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Johnny Bullet
Toy Collecting
G.I. Joe Classified Roadblock
By Hervé St-Louis

July 26, 2020 - 13:29

Studios: Hasbro
$19.99 USD, $29.99 CAD


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Roadblock is the heavy-machine gunner introduced in G.I. Joe A Real American Hero in 1984 in replacement of Rock ’n Roll, the initial member of the team with that function. Roadblock quickly became more popular than the earlier heavy-machine gunner he replaced as he also took on the role of the big guy on the team, an archetype Gung Ho played initially. Finally, Roadblock took on the role of the titular black guy on the G.I. Joe team, taking over Stalker. Roadblock really is a combo of three characters rolled in one with his own jibing and rhyming personality, a chef's gastronomy skills, and a very good-natured giant. Roadblock is as much an archetype as a cliché but that is why he is so popular and has become one of the core G.I. Joe characters seen across different incarnations of the property. So of course, it is only normal that Roadblock be one of the earliest G.I. Joe Classified action figures released for this new line by Hasbro.

As of this writing, the first Roadblock variant has been announced as an exclusive toys toy sold by the Target chain of stores. It is somewhat surprising as it feels that this version of Roadblock was the least popular of the initial wave of G.I. Joe Classified thanks to his detailing and wacky big gun. Roadblock was one of the first G.I. Joe to be resold with a new mould by Hasbro, back in the 1980s when a new version dropping the camo wife-beater shirt for a bulletproof vest was introduced in the 1986 line.

Likeness
 
This version of Roadblock takes much more from the 1986 version than any other. His vest is green, and he wears grey pants, although they are much darker than the 1986 Roadblock’s. Roadblock is bald and sports a beard much like many of the latter versions of the character, like some where he was portrayed in film by The Rock. While I don’t mind the beard, I would prefer just a mustache. Here, he is sleeveless, much like the 1984 version. I am not sure where the left shoulder tattoo came from. He had none in his earlier appearances.

Sculpt

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Roadblock does not have his classic high cheekbones. He is of course big and muscular. The main complaints many have about this action figure are the gold shin guards and the kneepad on his left side. If they had been coloured differently, they would look better. Roadblock’s torso is bare but hidden by the rubber vest which cannot be removed unless cut. The vest would look much better on him if it tapered off at the waist. Since it’s not removable, it would not be problematic for people who want to remove it nor would it limit the articulations of the chest and the ab-crunch. The current vest already limits that. We know that Roadblock’s bare muscular chest is hidden underneath but that sculpt has been reused in the first Roadblock variant known as the Cobra Island release and even with the upcoming Gung Ho. Roadblock’S feet seem too small for a guy of his size. They are the same size as Duke’s. The one thing about Roadblock is that he is hefty. If you hold him and Scarlett in another hand, you will feel the weight difference. As such, Roadblock is the general mould for the “big guys” in G.I. Joe Classified.

Paint

As mentioned above, the gold-coloured shin guards and kneepad are not great looking. The green of his vest is dull. Because of his very dark skin, a lighter colour might have helped him stand out much more. His great sculpt can only be perceived well in bright sunlight. The tattoo could have been a lighter blue or even red as it is not very visible on Roadblock’s dark skin.

Scale

So far, Roadblock is the tallest G.I. Joe Classified action figure. I have seen a review with a Gung Ho that shows them to be about the same, but it was hard to verify as the latter still had his removable hat on. Since Gung Ho reuses much of the same parts as Roadblock, according to that source, it will be interesting to compare them. I would prefer Roadblock to be slightly taller than Gung Ho while being much shorter than an eventual Road Pig Dreadnought action figure. No one should be taller than Road Pig.

Stability

Roadblock is very top heavy, so he is quite stable even when posed. His legs are massive and thick and cable of supporting his weight easily. However, he can be topped when not on solid and flat ground. Because he does not have a backpack, he can be more stable, but do watch out for how you pose him with his heavy machine gun as that prop can destabilize him.

Articulations

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Roadblock has the new standard articulations for G.I. Joe Classified male action figures. He has a ball-jointed head which can pivot up and down and sideways. This head is on a neck that can also look up and down and pivot sideways to some extent. Roadblock has a abdominal crunch which is mostly useless because of his vest. His waist is on a type of ball joint allowing him to turn sideways but also pivot up and down, and side to side. This is a new feature of the G.I. Joe Classified that is great. It reminds me of the similar articulation that the old A Real American Hero toys had making them the more articulated than Star Wars at the time.

Of course, Roadblock, like G.I. Joe Classified action figures can do a Van Damme split, rock their legs forward, back, and from the external end of the socket. Said socket also has a double hinge feature adding mobility to the thighs. It is as if the leg was extended out of its socket. It helps with the Van Damme. Roadblock has a thigh curl allowing the thighs to rotate on themselves. He has double knees articulations giving him more range. On my action figure, all leg articulations are stiff, especially for the left knee with the kneepad and I feel that it could break the toy to put more pressure. The situation could improve on its own in the winter. Roadblock also has calves’ curls, which much like the thigh articulations allow the character’s calves to rotate on themselves. The curls are well hidden by the boots and the shin guards. The ankles are interesting as they have front and back motions as well as pivot features allowing the ankles to flip and leave the soles flat on the ground at all times, if needed. These help stabilize the action figure a lot.

Roadblock’s arms have butterflies hinges giving them the ability to compress inward on the chest. He has regular shoulder extensions and rotations giving him somewhat limited range of motion. He cannot, for example, raise his shoulders beyond about 90 degrees. Bicep curls help rotate the forearms and handle weapons easily. With two-jointed elbow articulations, he can squeeze his arms close to his face or even approach his pocketknife located on his vest. Roadblock has wrist curls with an additional up and down articulation. It is noteworthy that each G.I. Joe Classified has different secondary wrist articulations that adapts to the props they handle the most. Most of the articulations, as mentioned in the case of the legs are stiff. It may fee odd that such a huge guy has so much potential flexibility. I don’t mind it at all. The engineering on these toys is improving vastly. When I reviewed action figures in the 2002 or the 2010s, only a few, like Toybiz’s Marvel legends had so much but they tended to look like puppets, sacrificing the sculpt for mobility.

Plastic

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The materials used on these action figures are soft but often feel like they will break if pressured and bent too much. I don’t know if they will be as durable as their older Real American hero cousins. The vest has an opening where on can insert his dagger.

Props

Roadblock comes with a dagger, a heavy machine gun, and a cartridge that plugs into the gun. The machine gun is probably what discouraged many collectors about this action figure.  It looks like a futuristic laser gun instead of a real heavy mach9ine gun that can do damage. I don’t like it either.  It is almost as tall as the character and has to be handled with both hands, much like the real thing. But it does not come with a stand that can help Roadblock lift it or position it while he is about to shoot his opponents. That’s a feature that the first Roadblock’s machine gun had. A tripod would help make him more military accurate. Unfortunately, Hasbro is not interested in pretending that these G.I. Joe Classified are anything like real soldiers.

Packaging

The packaging is the new standard G.I. Joe Classified box with original art, and coded specialties on the side but without any specific biography for Roadblock on the package.

Cost

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In the United States, Roadblock costs about $19.99 and in $29.99 in Canada because of the exchange rate. Scalpers have begun selling this toy for more. I dislike scalpers very much as they ruin action figure collecting for you and me.

Availability

Roadblock seems to have not sold to the same extent as Duke, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, or Destro. Collectors are still receiving their series one G.I. Joe Classified action figures while others have found series three at Target which include the new variant. Roadblock. You should be able to find him in retail stores or online at a decent price. For more on my views about the skewered distribution of G.I. Joe Classified, read this. Notwithstanding the ugly laser gun, I really am glad to have this Roadblock action figure.

Next: Snake Eyes


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