ANDROID TROOPER  
  Code Name: B.A.T.  
 

The B.A.T. (short for Battle Android Trooper, don't you know) seems to have been primarily introduced to benefit the Sunbow writers and give the cartoon Joes something they could properly blow up. Even in the comic, where Marvel got away with slotting the odd blueshirt or self-devised character who’s suddenly rendered obsolete by the arrival of a character with a toy, the Joes could really let loose on an army of robots. And boy, did the writers love blowing up B.A.T.s – whereas human Cobras tended to suffer right hooks and rifle butts, B.A.T.s tended to get hit by missiles and explode everywhere. Probably my favourite example of this comes in the ‘assassination attempt’ at the start of the 1987 film, where there’s a Crimson Guard and a B.A.T. on either side of Serpentor’s throne room door. The Crimson Guard gets a relatively non-violent squid or something to the face, but whatever Pythona lobs at the B.A.T. not only blows a hole in the robot, but the wall behind it. Nice to know even the bizarre envoys of ludicrous retcons respect the standards of children’s animation, isn’t it?

A bit like the Viper, I never really had any love for the concept, especially not in the advent of modern availability of Cobra Troopers, I ended up with a 25th Anniversary B.A.T. out of curiosity. While there have been four different versions within the line, they’re all very minor variations on the same mould, with some different swappable parts and the odd paint application change. This version is from the DVD Battles set for the record.

It’s a very well moulded figure – no corners have been cut, there’s the full metal sinew effect on the arms, while the chest piece is a clear plastic window mounted over painted internals, much better than the sticker of yore. It helps make the figure look genuinely a little different whereas older versions have always been a little indistinguishable from one of the many Vipers which overran later Cobra forces. One of the best things about the 25th Anniversary line is the variety it brings to basic proportions, compared to the relatively rigid O-ring template. And that colour scheme – it looked good on the original, but the new paint applications are very vibrant, gelling nicely with the use of actual yellow plastic for some parts and really bringing it out.

And if that isn’t enough, the B.A.T. is nicely kitted out as well. Both forearms pop off and can be replaced by one of three utilities included with the DVD set version – a laser cannon, a claw or a welding torch, two of which can be held in the distinctive basket-style backpack. As if this wasn’t enough, the thing even comes with a conventional pistol in a hip holster. It all makes for a fantastic figure, one that really won me over and is now among my favourite 25th Anniversary toys. The Defense of Cobra Island variant (missing the forearm gear, but optional battle damage and a backpack full of spores for a Mindbender-engineered killer plant from the comic), while slightly inferior, is also worth consideration. Highly recommended.

G.I. Joe B.A.T.
G.I. Joe B.A.T.
G.I. Joe B.A.T.
G.I. Joe B.A.T.