25th Anniversary Torch
I’ve mentioned before that though I’ve always liked the concept of the Dreadnoks, I never actually had any of them growing up. The closest I got to having a Dreadnok in my collection was the Ninja Force Zartan figure. Most of the Dreadnoks came out just a little before my time and though they played a big role in the cartoon, I never felt my collection of Joes was lacking because I didn’t have them. However, when the 25th Anniversary line was expanded, Hasbro made sure to finally give the original three Dreadnoks some attention. In a line where we’ve seen Duke, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow get literally dozens of updates, it was always a bit of a shame that the original three Dreadnoks never got updated at the same time. The GIJCC versions were just repaints of the classic (though somewhat dated) molds, the comic pack versions did get new heads, but their comic-based color schemes weren’t the greatest, and in the Joe Vs. Cobra era, only two of the three classic Dreadnoks got updates. Thankfully, the 25th Anniversary line finally gave the original three Dreadnoks the updates they deserved…and they all got to be together again, constructed in the same style, for the first time in over 20 years. Unfortunately, Torch gets the short end of the stick because of his weak parts which is kind of a shame because I’ve always liked Torch the most of the original Dreadnoks.
Much like the members of the Dreadnok seven pack, not all Dreadnoks can achieve greatness, and unfortunately for Torch, that means he’s the odd man out. That’s a shame because for whatever reason, I’ve always thought Torch was the coolest looking Dreadnok. It’s a crying shame that the figure they released for him was just so awful. Many 25th Anniversary figures didn’t stand up well over time, but Torch had troubles from the get-go because everything but his head came from the 25th Anniversary Gung-Ho figure. The Gung-Ho legs aren’t actually that bad, but that’s the only thing even close to decent that comes from this mold. The legs look like jeans and I like that Hasbro was able to swap out Gung-Ho’s grenades for a clip for his cutting torch to hook to. The musculature on his torso is just plain odd and his arms are next to useless. The elbow bends are exceedingly shallow and the hands can’t really hold much of anything. Torch’s brand new vest helps hide his strange chest anatomy, but nothing can really offset the terrible Gung-Ho arms. The vest is exceedingly well-detailed with chains wrapped around his shoulder and the three straps across his stomach to hold the vest closed a little. These are all classic details from the original Torch figure and while they looked a little weird back in the day, the modern figure-making technology does help the vest look a lot better than it did originally. While Torch’s body is pretty terrible, his head sculpt is pretty great. His face is appropriately intimidating and they did a great job sculpting his muttonchops. My favorite detail, though, has to be his cocked eyebrow. It’s like Torch is looking at some drunken punk in a bar who just challenged him to a fight and is thinking “You really wanna do this, kid?” Torch is confident that he can beat down anyone who crosses his path I find myself liking how much character his face has. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Torch’s head fits really low on his neck peg. It makes it look like Torch has no neck and I think that magnifies the other problem he has: that he’s just a touch pinheaded. The vintage Dreadnoks’ heads were too big for their bodies, but now Torch seems to have gone the other way. He’s not as pinheaded as 25th Anniversary Wild Bill, but his head looks just a touch out of proportion with the rest of his body. Torch’s construction definitely shows that Hasbro had a bit of a learning curve when it came to this new modern construction style. He does look better than Gung-Ho, but that’s not really saying a lot.
The Dreadnoks have been a big part of Joe mythos for a long time, it’s just a shame that it took until the 25th Anniversary line for all three of them to get updated at the same time. Unfortunately, poor Torch got the short end of the stick. Being based around Gung-Ho parts really hurt him a lot. I kind of wish they’d waited a little longer to do the Dreadnoks so they could do them right. Even just waiting one wave of comic packs so the tooling for the Tomax/Xamot arms would have been available would have been enough to save Torch from a lot of my criticisms. Unfortunately, he is what he is and while I don’t think he’s the worst figure modern out there, it’s just a little disappointing that the Dreadnoks couldn’t all look good. As it stands, he’s still a better figure than Zanzibar since Zanzibar has no excuse for looking so awful. They did the best they could with Torch at the time, but if Hasbro ever decides to update the Dreadnoks again, I really hope that they start with Torch since he needs a better figure.