Rock ‘N Roll (1991)
I’ve been flying my freak flag when it comes to the 90’s GI Joe toys since, well, the 90’s. It was the era in which I dove back into collecting, so the time still holds a certain fascination for me. I particularly remember the early 90’s toy treasure trove that was the Half Price Store. The GI Joe assortments from 1991 to 1994 were readily available in my area at this discount chain store. I have vivid memories of an entire bin full of the Sonic Fighters and other sub-teams of the time. I will admit that at the time, I didn’t pick up this recolor of Rock ‘N Roll’s second mold. While there were others in the Sonic Fighters series that I liked and bought (namely the Viper repaint) Rock ‘N Roll was skipped over. I guess that the huge backpacks were such a turnoff that I didn’t notice the cool playability some of them had. That really was an ingenious touch on the part of the designers, to make the backpacks a bit of a themed accessory that recalled the action backpacks of the 80’s. Sure, most were farfetched, and a few were downright ridiculous, but I think the end result was in general very fun.
Even with the bright orange bits, the coloring on this figure is I think quite nice, although lacking in detail here and there. The second version of Rock ‘N Roll was a great update, and this version gets him into the neon era with style. Maybe I’m just fond of the figure now because it reminds me of a ridiculous (weren’t they all?) DIC cartoon episode, starring Rock ‘N Roll as well as the hair-bandish Billy Blaster.
Whereas the figure itself was a simple repaint, the accessories were new and unique. The backpack with lights and sound,also incorporated a stand upon which the rifle and a cannon could be mounted. There’s even a footpeg for a little added stability.
This figure also sports some of the softest plastic weapons I can recall among GI Joe figures. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering that a soft weapon makes for less chance of a broken thumb. They do however have a tendency to become marred, especially the handgrips. The second version’s leg mounted rifle wasn’t included this time, so his thigh pegs look a little out of place.
On a side note, in the ensuing years since 1983, Rock N Roll gained the rank of Sgt. Major. Impressive, and nice to see guys other than Hawk get promoted.