While I admit to not being all that excited about the unreleased concept art Blowtorch and Python Patrol Croc Master, I’m glad to see that many collectors who desired those two figures are being satisfied.
Do a pair of new paint deco’s make up for any shortcomings from 25th Anniversary era figure builds? Check out my 50th Anniversary Review Page or click the links below to see for yourself!
There can be a lot of similarities found between my feelings for Croc Master and for Blowtorch as expressed above. Croc Master was a somewhat mediocre 25th Anniversary figure (at least in my opinion) who suffered a bit from the aesthetic of the times. I can only picture what a Pursuit of Cobra or 30th Anniversary Croc Master would look like and tear up a little. He’s one of my favorite more obscure characters, and I’m just not sure that 25th Anniversary version does him justice.
He’s not a terrible figure by any means, I’d just love for him to be larger and more imposing.
All that being said, he was a figure that was never particularly difficult to find, and I believe was even on clearance, yet he was re-released in the exact same color scheme in the Pursuit of Cobra line (the same series as Blowtorch) for an unknown reason. Then, infamously, like Blowtorch was slated for the Pursuit of Cobra line in a Python Patrol themed repaint, but never made it to retail.
Hasbro fixes that error by releasing both he and Blowtorch in this two pack and while fans are likely excited (these two were in hot demand for a while) I don’t feel particularly inspired. The Croc Master figure uses all of the same parts as the 25th Anniversary version, which does have some unique touches like the bite marks on the arms and the great head sculpt with removable mouthpiece. This new version in the red and gray Python Patrol paint scheme does look pretty cool (although it stands out a bit since all modern era Python Patrol repaints have been in the vintage yellow/gray/green style and not the red style). Purely from a color standpoint, I do like this new paint scheme, I just wish it was applied over some newer, more detailed parts and pieces.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the color scheme for this Croc Master figure. The red is a great, dark shade, and actually does link up nicely to some of the red trim throughout other Python Patrol figures. The deco on the legs is nearly a perfect match for some other figures as well, and in a group shot situation, Croc Master blends far better with the overall team than I thought he might initially.
Croc Master comes with some familiar gear including the croc, cobra, whip, capture net, and shotgun, as well as the case that contained a couple more snakes in the Rise of Cobra line. They are some good accessories, but like Blowtorch, nothing we haven’t seen before and nothing that blows my socks off.
From a collectiblity standpoint, I know what the draw was for this two pack, and I definitely understand why Hasbro did what it did. However, as someone who has no real love for the original versions of these figures, I have no special desire to see them repainted either. I never truly understood the fascination for the Pursuit of Cobra repaints, and suspect if they had hit retail as intended, they likely would have been the last to sell out. Their unreleased status was their biggest draw. It will be interesting to see the retail response to these now that they join the common “released” cast of characters.
50th Anniversary Croc Master
Another bone thrown to collectors with the previously unreleased Python Patrol Croc Master finally getting his place on retail shelves. Like Blowtorch, the 25th Anniversary stand out dramatically compared to more modern figures, but I’m pleasantly surprised by a paint scheme that looks good and manages to fit into the Python Patrol aesthetic better than expected.
1 – Great Python Patrol color scheme, and I really like the shade of red
2 – Tons of pretty cool accessories, including snakes and Shadow Tracker’s capture net
1 – Older figure parts don’t look as impressive as newer figures
2 – Some articulation restrictions due to parts choices
3 – Whaddup with a red crocodile??
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