Wednesday, January 18, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe Dreadnoks Battle Set - Burn Out

Produced by Hasbro | Released January 2012 [Big Bad Toy Store Exclusive]

BURN OUT is a mechanical genius and could have been an engineer if he hadn't dropped out of a top technical school during freshman orientation. When he's not doing some mechanically destructive job for ZARTAN, he builds custom motorcycles. He can also assume another person's body language and speech patterns with amazing perfection.

Dreadnok Battle Set Burn Out
Day Three of our Review of the Big Bad Toy Store-exclusive Dreadnok Battle Set continues with mechanic Burn Out.

We've already covered the Battle Set packaging in our Zanya (and Zandar) Reviews, but here's a quick pack shot to show you how cool the presentation is. Whilst the restraining tray is a pain - more on that later - at least it all looks nice.

Sculpt And Design
One word: ''awesome.''

Burn Out is a superbly-sculpted and very cool-looking figure. Despite his initial minimalism, there's actually a fair amount of detail going on here and the more you examine the figure, the more of these subtle components come to light. Granted, he's not the most intricate of sculpts but what's here is very good and the effects on his armoured pants, for example or the steel-capped boots are very good.

Unlike yesterday's Zandar, this update of the 2003 Burn Out translates his earlier design into a more modern, grittier-look yet manages to retain the essence of his character. Whilst his outfit choice - t-shirt, leather pants, harness, boots and gloves - may be simple, it works well and gives him an almost timeless look. That said though, he's a figure that's much more at home with the modern-style of GI Joe, as seen in the Pursuit of Cobra and 30th Anniversary releases - which isn't really a surprise, given that - as Yo Joe points out - he's a repaint of the Pursuit of Cobra Recondo. It's a credit to the thriftiness of Hasbro's designers that - with some new accessories and a lick of paint - they can pull-off such a radical transformation. 

The head sculpt - a new piece, created especially for this figure - is very good. His dreadlocks have a lifelike texture to them and look particularly cool. Add to this a great snarling sneer on his face, a well-defined goatee sculpt and some nice detail on his lobe-expanding earrings and you're looking a great piece of work.

Like I said, ''awesome.''

Burn Out doesn't really have any problems on the articulation front, although he has inherited a little bit of ''Recondo Neck'' from his base sculpt. It's not as extreme as it is on the Jungle Combat Specialist but it's still noticeable.

I also found my Burn Out to be a little loose, joint-wise. Not to the extent of being floppy but there's a definite fluidity to his movement. It's not a big problem particularly but it's worth noting in case others experience these same issues.

Unlike Zanya and Zandar, Burn Out's hands are articulated at the wrist, not the forearm. However, Burn Out does suffer from the same slightly odd hand casting, meaning that some of his weapons take a little effort to get into his grip. It's not as bad as the other Dreadnoks' issues but it still takes a little fiddling to get him to pose with his flamethrower. More on that later...

Burn Out's paintwork is excellent. Although the design may seem fairly minimalist, I'd say it's more ''striking.'' His desert camo shirt is another nice subversion of the military theme (see also Zanya's combat pants) and the leather-look armoured pants feature some nicely picked-out detail on the panels that adorn the legs. I also like the lifelike detail on his steel toe caps.

The facial paint app is also very good, with clean lines and well-applied detail work. Again, it's fairly minimal but what's here is very good indeed.

Extras And Accessories
Just when you thought we were on track for a perfect Review, we come to Burn Out's equipment.

Burn Out is equipped with an awesome-looking, cleanly-painted and nicely-designed sawn-off shotgun and a flamethrower, which is comprised of a back-pack, removable gas tank, feed pipe and actual weapon. On paper - and even in reality to a point - this is an excellent accessory that looks great and fits together neatly. However, when you try to pose Burn Out with the flamethrower connected-up, you'll run into problems, primarily due to the lack of flexibility in the feed pipe, something that appears to be caused by a combination of cheap plastic and the way the restraining tray bends the pipe in transit.

And this is where everything falls down. 

You see, as I was posing Burn Out the feed pipe physically snapped in two. I wasn't applying any force to it or twisting it in an unnatural manner. I was simply re-positioning Burn Out's arm to get a better shot and - snap - the piece sheered in half. It wasn't even taut. I've never experienced so brittle a plastic, especially one used for a ''flexible'' tube, and it's frustrating to see that Hasbro appears to have used a very cheap, sub-standard mix here. There's a chance I might be able to repair it with some glue but given how thin the pipe is - and how much curvature is molded into it - I'm really not sure whether I'll be able to.

Maybe I was just unlucky but I'd advise anybody with this figure to exercise extreme caution when posing him with the flamethrower.

Burn Out - naturally - includes his own stand, too.

Final Thoughts
I'm actually pretty bummed-out by the feed pipe issue. Had that not happened I'd be giving this figure an absolutely glowing report because - that aside - he's an excellent-looking toy and a very worthy addition to both the Dreadnoks Battle Set and any GI Joe collector's display cabinet.

The sculpt - despite being almost 100% recycled - is great and fits the character's look perfectly. He's not sporting the ''80s punk/aerobics dancer'' look some of the Dreadnoks seem to favour and is, instead, a very lifelike and - yes - cool-looking figure, thanks to the combination of a sculpt with great presence and a non-neon colour scheme. I also like that - unlike Recondo - the sculpt isn't lost under a ton of accessories and extras. It's a great, ''clean'' look (even if he is a scummy-looking biker.)

It's just very difficult for me to summarise this figure's worth properly though, as the fact that one of his accessories snapped when I was posing him is hanging heavy on my mind. If you can work around that - or better yet you don't experience that issue for yourself (after all, maybe - just maybe - I was unlucky and got a one-in-a-thousand defective piece) then this is an excellent figure.

Just be very, very, very careful as to how you pose him.

Sculpt and DesignA
Extras and Accessories B-
Final ScoreA-

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