Past Nastification has been a reader/commentator on LMF for a while now so when he asked if he could contribute GI Joe reviews for the site, I was more than happy to welcome him on board. If you’d like to contribute anything feel free to let me know as I’m always looking for more reviewers. Take it away PN!
Before I start the review, thanks to Jeffrey Lyles for giving me a new home for my reviews. And also thanks to Rob over at joeaday.com, where I started writing occasional toy/media reviews back in 2015. Rob is taking a much-needed break from running a website. I’m not an active enough writer to justify having my own site, so the open doors of guys like Jeffrey and Rob give me voice. You guys are the best.
And, now, on to the review…
The Eco-Warriors were the environmental specialists of the GI Joe team, promoted by Hasbro as anti-pollution do-gooders instead of the nuclear-biological-chemical soldiers they should have been. Despite the Captain Planet-esque themed sales pitch, the sub-line provided some great sculpts for characters in protective environmental clothing.
Several additional characters were added to the Eco-Warriors team roster in 1992. Barbecue was one of them. Overlooked in 1991, it was good to see that Barbecue at least made it to the team.
Airtight, the most obvious choice to have on the team, never made the cut. But Flint did. Sometimes I just blank out when I think about how clueless Hasbro could be.
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Anywho, this is a great version of Barbecue. Unlike the original Barbecue mold, this version allowed us to see his face, though not the rest of his head. A removable helmet, like the 1991 Eco-Warriors had, would have been preferable, but sometimes you get what you get.
There’s a lot of character in the face. Especially the wide mouth, with which he could “wrap his lips completely around the bottom of a quart Coke bottle”. And that unsettling description of Barbecue came from the 1st version’s filecard, not the one included with this figure. This makes me think that maybe the sculptor was going for some character continuity.
As far as the uniform, it’s simple and amazing. It looks very close to real-world biohazard suits of the era and of today. Or at least Hollywood. The helmet design is reminiscent of the ones seen in 1995’s Outbreak. Sure, Barbecue is a firefighter, but I prefer to think of this as a more of a generic biohazard suit. It’s crinkled in some spots and streamlined in others, like how the real suits contour over the wearers’ bodies.
There is some techno-sculpting on the chest and a holstered firearm on the right leg. The firearm is a welcomed addition that the first Barbecue mold lacked. Firefighter or not, he’s still a Joe, so the touch of military gear is good. There’s also a detailed Eco-Warriors logo on the right arm.
The figure came with a water-squirting gun, tethered by hose to the backpack. Sorry, I don’t have the hose/gun part to show you. The backpack is well sculpted and looks appropriate for the rest of the design.
In its stupid need to shoehorn gimmicks into already solid figures, Hasbro marked Barbecue with color-shifting paint to show battle damage. In 1992, this paint was not visible unless the figure was wet. (I may be incorrect about this, as I had stopped collecting Joes at that point and don’t have any first hand knowledge). But in 2019, this particular Barbecue figure won’t color shift at all. It just looks like he got sludge on his uniform. The unwelcomed inky mess doesn’t ruin the figure, but it’s a substantial dent on an otherwise nice car.
The red/black/yellow color scheme fits Barbecue well, but I wouldn’t have minded a blue or yellow or mustard or green one as well.
Don’t forget, Hasbro gave Eco-Warriors Deep Six a disturbingly chubby dolphin. Apparently Finback’s favorite kind of fish was Long John Silver’s. Since Deep Six got a sidekick, why not Barbecue?! In the missed opportunities category, Hasbro could’ve really surprised us by including a Dalmatian sidekick. Obviously, this would be more of a “hang around the Pit” animal than a “let’s go play in toxic sludge” animal. But, to show what could have been, here’s an image with a Chap Mei Dalmation.
It’s worth noting that Hasbro repurposed the entire figure several times as Payload throughout the years. This really detracts from the goodness that this figure was as Barbecue.
The original Barbecue is a great figure in its own right. But sometimes unexpected improvements come along. Eco-Warriors Barbecue is one of them.
You can grab the Eco Warriors Barbecue on Amazon.com.