Ace (1983)

In a way you could say that GI Joe is a descendant of the little green army men from days of yore. One of my favorite memories of playing with the little green guys were the paratroopers. A simple plastic parachute and string turned the regular troopers into death defying airborne attackers.

At the time of its release, the Skystriker was the Cadillac of boys’ toys. The fighter was the most impressive thing in my toy arsenal since the Star Wars AT-AT; the ejector seat with parachute being my favorite feature. I spent hours in the vacant lot next door to my house hurling the ejector seat with Ace attached up into the air and watching him descend safely to the ground, just like his tiny green ancestors. Sometimes the chute failed and Ace made a hard landing, but he always survived. I’m amazed I never lost the helmet. I was easily entertained as a child.

Ace, being part of the first series of non-green Joes, made an impression on me purely based on his look. He was one of the most crazily detailed of all the Joes. While other driver figures simply occupied their vehicles, Ace was an integral part of the Skystriker. Although the cartoon often had every main character flying it, I rarely put anyone but Ace at the controls.

Ace is a most unique Joe figure for his time thanks to his science fiction styled outfit. The Michelin Man look may seem staid now, but at the time was quite futuristic. Even the helmet recalled something more akin to a fighter pilot from a galaxy far, far away.

His use in a collection may be limited to sitting in the cockpit of the Skystriker, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5 comments

  • I never had the Skystriker as a kid, so the first time I got Ace was through the mail-in driver packs from the late 80’s. I’d always thought that he used the Flash/Steeler head sculpt due to the similar expression on his face, but upon closer inspection that turned out not to be the case. Sounds like the ejector seat feature is every bit as fun as I heard it was. Cool. I could never picture anyone else piloting the Skystriker either. Ace’s figure design and colors just blends in so nicely with his fighter craft. It’s easily one of Hasbro’s early classic home runs.

  • I got the Skystriker for my 10th birthday in 1983. I used to stay up late and play with Ace in the darkness after my bedtime. That darkness always made me associate the figure with space and I used Ace as not only a pilot, but an astronaut to battle Star Wars figures as well.

    One of the worst days of my childhood was the day I lost Ace’s helmet. In 1996, I listened to some flea market guy lecture me how the complete Ace I bought from him would never be worth anything. But, getting the helmet was worth even his rantings. The only reason I had a Skystriker for many years was so I had a place to display Ace.

  • I got the SkyStriker for Christmas and the first thing I did was to go out on the roof and hurl that ejector seat to the sky, the parachute deployed perfectly! My brother and I rushed down to retrieve Ace but he was not with his seat, seems at some point he lost his grip, my brother and I put forth a valiant arctic SAR mission but to no avail. All was not lost though as come the spring thaw we found him (helmet and all) other then some rusty screws he was no worse the wear. Surviving 2 months in the frozen wastelands of Ohio made Ace “King Bad@$$” in my personal Joe universe.

  • Jonah Hardenbrook

    The details on this mold were amazing considering the year he was released. This figure works well as fighter pilot, Star Brigade troop, or even CBRN Trooper, so there are tons of customizing possibilities.
    Though I like the ’92/’93 releases better, this figure was awesome for its time.

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