G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary Buzzer
Even as big a part of the Joe mythos as they are, I've just never been a Dreadnok fan. They've always kind of been the comic relief of the G.I. Joe universe (especially in the cartoon) and I prefer that my terrorist threats be more serious and threatening, and less incompetent. That being said, I can't argue that a lot of folks are Dreadnok fans, and it makes perfect sense to get them included in the 25th Anniversary line.
Perhaps it was because the original versions of the Dreadnoks were so goofy looking that I couldn't really get them integrated into my G.I. Joe universe. With oversized, somewhat doofy looking headsculpts, extremely dated uniforms, and very non-combat oriented uniforms really reduced their functionality, but to a lot of folks, that was a part of their appeal. With this updated version of Buzzer, the designer behind this particular figure seems to have taken a page from the Serpentor and Zartan books, by using the same basic form and adding a lot of new extraneous elements. But where this modification somewhat hurts Serpentor, I think it actually adds some pretty cool elements to the Buzzer character.
I heard a lot of complaints about Buzzer's inclusion this early in the line, and part of me is somewhat curious, too...it seemed odd that he might appear before stallwarts like Major Bludd, Crimson Guard, Viper, or the B.A.T., (heck he even hit a wave before Zartan) but Buzzer did have a very critical part of the comic run, having a really central part of the storyline in the 40's. After all, he was captured by the Joes, and escaped, resulting in the death of Bongo the Balloon Bear (Ripcord's girlfriend at the time)...heck, he was even the one who revealed the location of the original PITT, and thus caused it's destruction. He was a very important person in the comic, and actually had one of the more appealing backstories. Now, it would seem, he finally has a figure worthy of his character.
While both Ripper and Torch got some "new sculpt" love with figures from 2002-2005, it seemed really bizarre that Buzzer, thought of as the Dreadnok "leader", so to speak didn't get his place in the spotlight during those years. Perhaps that's why he got the focus here in the 25th Anniversary line. From a sculpting standpoint, Buzze really stands out nicely. He's got a great head sculpt that captures the classic element of the character, yet updates it a little bit to look more modern day. Lots of detail in the face sculpt, and a great, stern grimace coming from that face. From the neck down, he wears a fairly standard uniform, but it is detailed very nicely, with his traditional button-down shirt (complete with dog tag trophies), well designed blue jeans, and nicely sculpted skulls on the boots.
But there are parts of the figure that are somewhat different from the classic elements. His strange metallic shoulder pad is somewhat out of place, yet adds something interesting to the figure, as does the slim, armor plating on his left shoulder. I have no idea where these elements would have come from, and it seems odd to include them here, but they do add some detail to the figure and make him a bit more "flashy", I guess. Not sure where the choice came from, but they're not so bad. One of the cooler parts of the figure is the separate belt/strap combination that is a separate piece, yet is joined at the waist. It adds a nice bit of realism to the figure, yet leaves Hasbro open for some tooling choices and reuse down the road. The detailing alone on this chest strap is incredible.
The overall look of the figure ends up very reminiscent of the original version, yet updated enough to remain interesting. Pretty good, all told.
Like other Anniversary figures, there is a need to talk about the articulation of Buzzer, and thankfully there isn't a whole lot negative to talk about here. Sure, his hips are still somewhat limited in motion, but are much better than many other figures in the line, allowing for a decent amount of forward motion. His knees have those double joints, and the swivel joints on the gauntlets work very nicely, too. He's not perfect, but he is pretty darn good compared to a lot of other figures that are a bit more limited than Buzzer turns out to be.
One thing I'm not crazy about here is the accessories. They are pretty much the same as what he had back in '85, so I can't really complain too much about that, and the chainsaw is insanely nicely detailed, but he just seems a bit light on the gear. I would have loved to have seen a removable pistol and holster somewhere, but all in all, the gear is accurate to what he originally came with, but is sculpted and detailed far better. I like the flame deco on the chainsaw, and the multi-colored fuel tank backpack is great, too. Not bad, just feels a little empty compared to some of the other figures out there. I'm a little bugged about the soft, rubbery material used for the chainsaw, but I understand safety regulations, so I can't fault Hasbro too much for that.
Taking all of the classic elements from the original Buzzer and adding some nice modern-day details, Hasbro takes the pre-eminent Dreadnok and gives him some serious street cred. He's very well sculpted, has a decent range of articulation and while I'm not wild about the number of his accessories, they make sense and work fine. I'm not a huge Dreadnok fan, but I like this figure quite a bit and once we get that Comic Pack next year with Ripper and Torch, I think we'll have a pretty cool Dreadnok display on our hands.
Now, give me a Zartan to boss him around with!