G.I. Joe Spy Troops Exclusives - B.A.T. Army Builder Pack
For countless years, GI Joe fans around the web and around the world have been clamoring for Hasbro to come out with Army Building packs that they can use to beef up their COBRA forces. For too long, the bad guys have been woefully outnumbered and outmaneuvered...but no more! Enter the B.A.T.s! Battle Android Troopers first arrived on the scene in 1986 and have been a mainstay of the COBRA team right up until Wave 4 arrived late last year. Why should things be any different here in the new millennium and new age of GI Joe?
So Hasbro finally listened to fans, and agreed to release their first Internet Exclusive Mail Order Army Building Pack, and who better to build an army of, than the unstoppable COBRA Battle Android Troopers. Not only did Hasbro come through on this "Army Builder" pack, but they came through at a price almost too low to believe. Six figures for $15.00 is an amazing deal, and makes it easy for even the stingiest of Joefans to stockpile some metal monstrosities for their troopers to fight. But are these new B.A.T.s worthy of a new generation of Joe fans, and GI Joe troopers themselves? Let's take a look...
First we check out the regular Battle Android Trooper, or B.A.T. These guys are the foot soldiers, and do it well. In the traditional black and yellow garb of the infamous first series of B.A.T.s, these figures are a nice homage to the originals. They use the '91 B.A.T. version II mold as a base and use it to it's utmost, with a solid, muscular mold and some great deep, dark colors. From the solid black base to the sharp yellow belt and boots, this figure really stands out, and yet fits right in with his older brothers.
The mold is sleek and smooth, combining the muscular bulk of the early nineties molds with the sharp, impressive colors of the early versions, and the most recent figures for that matter. Hasbro has come a long way in their color applications, and no recent figure proves that more than the ones included in this very set.
But the black and yellow are only part of the broader picture in this great new figure. Silver highlights smatter the B.A.T. in all the right places, adding some terrific flair to the figure as well as some nice realism to the metallic mold. As if these colors weren't classic enough Hasbro added a very welcome copper colored collar on his shoulders and behind his head. This little touch adds a world of difference to this figure and really makes him a nice addition and more than just a general foot soldier.
His weapon choices are a little questionable, although his hand is designed nicely and I do like his weapon, I just wish there were some more choices. Also on the plus side, his hand and weapon both fit effortlessly onto the peg on his arm, and Hasbro seems to have adjusted the material on this peg to make it more malleable and not as prone to breakage.
Yet as cool as this regular B.A.T. Infantry Trooper is, he can't help but be out staged by this newcomer to the Battle Android Trooper family, the Inferno B.A.T. Black and yellow are excellent color combinations and very classic looks for the B.A.T., but Hasbro has simply gone above and beyond with the Inferno B.A.T., designing it in a fantastic translucent red.
This figure immediately struck awe in me when I first saw it last year. I spent a long while wondering how I could fit this figure into my Joeverse, and just how his odd (yet extremely interesting) color scheme would make sense in the real world.
Hasbro does a decent enough job describing it on the file card, yet I just felt that I needed to add something. To me, the Inferno B.A.T. is a Android fast attack trooper. Made out of a super-tough ceramic/metallic endoskeleton, this B.A.T. is lighter and faster than any thing seen before. He can run at top speeds of 30 miles per hour, and his servo-reflexes make him a tougher target to hit. Granted, once he's hit, he's in trouble, but this super-heated ceramic gets very volatile when pierced. So COBRA sends the Inferno B.A.T.s directly into enemy squads, hoping that they last long enough to be amongst the troops when they explode. In rough terms, they are more or less a robotic suicide bomber.
But, perhaps we should get back to the figure...like his B.A.T. brother, this figure uses the nineties B.A.T. II mold, and uses it well. He is sleek, but tough, and his colors are an immediate draw. The semi-see through red plastic is an absolutely incredible effect and is really pulled off well. Combine that with the sheer black faceplate and boot tops, and the contrast really brings out the best in this figure. But not only did Hasbro paint the different parts a shade of black, but this black shade has an incredible metallic twinge to it. Somehow with the hand and facemask of this figure and the B.A.T., Hasbro has really made them seem metallic without just using metallic colors...they take a normal silver and black shade and add just the right paint applications to make it real.
But what are these B.A.T.s without someone to lead them? How effective would these robot troopers be against an army of well trained soldiers without some kind of direction or orders? Well, according to past COBRA doctrine, that's what these things were designed for. "Fire and Forget" weapons, created to simply throw at an enemy and let them do their dirty work. But not any more.
With wireless technology at the forefront of this new computer age, the B.A.T.s need a way to communicate in the field. And that way is through their squad leaders, the Overkills. Now, in my world, these "Overkills" are not THE Overkill, they are his liaison to his children...his soldiers. Overkill, the B.A.T . Leader transmits his orders through COBRA satellites (and non-COBRA ones as well) directing orders to his troops in the field, and thus making them more effective fighting machines. These signals must be routed to the troops, and so the Overkills were born. Designed as glorified wireless routers, these squad leaders intercept the communications and direct them to the proper troops, bringing them all together into a well organized, lethal fighting team. Coordinating the Infernos, B.A.T. foot solders, and Heavy Armor Troopers into one fighting unit, and thus making them even more effective against the enemy. COBRA no longer believes in leasing out B.A.T. contracts to the lowest bidder, they entrust Destro and MARS directly to making them what they always should have been: an unstoppable force.
So, how do these mini-Overkills rate as figures? Well, honestly, they don't really knock me out, but they're not too bad either. At first glimpse, the Overkills seemed very out of place. While the other two figures were very solidly colored in blacks, reds and yellows, Overkill had a distinctly ...different look about him. He was an odd blue/green hue with smatterings of black, translucent green and red. But while these colors did seem out of place amongst his B.A.T. followers, they really don't look too bad in person. Anyone whose red my reviews knows that I like the obscure...the downright weird sometimes. Well, these colors are on the weird side, but I like 'em. The different shades of blues, greens and blacks mesh together well, even if odd choices. What really stands out is his clear green chest plate (which houses some nice little mini-gatlings), but all in all, the package comes together in at least a somewhat realistic way. The red mouthpiece is also pretty neat, and brings to mind the classic COBRA look of a red facemask and helmet.
When it comes right down to it, the mold is a strange one, for certain. Based on the Talking Battle Commander Overkill from the early nineties, he is a pretty neat combination of metallic and humanoid shapes. His legs are especially appealing in their robotic shape, and he's always seemed quite a bit more android like than his troopers. These effects all come together in this figure as well, and even though he doesn't mesh perfectly with his fellow B.A.T. Pack members, he meshes VERY well with the Wave 5 Overkill, which makes some difference, any way. I'm still not certain if Hasbro meant to make this figure as a replacement for Overkill (for those folks who can't bring themselves to buy GI Joe Vs. COBRA toys) or as a compliment to him. Since I love any and all forms of Joe equally, I will use them both in my world for sure.
All in all, Hasbro's first foray into the Armor Building market is amazingly successful, in my book. These three different figures all serve a great purpose within the team and within the COBRA organization, and Hasbro's execution is pretty spot on. My only major issues here are the paint applications in some cases. Those twin leg straps on the B.A.T. and Inferno B.A.T. look shoddy in over half of the figures I have. In some cases the paint just flows over the lines, or there are gaps, or in extreme cases, it even looks like brush strokes that were never evened out, or were left way off target. These little flaws throw off the score for me slightly, but since they are relatively minor issues, I still think this set deserves a great score. The molds are all great (we all love how much I loved those nineties!), the colors, for the most part, were really nicely done, and the accessories, while not real prevalent, were well chosen and well applied.
These B.A.T.s will definitely have a solid place in my COBRA army, and I may even consider retiring my originals. For this and this alone, this set deserves a good grade...were Overkill's colors better, or the paint apps more smoothly applied, this may have gotten five stars. As it stands, it gets four. Nice job, Hasbro...very close to perfection, but still pretty darn great. I look forward to more sets possibly coming out in the future. Everyone get out there and order 'em, so Hasbro will make more!
More pictures of this awesome set are below:
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