Battle Force 2000 Blocker sketch

GI Joe Battle Force 2000 Blocker Color detailYikes, has it been a month since my apology?  Here’s another:  Sorry!  Movie review coming soon.  Honest.

Dipping my toe back in the blog pool, here’s Blocker as a just-about final design, before he was “Blocker” (one of Hasbro’s least inspired codenames), when Battle Force 2000 was still “Future Force.”  I don’t know the timeline of that name change, but I’ve seen Russ Heath animation drawings that refer to Future Force as well, so as a working title it may have stuck around longer than normal, or it may have been rejected by Legal late in the game.  Battle Force 2000 always struck me as a neat idea — I loved the figures, the colors, the package paintings, the vehicles, and the whole scheme — but something about it never gelled.  Maybe it was because the subset wasn’t integrated into the line, but how could it be?  They were the future.   Maybe it was because there was no way my brother and I could acquire all six vehicles and build that mega base.  Maybe it was because even if we liked the sci-fi theme, we sensed that it pushed G.I. Joe too far out of grounded realism.

GI Joe Battle Force 2000 Blocker Pencil

Above is original pencil artwork.  It’s by… probably Kurt Groen, but slim chance it’s Mark Pennington.  Undated, so I’ll guess early 1986.  Below is a photocopy colored with marker.

GI Joe Battle Force 2000 Blocker Color

This would have been approved by upper management, and then handed off to Bart Sears or Dave Dorman to paint a larger presentation piece, as well as being the step before the figure turnaround showed front, rear, and side views for the sculptor to interpret in three dimensions.

Something that always bugged me about the figure was its lack of paint and color detailing.  It’s interesting to see that pop up even at this earlier step.  That is indeed one undercolored drawing.  But maybe those were the marching orders — a reduced number of paint spray ops.  Blocker works well considering how monochromatic he is, but he still jumps out as needing more color, or at least more contrast.  Similarly fellow future soldier Avalanche, who might get my vote for most underpainted Joe ever.  Regarding other media, I haven’t read G.I. Joe issue #81 recently, so I can’t speak to how well the group fits into the comic, but I remember enjoying that issue when I first read it.

Fun personal trivia:  My brother and I first spotted Battle Force 2000 at the BEST retail store behind Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD.  This was neither our primary nor secondary (nor tertiary) place to buy toys, but a few action figure purchases took place there between 1984 and 1990 or so.  I recall those shelves were tall and the interior of the store — the half with bikes and toys rather than the half with furniture and electronics — was dark.  Kevin got Maverick, a sealed deal on sight since my brother loved the film Top Gun and was a military jet nut.  I got Blocker.  That clear plastic visor finally made good on the failed promise of Hasbro’s 1984 misstep on Blowtorch’s mask.

Anyway, who are you favorite underpainted Joes?  Why do you think Battle Force 2000 didn’t quite work?


Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

5 responses to “Battle Force 2000 Blocker sketch

  1. If Russ Heath had done a Future Force comic, I would have been so there. It’s too bad that he only did two issues of the Marvel series.

    I’ve always liked Blocker. One of the tallest Joes and he works even better with the visor. Battle Force 2000 showed lots of promise but the toys just sat there. Those who had the vehicles note that the Future Fortress wasn’t an actual playset, per se, as the individual pieces did not interlock. So there was never anything to build there in the end. That was a bummer. I got the figures on the two-packs as a kid and only found the carded Blocker with visor a couple of years back.

    There are a lot of underpainted Joes out there but the one which always comes to mind first is ’89 Long Range. He features intricate detail right down to his helmet but looks more like Hasbro released him in prototype form. Huge fail there in my book and tons of wasted potential.

  2. Yeah, I should have said “assemble” rather than “build” as you’re right, the vehicles didn’t make a playset, per se. They just sit next to each other. I forget who said it, but someone I’ve interviewed for my book said the original plan was to manufacture a frame that they would all lock into, so it would be a proper playset. Which is cool, but even then the concept isn’t fleshed out. Like if each component unfolded or transformers and the base was more than the sum of its parts, then we’re getting somewhere.

  3. It’s funny you shared this today….I was just talking to someone about the BF2000 vehicles and how they were supposed to be a playset! I hope all is well.

  4. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the BF2000 guys, and have been integrating them into more prominent roles of my collection. Dodger and Blaster are easily my favorites, but Blocker is a cool figure as well. I think the BF 2000 fell flat because it truly stretched the boundaries of the Joe lines sense of realism. The BF 2000 and Cobra-La indicated a dramatic shift in the line, it may have been too much too soon for fans to take. I know I didn’t truly appreciate the figures and their vehicles until I was an adult, and even then it required some repurposing and customization of the figures.

    My favorite underpainted Joe is the ’94 Stalker. There are a lot of cool details in that mold that go completely unnoticed.

  5. Cool art work! As a kid I remember it took three different kid’s collections to form the Future Fortress. No one kid ever had them all. My buddy Derek and I showed BF2000 a little love and poked fun at it in the 2nd episode of our stop motion animated show Action Figure Adventures.

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