Rock ‘n Roll (2007)
By Past Nastification
Included as part of the 2007 GI Joe Collectors’ Club “Tanks for the Memories” convention set, this is Rock ‘n Roll. An original member of the GI Joe team, Rock ‘n Roll has had a relatively low number of figures throughout the years. But unlike Snake-Eyes’ almost 70 versions, who is more or less relegated to black or charcoal grey or black with charcoal grey, Rock ‘n Roll’s uniforms have been a bit more varied. He even had a clunky Star Brigade armored spacesuit.
This version of Rock ‘n Roll features the 2006 Comic Pack Rock ‘n Roll head atop 1989 Stalker’s “tundra ranger” body. This gave Rock ‘n Roll’s final ARAH outing a cold weather uniform, recolored in brown over camouflage green. Different enough from Stalker’s white over green as to not be immediately recognizable as the same body. The use of a mellow tannish yellow for the hair/beard instead of a bright yellow is a nice touch. It’s a small detail the GIJCC could have easily skipped, but instead gave the figure a less cartoony look.
An amazingly detailed Browning 50 caliber machine gun and an ammo box are included. They aren’t Rock ‘n Roll’s more iconic M60 with an ammo belt, but they fit the character well enough. A backpack, instead of a knife, would have been a nice way to round out the accessories. Incidentally, I assumed the machine gun was originally used for a Roadblock figure. It wasn’t included with any pre-2007 Roadblock figures, but rather with a 1995 Sgt. Savage figure its first time out.
The head translates early 80’s artistic interpretations of the original 80’s Hasbro head into plastic. It’s a translation of a translation, so to speak. The thick wavy hair is wonderful, as is the rest of the sculpting. Sadly, the head is somewhat undersized, making it the biggest problem with the figure. It’s a shame we don’t live in an age in which technologies exist that would allow a massive toy company to have corrected this problem before it ever went into production for the ’06 figure. Oh, Hasbro. How you disappoint sometimes.
The “Tanks for the Memories” convention set made good use of the tiny Comic Pack heads, although it sometimes used them for different characters than they were created. Rock ‘n Roll, Zap, and Clutch got to keep their CP heads. Flash and Grunt used the heads of other CP figures (Grunt for Flash and Hawk for Grunt).
It’s a fair critique often heard by collectors that the GIJCC’s products are steeply priced. That’s true. But given the comparatively low production runs, I’m glad that the figures even exist, especially the ones done in the ARAH formats. The “Tanks for the Memories” set is my favorite of the ARAH sets. It was the second-to-last year the GIJCC used the ARAH format for its annual convention set.
The figures in that set are well done, with Rock ‘n Roll being just a little bit better than the rest. This is one of the GIJCC’s best ARAH offerings, giving another solid and varied uniform to our favorite machine gunner. Intentionally subdued yet fun, it’s proof that given the right imagination the ARAH format still has some magic in it.