Tiger Force Roadblock (FSS 6.0)
It seems like every FSS wave has a controversial figure. However, FSS 6.0 seemed pretty controversy free. Everyone was pretty solidly behind the character choices and even the pre- release discussions of figure construction were fairly drama free. Unfortunately, drama reared is fabulous head when the mystery thirteenth figure showed up on our doorsteps. The clues led everyone to assume that the GIJCC was giving us Night Force Lightfoot. I’d resigned myself to that fate, but much to my surprise, I found an old friend staring back at me. I don’t have a lot of specific Joe memories, but I definitely remember getting my vintage Tiger Force Roadblock when I was a kid. I’m thinking I must have been about five years old because we were definitely in South Dakota and Tiger Force Roadblock came home with me when my family bought its new Ford Aerostar van and I know that was when I was in kindergarten because I remember Mom picking me up from school day and the Aerostar getting scratched all to hell by a city vehicle that was hauling too many fallen branches one fall. I don’t quite know why that memory sticks out so much with me, but it does. I’ve always liked Roadblock and truthfully, I was a tad disappointed that Hasbro wound up leaving Tiger Force Roadblock on the cutting room floor when the planned Tiger Rat got cancelled. I realize that Roadblock was slated to use the old 25th Anniversary Roadblock parts, but I was always a little disappointed that I didn’t have modern versions of both my Tiger Force figures. I know there are a lot of people disappointed that this figure didn’t turn out to be Night Force Lightfoot, but there’s a lot to like about Tiger Force Roadblock, and I’m very pleased that I have my vintage Tiger Force figures reunited in modern form.
To build Tiger Force Roadblock, the GIJCC used a fairly simple formula, but it’s effective, though personally, I wouldn’t have minded a couple of tiny changes here and there. The legs are from Retaliation Ultimate Roadblock. Those are great Roadblock legs, but we’ve seen those legs a lot lately, and I’m getting a little tired of seeing them. I know they would have been a tad off model, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Resolute Roadblock legs show up here just to give us something a little different on the “big guy legs” front. The torso and arms come from the Retaliation Heavy Machine Gunner Roadblock figure with hands courtesy of the Retaliation Ninja Dojo Roadblock figure. Despite having passed on the Heavy Machine Gunner Roadblock figure a lot because of his block hand, Hasbro did throw us a nice bone with that figure by referencing Roadblock’s vintage uniform choice and it was a smart call for the GIJCC to reuse these parts here. Over the torso, Tiger Force Roadblock also has a set of two-strapped webgear that looks a lot like the vintage figure’s chest. This is the same piece that Hasbro used all the way back on the original 25th Anniversary Roadblock figure and it’s amazing how well the piece has held up. Honestly, in the very different colors, I wasn’t sure it was the same piece, but it is and it looks great on Tiger Force Roadblock. Part of why everyone was expecting Night Force Lightfoot is that the GIJCC’s clue said the mystery figure was getting a new head. Considering there was a perfectly fine head the GIJCC could have used for him, I didn’t even imagine that the mystery figure would be Tiger Force Roadblock. However, the GIJCC did decide to tool up a new head for Tiger Force Roadblock and it’s a great piece. This is the Roadblock head I’ve been looking for since the start of the modern Joe line. The face is nicely sculpted and there’s a lot of character in his face. Roadblock looks like a very serious guy, but he doesn’t look so dour that the old cartoon characterization of Roadblock always speaking in rhymes doesn’t fit here. The facial hair is right in line with the vintage look (my only possible complaint about theoretically using Resolute Roadblock to make a Tiger Force Roadblock figure) and the head itself looks proportional to the body. The only issue with the head is that it rides up awfully high on the neck post, leaving Roadblock a tad giraffe-necked. It’s not too bad, but it is still noticeable and that’s kind of a shame because otherwise this is an almost perfectly designed figure.
Tiger Force Roadblock was my first Roadblock figure, so that’s the color scheme I’ve always liked for him and the GIJCC did a great job at using the Tiger Force colors on this modern figure. The pants are done in a reddish brown with yellow tiger camouflage stripes on them. The brown is a little different than the browns on the other Tiger Force figures, but considering Roadblock’s skin is also brown, it’s a necessary color shift to make it 100% clear what’s pants and what’s skin. Roadblocks’ tank top is a deep forest green (which I really like), while the webgear and pouches and straps on his legs are a slightly more olive drab green. They’re both great shades of green and reference the vintage figure’s color scheme quite well. Roadblock’s gloves and shoes are a light gray, which does look a little off with the browns and greens but it’s vintage accurate, so it’s a smart call. Roadblock’s skin is brown, though it is a bit lighter than it’s been on the more recent Roadblock figures. The paint work on his face is excellent, with crisply painted eyes and neatly painted black facial hair. The vintage Tiger Force Roadblock figure may have been a fairly simple repaint, but the GIJCC did a great job with those colors and made a sharp looking figure.
Roadblock’s gear is vintage accurate, though I’m a bit of two minds about most of his accessories. Starting off small, he has a knife to fill the sheath on his ankle and a pistol to fill the holster on his hip. However, they both look a little small in his hands and his grip is a bit loose. Roadblock’s primary weapon is the same M2 machine gun that we first saw with the 25th Anniversary Roadblock figure. I get that this is Roadblock’s signature weapon, but he can’t hold it in a realistic firing pose, and that’s a very big strike against it. Heck, it’s even kind of hard to get him to hold it like he does in the card art. Every time I see this weapon with any figure, I keep wishing that whoever came with it would have been given a different weapon. I think the Retaliation Ultimate Roadblock 50-caliber machine gun would have been a better fit with this figure because it’s a great piece and it would look perfectly natural in his hands. The machine gun also comes with the requisite bullet belt, but it does lack a backpack to plug it into. I don’t love the 25th Anniversary Roadblock backpack, but I do kind of wish Tiger Force Roadblock had it just so the ammunition belt wasn’t hanging off the machine gun. Topping off the figure, Roadblock has a yellow-with-black-stripes version Pursuit of Cobra Dusty’s helmet. That’s a great callback to Tiger Force Roadblock’s helmet, but this helmet fits really weirdly on his head. The left side of the helmet seems a little squished so his face looks odd when he’s wearing it. I’m not sure whether this is something that affected all FSS 6.0 Tiger Force Roadblock figures across the board of if mine just has a squished helmet, but it is a little bit disappointing that Tiger Force Roadblock’s helmet doesn’t look right on his head. Overall, I get what the GIJCC was trying to do with Tiger Force Roadblock’s gear, but like some of the 25th Anniversary figures, I feel his accessories are a bit limiting because the GIJCC was so hidebound by trying to replicate the vintage figure’s gear.
Yes, Tiger Force Roadblock isn’t Night Force Lightfoot since that team will be forever incomplete, and that’s a bit of a disappointment, but this is still a great figure. The build is solid and the color scheme is a great representation of the vintage figure’s look. I don’t know why the GIJCC decided to invest tooling dollars on a new head for Roadblock, but they did and it’s a great piece. His gear is a little awkward and I don’t know what’s up with his helmet, but they’re all solid callbacks to the vintage figure. However, the way some people were talking about this figure, you’d think it was FSS 2.0 Red Pads Grand Slam, that’s how bad it was. I get the disappointment about Night Force Lightfoot, but at the same time, Tiger Force Roadblock isn’t a bad figure. He’s a great addition to my modern Tiger Force team, and I’m pretty happy to have him and I think if people that were disappointed about him not being Night Force Lightfoot divorce Tiger Force Roadblock taking “his” spot, they’d realize there’s a lot to like here, too.