Arctic Commandos Stalker (1993)
I was so bummed to miss out on the tundra Stalker figure. Released just two years after I had stopped collecting Joes as a kid, I spotted him at one my friend’s house, in the collection of a little brother who was a few years younger than us. The fact he came with a kayak and crazy mask fascinated me. I suppose it was this kind of occasional exposure to Joes here and there that set me up to be pulled back in a few years later. By the time I was buying again in ’91, I was hoping to spot Stalker hanging on shelves as old stock. No such luck.
In 1993 I was able to get in on the ground floor with the Arctic Commandos, sending in for them along with the International Action Force and Copter Pilots. That year was a great one for repainted figures among mail-ins. The Commandos were done up in decent colors, and Stalker was one of the best of the four. While his original paint scheme was a great mix of arctic and green, this one centers more on a snow palette. I particularly like the bright accents on his jacket, a touch of 90s color in an otherwise subdued figure.
The negative of the set were the accessories. Stalker’s solitary knife is of course a disappointment compared to his original loadout. But I’m sure most collectors always have extra weapons lying about, particularly if they collected during the 2000s. Or you can hook him up with his 1989 gear.