CHARBROIL v.5 (2013)
I recently reviewed Repeater from the 2013 G.I. Joe convention set. Today I’m going to take a look at another figure from that set, Charbroil.
The original Charbroil was released in 1988. He was the Joe team’s new flamethrower specialist, essentially replacing Blowtorch. Charbroil had a very strange design, more like something out of a science-fiction movie than a modern military man. The base of his costume was a rather ugly dark orange with some yellow highlights including pointy yellow shoulder pads. He also had a bright red belt; all fire related colors were covered. But then he had a bunch of silver armor overtop of his orange jumpsuit that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
He had a large silver backpack with a hologram sticker on it for no real reason other than to look futuristic. The oddest design element was his helmet which was silver with giant bug-like red eyes. It reminded me a bit of 4-Lom from the Star Wars movies. The helmet was removable and underneath he had a rather ugly mug with orange hair and matching orange eyes (apparently a black-eyes variant was available as well). Charbroil really was an odd duck.
My brother Doug owned that original Charbroil. I don’t think Charbroil was ever one of Doug’s favorite Joe figures. I’m quite sure he wasn’t even Doug’s favorite figure from that year; I imagine he preferred both Hit & Run and Storm Shadow version 2. Charbroil probably could’ve very easily faded into the background with other ’88 bores like Repeater and Hardball. But Charbroil really benefitted from the fact that Doug got him the same time I got Shockwave. Shockwave was the Joe team’s SWAT trooper and was also released in 1988. I think we got them both for Christmas that year. That same Christmas we also each got a vehicle from 1987. I got the Cobra Wolf with Ice Viper and Doug got the Cobra Maggot with Worms. Shockwave instantly became my favorite Joe figure and Ice Viper became my favorite Cobra.
Worms had a horrible name but he was equally awesome looking and he became a fast favorite of Doug’s. Ice Viper and Worms were intended to be trooper characters of which there would be many in Cobra’s ranks but Doug and I decided to make them unique characters. They became Cobra’s resident badasses, like a pair of Boba Fetts. We made them insanely strong, able to take out the entire Joe team by themselves, well, almost the entire Joe team. Shockwave was the Joe team’s answer to Ice Viper. He was also able to take down entire battalions single handedly; a Boba Fett in his own right. Doug and I always played together, but separately at the same time. My Joes only fought my Cobra and his Joes only fought his Cobras. We played alongside each other and interacted with each other’s figures but my guy would never kill his guy. So since we each had a super powered Cobra soldier throwing tanks around, and I had a super powered Joe, Doug needed a super powered Joe as well to even the score. Charbroil became Doug’s super Joe by association simply because he was acquired at the same time as those other 3 awesome figures.
Shockwave and Charbroil were best friends but they were far from friendly people. We played each of them with a gruff attitude and a massive chip on their shoulder. They didn’t interact with the rest of the team very often. They pretty much kept to themselves until it was time to go into battle and then they ran in guns a-blazing and upstaged the rest of the team. There was nothing these guys couldn’t do. They punched airplanes out of the sky and stopped tanks in their tracks. It’s kind of ridiculous to think about now but we were kids with vivid imaginations who read too many comic books.
That original Charbroil figure was repainted in blue and gray in 1989 . He was part of a series of Toys R Us exclusive 2 packs which featured recently released Joe figures in Night Force colors. We didn’t have a Toys R Us around us at the time, the Night Force figures weren’t shown on the backs of the packages, and the internet didn’t exist so we had no way of knowing those Night Force repaints ever existed.
My first ever Charbroil figure was the 2009 Rise of Cobra movie-based figure. That was a pretty cool looking figure but it didn’t bear much resemblance to the original figure. The color scheme was right but the helmet was radically different and the the bizarre bug-like helmet was Charbroil’s calling card. It was cool to finally own a Charbroil of my own but I wished it looked more like the original.
My wish was sort of answered last year with the release of the Convention set figure. The body used for this figure comes entirely from the Retaliation Joe trooper. It doesn’t really look like the original Charbroil’s body so I’m not sure why it was chosen but it’s not a bad body. The important part is the head and this figure delivers. His helmet looks just like the original’s; it may even be the exact same piece. And underneath that helmet is a red haired dude that looks pretty close to the original. I think his looks have actually improved over the years. The creepy orange eyes are gone at least.
For accessories he has a display base, a pistol, a flamethrower that connects to his dual canister backpack via a flexible cable, and a translucent flame accessory that attaches to the end. It’s a great looking piece which the Club reused this year on Dragonsky.
This is a really cool figure that I was very happy to get in last year’s set. My only gripe with the figure is the same one I had with all of the Night Force figures in that set; I wish they were in their original colors. Though if I set nostalgia aside for a moment, the Night Force color scheme is probably the superior look anyway. But, the color is no longer an issue because this figure is being released in the classic orange and silver duds as part of this year’s figure subscription service. If you don’t already have this figure, and maybe even if you do, I’d say the upcoming FSS figure will be a must-have. 8 out of 10.