Rock & Roll Hasbro development sketch

Detail, internal Hasbro pencil sketch design of 1989 Rock & Roll by Bart Sears and Ron Rudat

As I’ve noted here, when R&D was concepting a G.I. Joe figure, that character would go through quite a process.  A multitude of pencil sketches, input from other members of R&D, line reviews for higher ups, and even a rendered, full-color painting, all before sculpting commenced.  As fun as it is to see proposed designs of toys that didn’t make it, it’s also fun to peak behind the curtain on favorites that did.  Like ’89 Rock & Roll here.

This was drawn by two people, although I’m not sure how the labor was divided.  The pose is certainly Bart Sears, who you probably know from Hasbro’s C.O.P.S. line and from DC’s C.O.P.S. comics, as well as Justice League Europe and other work since then.  Also getting credit is Ron Rudat, who designed every Joe for ’82 to about ’88.  Perhaps the two passed this back and forth, adding and taking away details.  Click for a little bigger.

internal Hasbro pencil sketch design of 1989 Rock & Roll by Bart Sears and Ron Rudat

Here’s a close-up.  What detail!

Detail, internal Hasbro pencil sketch design of 1989 Rock & Roll by Bart Sears and Ron Rudat

I love how much snap is in the pose, and how much animation there is in the clothing folds and ammo belts, even though Rock & Roll is ostensibly bogged down by a lot of heavy equipment.


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

6 responses to “Rock & Roll Hasbro development sketch

  1. Clutch

    Man, oh, man… Bart and Ron did a great job on this piece! I remember how cool it was to see Rock & Roll back on the shelves in ’89, but the art here is even sweeter than the actual figure.

    It’s too bad that Bart never did any work on the Marvel comic. He would’ve truly rocked on that book.

    • Yeah, I remember how blown away my brother and I were when we first saw Rock & Roll at a Kay Bee Toys in suburban Maryland on a Saturday afternoon. His accessories were so big and so many, and the fire coming out of those guns on the package painting was like white hot death. An inspired update from the ’82 original.

  2. JMM

    Great art! I wonder what’s up with that “Aerospace Defense Command” patch that didn’t end up on the figure. I quick search tells me its a branch of the Air Force that went inactive in 1980. I believe Rudat was known for including historical military details in the figure, though. Like Heavy Metal wearing a Confederate Civil War belt.

  3. Nate

    I love this artwork; I relate with you and the others on here regarding seeing that Rock n’ Roll figure appear on shelves back in ’89/’90. The artwork for that figure was just so cool, and the figure coming with all of that gear–he was awesome! At the time, I didn’t know that was version 2 of a character–to me, that WAS “Rock n’ Roll”. For all I knew at the time, that was the first and only version of Rock n’ Roll (and Stalker, for that matter). So later on, it never made any sense to me why he was depicted as a surfer-type dude from Malibu. If anything, he always appeared more like a Metallica type of fan… into metal and speed metal… the depiction of the character in ’89 didn’t really scream “Malibu surfer dude”.

    Having said that, I do think it strange to have included a patch for the “Aerospace Defense Command” on the figure, even during early preliminary designs for the character, unless there was a plan early on to include the ’89 series into some sort of space-oriented story arc. Didn’t the Crusader come out in or around ’89? Maybe there was an idea there early on for a marketing campaign around a space set (Countdown came out in ’89 as well, right?).

    For me the, the most fascinating piece of this artwork was that originally the weapon holstered to his right leg was intended to be a grenade launcher. I wonder what it was that eventually made them go the route of a shotgun/carbine?

  4. Rod Pellegrini

    I concur with every comment here. Although I love the simple design of the original R N’ R, this figure was my first own R N’ R, and the detail level always blew me away. Not only was the figure a cool design, but the sculpt captured all those details we’re raving about quite well. I remember being impressed by them and the articulation they achieved in this figure despite the standard bock. The number of accessories and their size was another huge draw. I think only Stalker’s kayak was a worthy rival on the shelves that year, but otherwise Rock N’ Roll was far and above the best (although there were some awesome figures in that series).
    Thank you for sharing the sketch, Tim. Very cool.

  5. Sam Smith

    Um…am I seeing this correctly?! ’89 R&R was conceived as a member of the USAF? Has that always been true? I thought he was an army machine gunner. What a cool idea to have him transfer branches and be part of aerospace defense.

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