1982 GI Joe Product Catalog – Part 3

Here they are, the original single carded lineup. And they are lined up, to an extent. The horizontal structure of this page of the catalog is even stronger than the previous entries, and the landscape format allows for the largest possible photos of the individual figures.

The figures are placed in the best action poses that could be achieved considering the limitations of the arms. I suppose one could catalog the range of poses possible within the Real American Hero figure construction. In fact, as I’ve been photographing toys for the blog, I’ve come up against an issue that I’m sure the layout artists of this catalog faced; how to create a dynamic pose while showcasing as much of the item as possible.

The key word once again is prototype. Most notably among the differences on the figures are the heads. Maybe it’s just the photo, but the face sculpts look a little more angular, and the eyes seem more detailed than the finished product. Grunt and Zap in particular look more chiseled than their final versions. The Cobra figures look even more different than their GI Joe counterparts.

With all of the collectors out there picking up prototypes and the like, I wonder if these figures are sitting out there in a collection somewhere. If so, maybe they’ll surface someday, and we can see some close-ups. I’ve heard opinions on both sides of the issue, but from a historical perspective, I find it a shame that many pre-production and other rare GI Joe items have yet to see the light of day. Who wouldn’t buy something like a book about the creation and background behind all these wonderful toys?


  • Great figures, great characters. I will have them all…one day. So far, the only one i have from this line up is the cobra officer

  • I love the tanned up, hand painted looks and the black visors. Flash and Short-Fuze appear to have higher cheekbones and slimmer faces. Facial details in general are far richer on these prototype figures. The swivel arm battle grip certainly kicked things up quite a notch in terms of poseability the following year.

    I also like how the two Cobras have more size proportionate heads. I much prefer them to the oversized versions which eventually became standard for these guys.

  • From the size of their heads, the Cobra’s look more like the Cobra Infantry Troopers from 2004

  • Though the Joes look different, I was always fascinated with the Cobras. The Trooper’s grenade gun covers his sigil, and it looks like he has an FN-FAL instead of the Dragunov. The heads are more proportionate, but less stylized; they look more like villains from any army figure line painted blue.

  • Pingback: Short-Fuze (1982) »

  • ‘1982 G.I.Joe 1st Series line. Got to love them all.”

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