Rock N’ Roll (25th Anniversary)
When the Joe line reinvented itself in a smaller scale in 1982, they really managed to capture lightning in a bottle. Those first 13 figures were interesting characters and to me, one of the coolest was Rock ‘N’ Roll. KansasBrother and I were both too young to have started with the Joe line when it came back in 1982, but I definitely remember the 1989 version of Rock ‘N’ Roll he had. That was a cool figure, but I really do like the simplicity of the 1982 version of him. I remember being super disappointed with the Stars & Stripes Forever set because while it showed the original Rock ‘N’ Roll on the back, he definitely wasn’t anywhere in the box. When the 25th Anniversary line really took off in 2008, it made sense for Rock ‘N’ Roll to rejoin the team. He’s always been a pretty popular character and his original look wasn’t difficult to recreate with their limited parts library, even if some of the parts choices were a bit dated.
Like the rest of the Original 13, Rock ‘N’ Roll’s look is relatively simple and is obviously military. Rock ‘n’ Roll uses parts from 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes and unfortunately 25th Anniversary Duke. The Snake Eyes torso makes sense for Rock ‘N’ Roll. It’s a nice basic military shirt. Hasbro took advantage of the modular nature of the modern figures and tooled up a pair of machine gun bullet belts he wears over his chest. That was a cool detail on the vintage figure and I really like seeing it here. The bullet bandoliers are a bit bulky, but they look decent and they obscure the 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes torso’s epic chest gap. He also borrows his removable belt from 25th Anniversary Grand Slam. I’m not totally sure how necessary the belt is since it only looks okay. It doesn’t fit around Rock ‘N’ Roll’s waist that well and looks a bit bulky. Rock ‘N’ Roll’s arms and legs come from 25th Anniversary Duke and that’s a major bummer on both accounts. The 25th Anniversary Duke legs are okay pieces. They’re relatively basic pieces and they look like a pair of BDUs that the wearer tucked into their boots. Unfortunately, they look just a bit too long for the rest of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s body, leaving him with some kind of wonky proportions. The slightly shorter 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes torso doesn’t really work well with these legs. Of course, the bigger problem is that Rock ‘N’ Roll uses the dreaded 25th Anniversary Duke arms. These things are crap and they always have been. Even worse, these are the original Duke arms, not the redesigned ones I’ve talked about in a couple of other Field Reports. That means not only does Rock ‘N’ Roll have terrible elbows, but he also has deep articulation cuts in his mid-forearm that really breaks up the look of the figure. I’m glad Hasbro eventually redesigned these things, but it took them way too long to do it and considering how bad they were in the first place, they should have just destroyed the tool and remade it from scratch. Up top, Rock ‘N’ Roll gets a brand new head and I really like this piece. It definitely looks like the Rock ‘N’ Roll I was familiar with as a kid. His beard looks nice, but you can definitely get an idea of what his face looks like underneath the beard so it looks quite natural. I think Rock ‘N’ Roll’s face is just a tad too thin for my tastes, but it still works for him. He’s got a very serious stare and I think that works for him. He may still be a surfer dude at heart, but in the comics, Rock ‘N’ Roll was always pretty serious in the field, so I think the serious look on his face fits well here.
Hearkening back to the 1982 figure, 25th Anniversary Rock ‘N’ Roll’s paint work is also exceedingly simple. The bulk of the figure is molded in olive drab green. It’s a great military color and fits well with the simplicity of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s 1982 look. The only additional colors on Rock ‘N’ Roll are brown for his boots and sheath, flesh tone color for his arms and face, yellow for his hair, and brass for the bullets on his bandoliers. There’s not a lot of paint work Hasbro had to do on this figure, but it is well done. There’s no slop on the bullets, which helps the overall look. The paint work on his arms is a little questionable, but it’s by no means awful. The only real problem is that since the flesh color had to be painted over the olive drab green his arms are molded out of, it leaves the flesh color looking awfully heavily applied and somewhat unnatural. The paint work on his face is excellent and the eyes are well done and add a little bit of life to Rock ‘N’ Roll’s face. There’s not a lot to talk about here, but Hasbro did a decent job with Rock ‘N’ Roll’s paint work, and that’s all that I can really ask for.
Like many of the early Joes, Rock ‘N’ Roll doesn’t have a lot of equipment, but his pieces are still great. It’s definitely quality over quantity for Rock ‘N’ Roll and I’m okay with that. That just means Rock ‘N’ Roll can carry all his gear with him. Rock ‘N’ Roll gets the standard 25th Anniversary knife to fill the sheath on his right leg, but that’s really secondary to his primary weapon. Rock ‘N’ Roll was the team’s first machine gunner and he’s always carried a pretty impressive weapon. Rock ‘N’ Roll’s machine gun looks quite a bit like the Rheinmetal MG3, a West German version of the Mauser MG42 that saw extensive use in World War II. The MG3 is a slightly newer version but both weapons are still in service today and when you look at Rock ‘N’ Roll in the context of the early 80s, it makes sense for him to be carrying the MG3 since it was NATO’s primary machine gun for a time. The design is also quite similar to the vintage Rock ‘N’ Roll figure’s machine gun with bipod. As a military history nerd, I do like seeing actual firearms in Joe figures’ hands. The MG3 is very well detailed and looks great in Rock ‘N’ Roll’s hands. Even better, unlike 25th Anniversary Roadblock, 25th Anniversary Rock ‘N’ Roll can actually hold his machine gun. Since he’s a modern style figure with a machine gun that means Rock ‘N’ Roll also gets the requisite belt of bullets that plugs into the gun. Again, Rock ‘N’ Roll has a clear advantage over Roadblock because the bullet belt actually plugs in securely to the side of his weapon and Rock ‘N’ Roll’s off hand can also be used to support and feed the bullets through his weapon. Topping off the figure, Rock ‘N’ Roll gets a basic helmet. It fits his head decently, which can’t be said for every Joe that got this piece, so I’ll accept it, even though I have Rock ‘N’ Roll running around without his helmet most of the time. Rock ‘N’ Roll doesn’t have a lot of accessories, but they’re great pieces that tie back directly to his vintage look and fit the character perfectly.
Rock ‘N’ Roll is a decent figure. The use of Duke parts does create some problems, though, and it leaves him looking awfully dated. Rock ‘N’ Roll is another classic Joe that probably deserves an update, and I’m glad that the GIJCC grabbed the Concept Case Rock ‘N’ Roll figure for their final membership figure. I still wouldn’t mind seeing a more modern take on the original Rock ‘N’ Roll look, though. There’s something charming about the figure’s simplicity and I think an updated version (possibly based around the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper tooling) would be a welcome addition to the modern Joe brand. As it stands, though, the 25th Anniversary is a passable update to Rock ‘N’ Roll’s original figure and Hasbro did a better job on him than some of other classic Joe characters.