Low Light (1991)

What happened here? Low Light hit the hair dye. One of the strangest changes of the reimagined figures over the years, fans still wonder why Low Light went from a clean shaven blonde  to a grizzled raven haired soldier. Somebody just wasn’t too concerned with toy continuity. Not surprising, since a market of vocal and nit picky adult collectors didn’t exist in 1991 as it now does. Oh, there were also no internet tubes to give every Tom, Dick and Hardtop a voice.

Low Light’s redesign came along in 1991, one of my favorite years of the Real American Hero line. His was the first assortment I found when I rediscovered GI Joe as an adult collector. On the whole, that year always impresses me with both its effective redesigns and fun all-new figures.

Unlike some other figures of the year, Low Light had no spring powered weapon or large accessory. He did have an abundance of gear, all of which serves him well in his slightly altered specialty as a night fighter. The lamp that plugs into the backpack is a particular favorite, and the new rifle is a much better fit in his hands than the original. The helmet with night vision visor may seem a bit large at first, but the look of it grows on you. The dark color helps it blend in with all of his other gear and the generally dark color scheme. Thinking about the colors again, I wonder if that’s the reason for the hair color change. Maybe Low Light is so dedicated to his night missions that he’s even willing to dye his hair black.

If the dark look isn’t your thing, check out the Dino Hunters repaint. He went the opposite way in terms of color, and even went back to blonde. There’s also a pretty nifty 2001 collectors series version done up in a sort of SWAT team/urban combat deco.


  • Not exactly a rifle–you could say it’s a slightly oversized Uzi.

  • I always wished I had picked up this version of Low Light, but at the time, my Marauder’s Low-Light still had two working thumbs and I figured why pick up a character I already have when I could add someone new. I realize that wasn’t the best decision since he was such a great decision, but I always preferred adding new characters whenever possible. I passed on a lot of figures because I already had old versions I liked better in my collection.

  • To me, this figure will always remind me more of my namesake than the original Low-Light.

    That said, you chose a great year to get back into Joe collecting. Much like the rest of Hasbro’s 1991 output, this version of Low Light comes packed with awesome new gear and is rendered in realistic, suitable colors. A highly recommended addition to any collection.

  • Many figures in the early ’90s started getting newer versions which weren’t as great as previous ones. Low-Light of 1991 was different but looked better suited to his night role. The beard seemed a bit too much change. The hair dye made sense. Is he dying his beard though? 1991 seemed to be good with having decent newer versions- Sci-Fi, Dusty, Cobra Commander, B.A.T., Snow Serpent come to mind (original better but compare 1991 SS to the later Eel or Viper updates). It was a pretty good crop of figures overall, going international (Red Star, Big Ben) and creating some cool Cobra figures (Crimson Guard Immortal, Desert Scorpion).

    Also notice across Low-Light’s filecards, he hops back and forth between Crosby, North Dakota and Crosby, New Mexico. Getting lost in the wilderness in North Dakota is quite different from New Mexico’s wilderness. It’s always interesting looking at filecards of the same character and seeing how they change. That was one of the bigger retcons IIRC.

    By the way, it was good to see the Royals finish over .500. It’s been a long time coming. For some reason, the Royals were overlooked while everyone was focusing on the Pirates to break their 20 year losing season streak. Not sure if it’s not yet hitting the 20 year mark or that one exactly .500 season the Royals had a decade ago that made them not get noticed as much.

  • In the UK Lowlight did get tooled up with a new spring loaded gun:


    In fact most of the figures who didn’t in the US gained one from another figure here


  • Whereas you guys were getting back into Joe collecting in 1991, i was starting. I was only about six at the time. The old miser who ran the toystore in the mighty metropolis of Cootamundra only ever got in “old” stuff as he was too cheap to buy anything new. I cant remeber wheather it was Flint or Falcon [maybe Falcon now that i think of it] who was my first Joe

    As for this figure, he nearly passes as an update for Lowlight with the exception of his beard. Maybe Hasbro intended to use the original head but it got lost? Oh and are those Serpentors forearms?

    Are you talking about sport? The only American sports team i know anything about is the 1992 Springfeild power plant team

  • I had that 2001 version and the DinoHunter version of this guy. I really liked the DinoHunter version when I had bought that, it had a nice spread of weapons, but as I aged and acquired the 2001 version, that “SWAT” like figure became one of the most used figures for quite some time for me. Especially after I temporarily swapped heads so I had a blonde “SWAT” Low Light.

    The 1986 figure is currently my only Low Light, that one has a ton of detail and sentimental feeling for me, but the 1991 Low Light is a very strong contender for its spot. If it had the blonde hair, I probably would have tracked this 1991 figure down instead.

    With the (in my opinion) over-sized sub machine gun, as well as no inclusion of spring-fired or other action gimmicks, it makes me think that this Low Light (and figures with no action weapons of 1991) were more an extension of the 1990 line up. Mercer, Snake Eyes (1991) for example, really have a different design feel to me, more bright colors, spring launchers, etc.

    To me, 1991 is a split year in figures, any declassified info on this years behind the scenes action?

  • This is the Absolute Best GIJoe Figure of All Time (imo). It’s also my Very Favorite Joe Figure Ever. so it’s a joy to see it here on JAD. Thanks Rob.

  • This is a great figure with excellent accessories but he’s so not Low Light. Not a problem as he look so different – welcome toSure Shot, a different character in my Joeverse.

  • I don’t care what Hasbro calls a Joe figure. All I know is this is one sweet action figure.:)

    And while we’re talking sports I’m actually thrilled the Buffalo Bills are 2-2, beating last year’s Super bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Usually the Bills are already out of the play off picture by this time. Tonight’s game against the Cleveland browns ought to be an entertaining match up.

  • This figure may have started out as new character and was changed to Low-Light. IIRC, Mutt intiially was a Cobra. Beach-Head started out as Cobra. Overlord was almost a new Cobra Commander.

  • @Troublemagnet
    Isnt Cleveland Brown a cartoon character?

    @ NegaT
    Thats an interesting peice of trivia. I knew about Overlord supposedly being cobra commander but not the others

  • @ Skymate

    Yeah. In major league baseball, all the talk was about the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hadn’t had a winning season (i.e., winning percentage over 50%, reported as .500) in 20 years, the longest such streak in MLB history, breaking it and getting into the postseason. The Kansas City Royals’ such streak was a little shorter than that and they had one season where they finished exactly at .500 and their postseason drought went back to 1986, whereas the Pirates’ went back to 1992. The Royals broke their long losing season streak too though didn’t make it into the postseason. I mentioned it, because it’s Rob’s home region’s baseball team.

  • @LittleBoa
    Thanks for the intel, being Australian i know very little about Baseball. My Mothers friend moved to Texas [no kidding her husband sells propane and propane accessories] so whenever she comes back over she tells us about how important the sport is. From what i have seen of Baseball on the TV, it looks more entertaining than f***ing cricket.

  • Rob, it’s funny you mention “a market of vocal and nit picky adult collectors didn’t exist in 1991” because when I saw this figure and his wave-mates as a kid (well, high schooler) I thought “what are they smoking that’s NOT Low-Light (or Beach Head, or Snake Eyes, etc.)”
    I wasn’t buying these new versions, so, well, I didn’t buy them.
    Now as an adult collector, I can see this figure both as Low-Light and as a great soldier figure with cool accessories. My appreciation for the later versions has definitely grown.

  • I have the 2001 version of this figure and really like it. Not sure If I’ll ever be getting any of the 1991 figures, but if I do this one might be a good choice.

  • This remains one of my favorite figures from 1991. The great, mold and colors are nearly perfect. The 2001 figure was OK, but I wish Hasbro had done more with the mold. This guy would have been awesome with blonde hair and a solid cammo or desert motif. Too bad that never happened.

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