2018 Red Laser’s Army Blackout

2018 Red Laser’s Army Blackout

The Spy Troops line from 2003 is remembered for it’s terrible sculpts, goofy gimmicks and relatively brightly colored toys. In many ways, the line was poorly done, but in others, it’s still worth remembering. If you look past Spy Troops and it’s follow-up Valor vs Venom, it was probably the closest we ever got the GI Joe’s glory days in the 80‘s. Detractors of this era might find that a dubious statement, but think about it: Spy Troops was the last time GI Joe had a major push with mostly new products and a fair amount of new characters, with everything that came afterwards being an unending deluge of adult-targeted remakes and nostalgia driven impulse buys. Even the new 6-inch Joe line, is mostly just stale remakes of the same old ideas and characters.

Blackout came as a part of Red Laser Army’s controversial set of customs in 2018. He’s been largely overshadowed by the other customs in the set, which include remakes of the Argen 7, as well as new characters with incredibly well done skull masks. Compared to that, Blackout doesn’t have much going for him, but it’s safe to say he’s a fun little remake of a popular Spy Troops character, and his limitations certainly don’t make him any worse than what he’s based upon.

The figure’s made from a variety of ‘83 tooling, like Short-Fuze’s torso, Grunt’s head, Snake Eye’s legs and Clutch’s arms. I’ve found that these parts are starting to get pretty boring as far as third party stuff goes, but here, it kind of works for a few reasons. First, as his character portrays a reject from the GI Joe team, it’s seems pretty appropriate he’d be done up in a similar uniform to the original thirteen Joes. There’s also not been that many figures that were done in black and silver like this from that era, so it works, even if it’s a little stale compared to other RLA offerings.

The only real problem I just can’t get past is the head; Grunt’s head simply does not work for me here. It’s butt-ugly and doesn’t look much like Blackout from Spy Troops. I guess RLA didn’t want to commission a new head just for this guy, but this could’ve been so much better with a Caucasian casting of Doc’s head, with the glasses painted up like his original goggles. Heck, I like that idea enough I might just do it myself.

For parts, you get Gnawgahyde’s sniper rifle and bi-pod. I’m not sure what to think of this choice, especially as his only accessory, but it works. In my mind, this gun is permanently associated with Gnawgahyde, so seeing it with anyone else feels weird. Then again, he can hold it a couple of ways, and at the very least it’s a vintage sniper rifle that’s not been done to death.

gi joe custom red lasers army 2018 factory custom

Not many of these were made, so finding them at all takes some work. It’s very hard to price these because of that, but among 3rd party items, these are rare and you won’t see them very often. Of course, I don’t think this was a highly demanded item in the same vein as some other 3rd party releases, so I wouldn’t assume them to have a value beyond $40~, which is where most figures like this top off in value. I preordered the set he was in and got this guy at a highly discounted price, though I’m not sure I’d bother hunting for him now if I didn’t already have him.

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5 Responses to 2018 Red Laser’s Army Blackout

  1. R.T.G. says:

    The New Sculpt Era was a weird one, looking back. It brought in a ton of new G.I. Joe fans, for sure, and fan behaviour was sort of what soured me on aspects of the New Sculpts. One issue was there was a REAL New Sculpt vs. Vintage style split. It wasn’t like the modern era, where Modern fans could understand why people liked vintage, instead it was people claiming that if you didn’t think Kamakura was the best ninja figure, you weren’t a Joe fan.

    Honestly, the new sculpts weren’t particularly good, as they often had numerous design flaws and 90s super hero design tropes (What’s with all the pouches and 3/4 vests?). The new characters were also often fairly horrid, and the only ones that even remotely popular were the Blackout/Barrel Roll/Bombshell(?) soap opera, that was also some Hasbro guy’s desire to make he and his family G.I. Joe characters.

    This figure is alright, I was disappointed with it, due to the last second construction changes, as the figure was supposed to feature swivel arm Flash arms. It was annoying I waited 10 months to get a figure that didn’t match either the preview or the figure it was an homage to. I don’t mind the Grunt head, as it’s not the goddamn Short Fuse head, and has red hair, unlike any prior Grunt head repaint.

    I gave mine Baroness arms, and he looks alright, I’ve got no real attachment to the figure or character, so he exists, but barely even makes it into the background of my pictures.

  2. Mike T. says:

    I like the idea of doing vintage versions of the cool 2000’s era characters. But, most of them fell kind of flat in execution. The limited parts selection got redundant. And, you nailed the big issue with this guy, the head. It just doesn’t look like Blackout.

    This is one I’d not spend much time trying to track down. The Spy Troops figure is infinitely better…even if you don’t collect that style.

  3. Josh Z says:

    Where are Red Laser and Black Major figures announced? I never seem to find out about them until they’re long sold out.

  4. A-Man says:

    Red Laser…will he ever produce again?

    It looks okay, like a bootleg, but okay. The Cobra sigil looks good. Doc’s head and FLash arms would’ve better approximated the character.

    Probably not worth whatever it’s going for.

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