Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Heavy Assault Two Pack
Heavy Ordinance Trooper - Code name: Heavy Duty
Heavy Duty is a character who’s undergone a bit of a metamorphosis over the past decades. Originally a heavy weapons operator from Chicago named Lamont Morris. His ballcap-wearing appearances were mostly in the DiC cartoon series and a few cameos in the original Marvel Comics series. It wasn’t until the resurgence of the line in the early 2000’s that Heavy Duty saw a bit of resurgence. Now depicted as more of a Roadblock-clone, the character’s appearance began to alter and he looked much less like Carl Weathers and more like Marvin Hinton in a do-rag. Now, twenty-five years after his debut, Heavy Duty returns as part of the ongoing Fiftieth Anniversary Line. Is this a worthy update to the character? Well, read on and find out two Joe fans opinions.
If this figure looks familiar, there’s a reason for that.
Heavy Duty is essentially a repainted Roadblock, with a new head that’s based on his 2002 GvC portrait. Unfortunately, his file card lists his name as Hershel Dalton, not Lamont Morris. Morris is the name this figure is based on, whereas Dalton was the Heavy Duty of the Rise of Cobra film continuity. In this case, it seems Hasbro didn’t do their homework on the file cards---but the filecards have really sucked lately anyway, so I’m not at all surprised…
I hate to say it, Chris, but Lamont Morris is most likely gone for good now. He was Hershel Dalton in Rise of Cobra. He was Hershel Dalton in Renegades and he’s Hershel Dalton now. It’s just another example of the movie continuity changing direction of a character for good.
Sadly that seems to be the case.
HD is composed of:
The body is recycled from Retaliation Roadblock, so nothing we need to repeat there. His colo ration is taken directly from his very first 1991 figure, complete with the same (but more subtle) camo pattern on his pants, the same color shirt, and even the two anti-Cobra tattoos on his arms. That was a cool touch, because initially I didn’t realize he was supposed to be based on his first version.
It’s almost as if Hasbro is trying to merge the two versions of Heavy Duty together by combining the gigantic stature and body of Roadblock with the design of the original Heavy Duty. It’s a nice attempt—but ultimately, he ends up resembling the Sigma 6 version more than the ARAH original.
The head is very nicely sculpted, and he has the do-rag from his 2002 GvC incarnation. At first glance he looks clean shaven; again, like his 2002 counterpart. This could have been a nice difference from Roadblock; who also has facial hair. But upon closer examination we see he has some “Amish” beard stubble painted on. It’s not a big deal as the faces are vastly different, but again, Hasbro is falling into a stereotype trap of making all the “big black dudes” cut from the same cloth. While the sculpt is good, there is a bit of paint slop around his do-rag edges, and on some figures his eyes are painted very small.
Again, I look at this I see “less ARAH, more Sigma 6”. I’m willing to bet that the current designers at Hasbro are seeing more reference material from this more recent incarnation of the line than they are from the original ARAH days. It makes sense—Sigma 6 was roughly ten years ago, at this point, while the ARAH line version is old enough to have children. Let’s be honest—the DiC version is gone and he’s not coming back.
Speak not of DiC ever again!
Heavy Duty comes with the following accessories:
Heavy Duty is painfully redundant with his weapons. He carries the same S.A.W. that Duke came with twice, and the two .50 cals that various Roadblocks have carried. It would have been nice to see something more unique for him. Granted I wasn’t expecting his original missile launcher/cannon rig, but I suspect many fans will be giving him just that.
A pistol, boot knife, and a pants belt, ammo belt, and tac-vest finish off his combat gear.
For once, I’m going to take issue with a figure’s kit. (Apparently, I’m playing the part of Chris in this review.)
Ha, you wish!
Ever since Hasbro had some trademark issues with a previously used name in the 2000’s, Heavy Duty has been morphing into what is essentially a poor man’s Roadblock. His look, his name, even his familial relationship as Roadblock’s cousin--- these have taken a late 90’s character with his own identity and transformed him into a mere carbon copy of the team’s most well-known heavy machine gunner. (Sorry Rock-n-Roll…) This figure’s kit, except for the M249, is all gear that has been previously released with versions of Roadblock. It’s almost as if Hasbro isn’t even trying to make a distinction anymore and that bothers me. Part of what made G.I. Joe so exciting for me as a kid was the sheer diversity of characters and specializations that comprised the team of America’s “daring highly trained special missions force.” With all the 1:18 gear that Hasbro has available to choose from, they could have done something to help make Heavy Duty truly unique, but what innovate when you can just wash, rinse, and repeat.
Agreed, though with that said, I’m actually fairly pleased with Heavy Duty. When he was first announced; and even when his press images were shown, I was not at all impressed. He looked very boring and very “third party knock off”. At the same time I was very unhappy with the Stiletto images, so I initially passed on this 2-pack. It was only after a week or so when several of my friends were raving about Heavy Duty that I decided to pull the trigger and pick up the set. I’m glad I did. He’s a great update, and he’s finally the correct height he needed to be if we go back and look at the GvC artwork which shows HD towering over everyone else.
What the heck is happening here? Usually I’m the moderate voice while Chris is the nitpicky Joe fanboy!
Crap, I do feel kind’a strange. Oh no, maybe you’re right! I warned you not to screw around with Ma'chello’s mind transfer device (a reference to the SG1 episode “Holiday” for the uninitiated) but you didn’t listen! And even worse, does this now make me a F.I.B.?!
When he was first announced, I was ecstatic to see Heavy Duty included in the 50th roster simply because it would add to the diversity of the characters in my display. Yet, the longer I have him in hand I find that I’m more disappointed with this release simply because of how little effort seems to have been placed into making him Heavy Duty. The body, the gear, the tac-vest—ALL of it has come from recent Roadblock figures! I understand that Joe is in a life-support situation where new tooling and new accessories are going to be the exception and not the rule but this just feels lazy to me. Literally, the only thing that makes Heavy Duty “not Roadblock” is the new head sculpt and the red arm tattoos. Rather than be a unique character in his own right, he’s becoming transformed more and more into a clone of Marvin Hinton.
You do have a point. He’s very generic, but I still feel enough of his “core” has come though, mainly thanks to the head. Sadly, we need to keep in mind the ‘Joe line is regarded by many as an “entry” level position at Hasbro akin to Tonka, and with only a pittance of cash being allotted to it, I think this is probably the best we’re going to see before the line is eventually cancelled.
I want to like this figure and I want to be excited about him but I just can’t muster up the kind of excitement that I had following the Joe Con announcement. I don’t know—I just don’t know what else to say other than this is just one Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: He’s a decent figure but, in all honesty, there’s so little to differentiate him from Roadblock at this point that he just feels lazy in execution. It’s nice to see Hasbro include more characters in this line but Heavy Duty could have been so much better.
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