Road Pig (30th Anniversary)
I don’t know why, but Road Pig has always had a huge following. It’s always boggled my mind a little. I wouldn’t think a shirtless bruiser would be so popular, but Larry Hama did such a great job with him in the comics and on his filecard that it’s hard not to be intrigued by this particular Dreadnok. Hands down, Road Pig was the figure I was most looking forward to getting out of the 30th Anniversary Dreadnoks set. Zandar was cool, but I never saw Zandar growing up. I knew who Road Pig and remember thinking really seriously about getting his figure when I was a kid even though I only ever saw his Sonic Fighters repaint back in the day. I also think that Road Pig was probably the most successful update of all the Dreadnoks in the set because they really did make some impressive improvements from the original figure thanks to the new way of constructing Joes.
Everything but Road Pig’s head is reused, but it comes from one great figure, so that’s fine. Road Pig uses Resolute Roadblock’s entire body and it really helps make Road Pig look big and intimidating. That was my one problem with certain Joes back in the day. Road Pig was supposed to be huge but he was the same height as everyone else and while he was barrelchested and super-muscular, that really didn’t make him as intimidating as towering over the other Joes would. This Road Pig, however, can do that and does it quite well. The big steelfooted boots are great and I’d image a good kick from Road Pig would do a lot of damage. Hasbro also did a very good job of recreating his shoulder pads. The detailing really does make them look like old football pads, but there’s enough additional stuff that Road Pig cobbled on there that it gives off a really nice Mad Max vibe. However, the main event is Road Pig’s amazing new head sculpt. While the original Road Pig did have a nice sneer on his face, he also had a bit of a chubby face to him and that made him look a bit less threatening. This version of Road Pig has the angry sneer but a better-proportioned head sculpt and that really helps him look just plain mean. He’s still wearing his original 80s flat top, but really, who’s going to tell a guy that carries around a cinderblock on a stick that his hairstyle is dated. Road Pig finally towers over the other characters and looks angry and buff rather than grumpy and chubby. They really did an excellent job at taking Road Pig and updating his sculpt with hands down one of the best large body molds Hasbro made during the new line.
Hasbro’s team also really made me happy with the paint job on Road Pig. While he didn’t need much in the way of paint on the figure, Hasbro went the extra mile and really ratcheted up the detail on Road Pig’s accessories. From the waist down, Road Pig is wearing his original black pants with a few brown straps and metal kneepads and boot sides. I do kind of miss Road Pig’s rather impressive metal codpiece, but that’s neither here nor there. From the waist up, the only major paint application is the black for his gloves. However, Hasbro did go to the trouble to recreate Road Pig’s two tattoos. He gets the anarchy symbol on his left arm like the original and then, underneath his shoulderpads, he also gets the very cool Moray-inspired Cobra symbol that the Collectors’ Club added on his chest when he appeared in the Dreadnok Rampage con set. That was, hands down, my favorite addition to any figure the Collectors’ Club has done and I’m really glad Hasbro went to the effort to put it on Road Pig knowing full well it would be hidden by his pads most of the time. The pads also get a lot of paint attention with a dark gray base color and a lot of silver accents. Not only did the add-on metal pad over the right shoulder get attention from the paint team but all the rivets over the left shoulder and the lacing on his chest also got painted. That is con-set level paint detailing there and it all looks very crisp. Road Pig’s hair is still white with a red stripe and the paint team did a good job making the red stripe around his head look natural. The paint didn’t get over saturated on the stripe so you can still see the white peeking through like dyed hair generally does. His weapons also get some good paint work, with paint on the tape wrapped around the handle of his cinderblock on a stick and nice tampo work on the shield. My only real complaint is something I noticed recently while looking at my display case—Road Pig looks just a little pale. Compared to the other Caucasian Joes standing near him, Road Pig looks awfully pasty. Maybe Road Pig is into making sure he avoids skin cancer, but compared to the other Joes on display around him, he’s noticeably whiter. That said, though, I’m glad to see Hasbro going all out on the paintjob of a Dreadnok who really does deserve it.
Like the original Dreadnoks, Road Pig also had some pretty unique accessories and Hasbro didn’t pull any punches here either. When you think of Road Pig, you think of his aforementioned cinderblock on a stick. While the original had a little bit of detail on it so you could recognize it as a cinderblock, the modern one looks incredibly realistic. All the little cracks and pits look great and add a lot of realism to a weird little accessory. Plus, I think the detail adds a bit of visual weight to it. It looks like it would really hurt to get smacked by this thing and I think that was something the original was kind of lacking. The original Road Pig also had a clip on shield. I was never really sure what to make of that piece since it also saw rerelease with Night Creeper Leader. What was it actually made of? Well, this time, it’s clear…it’s an old banged up road sign. I really like that as a concept. Road Pig was clearly all about improvising weapons. I can just see him scrounging around after a storm and finding this “Alligator Alley” sign lying on the side of the road somewhere and just picking it up to use as a shield. The design of the accessory itself is pretty ingenious. The sign clips over a forearm guard, which is good because I couldn’t really get it on Road Pig’s arm without taking off the sign when I first got it out of the box. Plus, that does allow for some possible reuse later on, though I’m not really sure who else in the Joe line would need a forearm guard that you could attach some sort of shield to. Road Pig also seems to know how to use it pretty effectively since there are a couple good sized dents in the shield. His final accessory is a bit of a head-scratcher. Road Pig comes with a really large sword. I don’t know why he does for certain, but most Joe fans think it’s a reference to the unreleased Ninja Force Road Pig that would have hit shelves in 1995 had the line continued. That seems like as good an explanation to me, but it’s still a little odd for Road Pig. I don’t see him much as a sword guy…great big machete, definitely, but a sword just seems a little too civilized and refined for Road Pig. That said, I do appreciate that Hasbro put a holder for it on the back of his football pads. Even though he doesn’t hold it much in his hands on my shelf, I appreciate that I don’t just have to set it on the figure stand in front of him like I do with all the other extra accessories.
Road Pig is what I’m looking for in updated characters—faithfulness to the original look while improving upon any shortcomings the original figure may have had. Here, we’ve got a Road Pig that looks genuinely mean and tough instead of a baby-faced bruiser with a barrel chest. I’m all for injecting new characters into the Joe mythos, but if you’re going to go back and take the time to update a character, make sure you do it right. With the simple addition of a well-executed new head sculpt, Hasbro was able to make a great update to Road Pig that captured the feel of the original while still making him a little more relevant in the modern day and age.