G. I. JOE Classified: Dreadnoks Ripper and Torch by Hasbro (2024)

Some new Dreadnoks arrived last week, one of whom, Torch, completes the original trio of terror. I’ve already checked out Buzzer last year, but I never got around to Ripper, so I decided to pair them up for today’s review. It seems somehow appropriate since back in the 25th Anniversary Collection, Buzzer got his own release and Ripper and Torch were sold in a two-pack. I make it no secret that I absolutely loved the Dreadnoks in both the original Real American Hero line and the Sunbow cartoon. These guys were like throwing a bomb into the middle of the balance of power, and with how often Zartan and the Dreadnoks betrayed Cobra when I played with my JOEs, it’s a wonder why they kept hiring them. And their sudden reversal at the end of the second cartoon Mini-Series remains one of my all time favorite moments from that series.

One nice thing about waiting so long to get to Ripper is that it lets me to a side-by-side comparison of the package changes. Buzzer and Ripper were released in the plastic-free, fully enclosed box, but Torch sees the return of the window box. I’m glad I don’t collect these figures for boxed display because this sort of thing would drive me crazy. It also means that only Ripper and Torch get those nifty cardboard footlockers for their gear. Still, all in all I like the window boxes a lot better, as it gives you a great look at the figure and most of what he comes with. Let’s start with Ripper, since he’s been waiting around for a long time!

Infamous for extorting candy in nursery school, Ripper has been a bad seed his whole life and now he’s arrived to make life miserable for the JOEs. The Classified figure takes the original RAH design and runs with it. His camo tank top is no longer a half-shirt and now completely covers his abs. The blue jeans are a darker denim with some nice texturing, there’s a wide belt, a chain hooked onto two of the belt loops, black knee pads and high black boots. The gold bicep band on the original figure’s right arm is now fully fleshed out with a spike strip, there’s a sculpted wrist band on his left arm, and the holster that was sculpted onto the original figure’s right thigh is now a fully functional separate piece, held in place by friction. The sculpted grenade and knife on the RAH figure is replaced with a separate shoulder harness that’s worn by the figure. It’s got a pair of pineapple style grenades sculpted onto the right shoulder strap, while the left one has a functional sheath for his combat knife. And, of course, the shoulders are reinforced with spikes! Everything about Ripper screams that society failed him, and I love everything about this update, and we haven’t even gotten to the head sculpt yet.

Oh yeah! Ripper’s giant meat head, features a full beard, mutton chops, and I don’t even know how to describe that haircut, but I do know that the barber responsible hates the world. He’s got a mohawk that tufts in the front and runs down the back to form a mullet tail, while the sides are close shaven. And boy did Hasbro do a nice job texturing that buzz cut. He’s got one dogtag serving as a right earring and a necklace of more dogtags strung around his neck. I also failed to previously mention the beautiful tatts that he’s got printed on his right shoulder and left arm.

The glasses are removable, and these work a heck of a lot better than Buzzer’s did, which had problems staying put. I’m not going to say these will never fall off when posing or playing, but they do stay on much, much better. Take them off and you can see him popping a glass eye with a smiley face in his right socket, and that has got to be one of the greatest and most bizarre little touches I’ve ever seen on a mainstream, mass market action figure. And for you parents out there, you can have fun explaining to little Timmy what the tear drop tattoo under the left eye means! Ripper’s whole expression is fantastic, as he growls, showing his teeth. You even get scars bisecting both of his eyebrows. Top notch work!

Moving on to weapons, we’ll start small. The thigh holster houses a rather unique pistol that looks like some kind of Road Warrior custom job. There’s no visible magazine, so it may be very low capacity. It does have a serrated knife-style bayonet on it, and overall looks pretty cool.

The combat knife stowed in his shoulder sheath is a nice piece of work. It has a sawback blade with a clipped point and a knuckle guard on the hilt. A lot of these Classified knives are just tiny black pieces of plastic with no personality, so I really enjoy when the cutlery gets a little extra love thrown its way. I also dig how the left hand is perfectly sculpted to hold it, but will still work as a trigger-finger hand for the guns.

Next up is his rifle with the crazy curved metal splitter blade. I fell in love with this rifle design ever since I first saw it in the animated commercial for Marvel’s GI JOE #30. The initial main strategy of the Dreadnoks seemed to be that they just snuck into your base while you were sleeping and wrecked your equipment like a bunch of assholes. Anyway, this weapon is so damn badass, and Ripper was using it to stab the hell out of a VAMP in the commercial. There is some fantastic sculpted detail on this weapon, including a scope, top rail, suppressor, and it has a removable magazine. There’s also a peg on his back, so you can secure it through the trigger guard.

And that brings us to Ripper’s signature weapon, the giant power jaws. Patterned after the Jaws of Life that first responders use to rescue people, Ripper just uses it to wreck stuff. It looks like the unholy mating of a pincer claw and a leaf blower and I do love it. I’m kind of disappointed that we didn’t get a backpack and power cable to go with it, but in fairness it does seem to be redesigned to be self contained. Maybe it’s for the better because the power cable on my 25th Anni. Ripper was pretty frustrating and to be honest, I’d rather have the option to stow his rifle on his back when he’s using this thing. OK, let’s turn up the heat and move on to Torch!

The OG Dreadnok trio is rounded out by Torch, and there’s no way I can write a better introduction to him than what was printed on his original filecard. “Torch is an illiterate, unrepentant thug whose penchant for sudden and unexpected violence is matched only by the utter depth of his stupidity.” That’s just gold. As with his comrades, the Classified Torch sticks pretty close to the original RAH design, but maybe with fewer embellishments here. The leather jacket is cast in soft plastic and worn by the figure with the same three straps connecting it below his chest. There’s some bright and snappy silver paint applied to the buckles and zippers, as well as the chain loops at the shoulders, and studs on the back. I do kind of miss the graphic added to the jacket for the 25th Anniversary figure, I thought that was a nice bit of embellishment and added some character, but i guess the studs are nice too. The light blue jeans are textured and disappear into his high black boots, which have reinforced knees. He has twin holsters attached to his thighs and held on by friction, along with a spiked band on his left arm. His hands have sculpted gloves, with chains wrapped around the wrists. These are left gray plastic, and it’s a shame they couldn’t have been painted silver. The silver belt sculpted around his waist looks very nice, and I dig the flame tats on his forearms. He also has some cheeky flame patches on the back pockets of his jeans!

The head sculpt is solid, but I feel like it shows a little lower effort compared to Buzzer and Ripper, kind of like they started to run out of steam by the time they got to him. It definitely hits all the beats of the RAH original, with the mustache, side beard, and ball chin. He’s also got his trademark glasses and red headband. The glasses are are part of the sculpt this time, and I don’t have a problem with that considering the success rate on glasses so far was only 50-50. But, the overall quality of the sculpt here seems softer and less detailed. There are also uneven lines around the beard’s paint, which is disappointing. I do like the studded choker and the animal skull pendant is very cool, especially the way the neck cord looks like horns protruding from the top. This is not in any way a bad portrait, just a step down from the other really great ones.

The dual holsters hold a matched pair of automatic pistols. These are cast in grey plastic and nicely detailed. You also get holes in the barrels for blast effect parts, though none are included. Considering the original figure only came with his torch and backpack, it’s cool that he got a pair of pistols here.

Of course, Torch comes his signature weapon, which was an acetylene torch. The tanks are worn on his back and are given a bit more personality here, with the central tank painted in yellow and decked out with some graphics and the and “Nocks Rule” There’s a hose coming off the side of the backpack, which plugs into the torch itself. The torch can be attached to the bottom of the tanks for storage, with the hose awkwardly looping out to the side. But, you can remove the hose if it gets in the way.

The torch is cast in gray plastic and has two handles, with the trigger being in the front. There’s also a really bitchin demon skull on the front with the tip of the torch protruding from its jaws and flame shooting up from the eye sockets. As cool as the flaming eyes are, it’s a pity they aren’t removable for when the torch is not in use, because with them there it looks like it’s always on. You get three different flame effect pieces, the first of which is just a bit of flame puffing out the nozzle.

Now, I’m certainly no expert, but I think I know the difference between an acetylene torch and a flamethrower, but I’m not sure the world of GI JOE does, because this thing is clearly a flame thrower. I don’t know, it has three tanks on the back, which is one more than you need for an acetylene torch, so maybe it’s rigged as both? Sure, let’s go with that. Still, who’s going to quibble when the flame effects look this damn good!

Boy it feels great to have the original three Dreadnoks finally together in the Classified line! If we’re going by the figure itself, I think Ripper is my favorite of the three, with Buzzer second and Torch falling in a close third. On the other hand, if we’re going by specialty weapon, Torch takes the prize because he just looks so damn cool shooting out those flame effects. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this trinity of terror, and they look fantastic with Zartan and Zarana. Gnawgahyde and his menagerie also arrived, so I hope to be getting to him soon. Next on the top of my list will be Zanzabar!

G. I. JOE Classified: Dreadnoks Ripper and Torch by Hasbro (2024)

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