Flamethrower (Code Name: Blowtorch)
Blowtorch was one of the first figures of 1984 that I was excited–and I mean really excited–to get. I was also excited to find out what the figure’s code name was. At the time, I hadn’t yet bought any vehicles or accessories for the year and thus didn’t know any code names for the new figures. After all, it was also a time when the cardbacks’ sneak-peeks still featured specialties rather than code names.
What was it that made me so anxious to pick up this guy? I suppose the color was part of the appeal, but the accessories were the biggest draw. Here was a Joe who looked to be loaded with interesting parts. Having not seen the actual figure, I also was left to wonder what elements of his uniform would be removable. Would his mask be molded on or removable, and would his armor come off as well? Such were the mysteries of new toys before the information age. I kind of miss it, actually.
Back to the accessories, and they’re some of the greatest up to that point. The flamethrower is great, with a more flexible hose than previous plug-in accessories (I’m lookin at you, Flash). The two-piece facemask and helmet was a new concept for the year, and though it didn’t feature the expected open eyeholes, was still a nice piece of equipment. The sculpt impressed as well, with a very solid an bulky look befitting the character’s MOS. I still find the sculpted folds in the uniform to be very impressive.
Though Blowtorch has a very outdated specialty, he’s a character that still resonates in the Joe line, even making it into the most recent 25th and 30th anniversary series. As much as I would like to have seen the more realistic and still MIA green design variant, Blowtorch remains red and yellow to this day. The kid in me wouldn’t want it any other way.