B.A.T. Squad Leader (Force of Battle 2000)
This is kind of an awkward figure for me to review. I legitimately do like the design for the BAT Squad Leader. However, since it’s also the same design as the BAT v1.8, it leaves me just a little cold because I think this figure could have been so much more. I’ll be talking about
this design at length when I review the BAT v1.8 a little later, but I felt I should talk about its weaker counterpart first.
I think part of why the BAT Squad Leader leaves me a little cold is because it’s more of the same when it comes to the BATs. From the neck down it’s the same basic BAT build we’ve
seen since the 25th Anniversary. It does get the great new head the GIJCC created for the BAT v1.8, but beyond that it’s not all that exciting or interesting since we’re already getting this same figure eight times in this set. I know I’m one that always says they like when a squad
leader looks like the troops they’re leading, but with the BAT Squad Leader, it just doesn’t work to me for some reason. I think this figure could have been a lot more effective if the GIJCC had at least changed out something. Maybe use the Rise of Cobra Accelerator Suit legs to give the BAT Squad Leader a more mechanical and armored look. Heck, I know it’s sacrilege but I wouldn’t even have minded if the GIJCC had given us some different arms. I know that means that the BAT Squad Leader wouldn’t have interchangeable arm weapons, but it would have at least been something different, and there’s some precedent for BATs with static arms courtesy of the Joe Vs. Cobra-era BATs. I realize the GIJCC didn’t have nearly the same amount of production lead time as they did in years past to make this set because they weren’t expecting to be around in 2017, but the BAT Squad Leader’s construction feels just a little uninspired. I think the underlying concept is solid and they could have done some interesting things with it, and that’s the real shame here. I don’t think they needed to go full-on Overkill (though when I first saw the name, I wondered if they’d do something crazy like that), but a few strategic changes could have made the BAT Squad Leader something quite a bit more interesting.
Much like the overall construction, I think the color scheme is serviceable, I’m just not sure why the GIJCC chose the colors they did. The BAT Squad Leader uses the same paint masking scheme as the BAT v1.8s do, only it uses red instead of bright orange. The red is used
on the boots, holster, belt hands, armbands, chest, shoulder armor and face plate while bright green is used on the leg straps, elbows, neck straps and bands on the head. The rest of the figure is done in black, and there is a silver Cobra sigil tampoed on its left shoulder. It’s an all right look, though the dark red looks a bit odd when paired with the rather bright green. Personally, I’m a little surprised the GIJCC didn’t take a page from Hasbro’s own book when they did the BAT Army Builder set and use the vintage BAT’s colors on the remolded robot. I like new concepts in the Joe line, but I don’t know, beyond red/crimson being used to denote other Cobra leaders, why the BAT is done in red. I think had there been some justification in the filecard for the red, I would be more into it, but as such, it just seems like a change for the sake of change, and I think I might honestly have preferred a vintage BAT color scheme on this figure because at least it would have referenced a historical look for this type of BAT.
The one place the BAT Squad Leader does not disappoint is in its gear. It has all the standard BAT arm attachments and a pistol to fill the holster. However, in a nice nod to the 1991 BAT, this version comes with a spring-loaded missile launcher. The GIJCC used the same launcher they used for the Zombie Initiative Toxo-Vipers. It’s a nice touch and a great nod to the original 1991 BAT. The nice accessories do help make the BAT Squad Leader a bit more interesting, and that’s something it desperately needs.
I still don’t quite know what to think of this figure. Personally, I would have preferred if the GIJCC had gone a little more outside the box with the BAT Squad Leader. It’s a decent figure and the rocket launcher is a nice reference to the 1991 BAT, but at the end of the day, it’s just a red version of the BAT v1.8, and the red isn’t quite as effective as the bright orange. I think a few more chances taken with parts choice could have turned the BAT Squad Leader into
something special, but as it stands, he’s just a bit underwhelming.