Thursday, February 2, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set - Gabriel ''Barbecue'' Kelly

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

If ''Barbecue'' hadn't joined the GI JOE team, he would have been the seventh Kelly in his direct line to be a Boston Firefighter. ut he doesn't love the job because of family loyalty or a sense of duty. He just likes riding on the back of the truck with the sirens wailing, lights flashing and bells clanging, and knocking down doors and smashing windows with is axe.

Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set Barbecue
After an earlier setback this week, we're back on-track with our daily look at the recently-released, Big Bad Toy Store-exclusive GI Joe Slaughter's Marauders Battle Set and the subject of today's Review is the team's firefighting expert, Barbecue.

I can't add much more than has been said, so here's a shot of the box. Just know that it's sturdy, the restraining tray does a good job holding the figures in place (even if it's a little over-zealous) and it looks very cool.

So what of Barbecue?

Sculpt And Design
Barbecue is overall a pretty neat-looking figure. Initially. But when you look closer you realise that the designers at Hasbro made some rather odd choices and decisions with this figure. I'll come back to that in a moment, once we've taken a closer look at the actual sculpt.

Barbecue is dressed in a flame-retardant suit that includes a secondary ''layer'' accessory in the form of a chest-piece featuring an air tank and protective collar, complete with armoured shoulder pads. This - along with the (non-removable) helmet - give Barbecue a fairly unique, interesting look when he's lined-up with his fellow Marauders. Whether you like the design or not, you have to give props to Hasbro for recreating the vintage figure's look so accurately.

But this is where we come to a bit of a problem with the figure. You see, Hasbro last released a version of Barbecue in 2009 as a Toys R Us-exclusive figure in the Rise Of Cobra toy line. Given that a lot of people probably weren't able to snag that figure for themselves (store-exclusives are always harder to find by their very nature), it's great to see Hasbro giving us a second chance with this figure. But in a pack that features so many repaints and recycled parts, it's mind-boggling then to learn that this figure is made from parts from a previously-released Snow Job combined with brand new arms and legs. 

Now you may see that as a good thing and yes, in some respects it is. But what I don't understand is that they've gone to all the trouble of giving this version of Barbecue a jointed left wrist, which not only turns but also tilts, meaning he's able to grip two-handed weapons in a manner superior to that normally seen in the ''regular'' articulation rig.

Why then, did they spend all that cash and effort creating new components and then give them to the figure that doesn't come equipped with a two-handed weapon? I really can't get my head around the utter insanity of that when there are other figures in the Battle Set that struggle to cope with such weapons. It makes absolutely no sense and - to be honest - has coloured my reaction to the figure somewhat.

Anyway, back to the actual figure...

The overall look, design and execution is very good. I like that Barbecue has a definite ''function'' (even if the clip and collect card insists his firefighting equipment is a flamethrower - no doubt to make him more exciting for ''The Kids'') and I like that Hasbro has differentiated him not only from the other figures in the pack but also from the previously-released Charbroil and Blowtorch figures, both of which are similarly fire-themed characters.

There are a few issues though. For starters, the way his stomach/torso joint is sculpted makes him look as if he has a paunch in a lot of poses and the backpack cable (see below) can be awkward to get into a decent position without it popping off or getting in the way but these are pretty minor inconveniences more than anything and overall whilst he's not the most inspiring of designs, what's here is pretty good.

As mentioned above, Barbecue includes a tilt-able left wrist joint. Why, I'm not sure, as it doesn't add anything to the figure really but at least it's nice to have the option (even if I'd have preferred to see the option on another figure instead...)

The remainder of the articulation set-up is as you'd expect: very good. However, when Barbecue is equipped with his firefighting backpack - or more specifically is holding the nozzle - I struggled to get him into the poses I wanted, as the pipe/cable tends to get in the way a lot. Whilst that's really more an issue with his accessories, it's worth mentioning, as the backpack is such an integral part of the character that I doubt any collector will be displaying him without it.

The actual joints are nicely set and I didn't encounter any issues of overly floppy or stiff articulation.

Barbecue's paint application is very well done. It's superbly accurate, with no splashes or fuzzy edges and the camouflage pattern on his fatigues looks great.

This version of the character's uniform is based on the Slaughter's Marauders release, where he adopted a more muted palette than his usual bright red or yellow colouring. Whilst the idea of a camouflaged firefighter seems odd, it's a nice nod to the original Marauders version of the character.

Extras And Accessories
Barbecue comes equipped with a base, firefighter's axe and back-mounted fire extinguishing equipment.

The axe is a pretty neat accessory, with some good sculpt detail and painted in a range of sensible colours. It fits well in his hand and although it doesn't scream ''firefighter's axe'' to me, personally, it's a nice bit of kit.

The backpack slots nicely into his back port, the cable/pipe connects neatly to is and the hand ''nozzle'' is also a good fit. My only real gripe with this accessory is that the pipe seems overly long (I know it's better than it being too short) and as a result it can be difficult to pose him without it either pulling the nozzle ''pistol'' from his hand or the pipe contorting in an odd manner and sticking out. Of course you could simply cut it to suit but that seems a drastic solution.

As mentioned above, the figure features a ''layer'' accessory in the form of a neck guard/shoulder pad accessory. It's a nicely-produced, good-looking piece that fits well onto the figure and gives him a unique look that I like.

I have to admit though that Barbecue didn't seem to fit the included base too well. I'm not sure if the pegs are too thin or the feet ports are too large. It's not a massive issue but be prepared for him to detach from the base quite easily.

Final Thoughts
Like Falcon, Barbecue is a solid-but-not-dazzling figure. He's a great update to the original Slaughter's Marauders version of the character, features some cool tooling (albeit including an utterly redundant extra level of wrist articulation) and a superb paint job.

It just seems really odd to me that Hasbro would go to all the trouble of producing a bunch of new pieces and then, effectively, waste them on a figure that didn't need them. It may sound crazy but I'm sure I'm not the only one who would have been happy with Barbecue simply being a repaint of one of the previously-released figures. The savings made there could then have been passed-on to other figures in the pack, figures that could make use of new parts and - more importantly - improved articulation. OK, so it's not the fault of Barbecue that the designers made such odd choices and I should be judging him solely on its merits but still, you see my point...

Anyway, if you're a fan of the character - most notably in his Marauder days - then you'll really dig this figure. The tooling is great, the articulation is solid and it's a nice update of the original design. If - like me - you're coming to the character cold then there's still a lot of good to appreciate here from a technical standpoint but I just wish he was a little more special and his accessories worked a little better.

A solid, well-painted, good-looking figure just let-down a little by his accessories and a generally bland character design.

Sculpt and DesignB+
Extras and Accessories B-
Final ScoreB+

Image Gallery


  1. The arms and legs aren't new - well, they aren't ORIGINAL, I suppose is the better term.

    They come from the 30th Anniversary / Renegades Airtight.

    1. I haven't been able to check, as I don't have my Airtight yet. But that doesn't surprise me.

      I still think it's weird that they gave him wrist articulation though...!


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