1984 Blowtorch

 

Blowtorch1984

Blowtorch is the first bright figure of the Joe line, the yellow and red were unheard of, even though the colours could reasonably be explained away, since this is a dude who wanders around setting things on fire. To me, the bright colours aren’t a real big deal, since they’re really stimulating visually, and they’re actually muted, and could’ve been a lot brighter. Early on when Hasbro used bright colours, they had figured out a way to make them stand out, without being overly bright. Blowtorch and Airtight are both yellow figures, but they’re not overpowering in the way they could’ve been. 1986 seemed to be the year where the vibrancy was upped. I think that’s why a figure like Blowtorch or Airtight never get blasted for being neon. The release dates of the figures, definitely help them, but they’re also not such stalwart figures that they’ll be given a pass.

The overall design of Blowtorch is actually quite nice. He’s not standing around in fatigues or anything, he’s got a heavily padded suit, with additional armour on it. This fits his specialty quite well. He’s bulky but not to the point he wouldn’t be able to fit into a vehicle. In a way it’s a shame that the Blowtorch sculpt didn’t really receive any repaints, I know there were two in Argentina, but both featured lots of yellow. Taking Blowtorch and giving him more traditional army colours would’ve probably given both the figure and character a new lease on life. Hell the sculpt probably would’ve fit in well with Slaughter’s Marauders, and funnily enough was probably available in Brazil at that very point in time.

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Blowtorch is a figure that needs to be complete, for him to be at all usable. His flamethrower and backpack combo are very nice, the helmet is cool, especially since it appears to be the same style that Rip Cord wears, with some nonsense on the sides, and his air mask is the thing that really makes the figure, it plugs in his chest, covers up the fact he’s got a 70s Travolta style of collar buttoning, and most importantly, it covers up his ugly mug. His face sculpt is well done, I’ve just never liked it.

His flamethrower, is done in a softer plastic, but still is a pretty well done accessory, the details in the sculpt are apparent, and it’s very apparent it’s from 1984, as that was the year of green weapons. Honestly, the fact that a lot of the 84 accessories were green is an interesting thing to me, especially since most have light or dark variants. I also don’t think the green is too out there for a weapon colour, it’s better than red or blue, at least. I do want to say that flamethrowers are a thing I’ve always have felt were really screwed up. The whole idea of them is terrible and even as a toy they’re less than pleasant, but on the bright side, this is the fictional world of 3 3/4 inch action figures, so I can leave my distaste for the real world.

Character-wise, Blowtorch has a personality, which I actually like. The whole understanding the level of damage fire can do, and therefore being a stringent protector of himself is pretty cool. It shows that he’s not at all bothered with the fact his job is to use fire to ruin other peoples days. Some of the more personality driven filecards are quite interesting, even if the characters aren’t particularly likeable (Blowtorch seems like he’d be a tad tedious to be with). Though even though I like the character, he’s still somewhat of a figure I’m not going to go out of my way to use.

Blowtorch is a figure that isn’t amazing, but he’s still fairly solid and has a cool look, even if his specialty isn’t all that cool. Surprisingly he’s actually a fairly timeless figure, in that his high quality sculpting, the less military centric design, and bright colours allow him to fit in with far more of the overall G.I. Joe line, than some of the perceived classics like 1982 Stalker would actually be able to. Not that I’m actually advocating for it, but to prove my point, theoretically a factory custom of the Blowtorch mold could have plenty of repaints (TNT, Backstop and the POC repaint could be re-done and then characters like Static Line, Barricade and Gears wouldn’t be much of a stretch).

It’s an idea, definitely not a good one, but an idea none the less, and also shows just how versatile this sculpt actually was.

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3 Responses to 1984 Blowtorch

  1. Mike T. says:

    Blowtorch is one of those figures that I just like. There’s something about him that’s cool and really pops, visually. I’ve even bought two of his three nearly identical releases from South America (missing the Auriken version) just because I like him so much.

    I’d love for factory custom makers to use him. His parts wouldn’t lend themselves to lots of kitbashes. And, like you said, they have to have the mask to make him worthwhile. But, I’d kill for an Action Force version of him (one with red trim, one with black) as well as a Night Force version and the JvC era look for him, too. Lots to do with him before you even explore TNT, Backstop, etc. Alas, though, I don’t think that will ever happen.

  2. mwnekoman says:

    Actually I’ll jump in and say I’d like TBM to do this guy too. Mike’s Red Shadow idea is great, and I’d be curious how TBM would turn him into a HEAT Viper or Fast Blast Viper… This mold has a lot of potential.

    I’ve only ever gotten odds and ends Blowtorch’s through lots, and indeed, the figure desperately needs his parts to still be fun. Though, he really is one of the more memorable ’84 guys when he’s all geared up. Flamethrowers are disturbing and somewhat impractical war weapons, but when you’re a kid and you see them all over action movies and video games, it makes a figure like this way more appealing by himself.

  3. A-Man says:

    My brother had Blowtorch and his had a harder plastic flamethrower as I recall. But no holes on the sides of the helmet. It’s interesting, he might be the one figure whose accessory pack weapon and backpack colors were improved from the original…well, at least the pack. If only the pack included the mask.

    Since I did not have my own back in the day, he’s not a big favorite of mine. Yes, without his gear he’s not much fun.

    In terms of colors, the bright colors were not day glow or neon or glossy. I mean, compare the orange 2002 Headman to orange on say Long Arm. Even 1992/Battle Corps Firefly’s lime green to Battle Corps Heat-Viper’s neon green.

    It’s funny the Sunbow episode LIGHTS, CAMERA, COBRA! he’s one of the oddballs Duke wanted out of his hair for awhile. Is that reflective of his colors or his personality? Both? His fake Irish accent. That was it.

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