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Feb 08

Roadblock (2002 Sound Attack)

I feel the urge from time to time to present figures that I feel just haven’t gotten their due. I like finding figures that have been overlooked among the hundreds of other GI Joes released throughout the years. There are I feel quite a few unheralded greats hiding among their more well known and well liked compatriots. Indeed, greatness can even be found among the most often rejected and reviled of concepts. They are diamonds in the rough, as it were, lost treasures waiting to be found by those willing to seek them out. This is not one of those figures.

The original Roadblock isn’t one of my favorite figures as an adult collector. I remember liking the figure a lot initially as a kid, but once the 1985 and 1986 figures had come along, Roadblock’s stock dropped. Even when I was fond of the figure, I thought the shape of his head looked weird. My Roadblock was typically found wearing his helmet, in an attempt to cover his strange cranium.

The Sound Attack 8 pack, a store exclusive released during the initial GI Joe vs. Cobra relaunch, was of interest to me at its time of release. Most of my reason for wanting to acquire it came from its o-ring based figures, the presence of a couple of Cobra army builder figures, and a certain bright red Cobra saboteur.

Roadblock is equipped with one of single largest machine guns produced for the small scale GI Joes: the SAW Viper’s heavy machine gun. Here the word oversized is an understatement. He can tuck the stock under his arm, but even then his hand can barely hold onto it. Thankfully, the more modern o-ring figures were made of a more flexible plastic than the old figures. Otherwise, the thumb would have snapped clean off. A large machine gun isn’t enough, because this is a Sound Attack gun as well. That carbunkle sitting atop the rifle hardly detracts from the look, right? I mean, you can hardly tell it’s there.

I try very hard to find some positive aspect to every item I cover here. There have been times when mining a nugget of positivity has been difficult, and instances in which I have utterly failed. I must admit that I’m finding it hard right now. I could go on and on about this figure, about how they weren’t fooling anyone by trying to paint molded bare skin as a shirt, and that the file card uses the file name of Double Blast, another Roadblock mold, and about how in this case they just didn’t give a flaming rat’s patoot, but I won’t pile on any further. So here comes my positive: I like the pants. The mixed plastic just does something for me. I’m reminded of the delightfully random patterns found in marble, or the tasty swirls of chocolate in brownie sundae swirl ice cream. I’m also reminded of the Mega Marines. Silver lining found.

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  1. dave

    you really put your heart into this write up. i respect that. go have some brownie sundae swirl ice cream now. you deserve it.

    1. Rob Buzan

      I wrote more about this figure than I do for most of the good ones. Sad, but true to form. And I think I will have that ice cream now.

  2. Little Boa

    Yikes, it does look like a sloppy figure. You’re right, swirl pants are the only good thing about it. Was the bad Roadblock mold the only one that survived the great mold migrations? Where’s the 1986 and 1992/93 molds? Resting on the ocean floor? Melted down in a warehouse fire? Destroyed by a meteor impact?

    Maybe spraypainting on a ‘shirt’ is a part of this Roadblock’s character? Suspenders over a spraypainted ‘shirt’, a big gun, and he’s ready to take on Cobra!

  3. Clutch

    Hope you enjoyed the ice cream, it’s well deserved.

    Hasbro’s first major fail was sculpting Roadblock’s head. Even as a kid I thought it looked odd. Seems like they couldn’t get their first bald headed character right. Then along came Roadblock II and Dr. Mindbender in ’86. To this day, though, I cringe whenever this mold show up again.

  4. Acer

    If I ever come upon this figure loose (I do hope to get the 8-pack at some point for novelty’s sake), I have a couple of customs in mind:
    -The top half (sans the head, with the ‘bare skin’ painted red or gray) will be used for a Cobra Trooper type custom, since the blue matches.
    -The lower half will be for a Steel Brigade custom (since the camo is almost a good match for the 2005 convention figures).

  5. Skymate

    I understand some of those VvV figure sets had some figures with really bad paint jobs. I noticed a Stalker who was wearing purple and green [interesting choice for snow camo] and an Action man who was clearly Tracker with a new head

    1. Acer

      Actually, that Action Man was the entire Tracker figure.

  6. Scot

    This is another one of those figures that’s pretty miserable on its own but makes for great custom fodder. Better for Cobras than Joes, I think, and the head is a throw-away, but still worth picking up for a couple of bucks. And I don’t mind ’84 Roadblock in that vintage sort of way, but I agree wholly on him wearing a helmet.

  7. Nega

    It’s true the painted over tank top was silly. The lack of painted details was very cheap. But I think this one, while not especially good, is overly hated, but it was a over used mold, even at the time seemed tired that was before his arms, waist and legs became universal donors for gobs of figures.

    And at least he was different. The Snake-Eyes, Dial Tone and Wet-Suit figures in the set were so similar to prior versions that they are mostly forgettable.

  8. BrandoNixon

    Even though this figure is pretty bad, I still find myself missing the vintage molds re-released.

  9. Anonymous

    This set was has rod first real retail debacle. It was not possible for me to purchase it at a store without driving at least 200 miles. And I lived in a city of over a million people!

    The set has some redeeming factors. Dual tone is the best ever. Firefly is a fun novelty and the fast blast viper has uses. At the time the storm shadow was the best red ninja not from Argentina. Even wet suit was pretty good. But the huge packaging added about 10$ in unnecessary shipping costs and the accessories were worse than the final tru sets. For 15$ now it’s worth getting. But dropping 50$ a decade ago was a bitter pill to swallow.

  10. Skymate

    I just thought of something! Give him blue legs/pants and he could be ‘Claymire’ the Cobra soldier Dusty saved in the episode ‘Traitor’

  11. Neapolitan Joe

    Bad colors!

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