Marauders Barbecue (30th Anniversary)
The Slaughter’s Marauders sub-team was a big part of my childhood. Between the two of us, my brother and I had the entire group, which was pretty unusual. Plus, it allowed me to get access to some figures (like Mutt & Junkyard) who I liked from the cartoon but missed the original releases. However, the choices Hasbro made for the 30th Anniversary Marauder’s set generally turned out to be mostly characters from my brother’s half of the set. While I’m a little disappointed I couldn’t get a modern Mutt & Junkyard in the Marauders’ colors, I still do have pretty fond memories of all the Marauders and I’m glad I’m able to add a few to my modern collection that I never had growing up. That said, Barbecue was never my favorite Marauder, but Hasbro did a pretty good job at making me like someone that I already had courtesy of the 25th Anniversary line by making a few simple parts changes and changing up his colors. He’s still, in my opinion, probably the weakest of the set, but unlike Zanzibar, he’s still a pretty solid figure that just got outclassed by other, more interesting figures.
Barbecue is a decent figure, but growing up I really didn’t appreciate the need for a combat firefighter. As I’ve grown older, I do see how he can be important, but back in the day, Barbecue never really saw much action on hairy missions. Plus, Barbecue kind of suffered a little bit because the original Marauders look left him with a bright blue head and shoulders. I think I’m going to break my usual order in Field Reports and talk about the paint first. The original Marauder look was really simple. Stripes of blue, brown and two different shades of green (one very bright and one very dark) were applied liberally across the figure. Rather than just do that here, the design team did something different. The Marauders who were originally Marauders are wearing matching green camouflage. I’m not really sure what I would call that shade of green, but I like it a lot. Highlights and other details are done with brown and blue on the figures. I really like this look and it helps out Barbecue a lot. His helmet remains blue, but the blue is only carried down to the outer edges of his shoulder pads but not through the armored collar like the original Marauders Barbecue. I think that really helps Barbecue look a little more realistic while still maintaining his ties to the Marauders. They also toned down the shade of blue quite a bit compared to the original which also helps. It’s not nearly as bright and doesn’t scream “Aim here!” I actually think this camo scheme would be pretty effective in jungle operations. The blue would give enough of a break that you could clearly identify teammates, but still blends in enough that you’re not going to be a really big target. There’s not a lot of added detailing on the Barbecue mold, so his brown is actually put on his accessories, which is fine. I won’t be displaying Barbecue without his backpack so that works just fine to keep him in all the Marauders colors. The bulk of Barbecue’s body is done up in the new Marauders’ camo but the boots, gloves, pockets and belt are all painted black to help break up what could be an otherwise boring figure. I’m honestly a little surprised they didn’t use the Marauder brown these places instead just to tie him closer to the rest of the team since he’s definitely got the least brown on him. The paint placement for the blue on Barbecue’s shoulder pads isn’t the cleanest, but he’s still a rather sharp looking figure and the camo suit looks great, and I think if that were off that would harm the figure more than some blue paint slop on his left shoulder pad.
While Barbecue didn’t really break much ground when it came to his accessories in this set, he did get some great new parts, and I’m glad Hasbro took the time to update this figure for the set. The original Barbecue shared most of his parts with Snow Job, which worked decently and was understandable considering he was a rather early 25th Anniversary figure and the Snow Job parts were bulky enough to pass as a heavily-insulated firesuit. However, Hasbro has a much bigger parts library now and they have parts that work even better for Barbecue. His head and torso come from the first Barbecue figure, but his limbs come from 30th Anniversary Airtight. These parts do a far better job representing a fire suit than Snow Job’s parts did. Plus, since Airtight was a much later release, he also has the added wrist articulation that I love seeing so much. It’s just kind of a shame neither of his accessories really need him to have it.
The figures in the Marauders set usually either got different parts or different accessories. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Barbecue really could have used both. I understand wanting to faithfully recreate Barbecue’s original gear. It was unique back in the day, but we’ve already got a Barbecue that only came “armed” with a flame suppression backpack and a fire axe. I would have loved to have seen the axe get switched out for a combat weapon of some sort. Really, Barbecue’s accessory problem is part of why he’s my least favorite and/or why I wish they would have chosen a different Marauder to fill out the set. Barbecue’s inclusion only makes sense if he has all his accessories. You can’t do anything with him because a firefighter looks pretty weird without having firefighting gear. However, firefighting gear really isn’t that useful in an actual firefight. Yes, there was the one shotgun that it wasn’t really clear who it
belonged to, but a shotgun really didn’t look right in Barbecue’s hands to me either. Plus (and this is a criticism that goes back to the 25th Anniversary version), with as many strides as Hasbro has made with functional holsters, I would have liked to have seen a holster for his sprayer gun, just if nothing else so he had a hand free for an actual firearm.
Barbecue is always a tough figure to deal with. His specialty is awfully limiting and Hasbro has never really done a good job of equipping him in a way that makes him useful on the battlefield. I do love his new arms and legs. The Airtight limbs do a much better job of working as a flame-proof suit than the Snow Job ones did. Plus, the new Marauders’ camouflage is amazing and Barbecue looks really sharp in it. I’m just a little disappointed they couldn’t find a way to make Barbecue appear more useful. I’ve always seen Slaughter’s Marauders more so than Tiger Force as a jungle operations team. Barbecue being in that team never really made much sense to me. Now that the camo lends itself even better to that use, Barbecue is even more of a head-scratcher. He’s still a good figure, but I just wonder if Hasbro could have found a way to do more with an update of Mutt & Junkyard instead of Barbecue. I would have loved to have seen what they wanted to do with Slaughter for that matter. I realize, from what was discussed at Joe Con, they tried to get Slaughter into this set but while they could secure the likeness rights for the Comic Con exclusive since it was a much smaller run, apparently, the deal fell through at the last minute to do it with this set, which left the designers scrambling just a little. Barbecue does a good job of improving on his original Slaughter’s Marauder look, but he still just leaves me a little cold since he’s not as useful a specialty as some of the missing Marauders.