Infantry Trooper (Code Name: Grunt)

It’s a new year, and I thought a fresh start was in order to ring in 2019. With that in mind, we’re going back to the beginning of GI Joe’s reintroduction in 1982. My plan is to continue most weekdays in release order, covering each of the straight and swivel arm figures in one post each.

Who better to start things off than the early “face” of the line? Grunt was nicely generic and thus was pictured on a lot of product packaging. I imagine the idea was to bring out the military Everyman aspect, and to harken back to Joe’s roots.

To further push the early focus on the unified team, take a look at the heading of today’s entry. Rather than the code name being prominent, the first few years of figure packaging put the specialty first. The cardback cross-sell didn’t include code names until 1985, and the package fronts in 1986.

The straight arm figures aren’t as refined as their later counterparts, but there’s also a charm to them that goes beyond just an appreciation of the initial concept and design. From a historical standpoint, the straight arm figures serve as a reminder of the small scale Joe figure’s origins in Takara’s Microman and Mego’s refined o-ring action figures. The swivel arm version is still a go-to figure for me, despite the fact that later Joes are more detailed and varied.

One element the line adopted early on was signature equipment. Grunt’s M-16 and small backpack are synonymous with this figure, yet they’re also easily used by other Joes. For me, the weapon was the de facto team rifle until Snow Job’s laser rifle came along.

6 comments

  • Is there a bigger disconnect between art and action figure than good old Grunt?

  • Grunt is always at the core of the Joe team in my mind. And in my head canon universe.

  • Grunt was great. An ugly-mugged DOGFACE is there was one. The series got more detailed, but there’s a lot of charm in those simpler early years of ARAH.

  • Grunt is literally the last figure I think of when I think of GI JOE. what a disconnect from the older fans! lol. The original 13 were so boring looking and grunt literally didnt get an update till waaaaaayyy later. and yeah his yellow pants were odd but the figure was still cool lol.

  • ”Grunt was the one of the most popular action figures from the 1982 G.I.Joe Series 1 line from Hasbro.Brings back fond memories.”

  • Wait a minute… *looks closely at picture* Hmmm…. *looks at the Grunt on my bookshelf*

    Why does my ’82 Grunt that I got when I was five years old have short sleeves?

    Holy crap–he’s had someone else’s arms this whole time, and I never realized it! I don’t remember switching them out–all this time I thought Grunt had short sleeves!

    I must have put either Rock N’ Roll’s or Clutch’s arms on him to replace his broken thumbs decades ago, and forgotten about it. And I didn’t even know this whole time, thus losing half the battle…

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