Tuesday, September 15, 2020

1993 Barricade

One of the odd phenomenon in my collection is that figure's I missed out at certain points in my collecting life take on importance far beyond their merit.  The first, of course, is the 1986 Dialtone.  My younger brother got the figure before me and 34 years later, I'm still picking up new Dialtone figures in an attempt to salve that wound.  From my college, fresh collector years, though, these figures are defined by characters that looked great on the cardbacks but I could never find at retail.  The Headhunter and the Flak Viper are the two who most stick out.  To this day, I can't get enough of them.  Another figure who intrigued me from cardbacks of the era was Barricade.  I never found him.  But, unlike many other figures who drove obsession, I didn't acquire a Barricade figure as part of a targeted purchase. Instead, he showed up in a lot of many other figures I missed at retail in the mid 1990's.  In the awesomeness that was discovering dozens of new figures I had never owned before, Barricade was overlooked and neglected.  His design just wasn't enough to capture my attention over other figures.  In the decades since, though, I've grown to like Barricade.  And, this 1993 repaint is one of the reasons why.

I've been singing the praises of neon Joes since they were still at retail.  General Hawk and I were about the only two collectors willing to commit the sacrilege of acknowledging the G.I. Joe line continued past 1987...must less 1989.  In those early days of a online collecting, no one cared about 1990's figures and they openly ridiculed anything neon.  Back then, the rare message was that the 1990's molds were great and would benefit from a repaint.  And, in cases where these repaints occurred, we were proven right.  But, neon figures have their own charm.  And, in the late 2010's and into 2020, neon Joes have taken on a new life and become collectible.  The eye catching colors are attractive to younger collectors who grew up with toys using these colors.  The lower production runs and lower profile in the existing collecting world have also made the figures expensive.

This 1993 Barricade, though, only fits half that description.  While not all that easy to find (none of the 1993 repaints of 1992 molds are...) Barricade remains cheap.  Mostly due to his obscure character and some limitations of the mold, Barricade remains one of the high quality 1990's releases that has yet to catch the collecting world's eye.  But, knowing how obscure this figure has been in even my collection, I can see why this is the case.  While Barricade is decent enough, the bulbous helmet is a far cry from his card artwork appearance.  (Which, to be fair, is way more Robocop than anything made in 1992 should have been.)  That alone is enough to relegate him to subordinate status...especially when taken against figures like Shockwave V2, Bulletproof, General Flagg, Gung Ho and Cutter who debuted the same year.  

But, the figure still has some merit.  I'm a sucker for orange figures...just because they bring such visual stimulation to the line.  And, Barricade's body mold is useful with the large swaths of armor.  (His head is less ideal, with the cockeyed grin.  But, is still an impressive feat of sculpting for the time.)  With a couple of extra paint applications, this figure could have really popped.  But, the simplicity of the gold and orange works within the context of his release year.  Brightly colored toys are fun.  And, even today, any licensed line is light on color.  Star Wars has gone gritty.  Batman, too.  It's rare to find a toy line what features eye popping characters that are fun for kids to play with.  Barricade reminds of a time when that wasn't true.

Which isn't to say that this is an essential figure.  Had I found this guy back in the '90's, I'm sure I'd have picked him up.  But, by then, I was buying everything that I didn't already own.  But, this figure does fit well with many others released in 1993.  Outback, Mirage, Mutt, Snow Storm, Long Arm, Cross Country, Muskrat and Wet Suit all feature shades of orange coloring.  It turns out, orange was a popular color that year.  But, some of that consistency is kind of fun.  Grouping figures like these together makes for bright, vibrant photos.  And, as they are less often seen, the figures are unique when used in dios and such.  That's not a great life for this Barricade.  But, it's far better than that of many of his contemporaries.  

Gold plastic is the bane of collectors.  Gold plastic from the 1990's is notoriously brittle.  While the color isn't overly common the Joe line, it did appear on some figures in the 1990's, this Barricade being one of them.  The gold plastic used for the figure's crotch snaps without any real effort.  And, because of that, it's really common to find otherwise mint and complete Barricade figures with broken crotches.  Fortunately, it doesn't seem that the gold on this figure has started to break down like some other toys lines have seen.  But, you have to be careful posing Barricade or sitting him in vehicles as slight pressure will snap his crotch right off.

Barricade's gear is the same as the 1992 version's.  The base blue colors make less sense now that they appear against the red/orange base color of this repaint.  But, the gold and red helmet better matches with this version of Barricade.  So, you win some, you lose some.  The gear is still solid enough.  The machine gun looks good.  And, getting a backpack to which you could attach the missile launcher was at least practical.  I still feel that Barricade's helmet is his weakest point and could have been better.  But, at least he had a helmet and his is not the worst helmet to be used in 1993.  But, there's little else to say about his gear.  Honestly, with just his gun, the figure is just as good as if you have him complete. 

Barricade got a few uses.  After his debut in 1992, Hasbro released the mold in the final two years of the line.  First, this 1993 figure appeared.  Then, in 1994, Hasbro repainted and re-characterized the mold as Gears.  In 1994, the figure's waist and legs were used for the Cobra Blackstar figure.  Barricade then disappeared for a decade before making a surprise appearance in the 2004 Anti-Venom set.  This is, easily the best version of Barricade as the tan and copper color scheme shows that the mold had untapped potential leftover from the 1990's.  There are two unproduced Anti-Venom Barricade figures: a light blue and dark blue version to be on the lookout for, too.  For some reason, there are releases of Roadblock named Barricade on foreign cardbacks.  (The Chinese version is the most common.)  Barricade works as an alternative name for Roadblock.  But, that's more a trivia question than any actual connection to the Barricade character.  The character even appeared as an overpriced club exclusive in 2016.  If you care about Barricade there's lots of ways to show your appreciation.

1993 Barricade figures are not pricey.  While dealers will sell a lot of mint and complete figures in the $15-$20 range, it's about a $6 figure when left to the open market.  Carded figures can be had for around $18 on the open market, too.  But, like most figures, the open market sales are drying up as professional dealers gobble up overstock and then determine pricing by simply not letting the market decide the value of the figures.  For $6, this figure is fun to have and has some value.  Much beyond that, though, is an overpay.  You're far better off getting the blue 1992 version or the 2004 Anti Venom version of Barricade.  Those are better figures.  But, this orange version is fun and is a nice reminder of the Joe line's neon years.

1993 Barricade, Battle Corps, Mutt, DEF


  1. I've never had any affection for the '93 repaints. I bought the whole '92 line at retail--the last year I was really excited about as a kid--and I was annoyed that Hasbro wanted me to rebuy them with slight color changes. Especially the ones I really liked in '92, like Barricade and Firefly. I thought my allowance was much better spent on the new Battle Corps figures. I did end up picking up the '93 repaints at flea markets and clearance stores over the years just for completeness, but I didn't give them much attention. Bullet-Proof was the one exception because I lost the mic for the original one so I always either used the 93 version, or stole his helmet (with glued-on mic) to use with the original. But you're making me think it's worth revisiting the repaints. In your picture Barricade and Mutt look like a good urban K-9 emergency search and rescue team. Long Arm and Wet-Suit could fit in too.

  2. I've often wondered if Barricade wasn't originally planned as a new Tripwire.

    The collector's club version almost looks like Captain Power.

    1. I've had similar thoughts, but for Sci-Fi or Flash.

      I also assumed that Barricade and Sci-Fi were both Robocop ripoffs, but I recently realized that Sci-Fi actually predates Robocop.