Headhunters (1993)

If there was one 90s Joe figure that I could hold up to others as a prime example of Good Stuff You Might Have Missed After 1986, it would be the Headhunters. Even with bright green paint here and there, the figure is–allow me to get a bit crude–badass.

As enforcers/guards for Headman, these guys look the part. Both stylish and menacing, their look befits an over-the-top drug kingpin character. Is the concept ridiculous and connected a little too closely to a particular cultural moment? Yes, but it’s not the only time the Real American Hero line went all-in with a concept that would later seem dated. Also–just look at the figure–it’s badass!

The more subdued black and brown DEF version looks a little nicer, but since I’m a sucker for the Battle Corps series’ color palette, I’m a fan of both. They’re both badass!


  • I’m not a fan of the green. I much prefer the original black and brown figure. Did Hasbro have any long term plans for the DEF originally? The reason I ask is because Headman was killed off pretty quickly in both the DIC cartoon and the Marvel comic and figures that would’ve been part of the DEF were just released as Battle Corps.

  • This guy is probably the best mold of the ’90’s. I’m torn as to whether I like the green or brown versions, better. Either are great, though. I just wish I had a few more. I was very disappointed with the convention releases of this guy. I saw a photoshop mockup done by a fan of this guy in Cobra blue and it was really awesome. So much more could have been done with him.

    @dreadnok:spririt DEF most likely underperformed at retail. It had a higher price point for the flash weapon and bigger card. There’s lots of anecdotes of the figures who weren’t the Headhunter sticking around for a while. Plus, Hasbro had Mega Marines coming in 1993 that would be the premium format figure.

    • Poor sales were what I always heard as well. I just thought it strange that they would go to the lengths of killing off the character whereas other underperforming characters would’ve just been abandoned and forgotten, but not killed.

  • The green somehow works on this guy. It would be different if he had black highlights on a neon green body. The head is a little mysterious for a henchman; it looks like Cobra Commander wearing a Kangol helmet. And I love his backpack! Besides the shotgun holster, it’s got a CD player and speakers – extreme ’90s! Hopefully it’s got an Aux port to plug in an iPhone nowadays.

  • This guy is my current white whale. I have enough Headhunters for the most part (really the only bigger “army I have), but I won’t feel like it’s complete until I get at least one of these dudes. They’re just so hard to find for a decent price.

  • Is it the mold or the original’s colors? Both? But even everyone who is cynical about 90’s figures still finds a way to like Headhunters.

    I’ll be a contrarian slightly and say there’s at least one problem with the figures, the heads were molded in the undershirt’s blue, so even the black hat gets paint rubs it’ll show that blue. Also, concept wise, the big visor was too much like a standard Cobra thing. If they wanted them to be a separate enemy, there should’ve been more disconnect from COBRA’s style.

    But, yeah, I like them.

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