Yes, this figure, as it stands now, is about a year old and we’ve seen a couple dozen Classified figures emerge within that window of time, but Major Bludd, for my money, stands at the top of the list of favorite figures even as the roster has grown significantly since his release.
Major Bludd seemed to emerge right on the cusp of the shift from modern back to vintage aesthetic and I’m absolutely thrilled that he fell on the right side of that line. This figure, almost more than any other, truly benefitted from a more science fiction approach and it’s for that reason that he’s as successful as he is.
Major Bludd fever felt like a turning point in the G.I. Joe: Classified franchise. Frustration over the COBRA Island Target exclusives reached a fever pitch and it was with Bludd, Barbecue and Breaker that Hasbro seemed to find the right formula that mixed desirability and availability. While Bludd’s initial sell through sparked some of the familiar complaints, he eventually became more accessible with reports of collectors finding upwards of 30 of him on pegs throughout various regional Target locations.
At this point, an eBay search seems to bear that out with figures averaging around $30 – $40 on the secondary market. A bit of an uptick from MSRP but it doesn’t appear to be an indication that these figures are exceptionally scarce.
From a design perspective, Major Bludd ticks all the right boxes, especially for being a store exclusive. There was a time when an exclusive to a particular retail chain automatically meant repaint– but with the Classified line, we’ve seen a bevy of great new parts with almost every Target exclusive released and that certainly remained the case with Major Bludd.
The base body, it should be noted, is mostly a repaint of the COBRA Trooper, though you wouldn’t necessarily notice with the updated secondaries, the new right arm, shin armor and head. Beneath the covers, I’m totally cool with the Trooper body being used, as it represents a nicely updated, bulky looking figure that seems like a great template for Bludd.
Covering the torso is a thick plate of body armor, more reminiscent of the Sideshow Collectibles release of Major Bludd than the 1983 rendition, which is a huge win in my book. It’s a great design with several sculpted textural elements and great layers, looking protective and future sci-fi in all the right ways. A bulked up shoulder pad on his right shoulder adds to that bulk, which of course compliments the clearly cybernetic right arm included as well.
There has been a lot of debate over the years whether Bludd has a robotic arm or simply some armor to protect him from his missile-launching weapon, and there are plenty of arguments for both. Classified went hard into the “robotic” arm side of things and I absolutely love it. The sculpting, articulation and overall design of the limb is so great, it really adds a terrific cherry on top of this figure which provides even more separation from the standard COBRA Trooper underlay.
Perhaps just as great as the arm, however is the head sculpt. That grizzled, angry Mercenary look glowers out from beneath the domed helmet, his scarred left eye replaced by yet another cybernetic attachment once again calling back to a previous version of the figure. Sideshow Collectibles also took this element to heart and I remain ecstatic that Classified seemed to use that as a canvas.
While the COBRA Trooper left gauntlet is a direct recreation of the one that came with that Trooper, Hasbro gave Bludd new boots which dramatically help make him look a bit new and different. Add to the boots, the vest, the head and the arm, a simple addition like the belt with a low-slung holster just adds all the more appeal to this mercenary figure.
Then of course there are the colors– as one would expect from Major Bludd, the base body is brown, just like the vintage figure (and several of the ensuing releases since) but rather than a pure flat black to complement it, Hasbro goes with a deep, gunmetal gray, dark enough to look black, but with just the right sheen to it that it gives it added texture and detail.
Speaking of detail, there are various nicks, and dings taken out of the armor and the shins, which just show that Bludd has been through the ringer, giving the figure a life of its own.
Beneath the layered armor, Bludd’s articulation remains on point as it does with pretty much every single Classified figure released. Like several others (including the frequently mentioned COBRA Trooper) a full torso armored vest does hinder some of the torso movements which detracts a bit from the overall range of motion.
Even with that, the figure reaches and maintains all manner of great positions and it’s tough to be too upset because the vest adds so much detail to the look of the figure.
Could we ask for anything better? As they’ve started doing more frequently, Hasbro clearly went to the vintage well when providing Bludd his backpack and missile launcher, and because of the larger scale of the figure, they could actually make the rockets removable from the backpack which is a really great detail.
Those rockets can then attach to the end of the launcher as well to mimic the gun the vintage version came with (though the Classified version looks a bit longer and ganglier than the vintage version did). Along with the backpack, missiles and launcher, Bludd comes with removable dog tags, his familiar helmet, and a really great looking revolver which, yet again, is a call back to Sideshow Collectibles in the best way. Bludd’s pistol remains one of my favorite weapons of the entire line to this day.
Absolute, utter perfection. An immaculate blend of vintage aesthetic and modern touches, Major Bludd is a spectacular addition to the G.I. Joe Rogue’s gallery. His availability caused some consternation at first, but has loosened up since, which is a good thing, because every fan deserves to have this figure in their collection.
Major Bludd is a picture perfect example for why I wish Hasbro would still allow for some unique modern aesthetics to creep through as I think he really showcases the potential for that rather than devoting all attention to recreating the old school look.
Time will tell if Hasbro eventually puts together a more faithful vintage version of Bludd, but I’ll just say up front — they don’t need to. This guy is perfect as it is.
G.I. Joe Classified Major Bludd
What a great figure. A combination of reused parts and new, a great modern take on the classic COBRA mercenary. LOVE his weapons. Not a whole lot to complain about.