#1812: G.I. Joe Keychains



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. 


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.


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.

#0938: Action Marine



Marine1 (2)

1994 marked the 30th Anniversary of the original G.I. Joe figures. At the time, G.I. Joe was in a bit of an odd spot. The 3 ¾ inch line had started to die down, but the 12 inch line had not yet come back in full force. To celebrate the anniversary, Hasbro sort of combined the two, releasing the original 12-inch Joes, but this time in the smaller scale. Four years later, Fun 4 All, perhaps one of the only not-Hasbro-companies to ever do G.I. Joe toys, made use of Hasbro’s molds to produce a line of keychains…sort of. Yes, they had the key chain bits attached, but by-and-large, this felt like an excuse for Fun 4 All to produce a set of G.I. Joe figures. And why not? Well, let’s have a look at one of the “keychains” they produced, the Action Marine.


Marine2 (2)The Action Marine was one of the four keychains offered in Fun 4 All’s G.I. Joe: Classic Collection – Keychains line, offered starting 1998. All four keychains were fully articulated figures, which a detachable keychain piece (which is missing from my Action Marine. You can clearly see my main interest in these). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The sculpt of this figure is a slightly altered version of Hasbro’s Action Marine from 1994. The only real difference between the two (apart from the slightly lower quality of the plastic used by Fun 4 All) is the addition of a loop between the shoulder blades to allow for the keychain’s attachment. The overall sculpt isn’t bad. He’s more or less on par with any of the vintage 3 3/4-inch Joes. Some pieces of the sculpt seem a bit more rudimentary, most noticeably the shoulders, which don’t mesh together organically. In addition, the lower quality of the plastic means that some of the finer details from the original sculpt are lost, which gives him all around simpler look. Still, he’s far from horrible; certainly better than some other figures in the scale. In addition to the step down in plastic quality, there’s also a step down in the quality of the paint. It’s still not bad, mind you. The colors are appropriate, and the level of detail on the camo is decent. However, the paint has a tendency to chip, especially on the hands, and the application is rather on the sloppy side. The Action Marine included no accessories (beyond the detachable keychain, if you’re inclined to count that). A rifle or something would have been nice, but these were relatively low-price, so it’s not a shock.


When I was younger, I went in and out of periods of being into G.I. Joe. The earliest Joe I can remember getting for myself was actually one of these keychains, but it wasn’t the Marine, it was the Sailor. I ended up getting the Marine a few years later from a KB Toys (KB pretty much kept these guys in stock until they went out of business). I never really had any particular affinity to him, but he just sort of stuck with me. He actually got left at my Grandparents house for several years, and I found him a few months back while doing some cleaning. He’s not one of my favorites, and he won’t really be winning any awards, but he’s got a certain charm to him.