Knockdown (Force of Battle 2000)
While I’m still not sure about the execution of the vintage or modern figures, Battle Force 2000 was honestly a pretty interesting team. The specialties were varied and each member brought something unique to the team. While I didn’t know about him as a kid, when I started reading the Marvel G.I. Joe series, I was kind of drawn to Knockdown. The team debuted in the comics in Issue 69, but they got shuffled to the back of the lineup pretty quickly, not making any substantial appearances until the Trucial Abysmia storyline where everyone but Dodger (including Dee-Jay who made his first appearance in the same issue) gets killed off. Getting to meet the character via his filecard this year, I’m glad to learn that Knockdown has a fairly interesting character to pair with his interesting look. The GIJCC did a serviceable job at making a modern version of Battle Force 2000’s anti-aircraft specialist and he’s a great addition to my collection.
Like the rest of the Battle Force 2000, Knockdown’s look was pretty complicated back in the day, and the GIJCC managed to find a way to reference the details without tooling up new parts. The legs are shared with the 30th Anniversary Techno-Viper. The boot tops actually do look quite a bit like the vintage Knockdown legs and they’re solid pieces that haven’t been used that much. The torso appears to be shared with 25th Anniversary Snake Eyes, but you won’t see it because it’s covered by the 30th Anniversary Techno-Viper vest and the 25th Anniversary Shockwave belt. The combination is effective, but I can’t help but wonder if either the Rise of Cobra Anthony “Flash” Gambello or the Resolute Firefly vests would have been more effective. Those pieces both have molded details that fit Knockdown’s vintage look a bit better than the Techno-Viper vest. The Shockwave belt is also extremely loose on Knockdown’s waist. It doesn’t fit around his waist as badly as the Rise of Cobra General Hawk belt does on G.I. Jane, but it still takes a bit of fiddling and balancing to get it in the right place and you’ll have to use the bottom of the Techno-Viper vest to hold it there. The arms come from Pursuit of Cobra Arctic Threat Storm Shadow. It’s an odd choice, but the shape of some of the armor actually fits with Knockdown’s vintage look. However, not all of it does. It’s especially noticeable on the wrist armor where it’s got the cords around the base of the gauntlets. I kind of wonder if either the Rise of Cobra Anthony “Flash” Gambello arms or any of the reactive armor figure’s arms would have worked a little better than these pieces. They’re not bad, but they’re just a bit less than ideal. Topping off the figure, Knockdown pulls his head from an extremely surprising source. When Pursuit of Cobra Dusty’s head didn’t show up on Maverick, I was expecting to see it here. The vintage Knockdown’s head was later modified to create Charbroil’s head and the Pursuit of Cobra Dusty head looks quite a bit like that head. The GIJCC must be listening to fan complaints about overuse of that head (even though in this case it would have made sense to use it) because instead of Dusty, they grabbed the head from Retaliation Kwinn. It’s not the expected choice, but it is a pretty good choice. The hair doesn’t quite match up, but I do like the grizzled look for Knockdown. His filecard talks about him serving on several secret anti-aircraft projects that were cancelled. You don’t work as a part of the test crew of any project at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds without having been in the military for a while. The Kwinn head helps make Knockdown look just a bit older than the other members of the Joe team and I like seeing that part of his filecard characterization reflected in the figure’s face sculpt. Kwinn’s head may not have been the obvious choice for Knockdown, but I definitely think it was the right one and it really adds quite a bit to the figure.
I think part of the reason my brain never really latched onto the Battle Force 2000 figures is that they have some pretty disparate color schemes. I kind of like it when my subteams have some sort of unifying feature to them. Not only are the color schemes themselves disparate, but the quality of those color schemes also varies greatly. Avalanche’s arctic camouflage is rather boring while Blocker’s look is actually pretty solid. However, Knockdown has kind of a middle-of-the-road look that isn’t really that terrible but also isn’t all that interesting. His vest and boots, along with an arm band on his left arm are a very light tan. There’s a little bit of green on the piping of his boots and on the helmet. His pants, right glove and the hose on the Techno-Viper vest are black. His belt, left gauntlet, and the detailing on his helmet are silver. His torso and the parts of his arms that aren’t painted with the other colors I’ve mentioned are blue. That means the armored detailing on his arms that don’t fit with Knockdown’s vintage look are just left unpainted, which isn’t really my favorite solution to that kind of problem. Knockdown’s head is molded out of Caucasian skin tone plastic and his is painted a reddish brown similar to the vintage figure’s hair. To recreate the canisters that Knockdown’s original torso had, the GIJCC used tampo work, and while the tampos are crisp, I really do wish these were sculpted elements instead of painted ones. As it stands, it looks just a little off to see those canisters painted on rather than sculpted on. It goes back to my thought that the Rise of Cobra Flash or Resolute Firefly vests might have worked a little better here.
While I have had a few issues with a few of the choices made with Knockdown’s construction and paint work, I can’t say anything bad about his accessories. To replicate his funky helmet, the GIJCC used the helmet given to Retaliation Lift Ticket. This is a great piece and it replicates the detailing in Knockdown’s vintage helmet surprisingly well while also making it look a bit more realistic. Considering Knockdown is the team’s anti-aircraft expert, I think giving him a helmet with a built in targeting system like this is a great choice. For the first time in the Battle Force 2000 reviews, I’ve actually found a figure whose funky, futuristic weapon is defined. As befitting his codename, Knockdown’s giant pistol is actually an “extremely portable, experimental, handheld non-missile air defense” weapon. With that knowledge, the giant pistol makes a lot of sense. I can definitely see Knockdown being able to take down Cobra aircraft with this thing. It’s nice that when Hasbro actually bothered to define what a Battle Force 2000 character’s weapon was, it was something that fits well with the character. I just wish they would have done the same things for the other members of the team somewhere other than in the tiny print alongside the packaging bubble. Knockdown’s non-futuristic weapon still looks kind of futuristic, but in actuality, it’s just a slightly funky take on a double-barreled shotgun. Instead of a side-by-side shotgun, it’s an over-under with a modern, futuristic-looking stock. This is a piece that I don’t think we’ve seen since the DTC figure, Med Alert. While a shotgun like this didn’t make much sense for a medic, it makes a lot of sense for Knockdown. His filecard talks about honing his skills by skeet shooting, admittedly with a bolt action rifle instead of a shotgun, but the shotgun fits for someone that has that particular hobby. Knockdown’s gear is excellent and fits very well with his established character and while the GIJCC did take some flak for taking the time and tooling dollars to recreate all the original Battle Force 2000 weapons, I think Knockdown is one that definitely needed his anti-aircraft pistol redone and if you’re going to go to those lengths for one figure, you may as well do it for the rest of the team.
Knockdown is an excellent figure and a great addition to my collection. While I think the GIJCC could have done a few things differently with Knockdown’s construction, they still did an incredible job at recreating the vintage figure without having to tool up any new parts. I think a change in vests would have benefitted Knockdown’s overall look and some different arms would have made him slightly better, but neither of those problems are really dealbreakers. The great equipment complements Knockdown’s overall design and character quite well. This is an excellent representation of Battle Force 2000’s anti-aircraft expert and the GIJCC should be commended for making such a solid version of him.