Direct to Consumer Wave 1 - Major Barrage
name: Major Barrage
Assortment: Direct-to-Consumer Wave 1
Price: MSRP $4.99
Availability: July, 2005
Judging from a lot of conversations I see online and people I speak with, everyone gets really keyed up about seeing their favorite classic figure redone in new sculpt form. They want their Leathernecks, Lt. Falcons, Major Bludds, and all of their old favorites back on store shelves, or back in dotcom storerooms. I'm there with those folks...I can appreciate seeing my old favorites redone for the new generation...but what I really love is seeing what Hasbro can do with new characters. Guys like Barrel Roll and Blackout have really opened the door in the modern G.I. Joe storyline, and now I find myself liking Major Barrage for that same reason. He isn't established...he isn't known...and it helps that the figure is pretty darn cool, too.
First of all, Hasbro kind of painted themselves into a corner with Barrage's description on his filecard. Describing him as a 6'8" 300+ lb beast, they forced themselves to back it up with a large, powerhouse figure mold. Fortunately, they're able to pull it off with this figure using some pretty simple sculpting techniques and a really straight forward mold.
The head sculpt is a new sculpt and a pretty effective one, bringing some nice detail and character to this new person in the Joe mythos, and it works surprisingly well. The curly hair and goatee just looks nice, but the head sculpt is only as effective as the body it's sculpted on...luckily, Hasbro does a pretty good job here, too.
The first thing you notice is that Major Barrage is a very simple concept. Tank top shirt, camouflage pants and a rubberized vest over his broad chest and shoulders. There's really nothing fancy, nothing complicated...but it's sculpted in such a way that brings some great life to this mold. His shoulders and torso are large and crammed with detailed muscle sculpting, really making the figure look huge and intimidating. His arms are large and round, and his legs are practically stretching through the camouflage pants. All of this oversized musculature makes Barrage look like the character he is supposed to represent and ends up doing a great job with this new Major.
And really you can't get a full appreciation for the size of this figure until you start comparing it to other figures out there, both new and classic sculpts. The barrel chested Major Barrage is just completely HUGE compared to a lot of figures out there, which is very cool to me. It helps also that the figure is also very "playable". His joints move nice and smoothly, and his mold is basic enough that there isn't much blocking range of motion. Also, I was quite pleased to see that Barrage has swivel wrists! That was a welcome surprise. Speaking of new articulation as well, I nearly forgot to mention Barrage's new neck joint! Gone are the days of the head and neck ball fitting into the cavity in the chest. Instead, here, the chest and neck are all one solid piece, and the head fits onto a ball socket on top. This is actually quite a successful change, in my opinion.
The full range of neck motion is still retained, being a ball and socket joint...the head can move side to side, up and down, and all around the same way as it could before...actually, even better. Considering Hasbro's recent tendancy to alter neckballs some how or frankentstein figures together that don't fit so seamlessly, we were getting a lot of figures with limited head and neck motion. This new joint removes all of those problems and also really makes a big difference asthetically. With the upper chest and neck now as one piece, Barrage especially looks a lot better, and a lot more natural.
The end result is a terrific looking, simply sculpted figure that is a blast to play with. Great, great new figure!
Paint Applications/Color Choices
The colors are simple and straight forward like the mold itself, but again, it works. His shirt is plain white, his skin is a nice tan hue, and his camouflage pants look as they should. There aren't dozens of intricate paint applications or a wide array of details, but the simple, straight forward application of colors becomes surprisingly effective. Using only a handful of colors, you have a figure that immediately stands out from the crowd...he's got a neat casual look, but by the strength of his mold and the normal look of his colors, he sticks out.
It's kind of funny that an "Artillary Commander" doesn't really come with any "artillary", but I can still see it. The weapons he DOES come with are completely awesome, though. Twin pump action shotguns never get old, and with the intricate stocks sculpted on these, I have a new favorite shotgun! The weapons seem to fit his personallity perfectly as well...blunt, tough, and loud. Good stuff.
His rubber vest is also easily removable and easily fastenable, and serves its purpose impeccably.
I like him...like him a lot. I haven't had much to complain about with many of the new characters (except maybe Link), and that continues here. His rough and tumble "brawling" personality shows through with this great mold and colors and I really dig the purpose he serves. He does seem to resemble Switch Gears to a certain extent, but has enough differences to shine through as his own character and is one that looks pretty neat altogether.
Ratings (out of 10)
Mold : 8.5
Paint Apps: 7
Overall score (not an average): 7.75
Wave 1 Recap
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