Lightfoot (1988)

Some GI Joe figures are quite realistic and close to their actual military subject matter in terms of design. Others have been extrapolated out to the next generation of technology, the “five minutes in the future” that we hear about so much. Still others just make you scratch your head. I’ve been scratching mine since I first saw Lightfoot. Is he really what his description makes him out to be? Because he looks like a Flash Gordon serial character to me. In all seriousness, the first time I saw him, I thought maybe he was in communications, with the helmet antennae.

I’m sure we’ve all seen explosives experts in movies, on television and even in person. They’re usually outfitted in heavily padded uniforms, with large shielded helmets. They may even employ bomb disposal robots that are put in harm’s way instead of their human controllers.

Other than the robot, none of those things apply to Lightfoot, and that’s a little disappointing. His look is odd, and don’t get me wrong, I like odd. But in this case, I don’t see much of an explosives specialist. He looks like he’d be more at home alongside the Battle Force 2000 guys. This figure’s look is pure sci-fi, in a vein similar to 1987’s Psyche-Out. I suppose he’s meant to be a follow-up to Tripwire, only with more sophisticated equipment, like a ground sensor and remote robot. But even Tripwire was equipped with a bit of padding. All Lightfoot gets is a washboard on his chest.

Maybe the reason this figure goes a different route is purely because of the robot. It’s possible that he doesn’t ever need to get too close to planted explosives on the battlefield because his equipment is so advanced. Another reason could simply be an issue of the mold. The design style of the time wouldn’t allow for too bulky a figure, lest it end up looking like the first Deep Six.

The accessories are what I find most interesting. They all relate to the more high tech approach to sniffing out explosives, with a remote controlled robot, a backpack and control sensor that connects via a flat tether. Both the backpack and robot have lenticular stickers that portray detailed inner panels with wiring and components, in a similar manner to the 1986 BATs.

Lightfoot also made an appearance in the Night Force sub-team, and the darker color somewhat offset the odd design. It didn’t however help hide that crazy helmet.

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