Dodger (Force of Battle 2000)
Intellectually, I knew there were probably more members of Battle Force 2000 than just my Dee-Jay and KansasBrother’s Blaster. However, they weren’t ever on the pegs when I was a kid, so I never really knew all that much about that subteam. As such, the only other guy I knew was part of Battle Force 2000 was Dodger, because I believe they referenced his previous tenure on the then-defunct team (though the fact that the team was dead sure wasn’t mentioned as far as I recall) on his Sonic Fighters figure’s filecard. When I was a kid, I was definitely tempted by the Sonic Fighters Dodger, but with those more expensive subteams I usually stuck to one member and even though the Lamprey was bright orange, I liked the Lamprey so I wanted that one in spite of its bright colors so Dodger got left behind. I don’t have a lot of experience with Dodger, but unlike a lot of the Battle Force 2000 figures, I actually do recall him from my childhood even though I didn’t own him. That means that the modern
Richard “Dodger” Renwick actually had some expectations to live up to. Mind you, they weren’t terribly high expectations since I didn’t actually have the figure, but when I think of Battle Force 2000, I think of Dodger first and then the two figures that I actually played with as a kid second.
If there’s one thing that’s really started to endear the modern Battle Force 2000 figures to me, it’s the fact that, using fairly limited tooling resources, the GIJCC has managed to do an amazing job at recreating these figures’ funky vintage looks. To recreate his vintage legs with the shin and thigh armor, the GIJCC used the thighs and feet from Pursuit of Cobra Skydive and the shins of 25th Anniversary Night Creeper. This was the same pairing Hasbro used for the Retaliation Night Creeper and it’s a very effective combination for Dodger as well. His torso is from Renegades Duke, but you won’t see it because the GIJCC covered it with the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper vest. This is a decent choice, but I kind of wish it looked just a little more high-tech. The rest of the Battle Force 2000 figures look kind of cutting edge, but his vest looks a little too much like something a modern day soldier would wear. I kind of wonder if either the Pursuit of Cobra Arctic Destro or Retaliation Conrad “Duke” Hauser torsos with the 25th Anniversary Duke bandolier would have looked a little better, a little more futuristic, and a little more like the vintage figure’s torso. It’s still a solid look as is, but Dodger lacks a little bit of the futuristic flair that the rest of the Battle Force 2000 team has. His arms are a combination of Retaliation Ultimate Storm Shadow biceps and Renegades Law forearms and hands. This is the same combination that Hasbro used for 50th Anniversary Dusty and it’s a good match to Dodger’s vintage look. To distance his arms from Dusty a little more and to recreate the vintage figure’s wrist cuff on his right arm, the GIJCC grabbed the Resolute Flint wrist-mounted shotgun shell holder, and it’s a nice touch. Topping of the figure, Dodger gets a brand new head. The GIJCC did a great job designing this head and recreates the vintage details quite well. The face does look a tad flat, but it’s not quite as flat as Avalanche’s face. I would like to see a little more character in his face, but it’s still a solid piece and capture’s the original figure’s look quite well.
Dodger’s look, more than any of the other Battle Force 2000 figures, seems pretty clearly influenced by the US Army’s Future Soldier program. Dodger really does look like a fairly basic soldier, just equipped with fancier gear, like basic helmet with the infrared sensor mounted to the side. While Future Soldier may not have been publicly launched until the late 90s, the Land Warrior program originated sometime in the late 80s, and there were likely nascent references to it in the military journals that Kirk Bozigian mentioned a lot of Joe designers read to come up with concepts for Joe figures.
Dodger’s overall design is the most realistic of the Battle Force 2000 figures, and his color scheme is similarly realistic.His pants, shin armor, vest, gloves and helmet are dark green with dark gray for the leg armor and a lighter gray digital camouflage on the pants and helmet.
Dodger’s undershirt is an orange-y tan. It’s not basic military khaki, but it’s also not ridiculously bright, so it fits. The skintone is solid, but the paint work on Dodger’s face is a bit underwhelming. They had to paint it on rather thickly to cover the dark green plastic, which is part of what leaves it looking flat. Plus, there’s quite a bit of skin slop onto the interior edges of the helmet that leaves things looking just a little off. The red dot on the sensor on his helmet is well applied, though.
Dodger’s filecard talks about the fact that he’s well-versed in using high-tech and experimental equipment, but just because he uses it doesn’t mean he trusts it implicitly and always carries a lower-tech backup with him that he knows can get the job done. Not only does this apply to manning and operating vehicles, but he, like the rest of the modern Battle Force 2000 figures, carries one high-tech weapon and one more realistic weapon. His primary weapon is a “laser sonic photon rifle.” I don’t know how that would work in reality, but I definitely remember the photon rifle term from when I was a kid when I saw the Sonic Fighters Dodger on the pegs. There’s no real world photon rifle, but a quick googling does reveal that it has ties to the Transformers brand, as apparently Jazz used a photon rifle and it was a common weapon used in the Autobot army. There, it’s likened to a flame thrower. It shoots a beam of energy and things light on fire, so that’s what I’m going to go with here, as well. I’ll admit, I’ve never really understood how this weapon worked. My kid brain thought it was pretty cool, but I still don’t know how it actually functions. I mean, there’s a thing on the front that looks kind of like an
RPG, but if it’s an RPG, the thing that looks a little like the barrel of a rifle that’s tucked behind it looks like it would have to shoot through the RPG-like part, which just doesn’t seem that useful for a weapon. I’m glad the GIJCC decided to recreate this weapon because it is an iconic piece, but I still don’t quite get how it functions. Since he’s wearing the shotgun shell gauntlet, it’s pretty obvious what his realistic weapon is—a shotgun. He’s using the combat shotgun we saw used a lot during the Joe Vs. Cobra era, and that’s a great call. While it’s been getting used a bit more lately, it had kind of been lost in the shuffle for a lot of years, so I don’t mind seeing it again. They’re both solid pieces and they fit well with Dodger’s established characterization.
Just due to the fact that he managed to survive while the rest of the team was killed off since they weren’t on the shelves anymore, Dodger has always been the highest-profile member of Battle Force 2000. Dodger is probably the best looking of the original Battle Force 2000 figures, and as such, the modern figure has a leg up on the rest of the Battle Force 2000 figures because the figure it’s based on is so good. Richard “Dodger” Renwick is an excellent update to the vintage figure. I wish his look was a little more high-tech, but since he’s the only team member still serving, I don’t mind that his look has been updated a bit more to reflect the look modern soldiers have. There’s still enough retro-futuristic flair here and there that Dodger doesn’t look out of place with the rest of the team but he still looks like a modern soldier when he’s placed alongside the rest of the Joes. I still don’t know why his face is so flat compared to other head sculpts we’ve seen the GIJCC do over the past few years, but it is better than Avalanche, so I’ll take it as a win. I actually care about Dodger, so I’m glad he isn’t afflicted with a face that looks more like a face plate on a helmet than an actual face. His gear is solid and
while I know a lot of people complained about the GIJCC investing tooling dollars in the crazy Battle Force 2000 weapons, I’m glad they did. Doing Battle Force 2000 without crazy futuristic weapons is like doing Sky Patrol without shiny vehicles. Their crazy weapons were part of the draw. If you’re not going to do them, why bother doing the figures at all. It was a smart move to equip each Battle Force 2000 member with a realistic weapon as well, and Dodger has good weapons on both fronts, which helps him out a lot.