Knockdown (1987)

Knockdown was the last GI Joe figure I purchased as a young kid collector. Should a kid be called a collector, by the way? I mean, I was buying these things to play with them in the dirt, not to keep them in their package, seal them in bulletproof Lucite and admire the finer points of their sculpts and designs. Having said that, however, I was certainly not enamored of this figure’s look even back then.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I used to have a real dislike for the Battle Force 2000 figures, and that covering them as part of this blog has given me a fresh apprecation for them. Seeing them for what they are: fancifully imagined future warriors from the minds of 1986 toy designers, has allowed me to get over my bad feelings about the team.

I may have blamed this guy in particular for my exit from buying GI Joes, thinking that he was simply so bad that I was soured on the toys as a whole, but that’s not the truth. I was simply going through a phase that many present day collectors passed through–you know, trying to do the whole adult thing. For me, that lasted all of four years, and I regressed to childhood and haven’t looked back since. Okay, that’s not the truth, either. But it can’t be far from it, considering I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the last two years photographing and writing about children’s playthings.

Though I’ve come to find something nice to say about his teammates (except Dee-Jay), Knockdown still makes me wince. The whole outfit just looks so slapdash. Maybe that’s due to the asymmetry of the top half of his uniform. Maybe it’s the way the bottom of his torso is too rounded, and rolls around like a ball-joint. Maybe it’s his thunderous thighs. This guy must be constantly slamming on the brakes of the Sky Sweeper by the looks of his gams.

I suppose it’s kind of fitting that he’s the last member of Battle Force 2000 that I’ve covered. A few months ago, I was thinking about what figure I would cover last, if I got tired of  Joe A Day and decided to hang up the project. Who came to mind? Knockdown. But then I thought, no. I’m not going to let Captain Power’s second cousin here be the end of two eras of GI Joe for me.

20 comments

  • Knockdown was always the weakest link for me as well. It didn’t help that he was asleep off-panel during Battle Force 2000’s debut appearance in issue #68 of the comic. The late artist Marshall Rogers was bold enough to provide us with a close-up of that wacky helmet later on, but it did little to endear Knockdown to me nonetheless.

    I always thought that his torso looked too unpainted when compared to the other members. The combination of tan and black just doesn’t work somehow. And then there’s his strange proportions, which unfortunately extend to his gun. It looks more like a rocket launcher than anything else, but I’ve never been sure of what.

    Knockdown’s greatest legacy may just be his head. It would go on to reappear atop Super Trooper, Rapid Fire, and (from what I’m told) in slightly retooled form as Charbroil’s own noggin. I suppose that every sub-team can’t enjoy 100% awesomeness. Someone has to account for lameness somehow and in BF2000’s case, that seems to be Knockdown’s job. He’s not a bad figure, mind you. Just not one of the great ones.

  • @Clutch
    Not to mention his gun reappearing with Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat.

    When did Marshall Rogers die?

  • BF2000 had such potential and it missed nearly all of it. i always figured that BF2000 was a rush job by Hasbro. How else could you explain the haphazard look of most of the troops and the vehicles? Such an odd sub-set – but I still dig them!

  • Wasnt there a bit of “the future will be awesome” in many toy lines in the 80’s? Look at the leads from the 1986 Transformers movie. Desighners thought we would all have flying cars by 2005. And there are other things like Captain Power.

    Its irritated me the way people in the community have frequently lashed out at BF2K in the last few years. Maybe if they got to do something else apart from die they wouldnt have such a bad reputation.

    Maybe if the vehicles werent based on a moronic gimmick and the characters were wearing more millitary themed uniforms, they might have been easier to swallow.

  • Knockdown seems like the weakest of the Battle Force 2000 figures (well, Dee-Jay is the weakest, but I’m talking about the 1987 batch). He was ahead of his time with that helmet with the eyepiece over one eye. Several drivers in the next few years would rock that same look. The body has a nice color scheme, but the olive helmet throws it off and the head doesn’t exactly sell the figure.

    I’ve come to appreciate Battle Force 2000 too. They have a sort of retro sci-fi vision of the future feel, like a 1980s take on what they envisioned 2000 like while giving a nod back to 1950s sci-fi. Avalanche wasn’t my favorite originally, but he came to be. Perfect camouflage for blending into a herd of grazing cows. I think their greatest sin to 1987 toy aisle-going Joe fans was their limited number of accessories. In 1987, a helmet/mask/visor and a gun didn’t cut it when you had Birdman & Avenger, pet alligators, wolves, boxing gloves, a tool shelf backpack, a periscope, a backpack missile launcher, and so on.

    Battle Force 2000 did get something right about the future: the loss of the moustache. Notice all of them are clean-shaven in an era when it seemed like every other Joe had a moustache.

    Captain Power’s second cousin? If he’s that then Barricade is Captain Power’s brother.

    @ Skymate
    Some element of sci-fi’s vision of the future always leaves us disappointed. For the mid-20th century, it was hovercars, for circa 1986/87, it was the winnebago of the future, either rockin’ some flame decals (Rodimus Prime) or flying through space (Spaceballs).

    I’ve seen this in other toylines & video games & tv shows. Sometimes people love beating up on a group of toys, a game, a figure and often times it’s not really merited. Some people just feel compelled to hate something and pour out some nasty bile on those things.

  • @Acer: Marshall Rogers died on March 24, 2007. His son found him after he’d been dead for a while. It was a heart attack. He was 57.

  • Little Boa makes a great point about mustaches. I never understood the deal regarding G.I. Joe and facial hair. Maybe it harkened back to the Adventure Team era?

    I could understand Clutch, Rock ‘N Roll, and Breaker sharing the same head sculpt. Stalker was the only mustached member in 1982. Then you had Gung-Ho and Wild Bill the following year in addition to a bearded Snow Job. By 1984, Recondo, Mutt, Roadblock, and Cutter were added to the list. In ’85, Shipwreck, Footloose, Bazooka, Alpine, Crankcase, Frostbite, Heavy Metal, and Keel-Haul all joined the club. By the time Roadblock, (again) Leatherneck, Dial-Tone, Slipstream, Claymore, Sgt. Slaughter, and The Fridge showed up, both the line’s popularity and the team’s razor blade budget had peaked.

    In a way, we have Battle Force 2000 to thank for helping reverse the trend. (In addition to Dee-Jay, two year later.) Outback, Payload, Taurus, Rumbler, and a returning Gung-Ho were in the minority for the first time. Any remaining recruits went the way of Woodrow Wilson in terms of sporting facial hair as tradition, since the only two Joes sporting mustaches in ’88 (repaints aside) were Wildcard and the third Sgt. Slaughter. Quite a change from a couple of years earlier!

  • Sorry about my delayed responses, guys. My browser crashed [or something like that] and i havnt been able to do much tonight.

    @Littleboa. There are a few Transformers referances in Spaceballs. There is the Optimus prime colouring book, the metroplex lunchbox, Megamaid [Unicron] and of coarse the flying winnabage.

    I remeber when Lego had a line of sets called “Ice planet 2002” and thinking to myself how far off that was in 1993. I remeber my little brother was 4 in ’93 and he was making plans for living on said Ice planet

    As for the future fortress from BF2K its a really dumb idea. G.I. Joe is supposed to be a mobile unit. It makes no sense for a jet or tank to drop their primary weapons so they can be used as a stationary weapon. The Germans tried this moronic scheme with a thing called the “Grasshopper” Panzer. That proved to be so stupid only two were built.

  • Straight out, Battle Force 2000 is probably the worst line of Joes ever conceived. They just flat out suck. They’re not even campy bad in a Lanard sort of way. Knockdown’s helmet looks like an avocado or something. And those legs! And to top it of he’s got the Charbroil/Super Trooper head sculpt which isn’t one of the better ones. Actually, I like Dee-Jay and to a lesser extent,Maverick.The rest though, are pretty bad.

  • I’m not sure if Knockdown is the worst BF2K guy or not, but it doesn’t help that his arms are Cobra blue. Olive, like his helmet, would’ve blended with his tan & black better. I get the team’s whole “5 minutes into the future” concept, but what bugs me the most is how everybody got RIPPED (pumped?). The torsos are full-on barrels, and with pockets, some of the figures can’t fit in certain vehicles. This continued into the Battle Corps era.

  • I hate to be “correction guy” but BF 2000’s first appearance in #68 was drawn by Ron Wagner. Rogers did their next starring role in #81. Back when he died I put this tribute up on my website:
    http://www.myuselessknowledge.com/joe/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=450&Itemid=58

  • This guy was one of the last Joes I purchased, too, as I transitioned out of childhood. Knockdown was a turd but he was two-packed with the decent Dodger so, you know, it wasn’t all bad. Some cool futuristic backpacks would have helped, though.

    Now I’m probably remembering incorrectly but wasn’t his giant pistol for shooting jets out of the sky while standing on the ground, literally “knocking them down”? Still ridiculous but explained, at least.

  • Do you think BF2K was originally a special task force that was going to go directly against Cobra La?

    Look at the boots on Knockdown, very organic in shape and style. (Dodger in the anti-alien-creature colonial Marine gear, etc.)

  • Taking another look at this figure, I think if the bright blue parts were repainted to match the olive drab of the helmet and boots, the figure would look a lot better.

  • @JMM: I’ve been a fan of your site dating back to my USENET G.I. Joe group days. That was a great round-up of Marshall’s brief run on the comic. Nice to see you on here after all these years.

    Yeah, Ron Wagner drew BF2K’s debut appearance but you’ll note that I mentioned Knockdown being asleep off-panel. He’s the only guy who doesn’t show up in the story for
    some reason. He first appears in the team’s second adventure, where Marshall rendered that
    detailed close-up of his helmet.

    @Scott: Given the differences in their uniforms when compared to the other Joes, some of the BF2K members do look better suited to the whole Cobra-La environment. Dodger does look like a Colonial Marine and Maverick’s flight suit doesn’t seem too realistic. I always thought that Blocker had the more military colors out of the whole bunch.

  • @ Scott
    Well, I think somewhere on 1988 packaging they said Battle Force 2000 was meant to take on Destro’s faction. Notice both use the same kind of explosions (blue/purple).

  • BF 2000 is overhated. I admit I didn’t like the concept that much at the time, as a whole. I only had a couple of the vehicles didn’t like them much. The figures were all useable. In Europe they didn’t release the vehicles, so you had 6 guys that were just regular Joes.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    The packaging for the Iron Grenadiers toys says “Battle Force 2000” on them.

  • Yeah, the 1988 releases did, anyway. Funny, in the comic, not sure the two groups ever really fight. Maybe during the Cobra Civil War a little.

    I think Knockdown need a partner, Drag-Out. He could be a closet transvestite. LOL.

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