Low-Light (1989)

The 1986 Low -Light is one of those iconic Real American Hero figures whose design I think can’t really be improved upon. The mold had a couple of repaints, and one as late as the 2000s still managed to impress. Even the modern construction version stayed very close to the original design.

The Slaughter’s Marauders repaints are an odd bunch. The large patterns of brown, yellow-green and dark green, highlighted with electric blue, are some of the oddest looks the Joe team has sported. As loud as the uniforms were, they make a more cohesive looking unit than their 1989 Cobra counterpart, Python Patrol. The Marauders are at a disadvantage, however, in that they’re without any magic anti-radar paint. They made up for it with sheer coolness in their exclusive vehicles. The Marauder rides are among my favorites in the Joe arsenal. But I digress…

Low-Light’s uniform doesn’t lend itself well to the Marauder color blocking theme. Others, like Mutt and Barbecue, had distinct uniform elements that could section off nicely into the highlight color. Low-Light at least has his hat, goggles and shoulder pad to carry some electric blue. The blue on these figures has never really bothered me as much as the huge swaths of color. The vehicle camo patterns were much more subdued (there I go talking about the vehicles again.)

Low-Light, along with all of his comrades, had a variation of this deco in the DIC cartoon’s Operation Dragonfire mini-series. They traded the wide color strips for some traditional camo pants, but kept the bright blue. I became quite enamored of the different style, and even put together a group of customs based on it.


  • I got this version precisely because I thought my brother’s classic Low-Light was so cool. It’s a great figure and an amazing mold. Such a shame the whole Marauders sub-team has fragile thumbs because of the cheaper South American plastic they’re made with. I know my Low-Light lost both his thumbs trying to hold a sniper rifle and I think Mutt might have lost a thumb too when I tried arming him one time. While their color schemes are a little weird, I love how good the Marauders look together.

  • I don’t mind the color choices for the Marauders so much as I just don’t understand the pattern and placement of the colors. It’s a very strange camo.

  • I noticed in Operation Dragonfire, Lowlight was the only member of the group who’s personality was consistant with the Sunbow series.

    I think the colours could have worked without the blue highlights. I also have Marauders Footloose who is too missing his thumbs

  • I’ve joked before how Slaughter’s Marauders all looked like while they were sleeping, paint rollers came down and rolled across them in the color pattern seen. Has anyone at Hasbro ever spoken about why the Marauders were colored in that manner? It looked sloppy and was uncharacteristic of the GI Joe line. The color palette is nice, it’s the paint application that’s the issue.

    Low-Light here was in the midst of a revolving birth-state. On his 1986 filecard, he’s from Crosby, ND, but now here in 1989 he’s from Crosby, NM. In 1991 he went back to being from North Dakota and then in 1993, he went back to being from New Mexico.

  • I think this one will be the third Marauder I get, after Barbecue. Right now, I need to complete Mutt!

  • I have never seen a Slaughters Marauders figure in person now that I think about it. Over the years, if anything, I’ve tried to get the (what I considered) best version of a character to add into my collection. The originals of these figures, or later redesigns, were much more appealing to me.

    Low light here was never a contender to replace either the 1991, 1991-2000 repaint, or what currently is my favorite, the 1986 Low light, even by picture. (even the 2008 exclusive, too) No cool online pictures or diorama shots could sway me.

    I would still think it would be cool to have every sub group assembled with their respective vehicles, though.

    I would also like to learn more about the camo pattern and coloring. I thought I’ve read prior that these guys (Slaughters Marauders) were from South America, are there any camo patterns that are real life based inspiration from there?

  • I’m not a huge fan of Slaughter’s Marauders figures. The color palette could be good, but the applications in many cases just didn’t work all that well.

    Of interesting note on this figure: there is a European exclusive variant what was actually made by Hasbro and not Estrela. The colors are brighter, but the plastic is not nearly as brittle as the Brazilian made figure. Also, the unproduced Wal Mart Low Light intended for release in 2003 uses the exact same paint masks as the Slaughter’s Marauders version. The colors are slightly different, the application of the colors are in the exact pattern.

  • There is no such place as Crosby, New Mexico.

    I didn’t mind Marauders colors, but like KansasBrawler said, the plastic quality killed them. And their paint seems to rub easier. IIRC, this Lowlight was later available in Europe but made in the same standard plastic as other Chinese-manufactured Joe figures of the time.

  • The electric blue is the big head-scratcher on them. Well, and the whole “Marauders” subgroup (what happened to the Renegades?). I like them, though, and with less blue, they’re cool variations on the originals. Love your custom Dragonfire version!

  • The 1986 Low Light remains my favorite figure and character for that year, but this repaint does nothing but hinder the excellent design. I much prefer Rob’s custom version from the DIC series.

    I find it nuttier than the paint scheme how his birthplace kept switching from North Dakota to New Mexico. Gotta wonder what the heck was going on there. The three vehicles are awesome, however, with the Equalizer standing out as one of the best tanks in the vintage line’s history.

  • @Clutch
    Dont suppose switching his birthplace to New Mexico had something to do with Roswel?

  • I assume someone at Hasbro just made a mistake and mistook the state abbreviations, ND (North Dakota) and NM (New Mexico) and unknowingly, changed the state of Low-Light’s origin.

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