Tuesday, November 25, 2008

G.I. Joe Body Styles - 1992-1993


Well, not exactly - I guess they are wearing flesh colored briefs!

The rebirth of the 12" GI Joe owes its existence to one specially created figure - the exclusive Target Duke in 1992. It's probable that there could have been another triggering factor, but why conjecture with "What ifs?"

These first two body styles are representations of the evolution of the GI Joe body style of the early 1990's. The one on the left is the Hall of Fame Snake Eyes (or at least the type of body used for SE), one of the follow up figures to the Target Duke. It's only slightly improved from Duke; the chest is more muscular and the hands can now actually hold something. (They used a New Kids on the Block body for Duke - poor guy!)

The one on the left is the body style used for the 30th Anniversary Collection; a wonderful attempt by Hasbro - for its time period - to bring back memories of the original G.I. Joe. They were packaged with repro gear and boxes similar to the originals. An improvement over the HOF body, but not by much. There was now a mid-bicep swivel, wrist swivels and a waist joint - getting better, Hasbro!

This next step in evolution was actually frustrating to me - these body styles were introduced in the Action Man and 12" Starting Line-Up line. These were a huge improvement - but they were not used for G.I. Joe! The bodies were made entirely of hard plastic - no more rubber arms and legs. There was improved shoulder, bicep and elbow articulation and the legs now had knee and foot joints. Not great by the modern Hasbro super-articulated body, but still pretty dang good!

So, as a Joe collector, I was frustrated! I wanted the 30th Joe head on that new body! Fortunately, the 12" SLU figures - specifically Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth - bombed at retail. Post Christmas that year, they went to clearance and I had bodies for my Joes. I had discovered that the heads could easily be swapped by the boil & pop method. Worked then - still works today! The 30th body and the SLU body had the same neck posts, so I created a small army of better articulated G.I. Joes.

The guy on the right had another boil & pop addition - his hands! Through trial and error, I discovered that the hands could be switched as well with boil & pop. The 30th/SLU guys had some big hands! These hands came from the Star Wars Luke Skywalker & Han Solo Hoth figures - both came with crappy HOF style bodies, but the uniforms were excellent!

The final picture is my 30th style G.I. Joe outfitted in Hoth gear.

I think Hasbro never took the route of the SLU body for G.I. Joe because they were developing the body that would become known as the Classic Collection body, eventually evolving into my all-time favorite G.I. Joe body style - the super-articulated body!


Anonymous said...

I have been looking for the G.I. Joe you have pictured next to Snake eyes. I've tried looking him up but to no avail. Can you tell me exactly what he is called?

Anonymous said...

Seeing as you are a G.I Joe collector, I have a question for you.
In 1991 or 1992, we received a GI Joe for my brothers birthday. I was 4 at the time and cannot remember who exactly he was, so I will ask you.

The EXACT body he had is the body from the left side of the first image, but his face was not covered, and he had a scar on his left cheek. He wore a white shirt, green pants, came with a gun and big black boots, as well as a army helmet thing.

If you can place this man, thankyou!

Tom said...

For the first comment - that's a 30th Anniversary style GI Joe.

For the second comment - sounds like the Grunt head sculpt. He was used for a variety of store releases as a generic GI Joe.