Tuesday, April 19, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra - Charbroil

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009

Charbroil is a member of the GI Joe team and specializes in the use of flame-based weapons. Incorporating the latest gas propellents and flammable liquids, he designs flamethrowers that can undermine Cobra fortifications and scatter a blockade of Cobra Troopers.

Packaging Shots

Charbroil is a unique-looking character and one I'm not entirely sure sits so well in the Rise of Cobra line. His bright colouring and unusual design seem to be something more akin to a 25th Anniversary figure than the more realistic Rise... line.

Charbroil's basic body sculpt is solid enough. He's clad in a loose suit - presumably some form of protective/flame-retardant gear - with a variety of pockets and straps adorning it. There's quite a bit going on and - best of all - it does look pretty lifelike, the kind of thing a firefighter would wear. I believe there are a fair few unique pieces in this sculpt, which is always a good thing to see. I especially like the boot covers/spats and belt/waist protector. His gloves are also nicely sculpted, with a lot of small detail work going on.

His left leg features a holster but sadly the sidearm is also part of the sculpt and cannot be removed. It's still a nice touch though and I would have liked to have seen something like this on the ''Base Camo'' specialists, Cover Girl and Breaker. There's another nice touch on the base of his back: a cannister into which the weapon feed pipe (see below) can be attached.

Charbroil comes with a pre-equipped (removable) vest featuring a number of protective plates. The design here is pretty good, as the plates look like individual pieces and again there's a connector for the weapon pipe, which offers a few other alternatives when it comes to posing/dressing him.

The head uses as it's basis a helmet we've seen many times before, but adds a new twist: the helmet is not removable and is attached to a chrome-plated head (I believe from an earlier Cobra Commander), which gives the effect of the helmet's visor being reflective. It's a really effective look and I like it a lot.

Articulation is fine, although my Charbroil's head seems quite stiff initially. With a little rotation it worked loose though, so perhaps it's simply a hangover from the chroming effect or similar. The weapons pipe (see the Extras section below) is flexible and quite long enough to allow a variety of poses without getting in the way too much.

Unfortunately, we now come to the weakest area of the figure: the paintwork. This could simply apply to my Charbroil, but his paint-job is terrible. There are moments of brilliance - like the black blast/burn marks on the chest plate - but the majority of the application is very poorly done. Paint is splashed outside of designated areas, others are not applied thickly enough (leaving a patchy finish) and there are a few splashes that simply shouldn't be present. I'd have to say this is one of the worst-painted GI Joes I own, so check your Charbroil before buying.

As mentioned, Charbroil comes with a removable vest, which comes in-place on the figure.

He also comes with his own stand, a flamethrower, a backpack, a weapons feed pipe (which is used to attach the flamethrower to the backpack, the base-of-spine cannister or the port on his vest) and an oversized, firing weapon.

The backpack is intended to be part of the flamethrower weapon, a storage cannister for the propellants and flammable liquids used by the weapon. It looks cool and even includes a slot for storing the flamethrower itself. There's also a detachable section, although I'm not entirely sure what purpose this serves. The interior below this removable panel includes sculpted detail but beyond that, I'm at a loss as to know its purpose.

The oversized weapon is - as ever - a silly little gimmick but one nice touch is that the firing missile is cast from semi-transparent red plastic, with yellow paint and a flame-like sculpt. My guess is it's intended to be some form of ''fireball'' launcher. It looks nice but it's just slightly too big to really be practical.

Final Thoughts
For all his unusual looks and the few cool touches - such as the mirrored visor and the multiple pipe ports - Charbroil is just kind of... there. I'm finding it difficult to really say anything about him, as he's something of a blank and were it not for his GI Joe badges, he could as easily be a generic Army-Builder Flame-Viper or something.

As for the paintwork, the less said about that the better. This is an incredibly sloppy app that further hurts the figure's appeal. I can just about live with one or two mistakes, but here it's just too much. Maybe it's just my figure, but I'm very disappointed in how poorly Charbroil is painted.

From what I can gather, he's actually a rarer figure in the Rise of Cobra series and - as such - I'm sure many collectors would hunt him down for that alone. Don't. I paid $4.99 for him (at Marshall's) and I'm comfortable with that. Had I spent any more or had to go especially out of my way to find him, I think I'd be quite disappointed.

The shiny visor is quite good though.

Production QualityC
Final ScoreC+

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