Just for reference, I will be referring to Alex Short's review of the Dreadnok pack which he posted here on Joebattlelines.com. I place the link up top rather than scattering it out through the review for convenience with a reminder you should check out his other reviews (contained in their own section on JBL), they are great.
Another note, Just to be clear I will be referring to these figures as their original names and not the names on the box. It's just me as I tend to think of these guys with their original names even when Hasbro feels the need to change them.
Unlike many toy reviewers, I actually liked the Dreadnoks from day one. I find it funny that so many Joe fans have a problem with them. Many fans who I have seen reject the Dreadnoks still enjoy genetic altered monsters or DNA assembled Emperors or Robot Soldiers or super human Ninjas or zombies or any other multitude of aspects about GI Joe and yet somehow the biker gang crosses the line. Go figure.
Still I loved the Dreads from day one, they were like the Wrecking Crew from Marvel (in fact I have speculated that they were based off the WC at times). They were sent in on missions of pure destruction where no boundaries were necessary. They were the truest manifestation of swatting a fly with an elephant gun and that made them fun.
So this year has sucked for GI Joe but the one good side is I could finally afford the 7 pack of Dreadnoks. Enjoy.
I wanted to put these in order of preference, but that does prove to be more difficult as I go along. However, the least and best were easy enough to discern.
While I love the Dreadnoks I have never really liked Zanzibar. I bought him for the air skiff but somehow he never seemed to fit in with the other Dreadnoks which is kind of a tall order when one thinks about it. I think it was the idea of a pirate in the modern world, no I don't mean a thief out on the seas I mean "YARGGH!" and "SHIVER ME TIMBERS" kind of stuffs. I just felt it didn't mesh with the other Dreadnoks who, while stupid, generally were devoted to destruction.
I did end up getting the original Zanzibar though, but more for his vehicle than him. I really did dig the Air Skiff and the fact the weapons (Spear and hammer) were clipped on the side. I thought both would be very appropriate for this update but apparently no one else did. Instead we get two guns and a sword. One gun is a flintlock style which is odd but I guess it's also appropriate for the figure given the theme they were going for.
One of the striking features about this figure is the fact he looks unfinished. As if in the design process they ran out of money so they just stopped right where they were. If you compare the new to the original it looks as if they forgot his belly shirt (which is odd for a guy anyway, but then again most of the figures in this pack have similar styles as well, so who knows).
The other big elephant in the room with this comparison is the eye patch. It's on the wrong side. I generally am not a guy to go to far with such an idea but I do wonder why the designers chose this, were they napping?
The other big flaw with this figure is the fact that the gun sits in a very odd position in his holster.
It looks like it will smack him in the face. What is really notable about this figure is in some reviews I have seen them purposely take pictures that avoid this effect (from the side for example), odd to say the least.
In Alexx's review he did some fun stuff with this effect especially in the Slaughter's Marauders set. I can't help but laugh and wonder if the designers were just napping again.
The best solution I have found for this flaw is simply turning the gun around.
Something to note though is that the gun doesn't sit right when reversed like this, but really there is very little else one can do about it.
As I said I tried to put these in order of preference but with this next one it got a bit hard to do.
Burnout is one of those characters that popped up in the less than stellar years of GI Joe. He wasn't a bad character or figure in the slightest and in fact I always found his first version to be a bit of fresh air in comparison to the ones released around the same time. So how's the update? I admit at first I was unimpressed until I got him out and started messing around for the review here. Somehow in posing him I began to enjoy him more.
I really like the tattoo peeking out from under the sleeve and the shotgun is nice even though it has been used before. There were tons of directions the accessories could have gone here but just like the original the designers went simple, and somewhat questionable.
They gave him Torch's torch and backpack which are great accessories but don't fit with Burnout (I assume they were added just because he had "Burn" in his name). Still it doesn't add up and I am thinking it should just go to Torch for a backup.
Accessories matter little with this character though, the original had some poor choices to begin with (Belt MP disguise and shotgun, although I do think the riot shield might have been a fun addition). Long ago I tossed Burnout some alternate weapons that work well with his updated version.
The weapons in question are from an old generic SWAT Trooper and are primarily breaching types of weaponry. I think it suits the Dreadnok motif of smashing stuff.
Burnout reuses the POC Recondo mold but it appears the neck issue has been fixed or adjusted which is a great thing.
When you compare to the original, one striking feature that is lost is the nifty Barbed wire around the chest. Someone mentioned to me the shirt of the original was supposed to be torn but the color is way off. Shockingly they nearly got the same tone for the new shirt. Less obvious is the loss of the pointed knuckles in the left hand. I tend to think Hasbro could have sprung for a new hand but I guess they didn't want to. Still it would have been a nice addition.
Burnout's ethnicity has been questionable from the beginning. It appears that the new version is leaning to a Rasta look for the character which suits him just fine. Still the question is still there as to what race this character might be and in a way I like that idea. We know he's not a white guy and that suits me fine for the moment.
Personally, I think Burnout is a fun addition to the Dreads, he is different while fitting the overall theme they represent. I'm kind of glad he got an update here and while it could be better it's not terrible in the slightest.
Thrasher, what can you say? He was the driver and pretty much that's it. I never thought his figure was very cool nor did I love him as a character. I did love the Thunder Machine though and he seemed to go hand and hand with it. It's hard to imagine the Thunder Machine without Thrasher and vice-versa. Still here he is without it, so now what.
His spiked across weapon never really appealed to me, in fact it seemed almost ludicrous at the time. It looks better now but has a very mace feel to it rather than a ball launcher.
Still I think this figure actually looks a bit better than the original. The first one is one of those "melon head" type of figures. This time the head is kind of normal levels and captures a semi-cool rouge Elvis look. The familiar green stripes are up the side once again.
I should probably point out that Thrasher's second version had red instead of green streaks, why? I have no idea.
Of course the pack calls this guy Thunder, I guess because he drives the Thunder Machine. Still without the Thunder Machine he seems a bit of a letdown. I mean Thunder Machine is half of his appeal right there.
But that isn't to say he is a bad figure. In fact he is pretty cool overall. It is a tough one because his integral piece is missing no matter how you slice it. I think fans would love an updated Thunder Machine and Thrasher would be a perfect match. It also would have freed up space for one essential missing piece in this set (More when I talk about Zanya).
But he is an integral Dreadnok, he was the fifth (After Monkeywrench and the original three, if you don't count the Zartan siblings). I still feel there was an opportunity missed here as the Thunder Machine probably would have sold very well IMO.
But the figure is cool, not great but a good representation so if you only want an updated Thrasher he is perfectly justifiable.
Now the elephant in the room. Zartan's baby girl. I know some people love the Devil's Due run for the GI Joe Comic but honestly I was never a huge fan. The "Next Generation" aspect was kind of interesting but something I never thought really delved into fully enough to enjoy. Zanya almost exemplifies that fact. I thought it would be a great storyline to really question her background. To really get down to "Is she really Zartan's daughter or some kid pulling a con game?" Her character often came across as pushy to the point of unbelievably. I think at one point they might have started going down a "spoiled brat" storyline with her but again it never got delved into very far. I think either direction could have made her a more well rounded character and more interesting. But, just like most things in the Devil's Due run, the potential was just wasted on boring and repetitive predictability (Yes, I know that sounds a bit harsh).
The other aspect of her is the fact that she fills a spot that appears to be better suited for Zarana. Of course Zarana was an SDCC exclusive but also Hasbro failed to realize the potential for her with the fans. As such she is hard to come by at reasonable rates. Now some have said "Well without SDCC she wouldn't even exist." which is a statement I think is very, very, very shortsighted. I have said dozens of times if people INSIST on following that train of thought, then why couldn't the "Cold Slither" version be the SDCC Exclusive and the regular version be right here in this box set. I would have gladly sacrificed Zanzibar or Burnout or even Zanya for a shot at Zarana. Because no one thought of that though is probably the reason I am talking about Zanya now.
None of the above is to say she is a bad figure. In fact she is a really good one. The green hair is a bit off putting but is within the character's design form the comic. Her accessories are simple, but unlike Burnout seem to suit her. A simple AK-47 and a Magnum revolver work perfectly as she never really was shown with the super destructive weapons that came with the other Dreadnoks.
She has a very "Gwen Stafani" face sculpt which again fits perfectly. The reuse of Zarana parts does beg the question "Why not Zarana?" If I had to give her a knock it would be she is a bit tall as the character was a teenager in the comic (I think I remember her being 14 years old, but she might have been as old as 16).
The face sculpt also has some nice detailing including piercings in the eyebrow and chin. While piercings like that seem to be going away the fact is she did have them so again it's a very in character thing to have.
She's a cool figure, a good representation but again the "Why not Zarana?" thing might be a huge factor to some. I'm at a loss as it seems even an altered Zarana would have been more well received by fans but I guess that is the way of things. I do like having her just so I can go my own directions with the character, just a question of when I might do that and how.
Zandar is kind of surprise for this set. Let's face it, Zandar looks like a joke. A pink scarf with baby blue holster and arm sleeves-on a camouflage expert.
Alexx did a great treatment about this on his review. I loved it so much so I plan to steal it for Scale Wars (My shameless plug for this review, but I am giving credit now for the original idea, PS I already told him about stealing it LOL).
The first pictures looked kind of like Danny Bonaduchi to me, but it looks like the face sculpt is vastly improved.
Granted he isn't the paragon of beauty, but he's not so bad either. Much better than the original which really isn't saying much. The hair is much longer and the expression is much more suited for the character.
Plus he looks like he is trying to hide, doesn't he.
The accessories kind of work. The crossbow fits with his original arrow launcher (A weapon I always wondered about to begin with). He also has a good sized knife which is cool too. Unfortunately he doesn't have a sheath for that. He also has a shoulder holster which is cool and very well done. On thing on the crossbow I hadn't heard mentioned is the fact that the arrows come off to make it a single launcher which looks strikingly like the arrow launcher he was packed with originally.
While he is missing the backpack he still fits well as an update to the original figure. He carries over the important parts while improving on some of the weaker parts of the original. That is if you don't worry about the pink and blue LOL.
One of his oddest weapons is his spear gun. I kind of get why he has it but the color doesn't work as it kind of looks like the same color as baby doo. Not sure what the thought was behind the color but there it is and will probably be tossed to the side.
Another cool update, while the idea of him being a camo expert is rather laughable on any level I keep thinking Zandar is one of those figures any Dreadnok fan wants around. While regulated to the background most times he is somewhat comedic and probably should be considered for some off the wall jokes. Then again I'm twisted like that.
So with the fish out of water icon comes Gnawgahyde, but they shortened his name to Gnaw, I suppose because he nibbles at stuff.
But seriously this is a cool figure. I never really got the original idea behind him because why would the Dreadnoks need a poacher? I mean maybe there were some lean months there with Zartan and they needed to eat. However, I eventually added Gnawgahyde in as a sniper who got his skills while being a poacher. I kind of felt that fit him well as the Dreadnoks.
While he is missing that signature wild boar he does have his removable hat. His sneer is replaced by a weird smirk but it suits him at the same time. Although it puts me in mind of some dumb teenage boy's attempt to look cute or something.
See the awkward look towards the girls in his eyes.
His vest has a mane somewhat reminiscent of Kraven which is a nice touch I think. It is a total departure from the original figure but in a good way. He also has a nice sheath behind him that works rather well.
At first I thought the way he holds his gun was limited but after seeing some pictures from Alexx's review I see that it works rather well. The whole thing flows together well creating a cool ensemble that is very poseable. Defiantly the surprise of this entire set.
My one minor knock would have to be the arms are a bit thin. Not terribly so but enough to make note about. Everything else just works on many levels and puts the character in a brand new light. The nice leopard print on the hat and gun just adds to the overall presentation as well. Really there is very little to complain about with this figure.
This is the kind of figure you buy these kinds of sets for, a less than popular character who was kind of questionable to begin with. That character is improved and adjusted to make something interesting and cool and ends up enhancing the whole of the GI Joe legacy.
While the previous figures were kind of hard to rank, this one was not and is probably the undisputed star of this pack.
I admit it, I always felt Road Pig was stupid. I hated the original figure as he was just wide and that head sculpt looked like crap to me. I felt he was a reject from "The Road Warrior" which could have worked if he didn't borrow so heavy from the movie. Seriously he looked like a cosplayer trying to be Richard Moll's character from the movie. The comic book persona didn't help matters much, the split personality thing seemed to rub against the grain of what this guy was supposed to be.
This update took that idea and actually ended up enhancing it but in doing so improved it drastically.
The update has taken that whole Road Warrior motif and made into something kind of special. Sure he still looks like someone who saw the second Mad Max film one too many times but this time he fits the part of a hulking powerhouse with too much in the way of offence.
The road sign shield is great, I have actually seen a few guys pull this trick and it's kind of cool to see it here. Of course his signature cinder block on a stick is present as well looking like some sort of weird but cool modern mace. The shoulder pads also make the figure and the update adds bits of what appears to be chain mail draping down. Again Road Warrior inspired but also cool effect.
The head sculpt is a vast improvement, gone is the smiling melon head and replacing it is an angry face that looks like not even a mother could love.
The whole ensemble just comes together and works on a great many levels. He also has a sword but honestly I don't think it fits him well. Almost like it's too sophisticated a weapon for him with the piecemeal nature of the character. As such I am probably going to give the sword to Bull AKA Taurus when I get the Slaughters set.
Pig comes across like some kind of warped post apocalyptic black knight which is what I think the original was shooting for but just missed barely. This time they hit it right on the head and he looks great, defiantly the star of this set.
To say the least this set is a winner. Even the worst figure tops some of the crap from the past year from Hasbro. It is also loaded with figures we haven't seen 50 or more versions of which is a bit of freshness in the world of GI Joe. Go on, if you haven't ordered it do so now, it's worth it.
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