I still find that the relaunch era of GI Joe has quite a few figures with a certain degree of charm. As each new assortment of figures were released, I awaited my favorites to be released in the new format. The same thing still happens in the current era, and so it’s funny to think back ten years ago to when I pined for my 82-87 faves to make it back to toy shelves. While Heavy Duty was the first heavy weapons specialist to make the revitalized line, Roadblock was not far behind.
Roadblock, as I’ve mentioned before, was one of the 80s figures that I had wanted to see improved. After 1984, his build seemed too small, and his head was shaped…strangely. In 1986, a new version addressed those concerns, but changed up the subdued uniform quite a bit in favor of brighter white and grey. Fast forward to 2003, and the team’s heavy machine gunner was updated in a style that suggested the original figure, but brought it into the modern age.
Roadblock has had several hallmark elements over the years. Obviously, the bald head and bare arms are the most recognizable. This time, his arms are festooned with new accessories in the form of bicep ammo belts and stylish wrist wraps. I wonder if the wraps are an homage to the kerchiefs around the boots of the 1992 version. I also haven’t seen a Joe accessorize with ammunition since 1990, when Salvo wrapped .30 cal belts around his legs. Finally, Roadblock’s old simple camo vest has given way to a new padded version with straps. While it’s not a direct stylistic pull from 1984, there’s no mistaking who this figure is.
Roadblock has upgraded his main gun from the ma deuce to a full-on minigun. This is a pretty awesome weapon. It looks mightily destructive, and is the sort of armament that only a Joe of the stature of Roadblock could carry off–literally.
Being a Spy Troops figure, Roadblock came equipped with a disguise to blend in and infiltrate the Cobra lines. While other Joes were given elaborate multi-piece snap-on armor, boots, helmets and the like, Roadblock received a simple cloth ghillie suit. Maybe the GI Joe disguise depot doesn’t carry Cobra CLAWS outfits in its big and tall section.