When I reviewed Spirit from the Classic Clash 2-Pack I made reference to the fact that while I wasn’t in love with the 25th Anniversary version of the figure, the accessories almost made up for it. I kind of feel the same way about Blowtorch, though his accessories aren’t quite as cool.
Blowtorch is one of those frustrating figures to me. He has a great sculpt with some good colors and very nice accessories, but has a few limiting factors to me, most of which are his elbow joints. When this figure was first made a number of years ago they hadn’t quite perfected the bulky cloth sculpt while maintaining great articulation. As a result, Blowtorch’s thick padded uniform ends up restricting his elbow movement far too much for my liking. I have some room for forgiveness for a lot of aesthetic choices like that, however when a guy whose specialty is essentially his flamethrower weapon can’t even hold said weapon, that’s a bit of a turn off. Because of the elbows he cannot even hold the flamethrower two-handed, so I have a hard time finding some love for the figure.
However, there are some things to love about this version of Blowtorch.
I know most folks reading this are aware of the homage to Gary Head with the Sightline figure, and that’s a terrific aspect of this series of 50th Anniversary releases. What some folks may not know, though, is that Gary’s relationship with legendary sculptor Bill Merklein revealed some early concept art for Blowtorch, including a piece showing him in this green and gray color scheme. There was a lot of fandom clamor for a version of Blowtorch in that color scheme, so in a way, I consider this figure also an homage to Gary, and I’m glad it’s out there for that reason. Not only that, but as much as the color scheme for Blowtorch does make sense from a flamethrower perspective, seeing the figure in a darker color shade is enjoyable as well. Add that in with the whole throwback to the canceled Pursuit of Cobra figures, and there are some things to appreciate here.
From head to toe this is just a repaint of the 25th Anniversary Blowtorch…that fact alone is a bit off putting when you consider that the original 25th Anniversary Blowtorch was never that much of an in demand figure, and for some reason we got the figure re-released in the Pursuit of Cobra (almost exactly the same) and then re-released again last year in the 50th Anniversary line. Now we have him for a fourth time, although at least this figure has a drastically different paint scheme. As I said, I understand the temptation to do this figure, I just hope we can now consider Blowtorch retired for a long while.
The G.I. Joe flamethrower comes with his typical accessories, including the helmet, oxygen mask, flamethrower, backpack, oxygen tank, assault rifle, and two mines. They’re all repurposed accessories from the Pursuit of Cobra/50th Anniversary versions, and while it’s nice to get some of the gear in slightly different colors, there isn’t much really new and exciting here.
It’s difficult for me to rationalize the decision to release yet another version of a somewhat mediocre 25th Anniversary figure, but with the fandom demand for the canceled Pursuit of Cobra repaints, I can see why Hasbro would want to lean that direction. That being said, from a personal perspective I don’t have a lot of love for another Blowtorch repaint, even as an homage to a canceled vintage version.
50th Anniversary Blowtorch
Paying homage to the unreleased Pursuit of COBRA figure is a great idea in concept and a nice way to appeal to the collector crowd, but I have a hard time finding satisfaction in the third release of this already somewhat sub-par figure in a few year span.
1 – Great paint scheme as an homage to the original Bill Merklein concept art
2 – Nice love letter to collectors for going to the unreleased well
1 – 25th Anniversary sculpting restricts elbow motion
2 – Downward pointing hands add to the arm issues and don’t even allow a realistic pose with his signature weapon
3 – Fourth time getting this figure is not the charm