Torch (1985)

What can I write that hasn’t been said about the Dreadnoks, some of the most iconic, colorful and well remembered GI Joe villains of the Real American Hero era? Heck, I’d venture to say they’re some of the most remembered villains of any 80’s property. At least more remembered than the likes Mon*Star, Buttons McBoomBoom, Hun-Dred or Darkstorm. I can also say that I equally enjoyed the figures and their portrayals in both the cartoon and Marvel comic.

Buzzer was actually the first Dreadnok figure that I bought back in the 80’s. His strange look and incredibly dangerous implements of destruction had a big impact on me. He was such a change of pace from the likes of the regular Cobra forces. A school friend soon after picked up Torch, and once I saw him in hand, I had to have him too. Looking back, I think it’s funny that I didn’t notice the stylistic difference in sculpts between Torch and his ‘Nok comrades.

Torch follows a more realistic scale in terms of his proportions. The other two Dreadnoks have large heads and thick legs, while Torch is quite svelte. I assume there were many designers and sculptors working on the figures, and maybe that’s what accounts for the difference between figures.

Of the three original Dreadnoks, Torch seemed to be the most prototypical looking biker, with his muttonchops, leather vest, and skull and chain accessories. He’s even wearing riding boots. Safety first, boyo.


  • First comment! Yay! This is one of my all-time fav action figures. Love the Levar Burton/70’s punker glasses. And a torch? What every kid wanted. Never got one for Christmas tho.

  • He was a favorite of mine as well. A family friend read the comic when I was young( like 4 or 5 ) gave me the figure. He died of a drug over dose when I was a teenager. It’s funny how a little toy can remind you so much of a friend. On a different note he had an awesome file card

  • I remember getting the first three ‘Noks around Christmas of ’84 and being surprised at seeing the ’85 characters being pictured on the back so early.

    That said, I never understood the gang’s appeal. Larry Hama sure took to them and there was mention that Hasbro wanted something weirder along the line of Ewoks, so Larry brought in bikers instead.

    Torch is probably my least favorite of the three, although I bought an extra one by mistake along with a bunch of figures (my parents were probably in a hurry) so I ended up giving him to a friend from school, mint on card and everything. I must really not like Torch.

  • I’d like to see a complete list of Joe figures that have skulls hanging from their necks. Kwinn, Torch, Arctic Snake Eyes …

  • I found Torch and Ripper at a flea market around 2005. They present me with a challenge in terms of restoring their paint and accessories.

  • I’m a huge fan of all of the ARAH Dreadnoks. Torch is a great-looking figure with a classic name and awesome accessories. I always liked how he, Buzzer, Ripper, and Monkeywrench had the matching light blue pants.

    On a side note, what line was Hun-dred from? That one isn’t ringing a bell for me.

    • Hun-Dred is from the sublimely simplistic Robo Force line from Ideal. The robots had suction cups on the bottom, and “gripping” arms. The line also had a one-shot animated special, written by Flint Dille of all people.

  • Love it. Love the Dreadnoks, especially the original three. Buzzer is definitely my favorite Joe figure ever.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Great character and a classic figure all around!

  • Great figure. Great character. After reading your Modern ‘Comic Look’ Ripper review I fished out my other ‘Noks, I was wondering if I’d been imagining owning the 25th Era repaint version of Torch but found out I did in fact have him in my collection. I guess I didn’t have much love for the repaint as opposed to the superior Comic 2 pack versions – until now. I used to own the classic version, bought from a now defunct online seller in the UK (not ebay) and found it strange he had one in stock given Torch was never officially released in the UK in 1987 but Ripper and Buzzer were…we even got Monkey Wrench in 1988 in the range…

    Like I said in your Ripper review, the ‘Noks were far more seriously portrayed as engines of psychotic destruction in the UK Action Force comic…the reprints of the earlier US strips did tend to retain the ‘dim witted’ appeal of the biker gang but I still liked them. I found it odd Torch never made the cut in the UK range, perhaps his pyromaniac tendencies were deemed too unacceptable for children? Who knows…

    As for the repaint that a lot of fans hated in the 25th era, I like him, he’s a simpler retake that reminds me of how he and his mates were rendered when CC still owned Springfield, when he needed their services as bodyguards at a rally or when they wreaked havoc on McGuire A.F.B….

    One of the best stories that featured them was when Buzzer stole Zartan’s new bike and the three hit the highway and caused so much menacing chaos – including a run in with three certain servicemen on leave…classic.

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