The Sgt. Bazooka vs. Dreadnok Torch set came out at the top of 2005 in most markets (late 2004 in others) and was a real nice surprise-- two good figures, good accessories, but some weird names.
Two figures, a firing bazooka, a cool flamethrower, and a pistol. Oh, and a helmet. Not bad for the price.
A modern version of an '80s swamp punk and an updated version of an old character with, arguably, the wrong name.
Sgt. Bazooka is really Zap. You may be confused, but do a little research and come back to us. Based on all the artwork, the comic pack figure, and everything else we've looked at, the model for this action figure is Zap. The name used was (essentially) Bazooka, no doubt due to the accessory they developed for the set. The very distinctive moustache gives it away, so to us, he'll probably accidentally be referred to as Zap for the rest of our lives. His paint job is mostly superior to the "driver" version sold with the Quickstrike, except they added a big G.I. Joe logo to his chest. Why? I know what toy line he's from. This sort of information serves me not. The yellowish green paint on the torso looks good, though, and the articulation is typical for the line-- good. He has a problem holding his bazooka, though, but more on that later. The figure itself is sculpted well and the outfit is pretty realistic as far as the line goes.
On the other hand, Dreadnok Torch is more or less perfect as far as names go. Sure, this is an old Dreadnok known as Torch, and odds are copyrights/trademarks/whatever resulted in this slightly longer and more descriptive name. Much like "Autobot Hound," this longer name was kept so as not to confuse collectors and on the whole it works well. The figure's sculpt is great, and it uses new arm joints to result in (suposedly) a more realistic figure with fewer visible joints. We'd say it succeeds. The face is a little less crazy than the original, and the outfit is more modest-- the lack of an exposed torso is, for lack of a better term, classy. The original was an OK figure, but like most of the Dreadnoks, he looked goofy. The new version looks like it's a very mean character with little to no sense of humor, which is great for a villain. The jeans are sculpted well, you can even see seams and pockets sculpted on the sides! He has tatoos on his arms, nonremovable sunglasses on his head, and some of the best fabric sculpts in the whole line. If you buy this two-pack, you're probably going to be buying it for this one. Not that Bazooka is a bad figure, it's just that Torch is so good.
The set is a good one-- both figures in and of themselves are great, they don't look goofy or stupid and as such won't be dated down the road like many other brightly colored, spring-loaded craziness. We appreciate this, Hasbro, so kudos on a first Fan's Choice set done well. You've earned our trust enough so that we'll buy the rest of them.
Not a lot. But what's here is good.
What you see is pretty much what you get. The blowtorch is a good set that holds together well, is nicely decorated, and fits the figure nicely.
By contrast, the bazooka falls to pieces (see pic), fires well, but is very difficult for the figure to hold with both hands. It's fun to play with but any kid will tell you that an accessory that isn't compatible with the figure and can't stay in one piece is a downer. This accessory had a little rubber band packaged with it, and you may want to leave it on. That scope piece really doesn't like to stay on.
Finally, this little pistol is good. Nothing special, but it certainly doesn't suck and makes for a good weapon for Sgt. Bazooka. The helmet is also good, but as it fits him well and serves no other purpose, we have little to say about it other than it augments his costume well.
Typical Valor vs. Venom packaging.
Aside from the "Fan's Choice" burst on the front, the most notable thing here is the fact one filecard is printed on the cardback while the other is in the insert. For the past few years, usually both were inside the packaging and couldn't be read prior to purchase. The reason for this change is unknown to us, but it isn't a bad decision-- I mean, now you know the point of the figure you're buying to some extent. The green coloring is nifty but we're a little sick of it after Spy Troops, so here's hoping the future of the 3 3/4" line's packaging, whatever it may be, is a little more spiffy.
We loved the Fan's Choice concept for Star Wars and we like it here a lot too. The new mold for this set, Torch, turned out really well. He has a lot of personality and is another Dreadnok that got an update, which is a good thing-- they get little respect and as old comic villains, it's an interesting turn for their design. For the price, you get a lot of toy-- a firing bazooka and a flamethrower make for excellent accessories, and the sculpt of Torch really needs to be seen up close to be appreciated.
If you're picky about what Joes you buy, pick this one up. Just be picky-- we passed on 3-4 of the two-packs before finding one with what we deemed an acceptable paint job.
Fan's Choice #2-- Spirit, Cover Girl, and Hannibal-- is rumored to have been phased out or altered as part of the 2005 Joe restructuring. It may be a two-pack or delayed, we don't really know for sure as of this review. We'll keep you posted.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 21 2005
Sample purchased in January 2005 from a Wal-Mart in Phoenix, AZ for $6.94