Blocker (Force of Battle 2000)
Like I’ve said before, Battle Force 2000 wasn’t really on my radar much as a kid. KansasBrother had Blaster when we were kids and I eventually got Dee-Jay in 1989, but beyond that, I really didn’t know much about the team until I was in high school and started exploring the online Joe collecting community. As such, interesting figures like Blocker were never really anything I knew about. Looking back at the subteam, I think had I known about Blocker, I would have been all over him. The vintage figure has a solid design and an interesting color scheme. The GIJCC did a fairly good job with their modern version of David “Blocker” McCarthy, but there are a few missteps that do make him a little weaker than he should be. He’s still a decent figure, but a few changes could have taken something good and turned him into something great.
The figures on the Joe side of the Force of Battle 2000 set all have surprisingly complicated builds. Unfortunately, the complicated nature of his build leaves Blocker looking just a tad off. To recreate the vintage figure’s armored boots and legs with pouches, the GIJCC used the shins and feet of Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Assault Snake Eyes and the thighs of Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Viper. These parts do work together quite well, but paired with the more
slender upper body, it kind of throws off Blocker’s look a bit. Seriously, he’s got thighs almost as thunderous as Mutt’s. His torso is from Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper, though you’re not going to see it because he’s also wearing that figure’s vest over it. The G.I. Joe Trooper torso and vest do a great job at standing in for Blocker’s vintage torso. Blocker uses the arms of Retaliation Cobra Commander and that’s an absolutely brilliant call. The asymmetrical armor is a great callback to the vintage figure’s design and they’re parts we haven’t seen used a lot, so they feel fresh. Using the Retaliation Cobra Commander arms does mean he’s only got swivel wrists, but I’m fine with that. They’re still the right call even if they don’t have all the articulation that some people prefer. Topping off the figure, Blocker’s got a brand new head. This head is a bit of a source of contention, but I’m fine with it. For many people, the lack of the visor is a pretty big deal. However, if you look at the image of the 1988 Blocker release (when he was in a two pack with Maverick), Blocker didn’t have a visor. YoJoe notes that this was the more common version of Blocker, so I’m all right with the GIJCC not including the visor here because it’s likely the way most people have Blocker in their collection. The head sculpt is solid, and there’s a lot of detail crammed in here. However, I will say that the second I saw this head sculpt, I immediately thought of Rampart and even remember texting that back to KansasBrother when he asked me what I thought of the reveal from that day. It’s not surprising to see this head reused for Rampart, but that does mean that Blocker doesn’t look quite like himself because this head was clearly designed to look more like Rampart than it does Blocker. While the vintage card art for Blocker’s head looks more like he’s wearing a hat with some extra stuff on it, the vintage figure looks more like he’s wearing a futuristic helmet. As such, I tend to think helmet for Blocker rather than a hat with a wrap around it. However, since it is actually
more accurate to the filecard art, I’m okay with it. The hat and wrap are very well detailed and
unlike some of the new heads from the FSS figures, this head is actually in scale with the body, so Blocker doesn’t look like a bobblehead. The facial expression is fairly neutral, but considering the filecard talks about Blocker always being cool under pressure, I think that’s a smart choice to make. Blocker’s design and construction aren’t perfect, but they reflect the vintage figure very well, and that’s what I’m looking for here.
Where Blocker doesn’t disappoint at all is in his paint work and color scheme. I’ve never really been all that into Battle Force 2000, but looking at the figures, I thought Blocker was one of the best because he had a great color scheme. The base of the figure is dark gray and he’s got brownish-orange camouflage blotches on the legs and hat and the armor plates on his arms and legs share the color. There’s a bit of silver on the figure’s armored vest, but that’s it. It’s a surprisingly cohesive look and that color scheme applied to the modern figure is equally effective. The only problem I have with Blocker’s colors is on his face. The skin tone is fine, but they changed Blocker’s hair color to blonde, probably to distance the head a little more from its reuse as Rampart. However, the yellow used for his hair color is extremely light—so light, in fact, that it wasn’t until I was taking photos of the set that I noticed his eyebrows actually were painted. I thought the factory had missed the paint app on the eyebrows and, as such, I’d had him just a little lower on my list. However, now that I’ve found that he does actually have eyebrows, they’re just not a color that’s terribly visible, I’m a little more okay with it, though it’s still decidedly less than ideal. The blonde hair also creates a problem from a vintage accuracy standpoint, since the vintage Blocker figure had black eyebrows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happier that they’re painted blonde, even though it’s hard to see, than I am when I thought the factory missed painted the eyebrows, but it still kind of throws off Blocker’s face a bit.
Like the rest of the Battle Force 2000 figures, Blocker’s gear load is rather small, but the GIJCC did a great job with the reproduction of his vintage weapon and equipped him with a great, non-high tech weapon. Since Hasbro never defined what Blocker’s weapon is, I see his piece as a pulsing laser blaster. Flash and Sci-Fi have weapons that are designed to slowly burn through their targets, while Blocker’s has a higher energy output for short bursts of fire, making it much more of an offensive weapon than the other Joes’ laser weapons. That’s why the weapon is so much bulkier than the other Joe laser rifles. It needs a stronger internal cooling system and the power cell is self-recharging. Blocker’s laser weapon is a bit more limited in field use since he can’t fire it for long periods of time without running the risk of overheating it or running it out of charge, but it’s far more effective in combat situations because its bursts are more powerful. While that’s my own personal explanation for the weapon, I still don’t quite understand why it has the big loop off the back. I mean, I understand its physical purpose is so that the pistol can hang off his shoulder, but from an overall design and aesthetic standpoint, I just don’t get it. The loop is very large and it throws off the overall look of the piece to my eyes. His other weapon is the great shotgun that was added to the parts library courtesy of Retaliation Joe Colton. It’s a great piece and for some reason, I just think it fits with the characterization Blocker has perfectly. His personal history as a cabbie from Boston who got tired of the danger of the job makes me think he’s a bit of a tough, no-nonsense kind of guy and I could see him carrying something like this back during his days as a cabbie in case things got a little rough. Plus, the shotgun gives Blocker a little additional firepower that he can use while he’s waiting for the laser pulse blaster to recharge or cool down. Blocker looks like a heavy assault trooper and I like that his gear plays into that specialty as well.
Even though I’ve never seen the vintage Blocker figure anywhere but in images online, I’ve been strangely fascinated with him. David “Blocker” McCarthy is an excellent modern take on the Battle Force 2000 mechanized recon specialist. The parts choices are solid, even though there are a few mismatches that create some problems. The paint work is spot on and the accessories fit well with the heavily armored look he already has. It is a shame that the head definitely looks more like it belongs to Rampart than Blocker, but I think as long as I don’t have them displayed right next to each other, the similarities shouldn’t be too terribly obvious. Considering I wasn’t quite sold on Battle Force 2000 as a con set theme, the Joes have been pleasant surprises and while it took me a little while to warm up to the set, I’m glad I was able to snag one after Joe Con this year.