Friday, August 11, 2023

Action Figure Review: David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro


  The newest series of G.I. Joe: Classified Series figures to be released is mostly made up of new figures, but there is one figure that's a repaint: David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen. Well, it's more accurate to say that the repaint was released before the standard figure, as the Tiger Force variant of Bazooka was released as a Target exclusive during the first week of January. The Tiger Force version of Bazooka was the figure I had as a kid, though this version in his classic red, white, and blue jersey is clearly the more recognizable figure. This is one of those reviews where the two figures are so similar and have been released so close together that I'm reusing a lot of my previous review of Tiger Force Bazooka with new pictures. Let's look at one of the members of the 1985 vintage A Real American Hero lineup after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 6 1/2 inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed drop down hips, ball jointed waist, balljointed mid-torso, butterfly pecs, swivel/hinge shoulders, bicep swivels, double hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed neck base, and a barbell jointed head.

Accessories: Helmet, backpack, missile launcher, loading port lid, and 4 missiles.

Non-Scalper Price: $23 - $25 dollars


* So... what's different between the standard Bazooka (left) and the Tiger Force Bazooka (Right)? Not much. The figures have different paint jobs and the accessories are molded in different colors with some different paint flourishes. That's about it. 

The Positives:

* Bazooka's a dude in combat pants wearing a football jersey, and that's pretty much what you've got here. He's a bigger guy, pretty muscular and just larger than your average joe (Joe), but he's wearing a simple outfit. The classic version of Bazooka that we've got here is wearing a red, white, and blue jersey, which he always washes in hot water. Know why? Because these colors don't run, baby. The jersey is sporting the number #14. I really like that the numbers and stripes do show some wear, as if they're slightly faded or starting to crack, and the shirt sleeves look like jersey cuffs rather than just being painted on some standard arms. As always, there is some fantastic detail on the pants and belt, showing off multiple little details and textures. 

* The portrait is fantastic. Bazooka kind of looks like a really beefed up Freddy Mercury, which is pretty cool, actually. I wonder if he's into fat bottomed girls? He seems like he might be. The Classified Series team is doing a great job of giving each figure a lot of character in their face and expression and Bazooka's is another solid piece of work. The cocked eyebrow definitely works for him.

* The standard version of Bazook has a more standard helmet: OD green with brown straps. The sculpt is really nice and the different textures are all noticeable and well rendered here. It also fits on his head perfectly. 

* Bazooka is a big dude but he can move with the best of them. Yeah, he's got all of the joints and the quality you expect from a Classified Series but, most importantly, he can wield his missile launcher like a champion. He looks fantastic in two handed poses, holding the weapon just as he should. He's also stout enough and well balanced enough to stand upright with the launcher in most battle poses. 

*  I'm really glad that Hasbro does seem to have updated Bazooka's missile launcher into a more modern weapon that looks more like an M3 anti-tank weapon. It's a really nice sculpt that looks like a pretty powerful tool. Definitely not super high tech, but way more modern than a bazooka. Probably something easy for Bazooka to tote around, sling, around, knock around, and just generally abuse. The paintwork is nice as there are applications on the carrying strap and on the padding on the sides. 

* The back of Bazooka's launcher has a loading port which can slide open or be completely removed to allow for a projectile to be loaded inside. That's a pretty neat feature. Of course, a missile can fit in the front, too. 

* Bazooka comes with four projectiles which look like old school bazooka rounds. I really wish we'd had something a bit more updated and more modern. In Mark Bellomo's The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe, there's even a quote from one of Larry Hama's notes to the Hasbro design team telling them how antiquated and obsolete actual bazookas were back in the early 1980s. Maybe Mr. Hama needs to consult with the modern team some, too. These look nice enough, though, and you get four of them. Two of them are standard greenish-grey...

* While the other two actually get some paint applications. One has a Tiger Force styled face on the front while the other has a yellow and black tip. Maybe these are more sophisticated projectiles than the two standard rounds. 

* The rockets fit inside the barrel, too, which looks really cool. I've seen folks add their own effects and even some from Mezco's One:12 Collective line, so you've got a lot of options here. The rocket trails from the Classified Series Scrap-Iron also fit perfectly. When you seat a missile in the rear it pushes the front missile forward, and vice versa. There's a narrower part of the launcher which prevents missiles from sliding all the way through and getting stuck. It's pretty well designed.

* Bazooka comes with his standard backpack that's mostly taken up by a rack for storing missiles. 

* There's also a hook on the bottom where he can store his launcher when not in use. That's a detail borrowed from the 25th Anniversary Collection version of Bazooka. 

The Negatives:

* Like a few recent figures, Bazooka's elbows are molded in a very different shade of plastic than his arms. What happened here? Maybe a different type of plastic, perhaps one more solid, for the joint? Most of the newest series has excellent quality control but, since Bazooka has the former style of windowless packaging (different than the other figures in the series), I'm wondering if he was produced and designed earlier, perhaps alongside figures like Falcon and the regular Outback.

* Like the Tiger Force Bazooka, this guy also has some flashing on his jawline. I'll have to trim it off. I haven't seen flash like that on anything from Hasbro that I can recall recently other than Tiger Force Bazooka, so it's a really weird QC error. 

   Like with the Tiger Force variant, David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen leaves me very conflicted. I still like the figure quite a bit, though I prefer the Tiger Force design, and without the QC issues he would have been a very solid release. I still wish he had some more "Classified Series" flourishes to modernize him a bit more, like a sidearm or a secondary weapon, maybe even some upgraded missiles, but the figure itself it really pretty good with a great headsculpt and helmet and a nicely updated missile launcher. Those darn elbows and the paint error and flashing on the face still bug me, though. It's weird this version of the figure has those errors, too! Bazooka still gets a Good and a 1/2 from me. He's still a fun action figure, especially if you end up without the issues on the headsculpt, but he feels just a little bit lacking. 

If you're looking for more of David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen, I've also reviewed the Classified Series David L. "Bazooka" Katzenbogen (Tiger Force).

For more G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews, check out the following:


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