TOLLBOOTH v.2 (2014)
This is the last figure I need to review from the G.I. Joe Collector Club’s second Figure Subscription Service (FSS). I normally try to review these figures as they show up in the mail but Tollbooth arrived around the time that I was moving apartments and so his review got put on the back burner.
The first and only other Tollbooth figure was released back in 1985. He came packaged with the bridge layer vehicle. The first series of Joe figures from 1982 featured mostly standard looking soldiers in realistic green uniforms. By 1985 the Joe roster was already filled with an array of brightly colored and diverse characters such as frogmen, flamethrower troopers, marines with open jackets and chest tattoos, and Native American trackers with eagle sidekicks. A figure dressed in a dull green shirt and brown slacks with nothing more than an orange hardhat as his calling card might have made an impact had he been released in that first year but by 1985 he was practically invisible. Not only was the original figure dressed blandly but the sculpt of the face made him look bored. His helmet was slumped to one side and he looked like he just didn’t care. Tollbooth was one of my least favorite Joes from those early years. Even his vehicle was useless most of the time; a tank with a retractable bridge instead of a cannon. You had to go out of your way to create situations where Tollbooth and his Bridge Layer were necessary.
My brother Doug owned that original Tollbooth and I was fine with that. I don’t recall him ever doing anything spectacular during our many epic battles. He was usually one of Doug’s first casualties.
I wasn’t exactly dying to get a new Tollbooth but nostalgia is a funny thing. I have grown to love or at least appreciate every Joe figure from my youth. As the modern toy line has carried on (7 years now, crazy), and more and more characters received modern styled updates, the more Tollbooth’s absence was felt. I’d love to see Hasbro and the Club eventually produce updates of every character from the Real American Hero (RAH) years of 1982-1994 but I’d like them to focus on the oldies first. Tollbooth is one of the last characters from the first three years of the RAH line to get an update.
If I was a kid I probably still wouldn’t care much for this figure, but as a nostalgic collector I love it. This figure does exactly want I want my modern Joe figures to do, remind me of the original toy but also blow the old one out of the water. This Tollbooth looks fantastic and completely surpasses the original in every way and yet it is completely reminiscent of that ’85 figure. All of the elements are there: green shirt, brown slacks, and orange hardhat. Only this version has far more detail and a bunch of neat accessories.
The best thing about this figure is his face. It’s a newly sculpted piece and it has a ton of personality. Tollbooth looks like an old curmudgeon and that’s exactly how I always pictured him. He looks like he would begrudgingly head out to the battlefield, dig a trench or lay a bridge or whatever was needed of him, and then go back to the barracks for a nap. The head leans forward a bit more than it should which would bother me on another figure but a slight hunch suits Tollbooth.
For accessories Tollbooth has a bunch of random stuff we’ve seen packaged with other figures before, but it seems to make sense when packaged with him. He’s got a sledgehammer, a pick axe, some coiled barbwire, and pylons. Guy stuff. The kind of stuff I imagine my uncle Ken lugs around with him everywhere he goes.
Tollbooth was a major highlight of the second FSS for me. With the Club stepping up to fill in important omissions from the modern line such as Tollbooth here and Cover Girl from the first FSS let’s hope it means we’ll see guys like Fast Draw and Sneak Peek in FSS 3.0. If I had this blog as a kid I probably would’ve given Tollbooth a 1 or 2. But grown up me has much more of an appreciation for the vital work of this combat engineer, 8 out of 10.