Figure Friday: G.I. Joe Classified Bazooka and Recondo

Figure Friday is coming in hot with a couple new recruits for your G.I. Joe Classified shelf. This week we look at the Target Exclusive Tiger Force line. We get a fan favourite in Bazooka and one of the earliest Joes in Recondo. Can one of the best figure lines on the market continue to deliver the goods in 2023? Let’s take a look at Bazooka and Recondo to find out!

Bazooka

This Tiger Force David L. “Bazooka” Katzenbogen figure comes ready for action, with multiple points of articulation for high poseability and 7 character-inspired accessories. And with custom artwork by Anjin Anhut, the G.I. Joe Classified Series Tiger Force David L. “Bazooka” Katzenbogen package will make a mark on shelves.

Sporting his throwback New England Patriots Steve Grogan road jersey, Bazooka is ready to join the ranks of Tiger Force. The white jersey follows the Classified tradition of giving us alternate versions of beloved characters before we get the looks that we primarily associate with them. Many casual Joe fans may remember Bazooka in his original red home jersey. This has been going on since the first wave of Classified and despite fans complaining for those more traditional looks, we also still jump at the opportunity to add beloved characters to our shelves. I say this as a man with 3 different Roadblocks on my shelves and still not enough body massages.

One thing that the G.I. Joe team has been improving over the course of the line is the weapon design. Early releases featured weapons that looked like Nerf guns as opposed to something Real American Heroes would use in combat. While the pipe bazooka hasn’t been widely used on the battlefield in decades, Sgt. Katzenbogen gets a brand new somewhat traditional looking missile launcher. He also has a backpack with slots for 4 rockets that also fit into the chamber of the weapon, adding some additional play elements or toy photography options.

Bazooka might be one of the biggest head scratchers for me in all of the G.I. Joe universe. My first introduction to Bazooka was the Sunbow animated series in the ’80s where he was portrayed as a clumsy, monosyllabic grunt. We’re talking borderline Lenny from Of Mice and Men level of intelligence. However, according to the figure’s file card:

Bazooka was driving an Abrams tank in the “Third Horde” (Third Armored Div.) when he came to the realization that an illiterate farmer armed with a $200 disposable rocket launcher could knock out a million dollar tank with less than two weeks training. He put in for a transfer immediately.

Subject is a decisive fast-thinker with all the instincts of a natural survivor.

Wait. What? Did the writers of the show think it would be more interesting to make Bazooka the “illiterate farmer with a $200 disposable rocket launcher”? These cartoons were more about selling toys than telling a good story, but I was too young to know that at the time. From my standpoint, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that they took this highly trained missile specialist and turned him into Hugo the Abominable Snowman from Looney Tunes.

One of the most famous issues of G.I. Joe comics is “Silent Interlude”. A gimmicky story in which Snake Eyes rescues Scarlett from a Cobra base without anyone ever saying a word. Silent Interlude. Get it? I would have loved a gimmicky story for Bazooka where we get to hear his internal monologue. We would get to discover that he’s a man of great intelligence and the obtuse Bazooka that everyone knows is really a façade a la Keyser Söze. Maybe now that the franchise is geared a bit more towards adult collectors, I’ll get my wish when a G.I. Joe Classified animated series finally debuts?

Recondo

This Recondo figure comes ready for action, with multiple points of articulation for high poseability and 6 character-inspired accessories including his path-clearing machette and signature slouch hat. And with custom artwork by Robert Sammelin, the G.I. Joe Classified Series Recondo package will make a mark on shelves.

As with Bazooka, the Tiger Force version of Recondo is not the version of this character that many Joe fans may remember. The original Recondo from 1984 had a khaki shirt and camouflage pants. The only other person I’ve seen pull off the slouch hat khaki combo well was Robert Muldoon in Jurassic Park and it didn’t end all that well for him. (Clever girl.) The black shirt and tiger striped jungle camo makes for a good look. I may even prefer the Tiger Force version as opposed to the lovely khaki ensemble that we will inevitably receive at some point down the road.

Recondo didn’t get much screen time on the show so I never got much of a gauge on his personality. The only way he really stands out from the crowd is his slouch hat. Recondo also has an impressive mustache which might be something to hang that slouched hat on, but if there’s one thing that Lenny and the rest of the Hasbro G.I. Joe team know, it’s how to make a good mustache. Recondo makes mustache number 9 by my count. It makes you wonder if the Joe’s have a Manscaped partnership or just a good barber in house? Codename: Close Shave?

Both of these offerings will boil down to how big of a fan of the character you are and which gear you prefer them in. I can see these being passable for fans that will prefer to have the original Real American Hero versions on their shelves. The good thing is that even though they’re Target Exclusive, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty tracking them down. I had both of these on preorder but have seen reports of both of these (along with the Tiger Force Duke and RAM motorcycle) being plentiful in stores. Either way you choose to go, these are great figures without much to complain about. G.I. Joe Classified continues to impress in 2023.

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