Bench Press (Toys "R" Us Exclusive)

I find Bench Press a pretty interesting figure and character, especially considering he was somewhat shoe-horned into a limited edition Toys "R" Us exclusive assortment and he used existing tooling. Even with all of that going against him, he ends up being a pretty neat figure that captures the Rise of Cobra feel, yet manages to look pretty unique at the same time.

The first thing you'll notice about Bench Press is his overall size. He's a large, hulking figure with broad shoulders, thick legs and immediately looks like a bruiser. His codename and size would almost seem to indicate that he's a trainer of sorts, though his filecard mentions nothing about this.

Like other Toys "R" Us Exclusives, Bench Press reuses all existing parts, and he does it very, very well. He's got Bazooka's torso and arms, Clutch's head, with Heavy Duty v.1 legs, yet repainted in such a way that really separates him nicely from the previous figures using those parts. The range of motion in his joints is okay, though not great. He's got some typical issues with the 25th Anniversary construction in the elbows, not even allowing him to hold his shotgun in a proper two-handed pose.

He uses a very basic paint scheme, with the black jersey and nice camouflage pants, which does nothing drastic or unusual, but still ends up looking very nice, even amongst a wide array of movie style figures with different looks. The ammo belt tattoo on his forearm is another very nice touch that adds some character to the figure as well.

Speaking of character, Bench Press has sparked a bit of controversy in the G.I. Joe community with his file name... listed on the filecard under Rock n Roll's filename, the concern has been that Bench Press is a replacement for that beloved character, and that certainly appears to be the case. Hasbro specifically referenced copyright issues with Rock n Roll's name, so it sure sounds like chances of getting that character are somewhat slim.

But really, Bench Press being a "replacement" isn't a big deal to me, on the surface he looks like a totally different character, even with all of the existing tooling. Hell, even reusing Clutch's head works fine for me, as it doesn't really look like that character, even when standing side by side.

Beyond the file name issues, I've heard several complaints about his accessories, which part of me can certainly understand. Okay, so Bench Press is a machine gunner. Great. So, what's with the chain saw? And the axe? And why the heck do we need Heavy Duty's overblown spring-loaded chain cannon from hell? I do love the camouflage boonie hat, the backpack, and the shotgun, but there are some serious head scratchers in here, too.

From a character standpoint, Bench Press doesn't really give us much that's new and different, but some smart parts choices, a great presentation, and a wide array of accessories still make this a desirable figure, and a nice addition to Toys "R" Us' growing Headquarters for Heroes toyline.