Blowtorch (2003 Built to Rule)
During the 2000s relaunch series, many collectors waited to see the 80s Joe team interpreted in the new style. I admit that while I liked to see the characters’ looks taken in a new direction, I also was curious to see the Joes I remember in a modern interpretation. Of course, we’d have to wait until the 25th line to get that sort of product.
Blowtorch is one of the figures in the 2000s Built to Rule series to take at least its color cues from its 80s counterpart. Most of the other BTR figures were either based on the main line of the time or veered off in their own unique direction. This is also a case of the the brick studs melding with the uniform design a bit better. Conceptually, the real-world scaled studs on a miniature figure make sense, if there are enough interesting weapons or gadgets to attached to them. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, so kids didn’t have much to do with them and collector types just saw the added bits as an annoyance. I remember plenty of custom BTR figures of the time with their arm and leg studs surgically removed. In a way, that’s sad to me.
The figure is also memorable for its inclusion of a removable helmet. It would have been nice to have more backpack and rifle accessories in the line, but the new sculpt line produced its share of weapons that could be used here–or not, since the hands are molded in a U-shape. On the positive side, the hands are not horrifically tiny as their main line counterparts.
The 80s Blowtorch is one of my favorite 80s Joes, and I admit to a soft spot to the character in any format. He’s one of my favorites of the BTR series. I know having a favorite BTR Joe carries about as much critical weight as saying I have a favorite Missouri crabcake, but there you go.