I want to stress that all the art on this website and for this project is FAN art and meant to be an homage to a toyline that was an incredible part of my childhood. Hasbro owns the copyright on these characters and their design.
October 6th, 2020
No posts in a long long while, I realize. I also know that 2020 has been a rough year for all (to put it mildly), myself included. I hope you are all doing the best you can out there. I feel like I might be back in the saddle, and will hopefully be able to post more frequently now.
June 28th, 2019
FINALLY. I know sooo many of you have waited very patiently and for quite a long time in order to get your hands on card packs. Well we are BACK. Go nuts! ALL the years are back in stock as of right now. Even some of the gift box sets are available (while the box quantities themselves last - for example there are only a few of the Coastal Defender Box Sets left). Everything from 1982 through to and including 1987 is now available again for ordering!Head over to the store!
001: “Breaker.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
Bubble gum obsessed communications guy!
002: “Cobra Trooper.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
003: “Cobra Officer.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
004: “Flash.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
005: “Grunt.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
006: “Rock n' Roll.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
007: “Scarlett.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
The very first female G.I. Joe figure to be released in the 3 3/4" "American Hero" version of the Joes, and only female in the first series - 1982. Also, the love interest of Snake Eyes.
008: “Short-Fuze.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
009: “Snake Eyes.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
One of the most iconic and well-known G.I. Joe characters. Snake Eyes embodied mystery, coolness, and bad-assery. The comics allowed us to get more insight into his backstory and character, but one main thing about Snake Eyes is that he was mute.
010: “Stalker.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
I remember being so excited about getting this figure because of his "full camoflage" attire - being the first (and only, of the figures released in 1982) to have such camoflage. Stalker was a strong character in the comics and cartoons, and close friend of Snake Eyes and Scarlett.
011: “Zap.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
012: “Clutch.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
Clutch was 1 of 4 figures that was packaged with a vehicle in the first series in 1982. Classic character that drove the G.I. Joe attack vehicle called the VAMP.
013: “Grand Slam (v1).” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
Grand Slam is very interesting in that he is basically the body of Flash, and the head of Grunt. You can start to notice several figures that use parts from the same moulds especially in this first series.
Grand Slam was 1 of 4 figures that was packaged with a “vehicle” in the first series in 1982. I put vehicle in quotes because it was not a drivable vehicle, it was a giant double cannoned Heavy Artillery Laser (HAL) that you towed like a trailer, and Grand Slam sat in a seat to swivel and fire the HAL.
014: “Hawk.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
Hawk was 1 of 4 figures that was packaged with a vehicle in the first series in 1982.
Another example of duplicate mould parts with Hawk as well. He has the same body as Grunt with slightly altered coloring, and the head of Short-Fuze.
015: “Steeler.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
Steeler was 1 of 4 figures that was packaged with a vehicle in the first series in 1982. Steeler came with the AWESOME Motorized Battle Tank called the "MOBAT." This sucker took D batteries, yeah that's right D. I can still remember the feel of the rubber treads.
016: “Cobra Commander.” G.I. Joe Series 1, 1982.
Cobra Commander is definitely one of the coolest and most iconic figures of the entire G.I. Joe series, and his outfit/uniform was reinvented several times throughout the years. This original version remains a classic though. One really cool aspect of this figure was that his laser pistol actually clicked into his back so he could carry it around.
This was the first mail-in G.I. Joe figure, an special option that continued through the years for certain figures. I asked Kirk Bozigian if they knew they were onto something big at the time (1982) and his response was: "Honestly, we were hoping for 3 good years. Then it would be on to the next big idea. Which is how the toy industry typically thinks. I had a suspicion we were onto something huge when we got orders from kids who collected flag points and redeemed them for over 100,000 Cobra Commanders."
017: “Airborne.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
So now we will start to see a huge shift in character design and the design in general heading into the next year of Joes. You’ll start to see more complex colour palettes, and finer details, and less reused moulds. Not to mention the addition of the SWIVEL arm instead of straight arm as in the previous year.
It's also worth noting that in 1983 they reissued all the previous 16 figures from 1982 WITH the swivel arm along with all the new characters for 1983.
018: “Destro.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Destro was a pretty radical figure design with his chrome dome and deep-v bare chest! Yowza!
019: “Doc.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Doc came with a stretcher! The first official medic in the G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series.
020: “Gung-Ho.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
When you've got a chest tattoo like Gung-Ho, you darn-well show it off!
021: “Major Bludd.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Major Bludd was interesting in that his right arm was rigid through the elbow. So it only had the one pivot point at the shoulder.
Here’s a question for all the other hardcore Joe fans out there: it LOOKS like he has numerous dog tags hanging around his neck. Is that the case? Are these supposed to perhaps be the dog tags of his enemies that he has taken?
022: “Snow Job.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
I remember getting Snow Job as a kid. I was 6. I was so excited because the dude had SKIS. He came with SKIS. So yes, of COURSE I would go out and play with him in the snow.
Such attention to detail. His skis and poles attached to his backpack! However, one recurring problem for me was constantly losing one of the skis. Not both. Just one. I remember one joyous day when I pulled out the couch cushions and found some change and one of his skis.
023: “Torpedo.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Another great example of attention to detail. Those flippers! Torpedo was def one of my main tub-time toys. And of course the same problem as Snow Job always trying to NOT loose either of the flippers.
Another memory I have of this figure is that his lower legs got quite loose compared to some of the other figures. MEMORIES!
024: “Tripwire.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Speaking of attention to details… haha this guy came with three little mines about the size of a DIME that could go in his backpack. SOMEHOW I managed to hang on to them for many years. It’s a Christmas Miracle.
025: “Ace.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Ace was the figure that came with the amazing X14-F Sky-Striker plane. He had a removable helmet and the plane came with two parachutes that were made of a sort of thin plastic and actually worked if you tossed your Joe in the air!! The Sky-Striker had two wing positions, and retracting landing gear.
One of the amazing things about the GI Joe R.A.H. line was that from the launch (1982) the ads showed kids playing with the toys OUTDOORS and it promoted the idea that we could take our Joes out in the yard into the elements. Running around the yard flying this plane around was such an incredible feeling as a 6yr old.
026: “Cobra H.I.S.S. Driver” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
This was one of my favourite vehicles and figures. I have such strong memories of playing with it on the floor at my Grama’s, at age 6.
I am doing this #GIJOE365 project for a handful of reasons but one of those reasons is to pay tribute to the designers and entire GI Joe team at Hasbro from the 80’s (including Ron Rudat, Kirk Bozigian, andLarry Hama). As I’ve stated before, the GI Joe toys were THE most influential aspect in the development of my childhood imagination, creativity, AND design aesthetic. The Cobra H.I.S.S. (High Speed Sentry) tank is a great example of this. I LOVE the lines of this vehicle. To this day.
027: “Cover Girl.” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
I always figured I would end up marrying Cover Girl. As a 6-10yr old all I could think was “Any lady who drives a bad-ass vehicle like The Wolverine must ALSO be bad-ass.”
Anyways we aren’t married. Yet.
028: “Grand Slam (v2).” G.I. Joe Series 2, 1983.
Grand Slam version 2 featured SILVER padding instead of RED, as he was packaged in Series 1 with the H.A.L. This time he came packaged with a jet pack and launch pad. That’s right a JET PACK. It was specifically the “JUMP Jet Pack.” JUMP = Jet Mobile Propulsion Unit.
All I knew was I now had a G.I. Joe figure that I could fly around because the guy had a freaking JET PACK.
029: “Grunt (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.
The is the second full-repaint of a figure we’ve seen, even though there have been repeated moulds for various body parts. This is basically a tan version of Grunt as packaged with a hand glider toy.
Truth-be-told this was actually a SUPER fun toy. The figure strapped under the glider and this thing REALLY glided. You could do loop-de-loops and the whole bit.
This is another shining example of how these toys were marketed from the get-go as something to play with outside. Get out there and play in the yard! With your pals! Or all alone! Or whatever!
030: “Viper Pilot”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.
Another “repaint” … sorta … this is basically the exact same body as 002: Cobra Trooper, however instead of a red Cobra insignia, he has a silver one like the 003: Cobra Officer.
Just like Grunt (v2) this guy was packaged with a hand glider for loads of outdoor fun
031: “Wild Bill”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.
This was one of my most favorite figure / vehicle packages of the entire series, I have to say. Wild Bill wore two six-shooters at his sides, sported a leather vest, mirrored aviator sunglasses, a bright orange ‘stache, and what I can only assume is a confederate hat. WILD Bill, indeed!
But seriously, the G.I. Joe Dragonfly Assault Copter XH-1 was the first Helicopter to emerge from the series and IT WAS AWESOME. There was a white sliding button you could push on the side of the copter as held on to it, to enable you to SPIN THE ROTARS as you zipped around your living room until your mom yelled at you to go play outside. I loved this helicopter so much. It seated two figures in the front cockpit and there were pegs to stand more joes on the landing legs of the copter AND there was a winch under the belly so you could lower and raise Joes up! In my opinion one of the best vehicle designs of the entire series.
032: “Duke”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 2, 1983.
Oh DUKE. Whatta guy. This was one of two mail-ins that became available during this series in 1983. The other was actually Major Bludd. I had a mixed feeling about Duke. His role in G.I. Joe was a fairly prominent character (Master Sergeant, and Airborne Infantry) and I would always include him in my outfits and battles, but that goofy grin always made me take him a little less seriously, haha.
So! Thus concludes Series 2! Onwards tomorrow into 1984 with Series 3 and lots of vibrant and dynamic characters!
033: “Baroness”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
YEP. Here she is. The BARONESS. Mama mia she was a spicy meatball, haha. She was the long-time love interest of DESTRO (Happy pre-Valentines Day, lovebirds) and she was also known for playing Destro and Cobra Commander against each other.
ALSO, an interesting fact from her dossier / file card is that she was “severely burned” during a Cobra night attack and she has “had extensive plastic surgery.” :O !!!
034: “Blowtorch”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
The first flamethrower to be released onto the G.I. Joe team. Here we see a great example of wild colour palette usage. Simple, bold, crazy. Although I’m pretty sure the Joe team wouldn’t want to have Blowtorch tag along on covert forest missions.
035: “Firefly”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Firefly! The saboteur! Firefly was always one of my favourites.
036: “Mutt (and Junkyard)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Our first figure that comes with an animal companion! 1984 was the first year this was introduced into the line and we will see another figure with an animal companion soon before we close out Series 3.
037: “Recondo”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Here’s our jungle pal Recondo. According to his file card he’s happiest when he’s out in the jungle hauled a rucksack and “sweating through his cammies.” :O
038: “Rip Cord”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
I never actually owned Rip Cord and always wanted to. BOO HOO. He is such an awesome looking figure and is a bad-ass HALO Jumper (High-Altitude Low Opening). Perfect match-up for the Dragonfly copter! Amirite?!
039: “Roadblock”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
040: “Scrap Iron”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
041: “Spirit”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Spirit was another of the figures from 1984 that came with an animal companion. His trusty Eagle “Freedom”! Spirit is yet another fine example of amazingly detailed design in these figures. Even the colour palette alone is just amazing; he really stands out. His gear was unique as well. His gun was a dart-arrow gun and fit so nicely in his grip, allowing for great posing. His belt was a thick pliable plastic. Ron Rudat (designer of the figure) mentions in an interview with Carson from 3Djoes.com that the design of this figure was meant to be it’s own homage to the Native American peoples.
042: “Storm Shadow”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
I loved this figure SO MUCH. I didn’t actually get him the first year he was released (1984) but I would see him around, at friends places when we would play together. He was hard to come by in the stores at the time, probably because he would sell out so quickly. I did eventually pick him up in 1985 or 1986 though.
Storm Shadow started off just being the “mysterious cobra ninja” but thanks to the comics became one of the most interesting and complex characters in the entire toyline especially in regards to his relationship and rivalry with Snake Eyes.
From a design perspective he just perfectly epitomized the “Ninja”. From his outfit, to the ninja stars tucked in his belt, to his accessories including two swords, a bow, NUNCHUCKS, and even cool backpack to hold it all in, this figure was TOTALLY NINJA.
043: “Clutch (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Another repaint here. We first saw Clutch in series 1 (1982) with his greens on. He came with the VAMP Mark II, which was coloured differently and featured roof and doors that opened! Plus missile launcher on the back.
044: “Cobra Stinger Driver”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Another repaint and vehicle mod. However, a pretty freakin sweet one IMO. Loved the grey uniform, and the bad ass black Stinger jeep. Also this version of the VAMP/Stinger vehicle featured WING-style doors.
045: “Copperhead”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
This was one of my all time favourite figures and vehicles. He was so different! This vehicle he came with, “The Water Moccasin” was so awesome. IT FLOATED! I remember taking these into the bath for tub time at age 7! Along with some other figures and toys that you’ll see in the coming days. :)
This is another incredible example of toy design and engineering and attention to detail. Also, to put things in perspective, talk about affordable! At the time in 1984 that vehicle (with includes the figure, Copperhead) was only $6.49 retail. With inflation that would only be $15 today! Incredibly affordable for such an amazing toy.
046: “Cutter.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Cutter came with what is, in my opinion, one of the most incredible vehicles of the entire G.I. Joe RAH catalog: The Killer W.H.A.L.E (Warrior: Hovering Assault Launching Envoy) Hovercraft.
This thing was HUGE, it FLOATED, and had LOADS of awesome accessories. It held a bunch of Joes inside, had a skiff-type single-man thingy that launched out the front with the press of a button, had a depth-charge releasing thingy on the back, a small motorcycle thingy that sat ready in the back for when you reached land, and a big button that spun the dual fans on the back. PHEWF! So yeah it was awesome.
Also, despite the size of the this thing in relation to my 7 yr old self, I totally brought this bad boy into the tub with me.
047: “Deep Six.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Yet another example of incredible design, engineering, and marketing by the GI Joe Hasbro team at the time.
Deep Six ‘broke the mold’ (so to speak) because he was one of the very few figures with limited articulation (only his arms moved). However, there was a VERY good reason for this. I regret not illustrating this in the side-panel bonus art area, but I have no time to redo it right now: he came with a BELLOWS system that allowed you to submerge and resurface the figure in water. Included was a tube, string, bellows pump, and valve. You hooked the clear tube to his back and it would pump air through his body out his feet! Incredible.
Deep Six came with The S.H.A.R.C. [Submersible High-speed Attack and Reconnaissance Craft]. I was kind of stumped as to how to classify Deep Six with my icon-system because he basically pilots a FLYING SUBMARINE.
The term “Deep Six,” by the way, was originally the nautical reference to a water depth of “6 fathoms.” It eventually became a general expression for “throwing something over board” and then even to just “get rid of something.” On his file card another Joe (Torpedo) says of Deep Six: "Down in the depths where light doesn't reach and the water pressure can crush you like an eggshell-that's where Deep Six likes it!"
This is also another testament to Hasbro encouraging you to REALLY play with your toys: submerge them in water, take them outside, play in the mud, play in the dirt, play in the snow. And I did all that, and those toys held up.
048: “Thunder.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Thunder is the driver/artilleryman for the SLUGGER (“Self-Propelled Gun”) vehicle, which was essentially a 175mm Howitzer on wheels.
What always stood out to me about Thunder was he seemed a bit shorter than the rest of the Joes, and also his file-card. His file card is pretty hilarious, noting that his secondary military specialty was “Bandsman” specifically a DRUMMER, and that he grew up next to a foundry and loves heavy metal and peanut brittle and cars with loud mufflers hahaha. Basically, THIS is the dude to be in charge of a massive rolling CANNON.
049: “Wild Weasel.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Wild Weasel was a fighter pilot that came packaged with the Cobra RATTLER. I LOVED this vehicle and figure. The design of the Rattler was inspired by the real-life USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II, and I love lines and profile of this vehicle. As a kid it felt awesome to hold and run around zipping through the air. It had a front undermounted gatling gun, LOADS of missiles, gun turret for a second figure, and even panel coverings that you could pop off to replace with bullet-riddled damaged panels!! Another cool feature was that the wings could rotated. The idea being (I think) that the Rattler could do a straight ascent for take-off with no runway.
The Cobra Rattler was meant to the main thorn in Ace’s (who piloted the Skystriker Jet) but it always stood out to me that Wild Weasel had “Wild” as part of his name just like Wild Bill who piloted the Dragonfly Helicopter AND the quote on Wild Weasel’s filecard is actually a quote from Wild Bill talking about how he hates but respects Wild Weasel because of what an awesome pilot he is.
050: “Zartan.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
Haha I don’t even know where to begin with this guy. Zartan was a master of disguise and came with a mask that he kept in his backpack and you could place over his face and was held in place by his hood/cowl thing. Crazy than that though is that his SKIN CHANGED COLOURS IN THE SUN. As far as I know this is the ONLY G.I. Joe figure to do this. I cannot imagine the conversations that took place in regards to the research and dev on this guy. He had plastic plates with clear panels on them that went over his bare chest and thighs. He also came with photo-sensitive film that could be undermounted on the armor plates so that it would turn maroon colour to match his pants and cowl. I’m just saying that this was an engineering masterpiece, okay!?!
Oh yeah also also he came with an insane vehicle that I have not drawn that looks like a bug which ALSO changed colours i think? and could be disassembled and dragged around in a crate by the man himself. YEP!
SPECIAL BONUS: you can change Zartan yourself HERE!
051: “Cobra Commander (v2)” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 3, 1984.
The hooded Cobra Commander. Another iconic figure. His body mold is identical to Cobra Commander v1 from Series 1 (1982) except for the head being a hood and the colouring being different. I like to believe that this is the more “leisurely” Cobra Commander. You know, loafing about in the Terror Drome, sipping a soda through a straw that can easily go up under the hood, whilst planning his next big move to embarrass and humiliate the Joes. And then when it’s time for battle he dons his chrome helmet! Anyways that’s how it works in my head.
Like the first version from 1982 version 2 of Cobra Commander was initially available exclusively through mail-in.
A nice way to cap off 1984! Onwards into even crazier designs and wilder characters! Stay tuned!
052: “Airtight.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Welp. Here we go into a fresh new series with fresh new designs in a fresh new year. The year was 1985. And wait’ll ya see what the Hasbro team had up their sleeve for this year
Starting with… AIRTIGHT. For all your environmental cleanup needs! (also does ghostbusting and dustbusting on the side).
(I’m just kidding about the last bit.)
(but he did collect plastic dinosaurs as a kid.)
053: “Alpine.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Alpine is a great example of how some figures came with unique accessories. Alpine was a mountain trooper and let’s face it, it’s always fun setting our figures up in interesting perches and vantage points (I know I did!) so it was a real treat to see that he came with his own grappling hooks and string! Basically what you could do was have each hook wrapped around something with the string extended between the two points and then he could slide down the rope like a zipline! The underside of his pickaxe was perfect for hooking onto the rope.
That feature led me down a very strange path in my house as a kid, haha. I remember getting regular twine and string and setting up a LOT of ziplines all over the living room and then using the old style metal shower curtain clips for my Joes to sit on almost like a chairlift and zip down.
Of course ol’ Alpine here oversaw all the operations. You know, for safety.
054: “Barbecue.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
A fireman hailing from a long-line of fireman in Boston, Massachusetts.
Barbecue was always one of my favourite figures. I loved the look of his helmet and overall design. Plus he came with an axe.
055: “Bazooka.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
FUN FACT: Ron Rudat (figure designer for the “Real American Hero” line from 82-87) gave Bazooka the jersey of New England Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan. For those that don't know, the Hasbro factory was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and I'm pretty sure Ron hailed from Massachusetts himself.
Incidentally, Ron Rudat is one of the main people this 365 project is meant to honour. The Joes were definitely a team effort, but as Kirk Bozigian (brand manager / project lead at the time) himself said, Ron deserves all the credit for the look and design of the way the figures looked (between 82-87).
056: “Buzzer.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
So here we have the first of the three main Dreadnoks that were released. BUZZER. Real name? “Dick Blinken (Richard Blinken-Smythe).” You can probably already guess what the other two real names of the Dreadnoks in this series will be, but stay tuned. :)
Buzzer came equipped with the anarchist's essentials! Chainsaw... chain-axe.... backpack full of gasoline... you know, just typical stuff.
So TECHNICALLY Zartan (from the last series - 1984) is a Dreadnok too. He IS in fact the LEADER of the Dreadnoks, as is also reflected in the Dreadnoks “logo.” However from a consumer perspective at the time, we didn’t really know any of that until the following year. And then each year we would start to get more Dreadnoks trickling in. Just you wait! In the end there will be a good amount of them!
057: “Crimson Guard.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
058: “Dusty.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
So far as I can recollect, Dusty here was the first figure with CLOTH. The back attachment to his helmet was cloth, a permanent fixture. As a kid I thought this was kinda neat, especially because it allowed me to flip it up and make him look ridiculous. Seriously though, Dusty was one of my most favourite figures.
059: “Eels.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
A Cobra Frogman!
060: “Flint.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Flint is a Warrant Officer and was always considered one of the main leaders and if i recall correctly the love interest of Lady Jaye (who we will see in a few days).
061: “Footloose.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Kick off your Sunday shoes, it’s Footloose!
062: “Lady Jaye”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Lady Jaye is my personal favourite of the Joe Gals. She had a lotta character. I mean come on, her gear includes a freakin JAVELIN and a CAMCORDER. Sigh. Also as previously mentioned, Lady Jaye and Flint are smoochin-partners. Lucky jerk. How I hate him.
063: “Quick Kick”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Master of silent weapons and all martial arts disciplines, Quick Kick was one of the guys I would put on my “ninja teams” with Snake-Eyes. Quite the bold outfit on the guy though! Bare feet, bare chest. I tried to keep him off my “snow ops”.
064: “Ripper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
So here we have the second of the three main Dreadnoks that were released. RIPPER. Real name? “Harry Nod.” Do you remember the real name of the first Dreadnok (aside from Zartan) we saw? I think you see where this is going.
Ripper is an Aussie, hailing from Tasmania. He comes equipped with.. wait for it.. the JAWS OF LIFE. Hahaha. Yep. And a massive backpack motor to power the thing.
065: “Shipwreck”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Another in the collection of figures that came with animal companions! Avast! It’s Shipwreck! And his fine feathered friend Polly!
066: “Snake-Eyes” (v2). G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Here we have one of the most iconic and well-known figures in the entire G.I. Joe universe if not THE most. In the “heyday” of the first generation of Joes (1982-1994).
Snake-Eyes saw four different versions / re-imaginings through those 12 years. We’ve already seen v1 back in 1982, and here we have v2. For me of all the versions, THIS one is the most memorable and iconic. I do also love v3 which we will see awhile down the road from here.
067: “Snow Serpent.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
This was one of my favourite figures. I think it’s very interesting to note that at THIS point (third year / series, 67 figures in) this is only the SECOND snow-based figure we’ve seen. This one is neat because he comes with snowshoes!
068: “Tele-Viper.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
This was one of my LEAST favourite figures, haha. I just hate his stupid dumb face.
069: “Tomax.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
This was quite a unique figure packaging situation. You’re seeing one half of the situation here. In two days you’ll see the twin brother he came packaged with (although you can see him slightly in the background of the top corner there).
These two were the commanders of the Crimson Guard (which you saw a few days ago).
070: “Torch.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
So here we have the last of the three main Dreadnoks that were released. TORCH. Real name? “Tom Winken.” Do you remember the real names of the previous two Dreadnoks I posted (aside from Zartan)?
Yeah that’s right, Winken, Blinken, and Nod. If you aren’t familiar, there is a famous poem written by Eugene Field entitled “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” in 1889. The poem is a fantasy bed-time story about three children sailing and fishing amongst the stars from a boat which is a wooden shoe. The little fishermen symbolize a sleepy child's blinking eyes and nodding head.
This is one of the many hidden details within the character and figure creations.
071: “Xamot.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Nope, despite what you're thinking I am not repeating myself. This is Tomax's (069) twin brother! Xamot! A MIRROR image of his brother except for ONE detail...a SCAR on his face! :O
As I mentioned in my post with Tomax this was quite a unique figure packaging situation. The packaging actually included mirrored panels on the sides too!!
As also mentioned before, these two were the commanders of the Crimson Guard (057).
072: “Crankcase.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Crankcase came with the A.W.E. Striker (All Weather/Environment). I never actually owned Crankcase and the A.W.E. Striker buy man oh man it looked like a pretty sweet vehicle.
073: “Frostbite”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
I loved this figure and vehicle combo. Frostbite was the driver of the Snow Cat, which was an arctic assault half-track vehicle. It has missiles mounted on skis! I loved the frosted “glass” cockpit area which also had a windshield wiper! Another cool addition to the “snow” troopers, which, being a kid in Nova Scotia meant more fun out in the long snowy winters!
074: “Heavy Metal”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Heavy Metal drove a giant piece of heavy metal. The MAULER M.B.T.: Manned Battle Tank. This is the sort of “follow up” tank to the original MOBAT from Series 1. This sucker was also motorized like the MOBAT. What was ESPECIALLY neat about this tank to me was that two figures sat INSIDE of it, with a armoured top hatch that closed over so they were fully inside the tank!
075: “Keel-Haul”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
Keel-Haul was the Admiral of MAYBE the most epic G.I. Joe “vehicle” of all time? The U.S.S. FLAGG. Which, is a freakin AIRCRAFT CARRIER. The thing was MASSIVE. I never personally owned this vehicle, but MAN it looks awesome. I would imagine that you need to basically dedicate an entire ROOM to the thing. Or sleep on it. I dunno.
076: “Lamprey”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
I loved this figure and vehicle. Another example of stellar design from Hasbro, and one of my faves. I’m a sucker for helmets and masks and love drawing them. It’s one of the things I look forward too and this guy is no exception. Very awesome in my opinion. So this guy doesn’t have a “name” in a specific sense, like say “Storm Shadow.” He is A Lamprey. There were many, and basically they are a division of the Cobra Eels, specialized in driving the bad-ass Cobra Moray Hydrofoil!
077: “Tollbooth”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
This was a fun one. The toy, I mean. Tollbooth drove the “Bridgelayer (Toss N Cross)” which was equipped with a folding bridge that you the vehicle could .. uh.. toss… and then… yep you guessed it: CROSS.
It was neat as a kid to try and scout out any possible places to bridge a gap or to try and come up with ways to create gaps inside for the Joes to traverse.
078: “Tripwire”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 4, 1985.
This is pretty wild repaint of ol’ Tripwire. (v1 of Tripwire was 024). He came bundled with a book and a tape cassette! :O
079: “B.A.T.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
The B.A.T. (Battle Android Trooper) was one of my favourites for sure as a kid. I liked the idea that it was basically a robot, and also the design I thought was both cool and kind of scary to me. I think it was the hands. They seemed sort of skeletal and also I think brought images of that end scene of Terminator to mind as a youth.
080: “Beach Head” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Beach Head was another favourite. I guess I had a lotta favourites, haha. Beach Head also figured prominently into the cartoon show as well, was high-ranking (E-6) so he led groups of Joes a lot of the time. On his file card you see he hails from Alabama, so it his characters voice on the show reflected that which made him stand out even more.
081: “Dial-Tone” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Nerd alert! Nerd alert! Jacky-boy here was a nerd’s nerd - growin’ crystals, buildin’ ham radios - but lemme tell ya, this is one nerd you’d want with you out in the field.
082: “Dr. Mindbender” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
My favourite thing about Dr. Mindbender is that he used to be a DENTIST.
Also, pretty sure I called him Dr. MindBLENDER as a 9yr old kid.
083: “Hawk (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
I always liked this figure. This is Hawk, the gad dang LEADER of the GI Joe team, in fact! You MIGHT remember him as a field commander back in series 1, 1982 (see figure 014), welp, the dude got promoted to GENERAL. So there you go.
084: “Iceberg”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Another snow trooper to add to the mix!
085: “Leatherneck”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
In some ways this is one of the most important figures of the entire series I’m doing. There are three key figures that will hold particular significance as I push through this project and this is one of them. The reason is, his likeness is modeled after Ron Rudat, who was the artist responsible for the design of approximately the first 100 G.I. Joe figures and an additional 26 beyond that in years after 1986. 126 individual figures designed. It’s kind of incredible and inspiring to me, especially when you realize how different they are, what a variety there is, and how influential and iconic so many of these figures became to so many people, myself included.
I’ve touched on this at various points previously, but Ron was part of the original team at Hasbro that helped make G.I. Joe what it was and what it would become. Another part of that team was Kirk Bozigian who was the Product Manager for the G.I. Joe brand with a specialty in marketing. Kirk himself gives total credit to Ron for the way those first 100 figures looked.
So to reiterate something I have said from the start of this project: one of the reasons I am doing this is to pay tribute to the people that created these characters and designs, including but not limited to Ron and Kirk whom I’ve mentioned and Larry Hama who created backstories and the file card info for so many Joes.
If you are interested in learning more about Ron Rudat and the other creators, check out this page on 3Djoes.com.
086: “Lifeline”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Another medic is on the team! Finally! Before this we only had one official medic: DOC all the way back in Series 2! (Figure 019).
Lifeline came with some neat gear including a kit that he would carry to provide oxygen via an attachable oxygen mask. As a kid it was good peace of mind to have Lifeline to send him out into the field to provide medical attention to my wounded Joes!
087: “Low-Light”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
088: “Mainframe”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
This is Mainframe. Our first tech guy! A computer specialist!
The year was 1986. I like to believe that piece of gear with the handle was his portable laptop computer. Furthermore, it should be noted that the thing with the thick black wire that connects to his backpack is his PHONE.
ADDITIONALLY I like to believe that the grumpy look on his face is because he is a computer expert.
ALSO the guy did not come with a gun. At all. Just sayin.
089: “Monkeywrench”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Another addition to the Dreadnok team!
090: “Roadblock” (v2). G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
091: “Sci-Fi”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
I always loved this figure for some reason. When I was a kid I just thought he looked so different and cool. That green! To this day I still this the colour palette of this figure is very cool.
Sci-Fi’s file card is all about how he can keep himself incredibly still when in firing position (because the laser needs to be held on the same target spot for a certain amount of time to be effective). As an adult this makes me think he could transition from “Laser Trooper” to “Lasik Surgeon” quite nicely!
092: “Viper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
093: “Wet-Suit”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
094: “Zandar”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Zandar is the younger brother of Zartan who you might remember as figure 050 in Series 3 (1984). Zandar (as I’m sure you could have guessed) is a member of the Dreadnoks, annnnnd like his bro Zartan, Zandar’s skin also changes colour in the sun!
There is one more figure who had this special sun-activated plastic. Do you think she might be related to Zartan and Zandar and that her name might start with Z? Well she’s up next so you can find out soon.
ALSO, did you know that you can play with the colour changers ON this site? Yep, you can interact with them over on the CHANGERS page. Bring out the sun at your command! (works on phones too!)
095: “Zarana”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Zarana is the younger sister of Zartan, and twin sister of Zandar. She is of course a member of the Dreadnoks, annnnnd like her bros, Zarana’s skin also changes colour in the sun! She is the last of the figures with this feature to be released.
Head over to the CHANGERS page to make her change colours at your whim!
096: “Claymore”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Claymore was a new figure introduced in a Toys R Us exclusive box set called “Special Mission: Brazil.” There were 4 other Joes in the box that were all repaints of previous figures: Dial-Tone (v2), Leatherneck (v2), Mainframe (v2), and Wet-Suit (v2), AND the box set came with an AUDIO cassette tape!
097: “Dial-Tone (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
This is a straight-up repaint of the previous Dial-Tone and he was part of the 'Special Mission: Brazil' box set.
098: “Leatherneck (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Another of the repaints for the 'Special Mission: Brazil' box set.
099: “Mainframe (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
As with the other 'Special Mission: Brazil' figures, this version of Mainframe is a repaint of the original.
100: “Wet-suit (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
The 100th GIJOE365 figure drawing!!! AHHHH!!! Phewf! As with the preceding 3 figures, this is once again a repaint of the original Wet-Suit for the 'Special Mission: Brazil' box set.
101: “A.V.A.C.”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
I was really looking forward to drawing this guy. He was always one of my favourites as a kid. I was lucky enough to have gotten the Cobra Terrordrome as a present, and this guy came with that giant beast of a play set. He piloted the Firebat plane that had folding wings and was concealed inside the dome. You could push a lever to raise it up and the dome on top opened it’s pie-piece-shaped flaps as it rose up. Pretty cool.
I was prompted to do a big art piece as the supplemental art for this guy actually (11x17 poster) which I will make available soon. I’ll also post the full view larger so you can see it all.
Part of the inspiration that went into the Terrordrome/Firebat art is on A.V.A.C.’s file card where it says: “Piloting a firebrat is somewhat akin to strapping yourself onto a cannonball.” Ha!!
102: “Cross Country”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Cross Country drove the H.A.V.O.C. (Heavy Articulated Vehicle Ordnance Carrier) which was one of my favourite vehicles. It was definitely DIFFERENT, but I loved that. It had this single-seater scouting craft that was stowed in the back, and man I loved that thing. I have many many fond memories playing with this vehicle set.
You can see a closer look of the H.A.V.O.C. art on the new EXTRA ART page.
103: “Lift-Ticket”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Lift-Ticket wasn’t a favourite figure of mine, however he came with one of my all-time majorly favourite vehicles that I ever owned: The TOMAHAWK Helicopter. There are SO many things about this vehicle that made it awesome. First off just the design of it in general: shape, lines, construction. The cockpit area is a cool two-seater with opening clear canopy. The inside holds like 8 Joes or something ridiculous. It has a retractable winch on the bottom, rotating rotors on top, and a rear cargo bay door that opens. I mean the thing is just dialed in for interactivity. I had countless hours of fun playing with this vehicle.
So, I plan to do a really cool side-view action poster of the Tomahawk but for right now all I had time for was a top-view of the Tomahawk flying over the ocean.
You can see a closer look of the Tomahawk art on the new EXTRA ART page.
104: “Motor Viper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
This is one of my personal favourites too. The Motor Viper himself more so than the STUN vehicle. Regardless, both are amazing examples of how the design team was knocking it out of the park during 1986. Not just in design, I should say, but also the engineering of these vehicles.
The wheels on the STUN were actually rubber, which was totally awesome. In my opinion the best figures to put in the front split-seaters was the Crimson Guard Commander twins: Tomax and Xamot. It’s like they were meant to sit in those seats, I tell ya!
Anyways, I loved the design of the Motor Viper. Something about the simplicity and minimal colour palette and his strange and mysterious helmet all appealed to me. Also, as a strange sidetone, this guy reminds me of my Grama. I’m pretty sure it’s because she gave me the vehicle and figure when I was a kid. But maybe it’s because she drove a super bad-ass three-wheel split-seat gun on wheels.
You can take a closer look at the Cobra STUN side panel art on the “extra art” page.
105: “Serpentor”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
It doesn’t get much snakier than Serpentor, lemme tell ya. Snake outfit covered in scales and snakes, snake-head helmet, a pet cobra snake companion, and the two of them can ride on a giant snake chariot. PS.. SNAKES.
So the funny part is... that isn’t even the wildest part about Serpentor. The guy is basically the brainchild of Dr. Mindbender (#082) and Destro (#018) who were essentially sick of Cobra Commander’s “terrible leadership” and so they got the bright idea to comb the tombs of some of the “greatest leaders” of history (you know, dues like Napoleon, Julius Ceasar, Hannibal, and Attila the Hun), scrape up some of their DNA, pop it all in a blender and bake themselves a brand new ultimate leader. The result? One pompous, grandiose, grade A asshole. Also, kinda needy too!
I’ve been killin myself on these “extra” art “side panels”, but I will say despite all the work they are fun to do. You can take a closer look at the art panel featuring Grand Supreme Leader Serpentor’s Air Chariot on the “extra art” page on the “extra art” page.
106: “Sgt. Slaughter (v2)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Sgt. Slaughter is modeled after the WWF Wrestler from back in the 80s. I am not exactly sure how this match-up came to be, but regardless, in the cartoon show he was brought in to “whip the Joes into shape” (he has a whistle around his neck, you see). Basically the Joe’s drill sergeant!
107: “Slip-Stream”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Slip-Stream came with he totally awesome Conquest X-30 jet. Such a cool design and colour palette! I plan on doing a full art poster version of the Conquest annnnnd a new animation! But I don’t have time right at the moment, but stay tuned!
108: “Strato-Viper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Strato-Vipers are hardcore, lemme tell ya. They have to jump through a lotta hoops to become the elite of the Cobra Air Vipers, not the least of which is the hoop where they have to have a surgical procedure so that they can withstand the effects of flying at super high altitudes!
The Strato-Viper came with the Cobra Night Raven S3P. As a kid this vehicle basically blew my mind. I loved it. The thing is basically the physical manifestation of “speed”. The Night Raven was different than other jets to me. It felt different. It could handle three figures: two in the cockpit and one in the recon shuttle. The cockpit dropped down from the bottom, and the guy in the back FACED backwards to operate the rear-facing gun. Also, the colour palette. Very cool.
Check out a closer look at the Night Raven art the “extra art” page.
109: “Thrasher”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Thrasher came with another of my all-time favourite vehicle ever in the entire A.R.A.H. line: The THUNDER MACHINE. Talk about being dialed into the entire idea and aesthetic of everything the Dreadnoks are about! It looks like it was cobbled together with bits and pieces from a junkyard and then had a stolen jet engine welded onto the back. Hop in everyone!
What made this toy so awesome was the points of articulation (wing-style armored side doors, front wheels turned), the shape and lines of the design - it’s overall “look”, AND the fact that it had rubber wheels! Seems like maybe not a big deal, but I remember AS A KID EVEN just really appreciating those rubber wheels. It felt like it “upped the quality” for some reason.
110: “Sgt. Slaughter (v1)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 5, 1986.
Welp! This caps off 1986!! Onward to 1987!
You may remember I posted a version (v2) of Sgt. Slaughter previously, BEFORE this version which is technically version 1. Lemme explain. TECHNICALLY this woulda been the “first” version of him released, but available only via mailing in for him. The way I have been doing my ordering is the same way YoJoe.com and 3Djoes.com do theirs: all the CARDED figures first for that year, then all the figures that came WITH a vehicle, and finally at the end, all the figures that were available only via MAIL-IN for that year.
On a personal note, I have a very strong memory of being a 9 yr old kid getting this Sgt Slaughter in the mail, and opening the bubble mailer. What a rush when you get something like an action figure in the mail as a kid!
As I cap off 1986, I wanna take a moment to THANK all of you for your support. Crossing 700 followers on Instagram and 500 on the Facebook page really took me aback, and the support I have experienced during this project means so much to me. I am pumped for 1987! Let’s do this!
111: “Big Boa”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This guy! Man oh man haha. This guy is the Cobra TRAINER. He came with BOXING GLOVES! And a punching bag with two eyes and “JOE” stitched on it! Whatta way to kick off 1987!
112: “Chuckles”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Chuckles was kind of underwhelming to me as a kid. He was just some dude in a Hawaiian shirt! But he had some interesting bits in the comics.
113: “Cobra Commander (v3)”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is the THIRD version of Cobra Commander! What!! Version 1? 1982. Version 2?? 1984. And now version 3.
As a kid I really loved this figure! As an adult, I have mixed feelings. :(
However one thing I will say is that the story arc about “who was under the armor” in the comics at the time was prettttty awesome. ALSO, worth noting that I have one of those comics that I got signed by Larry Hama in person a few years back!
:D Awww yeah.
114: “Crazylegs”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Crazylegs’ filmcard is amazing and hilarious. This is the genius of Larry Hama, I guess, in that key details help us form the personality of the character and thusly influence our imaginations when we are playing with the figures as kids. For Crazylegs BACH was his jam. Johann Sebastian, that is. Crazylegs is a master organist, and drops into a hot LZ running into battle humming his favourite Bach jam.
As for the figure itself, he came with a pretty neat rubber parachute-style backpack that you could sort of “harness” him into, where it would wrap around his legs, etc. Only drag was it didn’t deploy anything, like a shoot, for example. However, under the backpack was sort of recessed, so I often hid a little weapon in there, or accessory or something.
115: “Croc Master”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Oh man I love this figure. He is SO CRAZY! Not only does he LOOK crazy, like some kinda insane murderous wrestler from the realms of your nightmares, his file card totally backed up the look! He used to be an alligator wrestler AND a … wait for it… BURGLAR ALARM SALESMAN. His idea? “Guard-Gators”. Trying to get people to use alligators as home security measures! HAHA!!
So that’s the funny part, and then there is the TERRIFYING part haha, which I will quote here:
“Croc Master spends his leisure hours dozing in a tub of tepid bath water with only his nose breaking the surface. He dreams strange green dreams while grinding his teeth and clenching his powerful jaws. He has a hunger that never leaves him…”
YIKES. The stuff of nightmares. And great character building!
Also, the dude came with a freaking alligator. An alligator with a LEASH. Also he had a whip. I mean where does it END with this guy!?!?
116: “Crystal Ball”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Here we have “Crystal Ball.” Yep. WHATTA GUY. There is a rumor that Stephen King (or his son) wrote the filmcard for this character. Crystal Ball came with a “HYPNO-SHIELD.” Any way you slice it the guy is the stuff of nightmares, but likely a gas at parties.
117: “Lt. Falcon”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Back to basics on this guy. One of my most favourite figures. As a kid I loved the camouflage figures. I would specifically group them into teams to go on missions together. Technically on his file card he is just “Falcon” but he is indeed a 1st Lieutenant , and somewhere along the way I ended up always referring to him as Lt. Falcon.
Several of the friends I’ve made this year in the Joe world are con-goers and cosplayers and often take their costumes to the next level. One of those people is Carson Mataxis who is the man behind 3Djoes.com which is an amazing site and constant resource for this project of mine. Carson totally embodies Lt. Falcon, so this one’s going out to you, my dude.
118: “Fast Draw”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This guy was another one of my favourites. As you’ll discover (if you haven’t already), I am a sucker for cool masks and helmets. I liked Fast Draw’s visor design, a lot. Also this guy was seriously padded up. Likely because he had a freakin double rocket backpack strapped to him on hair triggers.
119: “Gung-Ho” (v2). G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Let’s be honest here. As a KID, a 10 year old KID, this figure was fairly underwhelming. However, one bizarre/interesting thing is that he was one of the few (if only) figures that came with DECALS. For his arms and chest, for his decorations. Needless to say those did not last long on my copy of this figure. :( As an ADULT (sorta) I appreciate this figure on a different level of course.
120: “Jinx”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
I loved Jinx. I still do! As a 10 yr old kid, I love the design and look of her, and the way that she looked with Snake-Eyes (v2) and Storm Shadow (v1), red, white, and black … it was just… awesome. I also loved how her swords slide into her backpack too. Her deadly secret? That back pack is just filled with marshmallows and a teddy bear. KIDDING. What makes this female character awesome in my eyes is that perfect balance of deadly bad-assed-ness and delicacy. Bold red outfit with serious look and hardcore blade weapons plus painted nails, and sandal-style shoes.
She also makes me think of my Grama too, for some reason, and no, it’s not because my Grama was a ninja, like you’d expect, but I think because my Grama had a few particular characters she liked, and this was one of them. It’s funny how strongly our memories can be connected to objects from our past.
Also, this marks another addition to the “ninja” category on the site, ANNNND to the LADY category! Woo!
121: “Law” (and “Order”). G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Once again we have an addition to the Joes that came with an “animal companion”! This particular figure is extra special because he is modeled after Kirk Bozigian, one of the main proponents of bringing the G.I. Joe “A Real American Hero” 3-3/4” figure series to the shelves in 1982. Kirk was product manager at Hasbro at the time and was a man who wore many hats during his time there, helping guide the team through marketing, R&D, etc.
On a personal note, I feel honored to have been in contact with Kirk through this project of mine. He jumped on board in the beginning as a supporter, and has been cheering me on ever since. ALL the support I get means a lot to me, but it is particularly awesome when one of the main people who CREATED this thing that was such a massive influence on me is a fan of my work!
122: “Outback”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This guy always made me think of Chuck Norris for some reason. And Outback Steakhouse.
123: “Psyche-Out”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
The idea of Psyche-Out was that he could use radio waves to MESS WITH THE ENEMY’S MINDS.
124: “Raptor”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
I am gonna kick this off by giving you just the first line from Raptor’s filecard: “Raptor was a yuppie tax consultant who took up falconry as a pastime and soon became obsessed with the avian blood-sport.”
Uhhh…. Yep! Mayyyybe the craziest of the figures I have drawn so far?
So when I was a kid there was a movie I was obsessed with called “Condorman.” It was a fairly terrible 1981 live-action Disney-produced film about a comic book illustrator obsessed with bringing a sense of realism to a character he has created named … you guessed it…”Condorman”. He builds a suit, retractable wings, the whole nine-yards. He haplessly falls into a series of crazy adventures involving mostly running from the KGB and showcasing a series of insane gadgets and vehicles. ALL OF WHICH were amazing to my 6-10 yr old eyes and brain.
Why did I tell you all this? Because I was SO into this idea of a sort of “bird man” type suit that I started cutting wings out of cereal boxes and taping them together and somehow attaching them to the backs of some of my Joe figures. THEN… low and behold, RAPTOR comes out. So yeah bottomline I had a Condorman stand-in basically. Condor. Raptor. Vulture. Predatory Bird …. man!
125: “Sneak Peek”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Welp. What to say. One of my least favourite characters!
126: “Techno-Viper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
A complete 180 from the previous post, this is actually one of my MOST favourite figure designs.
This figure also reminds me of my Grama. I’ve mentioned this with certain previous figures as well, and once again I will state that no, it is not because she dressed like this. I was 10 years old when I got this figure, and I think the association is because either a) she got the figure for me, b) she either really liked the colour combo, or c) just because of her being around while I was playing.
See, we all lived in the same house when I was a kid, that had separate apartments in it, like flats, I guess. So me, my Mum and Dad in the middle, Grama (Mum’s Mum) on the top floor, and my Aunt (Mum’s sister) on the bottom floor. Those were the highlight years of G.I. Joe for me, playing in the house, and the yard, all the time. I am sure that my association with the memory of my Grama with some figures is simply due to the fact of her being around a lot during those times I was playing with those figures.
127: “Tunnel Rat”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Tunnel Rat is def a fan favourite, and also was always one of my favourite figures too. He was always part of my special missions teams during my childhood playtimes.
Similar to Leatherneck and Law, Tunnel Rat is another example of a figure that is modeled after one of the people that played an instrumental role in the development of the Real American Hero series: Larry Hama.
Larry Hama is a writer, and is the man responsible for writing the vast majority of the collectible file cards found on the back of the figure packages. At the time, just before the launch of the ARAH series in 1982, Hama was working as a writer at Marvel Comics. Hasbro and Marvel struck an very unique deal at the time involving the creation of the G.I. Joe comic book series in parallel with the toys. So Hasbro contracted Hama to breathe life into each character that Ron Rudat had designed.
Those file cards are gems. There are numerous hidden nods, references, inside jokes, and clever word play examples found throughout. You have to imagine as a kid though, the impact that these little bios had on a young mind. It gave you just enough to have some background info and an insight into the character. If those didn’t exist you would be to just imagine it all yourself. There was still plenty of direction you could take things with your own imagination, but these tidbits on the file cards were the perfect starting point to have a sense of each character.
128: “Back-Stop”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Back-Stop came with the Joe vehicle “The Persuader”, as it’s driver. The Persuader was basically a tank on wheels. Literally!
ALSO, Back-Stop hails from Montreal, Quebec, my Canadians brothers and sisters. From his file card: “Back-Stop injured so many opposing players in junior league hockey that his family had to move to the United States to escape angry parents.”
It’s your classic “Boy Too Rough for Hockey Moves to the States Joins the Army Gets Put in Charge of a Crazy Wheeled Tank Thingy” story!
129: “Gyro-Viper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is one of my favourite figures and vehicles. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a sucker for cool masks and helmets, and I love the look of his helmet and visor. I think the design of the figure in general is quite unique and pretty cool too. I decided to draw him from a unique angle in the side panel there, which may be slightly jarring, but it’s as if there is a camera on the copter controls looking UP, so we are seeing the ruby canopy above him and other Mambas above.
As for the Mamba, this thing is yet another example of engineering genius. Not only does it have dual rotors (that spin with an awesome control grip under the copter) but also two detachable attack pods that hold a figure each. I love the long dual-tail and fins too. Just overall a beautiful sleek design. This one was a monster to draw, I gotta say though! Haha. But still very fun. :)
130: “Hardtop”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Hardtop was one of TWO figures that came with the EPIC play set: The DEFIANT: Space Vehicle Launch Complex. Hardtop was specifically meant to be the driver of the CRAWLER, which is why it’s featured here. Don’t worry, attention will be put on the shuttle and booster two figures from now, when I get to 132: “Payload.”
This drawing was kind of a bottleneck for me on this project, to be honest. Once I got to it, it was around Christmas, and I sorta backburned it, and then just sort of kept dreading the amount of work that I knew would be involved to draw it, haha. To give you sense of that, the figure drawing of Hardtop himself was about 1hr, which is average for JUST the figures. Sometimes 1.5hrs. Sometimes a little less. However, the drawing of the CRAWLER (basically the two side drawings you see there) total time was 7.5 hours. :| . . . YEP. SEVEN and a HALF hours.
SO, needless to say I am happy to be able to be past that bottleneck! :D AND, I’m really looking forward to being able to get into more a flow now with cranking out the art for you guys. Thank you everyone, once again, for all your support on this project!
131: “Ice-Viper”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Woo! Another SNOW figure and vehicle! As I’ve mentioned before I LOVED the Joe snow stuff. I would be out in the yard playing for hours in the snow with them. The Ice Viper is another of my personal favourites. Because of his red balaclava-type mask I would have him double as a ninja on my ninja squads. PLUS he came with SAIS (Like Raphael from the Ninja Turtles).
The Ice Viper was the driver of the Cobra WOLF, which was an awesome vehicle as well. Double cockpits with canopies, plus “ski-torpedos.” Very cool.
132: “Payload”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Payload was the second of two figures that came with previously mentioned epic play set: The Defiant Space Vehicle Launch Complex. Payload was specifically the astronaut / pilot of the Defiant Shuttle. I should point out that at this point in time “space” was indeed a new frontier for the GIJOE toy line. Imagine 1987, you are a 10 yr old kid, and you can finally launch your team into space. Well I can’t. Because I never actually owned this play set. AND, none of my friends had it either! Ahem.
Nevertheless this was epically fun to draw, albeit THE most labour-intensive of ANY of the illustrations I have done for this project to date. As previously mentioned the Defiant was a bottleneck for me and I sort of put it off for awhile out of FEAR. Or laziness. I’m not sure. Anyways, to give you a sense of time once again, all the art for Payload was about 2.5hrs (that includes the side view drawing though), and if you total ALL the art for the Defiant components (shuttle, booster, crawler/gantry) it was about 10hrs.
The result of all of this though was to yield quite a few supplemental pieces, so be sure to check out the EXTRA ART PAGE on the site. I’ll be offering these pieces as prints soon. It was actually a challenge to figure out how on earth I was gonna showcase every aspect of the Defiant within my layout of the figure art, between Hardtop and Payload. But I did it!
133: “Rumbler”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Rumbler is basically Frankenstein’s Monster. He was cobbled together from previous molds. Repaints of the head of Claymore (096), the torso and arms of Heavy Metal (074), and the legs of Bazooka (055).
Rumbler’s claim to fame is that he came packaged with the first (and only?) Radio Controller G.I. Joe Vehicle: The Crossfire.
134: “Sea Slug”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This jacked mofo came with the (in my opinion) neat vehicle the SEA RAY. The Sea Ray separated into a sub and a glider! Personally, not a huge fan of the look of Sea Slug, but def liked the Sea RAY.
135: “Steamroller”. G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Steamroller came with the EPIC Mobile Command Center (hereafter referred to as the MCC). He wasn’t the prettiest stick in the tool bin, and he had more abs than there were lifeboats on the Titanic.
The MCC has been referred to as “The Tackle Box” because of the way it opens up, much like those multi-tiered fishing or tool boxes. Personally, it reminds me a little bit of those old Hot Wheels “city” sets, that were just two levels, but you could join ‘em together. Anyways, the MCC was a great vehicle/ play set. It held TONS of guys, and the transforming aspect of it was fun too.
As for the drawing part, whoa nelly, I thought the DEFIANT was a doozy. But this one might take the cake. Actually I know it did, haha. Drawing the TOP view of the MCC took 26 HOURS. The sideview was a measly 4hrs. And Steamroller only took 1hr! But yeah that top view I went full-board on. I just chipped away at it when I was able to, and hence the massive delay in posting. These vehicle drawings are what slows everything down! Haha sigh.
I’ll have a link up on the site soon where you can purchase poster/print versions of either of those views of the MCC, btw.
136: “W.O.R.M.S.” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Despite a wacky name (which stands for Weapons Ordnance Rugged Machine Specialist) this figure and vehicle were always one of my favourites. As you probably already know I am a sucker for helmets/masks and loved that this guy had a full helmet that fit perfectly. I love the colour scheme of both the figure and his vehicle - the MAGGOT. Simple three key colour on each: brownish, mustard, and black for the figure, blue, yellow and black for the vehicle.
I tried to show as best I could the function of the vehicle. The Maggot separated into three parts, and when fully assembled in “driving mode” had a nice swivel point connecting the front and back. The main gun had legs that would fold down once you detached it from the back trailer.
I remember when I was 10 yrs old and got this vehicle set, my best friend Paul who lived in the yard behind us got the same one and we wished would could somehow combine the two vehicles into one EPIC MAGGOT.
137: “Zanzibar” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Another Dreadnok added to the roster! Woo! A Dreadnok PIRATE, no less! Zanzibar came packaged with the Dreadnok Air Skiff. He also came with a hammer and a spear! Also, on Zanzibar’s file card it says “This guy is so nasty that the other Dreadnoks hate his guts!” which makes me laugh a lot hahaha.
As a kid I liked this figure. It was alway fun for me to be able to add another Dreadnok and I liked how they had a really cohesive feel as a faction. However I remember swinging him around by his ponytail a lot, haha.
And thus concludes the EPIC EPIC EPIC section of figures that came with vehicles in 1987. Phewf! Except … for Battle Force 2000 which is coming . . .
138: “Mercer” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Mercer came in a 3-pack with two other dudes (which will be the next two figures I post) and this little team was called “Sgt. Slaughter’s Renegades.” There was a movie that came out around this time which sort of introduced us to these characters along with the OTHER 3-pack of Cobra-La that will follow the Renegades posts.
One neat thing about Mercer, as it states on his file card, is that he is actually a Cobra Viper who DEFECTED to G.I. Joe!
139: “Red Dog” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Red Dog is 1 of the 3 dudes that came in the 3-pack I mentioned in my previous post (138: Mercer) as part of the trifecta: Sgt. Slaughter’s Renegades.
140: “Taurus” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Taurus is the 3rd and final member of the Sgt. Slaughter’s Renegades 3-pack. That BEARD, tho!
141: “Golobulus” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
Welp. This may in fact be the weirdest figure I will draw for this entire project.
Here we have the first of another 3-pack: COBRA-LA. This was the sort of “partner pack” to counter the Renegades pack preceding it. All of these characters were featured in the G.I. Joe movie that came out this same year. Ol’ Golobulus here was voiced by none other than Burgess Meredith (who played The Penguin in the Adam West Batman TV series, AND Rocky’s trainer Mickey in the Rocky movies).
Even as a kid, I remember holding this figure in my hand and thinking “Hmm.”
142: “Nemesis Enforcer” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This guy came with “backpacks” that were interchangeable between WINGS and uh .. TENTACLES!
143: “Royal Guard” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
So this is the last of the 3-pack that was “Cobra-La”: The Royal Guard. Check out that crazy giant swordfish sword thingy!!
One thing I really like about this figure is that there is asymmetry going on, particularly if you think about the molds for his legs. It would be natural and perhaps easier to make the legs be the same but mirror images of each other, but this is not the case here. What I like about this is that it ties to the “organic” theme of this set of figures.
144: “Avalanche" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is the first figure for the 6-figure group called “Battleforce 2000.” You’ll see that the steering wheel that I usually use to designate a vehicle driver is slightly faded and this is because Avalanche didn’t actually come WITH this vehicle. The ideas is that each of the six figures were “paired” to a specific vehicle. Avalanche here was paired to the Dominator.
Drawing the Battleforce 2000 vehicles presents a bit of a problem for me in that, unlike other vehicles, they had a few different “configurations.” I only have so much time and space and inclination, so you aren’t gonna see all the vehicles from every angle here.
See, each vehicle basically had a sort of “secondary” vehicle that would detach, and then all six of these pieces would come together to form the “FUTURE FORTRESS.” I personally found the “Fortress” to be fairly underwhelming, but maybe that’s just me.
145: “Blaster" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is “Blaster.” Another of the six initial Battleforce 2000 figures. He was paired to the vehicle called the “Vindicator.”
146: “Blaster" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is “Blocker.” Another of the six initial Battleforce 2000 figures. He was paired to the vehicle called the “Eliminator.”
147: “Dodger" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is “Dodger.” Another of the six initial Battleforce 2000 figures. He was paired to the vehicle called the “Marauder” half-track.
148: “Knockdown" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is “Knockdown.” Another of the six initial Battleforce 2000 figures. He was paired to the vehicle called the “Sky-Sweeper.”
So although I mentioned that I was kind of nonplussed by Battleforce 2000 overall, believe it or not the Sky-Sweeper is actually one of my all-time favourite vehicles. I love the design of it. It is a unique shape and profile, I love the lines from all sides, and I love that there is tight symmetry as well as asymmetry. I also love the colour palette but that is present throughout several of the Battleforce 2000 vehicles.
Also, asymmetry is a running theme throughout the Battleforce 2000 subset. You’ll note that especially with the arms, the figures will have quite different accessories designed into each of their arms.
149: “Maverick" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is “Maverick.” He caps off of the six initial Battleforce 2000 figures. He was paired to the vehicle called the “Vector.”
150: “Starduster" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
We’ve had several figures already that were initially only available via mail-in, and we are gonna cap off 1987 with three, in fact. Starduster here is the first of those three.
Starduster was first available through the G.I. Joe Action Stars cereal. Later, Starduster was available via other mail order offers through Hasbro.
One recurring element that we’ve seen as I’ve been pushing through this project is the idea of “repaints” of some figures, or parts of certain figures used for other figures. What this means is that the molds from a previous figure are used to create parts for a “new” figure. Starduster is one HECK of a Frankenstein’s Monster in this regard and in fact has several variations that were issued. I won’t bother to go over all those versions, as there are archival sites like yojoe.com and 3Djoes.com that do an amazing job detailing all that. However, I will say that the version I have chosen to draw has the Duke torso/chest, Flint arms, Recondo Waist, and Roadblock v1 legs. The head is supposedly not a recycled part but it looks VERY similar to Flash v1 to me.
151: “Steel Brigade" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This is quite possibly one of the most “important” things that happened throughout the entire G.I. Joe “A Real American Hero” series. This figure was available via mail-in and the idea of it is that it is YOU. Or, your CHARACTER, if you prefer. But basically there was a form you would fill out that allowed you to choose the codename, and several aspects of the character via multiple choice, and this would include specialties etc, just like on file cards.
You have to imagine this from the perspective of a 10yr old boy. It was truly remarkable. I think everyone loves the ability to customize anything, and the fact that after loving and collecting GI Joe figures for the prior 5 years, you could suddenly create your own, in a fashion, was VERY exciting. You would receive the figure, accessories, your custom file card, AND a snazzy PATCH! Very very exciting for a 10yr old lemme tell ya.
Now, as for the design of the figure itself, the head/helmet was the only new piece, and the torso, arms, waist, and legs were all repaints of previous figures parts. It gets a bit complicated because there were several variations, but I have chosen to draw the version that I personally received in the mail, which consists of (017) Airborne’s torso, (028) Grand Slam’s arms, (020) Gung-Ho’s waist, and (040) Scrap Iron’s legs. It’s generally accepted that there are 5 main variations, and one of the main distinctions is (031) Duke’s torso. You can see great comparison and details and photos at 3Djoes.com.
152: “The Fridge" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 6, 1987.
This caps off 1987! This figure is William “The Refrigerator” Perry, aka THE FRIDGE. This was another figure only available via mail-in. I actually really liked this figure a lot! Obviously it was radically different and kinda off the wall comparatively to other figures, but it was fun and he was a powerhouse!
153: “Astro-Viper" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
And so we kick off a new year: 1988! Series 7 in the Real American Hero line. Another favourite year of mine with some great figures and vehicles coming.
154: “Blizzard" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Blizzard is quite obviously an arctic soldier, and is the 6th overall arctic figure, and specifically the 4th arctic Joe figure.
Blizzard came with quite a lot of gear. He was the 2nd figure to come with skis (the first being 5 years before, with 022 Snow Job) so this was quite exciting at the time. Not only did he come with skis, he also came with arctic spike shoes, for ice climbing. Furthermore, his backpack converted into a sort of ski-do type thing for him to ride upon!
Growing up in Nova Scotia, as an 11 yr old kid, you could definitely find me outside in the winter with my Joes, enjoying snow-based battles.
Miraculously I still have both his skis and shoes.
155: “Budo" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
For those of you who don’t know already, this project is entirely rooted in personal nostalgia. That’s why I started it, and that is the lens I am looking through whenever I do a piece for it. As an 11 yr old boy, this figure was very exciting. I loved anything to do with martial arts and ninjas, etc. When 042 Storm Shadow v1 came out in 1984, he was the first REALLY ninja-looking figure that was released. Snake Eyes v1 from 82/83 was clad all in black and felt like a ninja for sure, but Storm Shadow REALLY looked like a ninja. Anyways, Budo is technically a samurai, but as a kid he immediately became a part of my ninja team. If I’m being honest, there were NUMEROUS figures both Joe and Cobra that were not at all ninjas by design, but looked cool enough that they got drafted into my little ninja team. That is the beauty of toys, childhood, and imagination: it can be a launching point; it can be whatever you want.
Through my current art/design eyes, Budo is a really cool design with a lot of really nice details. I love his colour scheme, and that red sword has a beautiful shape to it. As a kid, that red sword was for sure my most treasured of all the swords. Budo also has a hook on his right hip that either his sheathed sword or sai could hang from as well.
156: “Charbroil" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Charbroil marks the 3rd Joe to be associated with “fire”, if you will. Blowtorch was a flamethrower, Barbecue was more of a fire FIGHTER, and Charbroil here is a flamethrower with one beefed up flamethrower he wields.
ALSO worth mentioning is that this marks the 2nd appearance (to the best of my knowledge) of a LENTICULAR DECAL. The first appearance was on the chest of the Cobra B.A.T. (079), and now we find one on Charbroil’s backpack. The lenticular decals use printed lenticular lenses that are what creates the sense of “depth” to the eye when you move your viewing position.
157: “Hardball" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
I always liked this figure when I was a kid. He stood out from the rest, and came with a giant grenade launcher. Hardball is considered somewhat of a fan favourite nowadays, and one thing I have personally noticed looking with my adult art/design eyes is how much I love his colour scheme. Another kudos to the design team back in the 1980s, which is exactly what this project is all about.
158: “Hit & Run" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Okay so Hit & Run was one of my all-time favourites as a kid. There are so many reasons I loved this figure, actually. Let me regale you:
CAMO. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I LOVED camouflage figures, and Hit & Run sure was camouflaged!
FILE CARD. I was 11 when i got this figure. The write-up on his file card COMPLETELY captured my 11 yr old imagination. Here is an excerpt: [Orphaned at the age of three by a drunken driver, Hit & Run grew up in a county institution from which he escaped with alarming regularity, climbing down sheer walls and running for miles across the plains in the middle of the night. When asked what he was running away from, he replied, "I'm not running away from anything. I'm practicing.”] At the time (and because of G.I. Joe) I was very much into creating my own characters, and writing file cards for them, and for myself too, and this file card was just the coolest to my young mind.
GEAR. The gear he comes with was just so cool to me because his duffle bag actually assembled to hold a black string that you tied to his grappling hook. The big handle in the center-top of the bag would TURN to WIND the string up inside the duffle bag! NOT ONLY THAT but also there was a place for his knife to slide into place on the bag too. His knife and gun were very cool too, and the gun especially was very cool and different compared to guns that had come with previous figures. Simple, but unique.
At this time, and because of Hit & Run’s grappling hook gear, I started really getting into this whole idea of sending my guys on climbing missions or expeditions. I would get basic string or twine and set up allll kinds of zip-lines zig-zagging across my room, tied from a dresser knob to my bed post, or my door handle to a shelf, and I would use basic wire shower curtain hooks to sit the figure in and send them sliding gloriously along the string. They could sit in the larger bottom part of the hook like it was a seat, basically.
1988 was really a pinnacle time for me and G.I. Joe and my creativity was flowing full force. Hit & Run is such a nostalgic figure for that time in my life.
159: “Hydro-Viper" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
I have the clearest memory of buying this figure. I was 11 years old, and I was at Woolworth’s in the Bayers Road mall with my Mum for “treat day” where we went and had lunch at the counter in Woolworth’s and then I got to pick out a toy and as soon as I saw Hydro-Viper I was like “HIM.” I then remember that she wanted to still do some shopping so I abandoned her immediately and ran home (we literally lived one street over from the mall at the time) to play with him, haha.
At the time this figure was super wild. First off, that helmet!! SECONDLY, dude has ONE WEBBED HAND. Plus the fact that this marked another figure for WATER OPS (which for tub time was always a plus) , THIRDLY dude came with a freakin STINGRAY as a pet. So yeah. I was pretty pumped.
So this also means that this guy falls into a FEW sorting categories here on the GIJOE365 site: the newly introduced “VIPER” group, the WATER group and the ANIMAL PAL group.
This is a good figure to once again reiterate the fact that the file cards on the back of the figure packs were part of what fueled our imagination with these figures as kids. It was genius. No other action figures really did that in the same way, I feel. Some tried, I think, but I never felt my imagination sparked like with the joe figures. Here is why I mention it with this guy: on his file card is talks about how they are physically modified to have a webbed hand, and withstand nitrogen narcosis and how it messes with their brains, and then the psych profile says: “I'm sorry, those guys just aren't human anymore. They have a handshake like a dead mackerel and they leave damp spots on all the furniture. I realize that they are virtually unbeatable in underwater combat, but so is a great white shark-and I'll bet the shark is friendlier!” hahaha. I love it.
160: "Iron Grenadier" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
This is kind of a major milestone with this update. This marks the addition of another FACTION to the project. It started with just Joe and Cobra, then along came the additions of the Dreadnoks, and now … Destro’s Iron Grenadiers.
Originally slated as a direct rival to Battleforce 2000, Destro’s Iron Grenadiers actually had some staying power, and very cool design and distinct visuals. This year marks the updated look for Destro himself too (who is coming, don’t worry) with the gold helmet. Some of my favourite figures (like Gold Helmet Destro) belong to this faction, so stay tuned for those drawings!
Additionally, this marks YET ANOTHER update to the website - specifically the sorting buttons …. a fourth FACTION. Mind you, at this point it’s just this lonely sole Iron Grenadier haha. But more to come!
161: "Lightfoot" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Lightfoot was kind of a high-tech demolitions guy. Sort of a futuristic version of Tripwire (024), in that he would use his high-tech gear to sweep for traps and explosives.
This marks the 3rd appearance (to the best of my knowledge) of a LENTICULAR DECAL, with TWO on the gear of Lightfoot: one on his backpack and one on his remote controlled robot thingy. The first appearance was on the chest of the Cobra B.A.T. (079), the next was in this 1988 run with Charbroil’s backpack (156). The lenticular decals use printed lenticular lenses that are what creates the sense of “depth” to the eye when you move your viewing position. I do my best to capture them in the style of the project when I draw them.
162: "Muskrat" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Muskrat came with his own tiny surfboard that he could wear on his back!
163: "Repeater" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
I know it’s been awhile. Thanks for sticking with me, gang. This is Repeater, whose face I can’t stand, but he has a pretty cool outfit, AND he comes with a heavy gun that is SO heavy that it needs a counterweight that attaches to his hip. Neat!
ALSO, be sure to sort by “camo” to see all the figures with camouflage (so far)!
164: "Road Pig" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Another Dreadnok! Be sure to sort the figures here on the site by "noks" to see all the Dreadnoks so far!
As a kid I remember thinking that this guy kinda reminded me of a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator and maybe Wez from Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior). I used to use Road Pig as the “heavy” in my epic battles and would often have him trying to be taken down by several Joes to no avail. I am pretty sure he is the most “jacked” figure to date, even putting Sgt. Slaughter to shame.
On another personal note, I also found it super weird that Road Pig looks almost EXACTLY like one of my Uncles by marriage on my Dad’s side of the family. In the face only, mind you. Just the face.
165: "Shockwave" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988.
Shockwave was always one of my favourite figures. The two-tone blue ensemble was pretty fresh, and also reflects the design sensibility of what was happening with the G.I. Joe series in 1988. It’s very interesting to consider the colour palettes not only for individual figures, but also for an overall YEAR.
To get into the headspace of 11 year old me, you have to remember that I was obsessed with ninjas and anything ninja related or at all ninja-esque. When I would play with my Joe figures as a kid I didn’t always adhere to any hard and fast rules about who was on what team etc. I would build my own teams and of course I had my favourites too. Shockwave was one of what I would call my “ninja stand-ins”. I mean, come on, he has a face mask! (Fun fact: although most ninja outfits are depicted as BLACK, the truth is that real life ninjas from back in olden times actually wore a dark BLUE colour)
I have another strong memory regarding Shockwave and that happens to be Marvel’s G.I. Joe Special Missions comic #22. I was kind of OBSESSED with this comic as a kid. It involved a hostage situation, and Shockwave was on the outside trying to assess the situation. It was kind of a brilliant issue, in that it was very suspenseful, had a plot-twist, and gave us interesting insight into Shockwave and what he was all about.
Also, I consider Shockwave one of the “camouflaged” figures, so don’t forget: you can filter the figures by “camo” here on website to see all the figures with camouflage (so far)!
ALSO, also, it is HILARIOUS to me that Shockwave’s secondary specialty on his filecard is “CHOIR” hahahaha.
Oh one last thing: I always found it SUPER WEIRD that there was a Shockwave TRANSFORMER and also G.I. Joe figure.
166: “Spearhead (and Max)” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Dude, what the HECK is up with that profile shot? His helmet don’t seem RIGHT.” Well, lemme tell you something, in my drawing here, I actually made it fit BETTER than it does in real life. Spearhead’s helmet just … was NOT a good fit. Period. As a kid, that was quite frustrating!
Anyhow, this is Spearhead, and his BOBCAT PAL “Max”. At least, i always assumed he was a bobcat. He seems quite large and mean for a regular-type cat. Well regardless, all you cat lovers can rejoice. Spearhead brings his cat to work.
So this is another addition to the figures that come with an animal companion! Head to gijoe365.com and click the “+PET” button to see ALL the figures that have an animal pal so far!
167: “Storm Shadow (v2)” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
One of my favourites for sure, this was another addition to the “ninjas” in my collection. As they had done with Snake-Eyes in 1985, this is an updated version of an earlier figure - the original Storm Shadow who made his debut in 1984.
There is a lot I loved about this figure. I thought his outfit was pretty interesting and is similar in it’s “camoflage” treatment to that of Shockwave (165) and Repeater (163) of this same year, with the geometric “tetris” shapes. I love the overall colour palette of this figure and his accessory with the simplicity of white, black, grey, and red. Also his accessories were amazing to me as a kid. I loved the shape and design of his sword and backpack but the most amazing thing was his WOLVERINE CLAWS. I mean you have to imagine as a kid you are SUPER into Wolverine and you desperately wish you have a figure with Wolverine claws and then BAM here comes Storm Shadow v2 with that exact accessory. Let me tell you, that clip-on claw was used by many different figures for all sorts of different scenarios and battles!
There is a lot of division when it comes to updated figures, especially the most iconic and beloved figures like Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow. Most folks agree that the “visor” Snake-Eyes from 1985 was their favourite, but Storm Shadow proves more divisive. I personally really like this figure and think the hood and camo are interesting and fitting for the design aesthetic of this particular year (1988).
One other thing of note is the influence that the comics had on the figures. I was reading the G.I. Joe comics Marvel was putting out at the time and there is a whole complex story about the evolution of his character and his relationship with Snake Eyes and his affiliation with Cobra etc etc. It is truly great comic writing, by the amazing Larry Hama. One of the amazing things about this G.I. Joe Real American Hero line was that so much character development occurred as a result of the comics and the file-cards on the back of every figure package. SO having said all that you’ll note that this time around Storm Shadow is a member of GIJOE, NOT Cobra. His character is complex and has an incredible arc. I encourage you to read up on it if you haven’t.
Okay so one last thing: this is another addition to the figures are ninjas (and also camo). Use the filtering buttons below right here on gijoe365.com and click the “NINJA” button to see ALL the ninja figures so far!
168: “Toxo-viper” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
Giant helmet, wild colours, giant helmet, and wacky gear. I give you: The Toxo-Viper. Which, incidentally, adds another figure to my favourite category: VIPERS. Sort ‘em right here on the site by clicking the VIPER button!
169: “Voltar” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
Another addition to the “Destro’s Iron Grenadiers” faction. Destro’s General: Voltar. This dude came with a VULTURE. Seems fitting.
170: “Armadillo” G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
Phew! This is the first vehicle drawing for the 1988 series and WOW what doozy. This vehicle is so epic it could possibly be considered a play set in the same vein as the Mobile Command Center. This vehicle is so big it comes with an additional TINY vehicle. This thing is over 3 feet long and comes with what I would guess are the two largest rockets ever released with a G.I. Joe toy set?
The sad part to me I guess is that the vehicle far outshines the driver “Armadillo” that comes with the Rolling Thunder. If I’m being honest, I find that to be the case with a vast majority of figures that come with a vehicle.
This vehicle art took a long time to complete. I decided to up the ante a bit for the context I put the vehicle in, and create a dynamic background. I brought some of my other art styles to the mix, doing a bit more of a “painterly” style to the background, particularly with the clouds. I wanted to have some purples and oranges in the sky to compliment the green of the Rolling Thunder itself.
Like I said, I know it took an epically long time to get this out but thanks for sticking with me and I hope you enjoy the final result!
171: "Destro (v2)" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
Finally. This is version 2 of Destro, one of the most well known of the figures. At this point in the toy line he has branched off into his own distinct faction: Destro’s Iron Grenadiers. Because of the order in which I draw the figures we have actually already been introduced to his Iron Grenadiers with fig 160: Iron Grenadier soldier, and: fig 169: Voltar, Destro’s General. On the site here you can sort by faction, btw, to quickly see only the Joes so far or the Cobras or now the Iron Grenadiers.
Destro v2 is a personal favorite for sure and I have a few other special art pieces in the works for him beyond this standard figure drawing. I love a few things about this figure actually, not the least of which is the colour scheme. The gold, black, and red core colors are just so great together. I love the gold in general and think it was a brilliant point of distinction for his faction. You’ll see the gold colour feature in virtually all the figures in the I.G. faction as we push forward. There are quite a few in this faction that I love.
As a kid in 1988 it was really neat to suddenly have this third major team within the Joe world. I suppose I would say the Dreadnoks were also a separate faction, but it felt a bit different with the introduction of Destro’s I.G.’s I think because of how “militarized” they were. Destro had always been a “weapons specialist” supplying Cobra with weapons and tech etc but suddenly now we have him “going his own way.” I remember as a kid I’d often do a thing where I would have my Joe guys team up with some Cobra guys out of necessity for for the “greater good” in order to infiltrate and take down some plot of Destro’s. It’s this kind of thing that very clearly exemplifies the depth of imagination that this toy line elicited.
172: "Ferret" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
This figure adds to Destro’s army of Iron Grenadiers, bringing with him the D.E.M.O.N., a transforming beast of a vehicle, upon which Destro’s very on Despoiler can dock!
One of my favourite things about the G.I. Joe line has always been the abundance of acronyms. D.E.M.O.N. is no exception and stands for “Duel Elevating Multi-Ordinance Neutralizer.
173: "Ghostrider" G.I. Joe “Real American Hero” Series 7, 1988
Ghostrider* is the pilot of the Phantom X-19 Stealth Fighter (one of my personal all-time favourite vehicles - I will make a separate post just about the vehicle tomorrow).
(*not to be confused with the Marvel character Johnny Blaze, aka “Ghost Rider”)
His only accessory (aside from a super bad-ass stealth fighter) was a red scarf made of a cloth material. This red material is actually extremely similar (maybe even identical?) to the red cape of 171 Destro v2.
It wasn’t a new idea for cloth to be included in some capacity with a figure, but with this figure it was one of the smallest pieces to be included as its own unattached accessory. For example, 058 Dusty had a bit of cloth around his helmet, but it was attached. (Sidenote: I THINK that was maybe the first usage of cloth on a figure) As another example, 082 Dr. Mindbender had a detachable cloth cape, but it was fairly big and thereby more difficult to lose. What is my point? Just to say that this scarf was best left tied around Ghostrider so as to avoid it disappearing forever.
So much scarf talk. All in all, I liked Ghostrider, even independent of his super cool jet plane. I liked the colour scheme and design quite a lot