BURNOUT v.1 (2003)
I don’t usually get requests for reviews but every now and again someone will ask me to write about something specific. I usually try to honour those requests promptly but there are 2 requests I received quite some time ago which I never followed up on. The first was for the new TMNT Shredder figure with a removable helmet. I couldn’t review that figure because I didn’t own it and at the time it was brand new and nearly impossible to find. That figure is readily available everywhere now and even though I’m not personally interested in it I’ve considered purchasing it solely so I could write that requested review. One of these days I’ll pick it up. (even though that reader has probably long since left me).
The other request was less specific. Someone asked me to review a Dreadnok. The Dreadnoks are a misfit gang of hooligans who are often contracted out by Cobra to assist in their battle against G.I. Joe. I have a bunch of Dreadnok figures and I could’ve reviewed one right away but I was in the midst of a flurry of G.I. Joe reviews at the time becauseI was trying to complete reviews of all the figures from the 2014 Joe Con Collector’s set. I try to keep this blog diverse by reviewing toys from multiple toy lines so I put the Dreadnok request on the back burner for a while as I felt the blog needed a break from G.I. Joe.
I’ve reviewed several non-Dreadnok Joe figures since that time (it’s usually a spur of the moment decision which toy I feel like talking about) but it’s always been in the back of my mind to honour that request and today is the day. I’ve selected a Dreadnok to review for your viewing pleasure. I can’t recall who made the request (was it you, Sidus?) but I’m sure whoever it was did not have this guy in mind. You could ask 100 Joe fans who their favorite Dreadnok is and I’m certain no one would say Burnout.
The first 3 Dreadnoks, Torch, Ripper, and Buzzer were released in 1985. Monkeywrench followed in ’86. The 4 of them were all bikers so it would’ve been easy to describe the Dreadnoks as a biker gang. But then they added a poacher, a pirate, and a couple of punks to the mix and that description went out the window. The strange mish-mash of characters in a single gang may not have made much sense but all the Dreadlocks were cool in their own right. My brother Doug’s favorite Dreadnok was Thrasher who drove the Mad Max inspired Thunder Machine and mine was Road Pig the bi-polar brute who carried a cinder block on a stick as a weapon.
During the new sculpt era (2002- 2007) many of the classic Dreadnoks got updated figures. The 2004 Convention set padded the Dreadnok ranks with a group of bandana wearing rednecks known as the Deadheads with names like Joe-Bob and Billy-Bob, but excluding those ill-conceived goofballs there was only one brand-new Dreadnok released during the new sculpt years and that was Burnout.
Burnout is notable in that he was the first African American bad guy in the G.I. Joe line. Though admittedly it wasn’t easy to discern his ethnicity based on this figure. He has long flowing hair and his skin tone makes him look more Latino than black. It wasn’t until Burnout version 2 was released 8 years later with a darker skin tone and dreadlocks that I knew for sure.
Many new-sculpt figures suffered from bad articulation and wonky proportions but this figure isn’t too bad. His torso is kind of short but otherwise he looks pretty good. The design is relatively simple but the sculpt has a few neat little details. For example, I really like his bandaged hands and forearms with the embedded brass knuckles. The barded wire wrapped around his chest doesn’t seem like a good idea but at least its interesting. His pants are kind of weird too because I can’t tell if he has two-toned jeans or if he’s wearing leather chaps. The head sculpt is very nice and has lots of personality.
One curious aspect of this figure is the splotches on his shirt. It is unknown if they’re supposed to be a design on the shirt (some really bad camouflage perhaps) or maybe grease stains from working under the Thunder Machine (his file card describes him as a mechanic). You could even presume that the splotches represent holes in his shirt because the paint is close to his skin tone and he is wearing a barbed wire bandolier.
I bought my Burnout used without any of his weapons but he originally came with a shotgun and a riot gear outfit (so he could disguise himself as a military policeman, it was his Spy Troops gimmick).
Some of my favorite new-sculpt figures were the new characters that breathed some new life into the line. This figure may not be perfect but I like the concept. Burnout is a relatively clean slate but I hope to see him explored further someday in either the comics or perhaps a new animated series. 6 out of 10.