ACTION SOLDIER, ACTION PILOT, ACTION DIVER, & ACTION MARINE
G.I. JOE: CLASSIC COLLECTION — KEYCHAINS (FUN 4 ALL)
Hey, you guys remember when I looked at that G.I. Joe keychain a while back? Wasn’t that pretty cool? I sure thought so! Here’s another four of those.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These four were released as a boxed set as part of Fun 4 All’s G.I. Joe: Classic Collection in 1998. They used the same molds as the single-packed keychains, but in alternate color schemes. Like the previously reviewed Action Marine, all four “keychains” are fully articulated figures with a removable keychain attachment. And, just like that figure, all four of mine are missing said attachment, because I didn’t really buy them to be keychains.
The most standard member of the team is the Action Soldier, a member of the US Army Corps. This one in particular is wearing MP gear, showcasing a slight variant. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. The Action Soldier features a few parts in common with the previously reviewed Marine. They share a head, pelvis, and upper legs. The other parts are unique to the Soldiers. For whatever reason, the Soldier actually has a slightly smaller build than the other three figures, despite the original 12-inch Joes all using the same basic body. But, I guess a little bit of variety isn’t the worst thing. The sculpt is a decent offering, though he’s definitely on the softer side detailing-wise. His paint is the main defining part of this releases. It’s okay, but rather on the simple side. He lacks any sort of paint on his torso, not even on his web gear or grenades. Also, what paint he does have is rather prone to chipping, though the Soldier has held up the best of the four in this set.
The pilot is one of the more intricately designed of these figures; unlike the Marine and the Soldier, he and the Diver are actually based on fully decked-out Joes with parts from some of the supplemental sets. He’s seen here in his full pilot’s gear…or he would be if mine weren’t missing a few pieces. The Pilot is sporting an all-new sculpt, and while it’s still not quite up to Hasbro par, it’s certainly a stronger sculpt than either of the other two I’ve looked at, and is perhaps the strongest in the set. The details are more numerous, and the overall construction is a bit less rudimentary. He also gives us our only true look at the “standard” Joe head, which is a decent replica of the old 12-inch figures. His paintwork is fairly decent, and certainly better spread out and more complete than the Soldier’s. The blue/yellow combo is another non-standard look, but it works well, and it’s slightly less situational than the others in the set. The Pilot was the only one of these to actually include an accessory, which was a removable helmet. Unfortunately, I’ve lost mine, which is a real shame.
Like the Pilot, the Action Diver is a more intricately designed figure, also patterned on a fully kitted-out 12-inch Joe. The frogman get-up is actually one of my favorite classic Joe designs, and by far the most distinctive of the Navy looks. The sculpt is rivaled only by the Pilot in terms of quality. He’s got one of the most organic sculpts of the bunch, and definitely the one with the sharpest detailing. I also really dig that clear visor on the goggles; it’s a small touch that really helps the figure. Unfortunately, the Diver has one main drawback: he’s the member of the set most affected by the low quality plastic used for these figures. On both versions of the Diver own, the front piece of the pelvis has broken off; it’s a minor issue, and still leaves you with a workable figure, but it’s annoying to say the least. The Diver is actually the only figure in this set to get more paintwork than his single-carded release. Since he’s molded in orange (an alternate color scheme that actually hails form Adventures of GI Joe, the less military-themed precursor to Adventure Team), all of the straps and such are actually painted black, whereas the regular figure was just molded in black and thereby left them unpainted.
The final piece of this set is the one figure I’ve looked at before, more or less. These keychains were based on Hasbro’s commemorative 30th Anniversary figures from 1994, and while those figures included alternate color schemes for both the Pilot and the Diver, the Marine and Soldier didn’t get second releases, so these had to be made up. The Marine gets a desert camo look, which certainly makes him quickly identifiable as distinct from the standard release. Also, for whatever reason, he swaps out his lower legs for those of the Soldier, giving him tucked-in boots. Not 100% sure why, but it certainly works.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
As I noted in my Marine review, it was these keychains that introduced me to 3 3/4-inch Joes. This set was actually the last of the keychain offerings I procured. After finding the standard releases of the Diver, the Pilot, and the Marine, I was quite thrilled to find this pack at the KB just outside the town where my family vacationed over the summers. At the time, I was in the midst of quite a G.I. Joe kick, and these really hit the spot. Admittedly, they aren’t the greatest offerings. They’re fun, but definitely lower quality than a lot of figures from the same era.