G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)
“G.I. Joe (a.k.a. Joseph B. Colton) graduated in 1960 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, receiving the academy’s highest possible honors. An expert marksman, he is proficient with all modern weaponry from M60 machine guns to attack helicopters and L.A.W.s (Light Armored Weapons). Recruited by Special Forces, Colton was destined for military glory, quickly distinguishing himself as an outstanding Green Beret. In 1963, after participating in “ultra” top secret combat operations and extensive tours of duty in trouble spots around the world, 1st Lt. Joseph B. Colton became the most decorated — and most feared — battlefield soldier the world had ever known. Recognizing Colton’s innate combat skills and his warrier heart pumping courage through his veins, then President John F. Kennedy, secretly selected him to create and command an ULTIMATE freedom fighting force. Higher ranking soldiers had been passed over for this elite, presidential appointment. Colton was issued the name “G.I. Joe” and began building his team with the toughest men the armed services could muster. From there, G.I. Joe would change the course of military history and re-define the word hero!”
When reworking G.I. Joe into the anti-terrorist fighting force that would so define them throughout the ’80s, Hasbro decided to re-work the assumed name of one man from the ’60s toyline, and make the name for the whole team. However, when it came time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original 12-inch line, Hasbro decided to transfer some of the old style figures into the new smaller scale. Additionally, they decided to pay tribute to those original figures by actually making “G.I. Joe” one guy again, and having that one guy be the one who started the whole thing, just like that one figure started everything in the real world. It was a pretty cool concept and one that has found its way into comics and movies as well.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
G.I. Joe was offered as a mail-away offer as part of G.I. Joe‘s 1994 line-up. He tied in with the wider 30th Anniversary assortment offered up that same year. The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. His bio classifies Joe as a Green Beret, so this smaller figure is wisely patterned on the Green Beret Action Soldier from the original line. As far as construction, he shared a lot of his parts with the other 30th Anniversary figures (whose molds would later be re-purposed by Fun 4 All for the line of key chains offered in the late ’90s). His torso and arms are from the Action Marine, and his left and lower right leg are shared with the Action Soldier. The head, pelvis, and upper right leg were all new. They slot in well with the already sculpted parts, and the end result is a figure that does a respectable job of replicating the larger figures in the smaller scale. This is my first exposure to the original Hasbro versions of most of these pieces, which are certainly of a higher quality than the Fun 4 All variants. The details are a lot crisper, and there are some that just go missing entirely on the later releases. The new head is a solid rendition of the old Joe likeness, but made to fit a little better with the rest of the smaller line. Joe’s paintwork is fairly basic, but does the job well, and it looks pretty clean. The little bit of camo visible beneath his jacket is in particular pretty cool. Joe was packed with a heavy machine gun, re-purposed from the V2 Gung Ho in 1992. It’s really large, but not in a comical sense, and he can hold it reasonably well.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Though I was alive in ’94, I wasn’t quite collecting yet, so I didn’t send away for this one myself. So, I had to resort to buying one second hand. He wasn’t in All Time’s rather large collection from over the summer, but I ended up finding him at Yesterday’s Fun while on vacation over the summer. I wasn’t specifically looking for him like the other two I ended up getting, but I have to say I do quite like him. He’s a cool little piece of history to be sure.