Lt. Gorky (1998)

In 1998, I picked up a select few of the second series of Toys R Us sets. The Oktober Guard set was exciting to see on the shelves, simply because I had always wanted to see some action figure versions of the team back in the 80s. The paint apps on the set were an improvement from the previous year’s releases, but the figures were still made from a milky looking sort of plastic. The skin times in particular looked a little odd.

Can you believe this is supposed to be the same guy who appeared in a later comic pack? When he joined the Oktober Guard in later years of the Marvel comic, he was the pretty boy of the team. That look doesn’t come through here, since he’s just a repaint of Big Bear. He’s also armed with the old figure’s weapons, with the exception of the missile launcher. At least the file card made an attempt to reconcile the different look of figure vs. comic, stating that Gorky grew a beard in order to look less fresh-faced.

I like to think of this figure more as a third variant uniform for Big Bear, since he’d already gotten a night ops paint scheme in the International Action Force mail-in set. It’s a much lighter shade than his original, and could almost be suited for a winter environment. Maybe, like Stalker, the Oktober Guard could have had a tundra themed color scheme variant.


  • Is he named after the battle for Gorky park. I heard the bones are still visible there!

    It certainly was a bold decission to make the Oktober guard allies of the Joes. Considering all the paranoia about the U.S.S.R in the 80’s and movies like Red Dawn

    I remember the Toyfare staff were really upset that there wasnt a three pack containing three different versions of Diana

  • It’s funny he should mention “It certainly was a bold decission to make the Oktober guard allies of the Joes. Considering all the paranoia about the U.S.S.R in the 80′s and movies like Red Dawn”. When the first OG figure (Red Star) came out, they misprinted him as a bad guy. Check out the two package variations here:

  • This isn’t a terrible mold and the release was exciting at the time. I actually like this figure as red bear more than I do his prior figs. We didn’t know how good we had it in 98 with the molds and accessories. (Can’t believe its been 15 years since this guys release. Seems he was a peg warmer just yesterday!)

  • Come to think of it, Red Star and Big Bear were the first official Oktober Guard figures ever made–and thus the start of fan demand emerged for the original members. I guess now that just leaves demand for figures to be made of Ruslan (from the Devil’s Due comics) and Wong (from the cartoon).

  • @Carson3djoes
    I remeber seeing Red star in the local toy shop and asking my Dad if i could have him. It might have been 1993 but my Dad wasnt letting me bring a “that thing” into the house

    I had no idea Redstar went through package varients. Bellermo didnt mention it in his book

    • @Skymate Once I’m through 1994 on the site, I plan on making a “3DJoes of the 90s” poster (covering 90-94), and then a book with all of the cards. Be sure to check that out! Hopefully I’ll be done by Christmas.

  • @Skymate
    He did actually–it was in the text, though. (Which reminds me–I’ve still got to get a copy of the updated edition….)

  • @Acer. Thanks. i have the second eddition. Guess i’ll have to check it out again

  • Great mold, and we did have it pretty good in 1998 as I see it.

    Only issue I had with this Gorky was after I had 1992 (?) Big Bear added to my collection…., twins? (However, the 2004 (?) Gorky left me wanting more, as well.)

    I had the same issue with this Gorky’s pack mate, Brekhov, when I obtained a 1991 Red Star…., twins?

  • The Cold War wasn’t a “real” war. It was a psychological operation based on the Hegelian dialect -an interpretive method in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis), the contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis).
    So for Capitalism vs Communism, the result is fascism.

  • The soviet block wasnt defeated by weapons. But by walkmens and jeans

  • I never got any of the various Big Bear figures during the vintage and late 90’s TRUs eras because he always felt more like a stand-in for Horrorshow. As the 80’s ended, I was still sorry to see the original Guard go out in a blaze of glory and without figures of their own.

    I did get ’91 Red Star because he looked exactly like Colonel Brekhov from the comics. And of course, the comic packs eventually delivered most of the classic lineup. Can’t fault Big Bear as a figure, though. It certainly is a nice sculpt and a decent winter troop.

  • Troublemagnet,

    That’s not what the submariners say…

  • @Carson3djoes
    Good luck. i hope to have that book some day.

  • According to Hasbro’s Kirk Bozigian, it was the factory in China that screwed that up. They saw Soviet = villain, since China wasn’t pals with the USSR, either.

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