T.N.T. v.2 (2013)
Along with the Barrel Roll that I reviewed the other day, my most recent package from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club contained this guy, Theodore N. Thomas, or T.N.T. I know the name is kind of silly but there is precedent (plenty actually) for a little silliness in the naming of Joe characters. The first ones that come to my mind are the three original Dreadnoks: Torch, Buzzer, and Ripper. Their real names according to the file cards on the back of the packaging were Tom Winken, Dick Blinken, and Harry Nod. Their first names make them Tom, Dick and Harry, and their surnames are taken from a popular children’s nursery rhyme.
Now you may be thinking that TNT looks familiar but you’ve probably never seen the character before unless you’re either a hardcore Joe fan or you grew up in Argentina. Many countries imported G.I. Joes back in the 80s but the name “A Real American Hero” didn’t exactly work in some of those places. The figures often stayed the same (though the quality of the plastic may have dropped) but the packages had to undergo some changes. Around the world the Joes became known as “Comandos Em Acao”, “Action Force”, and a few other names that I can’t even pronounce. In Argentina the figures were branded “Comandos Heroicos”. Now while most of the actual toys were dead ringers for their American counterparts there were some instances where parts were mixed and matched, or new color schemes were applied to existing toys creating brand new characters. The club has released several figures now that pay homage to some of those foreign repaints. Cobra De Aco is my favorite example, Quarrel is another, and now we have T.N.T.
The reason that he may look familiar to you is because he is a straight repaint of a well-known classic Joe: Blow Torch the flame thrower trooper. The original Blow Torch came out in 1984 and he was one of the figures that my brother owned that I most desired for myself. He was just so different looking than any other Joe figure out at that time. Most Joes were still wearing primarily army green and then there’s this guy in a bright yellow and red padded suit. Plus he had a removal full-face mask which was pretty sweet. Blowtorch was available in Argentina in his yellow and red get-up and he was called Antocha. The Argentines seemed to know that they had a cool design on their hands so they milked the Blowtorch mold and created two new characters using the exact same sculpt. One was a vehicle driver named Back-Stop and the other was a bomb disposal expert named TNT. He was a blue, silver and yellow repaint and in place of a mask and flamethrower he came with a machine gun. I of course never knew of this character back in the day and only discovered him after the dawn of the mighty internet. You can read about him and other international Joes on yojoe.com but if you’re old school like me and like things in print I recommend you pick up Ron Conner and Derek Anderson’s International Action Figure Archive.
This figure is not that old Argentinean repaint but it is a nice homage to the figure. This 2013 version is appropriately a straight repaint of the modern era Blow Torch figure that was released in 2009. The entire figure is identical to Blowtorch version 3 sculpt-wise. Where it differs is in the paint scheme and the accessories. Like the old Argentinean one, this figure is painted blue, silver and yellow and it looks great. The colors are pretty loud but I actually think they work really well together. The silver paint has a metallic sheen to it that really looks nice. The hair has been repainted black to differentiate him from the brown haired Blowtorch. When I opened this figure up for the first time I wondered if the club had designed an entirely new head because this smirking face did not look familiar to me. It was only after I took the mask off of my Blowtorch that I realized they were the same. My Blowtorch hasn’t had his mask off in years though so this face seems fresh to me and I like it.
For accessories TNT comes with a silver display base as all of the Club’s international figures do now. He has a gray machine gun and a shovel which is a nice change from the usual pistols and knives. He has a really cool backpack that opens up and contains a removable bomb, gas can, flashlight and pliers. This pack was originally included with the Cobra saboteur Firefly but it works well with this guy too. Once again the Club has won me over with a figure I never before felt was essential to my collection. Now I would recommend him to anyone who can afford the hefty prices of these subscription figures. 8 out of 10.