Introduced in 1986, Cobra Battle Android Troopers (B.A.T.S.) were created by Dr. Mindbender as cheap automated troops that could perform as well as regular troops for Cobra. They come with exchangeable parts and modular weapons like flamethrowers, machine guns, and mechanical claws. The spiritual antecedent of the Cobra S.N.A.K.E who in the 1980s cartoon series were not body armour worn by Cobra troops but robots who fought on the battlefield. The B.A.T.S. are much more movable and useful, even though they wear shirts, pants, and boots, like humans.
If Corridor Crew’s spoofs of Boston Dynamics’ artificial intelligence robots does impress you on the potential of AI-based combatants, nothing will. As usual, G.I. Joe lore takes current technology just a bit further in nearby science fiction. The B.A.T.S. showed us the possibility of AI troops decades ago, and they are here today in their G.I. Joe Classified form to continue the old storyline.
Of course, B.A.T.S. are the classic army builders with so many possible variants possible that buying several will man one heck of a cool squad. Hasbro’s propensity to reuse moulds has already made them release two variants of the B.A.T.S. There is one for the Python Patrol sub team, and a Crimson Guard variant that is already available in Europe. It will be easy to army-build Battle Android Troopers in the future.
When the G.I. Joe Classified line started in 2020, Hasbro was willing to update the designs extensively. Many collectors rejected the updated looks and asked for 1:12 reproductions of 1:18 action figures from their youth. Hasbro understood the rejection of its first few waves and adjusted its offering. The Battle Android Troopers are a direct response to that being nearly 1:12 scaled clones of their 1:18 counterparts. Now, there is still some level of reimagining and improvement from the old kids’ toys with the new B.A.T.S. I would have favoured more extensive changes to the B.A.T.S. but can live with the figures we got.
So, the tacky black jumpsuit and canary yellow boots are back with the Classified B.A.T.S. The red helmet look seen in the cartoon series was passed for the more toy accurate silver. The biggest change, or improvement is the cover for the front torso which in the 1986 toy revealed the internal mechanics of the android with a hologram. Here, the insides of the android are visible, but they can be covered by a front plate. An additional bent front plate and a partially damaged head are also included. These look great by the way.
Battle Android Troopers are hefty and bulky. I like that, even though they do not look as effete and streamlined as their Boston Dynamics counterparts. These look almost humans. As is the case with Classified figures, Hasbro’s designers use texture for fabrics and intricate details for the exposed mechanical parts like the forearms and the weapons in the backpack. I find that parts like the legs and shoulders look too human-like. I wish Hasbro would have explored the mechanical aspect of the whole figure instead of recreating the old 1986 toy.
There are little paint applications on the figure, being cast in the plain plastic colour mostly. The silver paint used on the facemask, the belt buckle, the straps and the boots is not thick enough and would rub off easily. The yellow paint on the torso is also too thin. There are blue light eyes in the exposed battle damaged head but no other paint apps on the mechanical parts such as the arms and the backpack.
The yellow Cobra logo on the left shoulder is too thin and shows the black plastic underneath. The mechanical parts inside of the torso are painted badly, once again, trying to replicate the colours of the 1986 chest plate hologram. I wish that there had been a Cobra logo in red or yellow on the front chest plate of the B.A.T.S. There is a bit of silver on the damaged front plate though.
The Battle Android Troopers are taller than most G.I. Joe Classified action figures. They even tower over Destro and Cobra Commander. Still, they are shorter than Serpentor and other tall figures such as Roadblock, Gung Ho and Sergeant Slaughter. He looks great with other Cobra troops, especially the Alley Vipers.
The Battle Android Troopers’ feet are flat, giving them a good grip no matter where you put them. The backpack is heavy but mostly, the B.A.T.S. will not fall down. It’s weird as it feels like they should fall all the time!
The B.A.T.S. have the usual articulations that Classified is known for, including the annoying dropdown hips which makes them more fragile. I did have to give my B.A.T.S. a warm bath to be able to pose them and bend the limbs better. The Battle Android Trooper’s neck are stiff, even after a warm bath. The neck is independently articulated from the head but hard to move. Both the head and the neck have balljoints. There is an abdominal crunch that luckily is not affected by the removable chest plate. There is a balljoint at the waist, allowing the figure to pivot and twist, but it is very stiff.
The shoulders have butterfly joints allowing the arms to join closer to the chest which is useful if a figure holds a weapon with two hands. There are bicep curls in both arms and double elbow articulations. Now these articulations look a bit odd as the figure’s build is not for regular human arms but mechanical arms. When bending both arms, it is like the arms are broken. There are wrist joints on both arms, allowing the figure to bend at the palm, inside and outside. Of course, you can remove both hands and replace them with either a machine gun extension, a flamethrower extension, or a pair of claws. The claws are not articulated. They should be!
Below the unnecessary dropdown hips, the figure can still raise its legs to about 90s up and a bit less in the back. The left side is limited with the gun holster attachment. The thighs have curls to rotate. There are double articulations at the knees and calve cuts at the boots. Of course, the ankles pivot left and right on themselves and can bend up and down. The extensions plug on the backpack in containing spots and one where they can hang upside down. The chest can open to reveal the inner mechanics of the android.
The figure is cast in PVC plastic. The silvery parts such as the extensions and the arms do not have much marbling on the parts.
The B.A.T.S. have many props and I like it. There are three extensions that one can peg in either wrist socket. They also have a backpack to contain the extensions. They have two chest plates. One broken, and one intact. There is a second battle damaged head. Finally, the Battle Android Troopers each carry a grey gun on their left legs. There is a removable belt/holster combo and another ammunition pack on the right thigh. Something rare for Classified figures, the B.A.T.S. cannot store the alternative parts on themselves. The extensions and alternate parts allow you to have B.A.T.S. that look different on the battlefield. It’s always great when one can mix and match army builders.
The B.A.T.S. came in the old box with clear plastic display with artwork by Fir (Muhammad Firdaus) that shows a battle-damaged B.A.T.S. on the front of the box. The back of the box contains the usual G.I. Joe Classified composite artwork of the entire first two years of the line.
The price of the B.A.T.S. reflects the increased suggested pricing from Hasbro. It’s about $24.99 USD and $34.99 in Canada. I think that this price is too high, and that Hasbro is taking advantage of customers here. Hasbro has gotten greedy, and it did make many collectors such as me rethink how much they buy. I have practically stopped buying Marvel Legends action figures, and only get one occasionally, instead of many like in the recent past. I now focus mostly on G.I. Joe Classified as it is the best line from Hasbro right now.
Even though it was released a year ago, the Battle Android Trooper is easy to find. Hasbro released the Python Patrol variant too soon if you ask me. The Crimson Guard variant, as mentioned above is already in Europe and parts of Asia. Thus, army builders can further mix and match and not worry about getting this figure for a while. That’s quite a change from the initial G.I. Joe Classified waves that were tough to find. It seems that Hasbro figured out how much of this toy to produce, considering it will attract army builders.
I think Four is enough for me, considering that I already have two Python Patrol B.A.T.S. and will probably get at least two Crimson Guard B.A.T.S. I can guess that Hasbro will find other opportunities to create more variants of this popular figure, so I’ll be careful in how I army build it.