifle, two mines, an axe, and another separate oxygen tank. It's a pretty nice selection of accessories that would be pretty neat if the figure could effectively hold them all. The helmet and oxygen mask both work quite nicely together, which is good, but most of the good ends there, and when you end up with three redundant versions of the same somewhat limited figure, the good points quickly start fading away.
I know what Hasbro was thinking... they were thinking (erroneously) that since HEAT Viper was a flame trooper, they needed another flame trooper to go up against him. Except HEAT Viper isn't a flame trooper. And heck, if they wanted to keep the flame theme, why not use the great formula for the 30th Anniversary Barbecue we saw in the concept case? It wouldn't have required any new tooling, and would have been far better received than yet another Blowtorch.