Infantry Division (2005)
I’ve covered an individual figure from this set before, but I thought it might be interesting to look at the package as a whole. When the Infantry Division set hit Toys R Us, I initially bought only a single copy. I didn’t think that I would care for it much, but there was something about it that struck my fancy. I later returned and picked up two more sets, one of which is still unopened. Why? I just like the look of the set. I know it’s not a popular opinion to have, and it’s taken me a while to realize just why I felt an affinity for these guys. I have to trace it back to the summer of 1986 and a trip to the K. What? Not the K as in the phony-baloney marketing gimmick nickname for Kauffman Stadium, but rather Kmart, the Savings Place.
My family often made trips to KMart, mainly to buy plants at the garden center. Luckily for me, the toy section was right next to it. So every trip was a toy hunt for me. Over the years, KMart is where I found my first Zartan, as well as coming into contact with other lines like Secret Wars and even Bronze Bombers and Sgt. Rock. On this particular trip, I wasn’t able to find any GI Joes, but my parents did allow me to spend some money on something else. For same price as two Joes, I was able to pick up a couple of American Defense two-packs. The figures were not quite GI Joes, but nonetheless fun in their own unique ways, from their construction to character design. My favorite by far was Captain Steel, who you can check out at the end of this article. He’s too cool! Anyway, I had a lot of fun with these new almost-Joes, and even went back a few weeks later to pick up more figures.
Back to the Infantry Division, I recently began looking at these guys in the same way. They’re something of a take-off on the original ’82 Joes, and their odd mold and weapon choices shouldn’t work, but looking back, the set as a whole takes me back to my experience with my American Defense figures. They’re not perfect; heck, they’re downright cheesy. But that’s what I like about them.