Review: Sideshow Collectibles' Rock 'N' Roll Sixth Scale Figure

April 3, 2012

Sideshow Collectibles recently released the twentieth sixth-scale figure in its G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line, Rock 'N' Roll.  Rock 'N' Roll was one of the original characters part of Hasbro's inaugural wave of 3-3/4-inch figures in 1982, which re-introduced G.I. Joe to a new generation of kids. Sideshow Collectibles has re-imagined that surf-loving, machine gunner with their own modern military twist, but does Sideshow's interpretation of Rock 'N' Roll have what it takes to hang ten?

Rock 'N' Roll is the first figure to sport Sideshow’s new Prometheus 2.1 body, which features new knee joints that are more pliable than those on previous bodies, making them a lot easier to pose. Also updated on the Pro 2.1 are the meticulously sculpted arms and neck that add a new level of much needed depth and realism to the G.I. Joe line. The arms are sculpted with an amazing amount of detail as evident in the texture of the skin, detailed veins and muscle contours in the huge forearms and biceps. And while the torso isn't sculpted along with the arms, it is definitely a step in the right direction further demonstrating Sideshow's commitment to quality as other companies, namely Hot Toys, continue to raise the bar on figure anatomy.

Rock 'N' Roll wears a BDU shirt with rolled up sleeves showing off the sculpted arms to a high degree of success. The figure no longer looks toy-like and instead appears like-like, muscular and capable of carrying all the hardware and gear included, which is a lot! The new muscular body also helps set the figure apart from Sideshow's past G.I. Joe releases -- Rock 'N' Roll's large stature raises the bar for future releases and accordingly, the entire line. On a side note, look for the  Prometheus 2.1  body on the upcoming Zartan and Commando Snake Eyes, due out later this year.

If you were lucky enough to get the Sideshow exclusive edition version of Rock 'N' Roll -- in my opinion, the exclusive is a must with this figure -- two head sculpts are included. The regular edition sculpt looks young and "green" with a somewhat neutral and relaxed expression, while the real gem is the exclusive sculpt that features an older, more gruff looking Rock 'N' Roll complete with a sculpted bandanna and an expression that screams "battle hardened."

The entire figure has clean and relatively sharp paint applications. The boots are two tone, showing some mud on the sole and lower half of the boot.  The paint on the head sculpts is also superb. The beard and eyes are nicely painted and while the paint could have been a little tighter on the hair line and eye brows, overall the paint on both sculpts looks great. Other painted elements on the hardware are also nicely done such as the paint detail on the helmet (which includes a very cool "Cobra Don’t Surf" inscription on the backside), the mammoth M-60 (with an even cooler “Snake Charmer“ inscription), bullet belts, and grenades.

Back to the gear. As mentioned earlier, the load out with Rock 'N' Roll is unprecedented. In fact, there is so much gear that I’m going to cheat and refer you to the breakdown on Sideshow’s Web site. It almost seems Sideshow is daring you to try to put it all on. Again, the detail on the gear is fantastic. The ammo boxes inside the pouches on his rig have ordinance details printed on the box, his red under shirt has a “Locals Only” logo and Rock 'N' Roll comes with a sticker sheet that allows you to further deck out the helmet! Like other G.I. Joe figures from Sideshow, Rock 'N' Roll also includes a good number of military unit patches.

As with all things, there are going to be a few missteps and Rock 'N' Roll has two things that, in my opinion, could have been better. The bullet belts utilize a clasp system that keeps them together, but since the bullet belts are made out of a softer, almost rubbery plastic they don’t stay together all that well. It takes a little bit of futzing, but you can make them work. My other issue is that the knife and accompanying leg sheath have Velcro straps that are a tad too long and difficult to work with. On this particular figure the Velcro wouldn’t hold together securely so it took some work before I finally managed to get it stay together. Again, these aren’t deal breakers but they could have been better.

Sideshow went to great lengths with the detail on Rock 'N' Roll. Each time you pick the figure up, you notice something new you didn't catch the time before. It's this type of attention to detail that makes a figure great and makes Rock 'N' Roll an excellent addition to your G.I. Joe collection.

Jose GonzalezJose is a pop culture connoisseur and child of the '80s. He spends his free time collecting and restoring vintage 3-3/4-inch G.I. Joe toys from Hasbro, which he chronicles on his Web site. Jose also collects items from Sideshow Collectibles and keeps busy reading comics from DC and IDW, watching movies or animation, writing, and being a husband and father of two. You can follow him at @therealjosegon on Twitter.

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