The telling thing about the popularity of Roadblock, is the fact that he’s likely the most memorable character from the 1984 line. That year had Duke, Storm Shadow and Zartan. Few characters held the same popularity in both the Comic Book and the Cartoon, Roadblock was one of the few who managed it. It makes sense, because he’s larger than life, easily identifiable, and in both series was given a unique personality, that helped make him stand out from the seas of Ripcords and Footlooses. So, overall Roadblock wound up casting a very large shadow over the G.I. Joe line, so the various attempts by Hasbro to replace the character with a character named after one of their own, consistently fell flat, but Hasbro might’ve learned their lesson, when that wack movie where Roadblock was the main character did better at the box office, than the wack movie with Heavy Duty and Dennis Quaid.
The 1984 figures are interesting, as the new figures tend to fall into two categories, a continuation of 1983, and a precursor of the 1985 figures. Roadblock definitely falls into the 83 camp, which makes sense, as he was the brand new Joe in the first 1984 Assortment (which was really dominated by the new COBRA Agents.) The sculpting is pretty good, and provides a lot of similarities to the earlier figures, but was also done in a way that made him stand out. His web gear is done to look like the design of the 82s, but also show how much of a giant he is, by the way it fits him. Roadblock gets a bit of derision for the fact he isn’t as muscular or bulky as he should be, which is true, especially in the arm region, but his torso actually has significant girth to it. It’s also sculpted in a way that show’s Roadblock is naturally a giant, rather than some gymrat.
The colouring used on Roadblock is something that showed a lot of desire to make him a unique figure. While the green camo tank top matches Stalker and Rip Cord, it’s also unique as usually if a figure is camo’d in one part of his uniform, it’s the legs. Roadblock’s legs were done up in a orangey-brown that wasn’t used on any other figure, which helps make the 1984 figure stand out so much.
Roadblock’s accessories are very cool, even if the .50 Cal was overused in the 2 pack Era. His machine gun is massive, and includes a tripod, these were done up in the 1984 Green, which is still a very strange choice for a lot of that year’s accessories. His helmet is the 1982 helmet, but his isn’t supposed to have holes in the side. I don’t really find an issue either way, but it is something to pay attention to. His backpack is fragile as hell, as it’s got two pegs that can break, leaving it really ugly and useless. Why the ammo box was turned into a removable part, I won’t ever know. However the peg that allows the tripod to mount on it, is a very cool part and usually the most oft-broken piece. I really like it as it allows you to hook the .50 on the tripod and Roadblock is now standing around without having to hold the damn gun! Occasionally you’ll see people attach the tripod to the backpack, backwards. The photo below is the way it’s supposed to be.
Roadblock is one of the greats of the G.I. Joe line, and if I had to choose who my favourite G.I. Joe to photograph is, I’d have to say that it’s the 1984 Roadblock. The figure stands out to me, as it’s got both the traditional pseudo-military realism of the early 80s, while also firmly placing itself as a unique individual. The 1984 Mold did see a lot of poorly done repaints in the 2000s, which is a shame because it hurts the legacy of this mold, while also not really providing any interesting or worthwhile takes on the figure. I also find it to be a bit of a shame that it’s been so overused, and it’s not particularly usable for any other characters that makes it a very unlikely candidate for a Factory Custom, even if I think it could look good in a few environmentally specific colour schemes.