Backblast (1989)

Backblast is equipped with an impressive weapon that is also unfortunately one of the most difficult to get a figure to hold while maintaining its balance. I hate to harp here, but I feel you must share my pain in getting this guy posed for a photo. I try not to use figure stands in my shots, so there’s a careful balancing act going on sometimes. Maybe someday I’ll post a few out-takes of figures on their backs, or in mid fall. It’ll be just like the end of a Hal Needham film.

There are other figures with accessory issues, like Sneak Peek, whose periscope I have never been able to understand. I know how Backblast is supposed to hold his triple tubed monstrosity of a weapon, but I can’t get his figure to actually do it. The handles are thinner in one direction, presumably to avoid snapped thumbs, but the hands still can’t hold them with the arms bent.

Once you get the figure positioned with the missile launcher in the right direction, it looks really impressive. The rest of the figure is nicely understated, with colors that hark back to the early years of the line. Backblast has some pretty massive guns of his own, and his sleeveless arms are some of the most well defined of the old line. He would need to be pretty strong to heft that big weapon around.

Backblast has one of the most interesting and distinctive head sculpts of the later series, with intricate netting molded in the helmet, and a very determined expression. He’s also a member of the GI Joe Power ‘Stache club. My favorite details of the figure however are the equations scrawled on his thigh notepad, and the arm holster for his knife. Though the holster looks clunky, it’s a very nice attempt and a little extra detail that was outside of the norm for the time. The mold was released again in the Battle Corps series of the 90’s, but packaged with (what else?) a giant spring loaded missile launcher in place of his signature accessory. Well, at least for once a Battle Corps launcher made sense.



  • LOL. I just went through the same frustration trying to pose him for 3DJoes. I’ve been trying to do at least one spin of each figure where they do what they’re doing on the card art. For him, it is impossible. He simply cannot hold the missile launcher the way it’s shown on the card.

    That’s pretty darn frustrating.

    Other than that though, he’s one of my favorites from ’89!

  • This is another figure I hope to own at some point. Makes me wonder why the Valor Vs. Venom version deviated so much from his original figure. Also, the card art always made me confused–the figure’s a white guy, but the shading on the card art makes him look like a black guy.

    • I wonder if since the end of the original RAH or perhaps post-Kenner even, that the “property rights” are more important than giving a full life to a product or caring about what the trademark was put on before. I don’t know, it’s that question of what’s in a name? It’s like, we own, “backblast,” that sounds cool, put it on this figure?

  • Backblast at the time came off like an upgraded Bazooka. Upgraded missile launcher (not one, not two, but three tubes of terror!), upgraded muscles, upgraded helmet and… upgraded moustache.

    I wonder what percentage of classic ARAH Joes sported moustaches? Hmmm, I just realized Battle Force 2000 had no moustaches among it. Well, Hasbro got that aspect of 2000 right. Moustaches were out.

  • Hasbro did go overboard with the mustaches during the vintage era but Backblast turned out to be one of the best figures from 1989, a year I otherwise view as weak despite the return of some old favorites.

    Backblast’s thigh notepad and arm holster are really unique touches. I only noticed that he fits in well with the Original Thirteen now that you mentioned it. I wish the Battle Corps version had kept the arm holster although it’s nothing that a quick arms swap can’t fix.

  • Are Backblast and Salvo related? Neither of them can stand up because both of them came with oversized missile launchers. They also both have slogans on their shirts

    • Backblast and Salvo actually make a cool anti-armor duo for the reasons you mention. (That is, if their gear doesn’t keep ’em from falling over.)

      Check out Backblast’s “All Geared Up” shot at The guy who contributed the pic managed to pull off his card art pose!

  • The filecard for Backblast is one of my favorites in the whole line. The figure though isn’t nearly as memorable.

  • The Battle Corps version of Backblast really stood out to me, as a 1993 figure, at that time, it quickly became an often go-to figure for the rather basic military styling and solid overall form. (Went great with Battle Corps Duke, in my opinion.)

    I switched over the 1989 version for my “default” today.

    What do you do with the big ammo belt that he came with?

  • I love this little bastard!

  • Backblast was one of my favorite figures of the 90s he and Salvo was my heavy gun fire team.

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