Major Bludd (1983)

by KansasBrawler

This next figure comes from the deal I scored on the Joe Con floor back in 2009 with loose, complete figures. As a kid, I have fond memories of watching the G.I. Joe cartoon. Heck, I have fond memories of watching it as an adult when I got the complete series for Christmas a few years back. But the one thing that always bothered me a little was that I couldn’t get some of the Cobras that were key players in the cartoon. I really liked Major Bludd in the cartoon but there were no Major Bludds on the shelves until quite a bit later in my collecting life. And even then, my brother had the Sonic Fighters version, so I didn’t pick it up since he was almost always willing to let me use his Joes (especially after he stopped playing with them, being a few years older than me). But I always wanted a Major Bludd that looked like the cartoon version. Don’t get me wrong, the Sonic Fighters Major Bludd is a great figure, but I never understood why a guy would carry so many grenades on him in such an obvious manner. That seemed like a great way to get blown up in my opinion. I also had that issue with my Sonic Fighters Zap carrying bazooka shells on his chest. It wasn’t until 2009 that classic Major Bludd entered my collection, and I have to say, as an artifact of the time, he was definitely worth the wait. However, I’m also pretty sure I would’ve been disappointed with him had I gotten him as a kid.

Despite being 30 years old, the original Major Bludd holds up quite well. While his design is basic, it also accomplishes exactly what it needs to. The head sculpt clearly belongs to an older mercenary who has seen and done just about everything. There’s a lot of character packed into that small face and it really helps make Bludd stand the test of time. I won’t swear to it because it could just be my brain over-analyzing a mold flaw, but to me it even looks like there is a continuation of the scar from the cut that took his eye down to the cheek on that side of the face. Even if that’s just my imagination, the sunken cheeks and prominent cheek bones definitely give Bludd a severe look and it’s clear that he’s not someone you want to mess with. However, being a figure from 1983 leads to the first thing that would have disappointed me as a kid…the lack of a ball-jointed head. Until I started getting into the online Joe world in high school when Joes started coming back to the shelves, I never had any experience with the very old figures. The oldest figure in my collection prior to my recent acquisition of Major Bludd was the 1985 Lady Jaye—so all the figures I ever had were after the upgrade to the balljointed head. I didn’t even know there was a change in head style until the early 2000s and I’m quite sure Bludd’s lack of that ball-joint would have been an unpleasant surprise to a young KansasBrawler.

The rest of the body, while simply detailed compared to later Joes still accomplishes what it needs to. Bludd is a mercenary at heart so it makes sense that the majority of his uniform would be paramilitary. However, being an independent contractor, Bludd also understood the importance of added protection and threw an armored vest on over a standard pair of BDUs. The trophy dogtags are a nice addition and lends Bludd an air of menace. After all, if his trophy tags are to be believed, he’s killed five or six soldiers in the line of his duty. The brown also helps him stand out from the rest of Cobra. Again, it goes to reinforce the idea that he’s an independent contractor rather than an actual member of Cobra. Cobras wore blue almost exclusively at this point and the brown definitely allows him to stand out from the Cobra crowd. Green accents on the left arm and leg do a nice job breaking up the two-toned brown and black uniform, though to be fair, I’m not sure why exactly he’s got a green stripe on his pant leg and a green logo on his sleeve but it still works really well.

Any discussion of Major Bludd can’t avoid mentioning the other thing that likely would have been an unpleasant surprise to me as a kid, his armored right arm. Armoring his right arm makes a good deal of sense since Bludd uses a relatively fanciful rocket pistol as his primary weapon and it’s nicely detailed. However, for reasons lost in the ether (and if anyone knows why, feel free to bring it up), Hasbro decided to sacrifice the elbow joint to create this arm. I understand from a real-world standpoint than an armored arm would be less flexible. However, from a Hasbro standpoint, it’s odd considering how much of the line was built on part reuse. An armored arm with three fingers is a very unique piece and can’t really be used for much other than Major Bludd. I realize that in 1983 the Joe line had moved on to a degree from the 1982 method of part reuse and recoloring to create figures, but the line was still in its very early stages and to create such a strange part that also was a little at odds with the idea of the brand being so poseable was definitely an odd choice.

All in all, it’s hard to beat the classic look of Major Bludd and it’s honestly surprising at how well this mold has held up. While he’s definitely a relic of the early era of the Joe line, he doesn’t really start looking too out of place until you start placing him up against the line’s far later releases. As much as collectors love the original thirteen Joes, in my opinion based solely on images of other people’s collections, by 1986, they were starting to look a bit outdated. While Bludd has his share of issues, the strength of his head sculpt really helped sell him as a strong figure far longer than the original thirteen did.


  • Great review, KB. I was one of those kids who picked up Bludd of the shelves back in 1983. I never knew what to make of his bionic arm since it wasn’t touched upon in the comic or subsequently in the initial Sunbow cartoon mini-series. I always thought of it as being armored rather than robotic. The only downside was its lack or articulation.

    Major Bludd was discontinued in 1985 and dropped out of sight in the comic for most of the 80s. I think that a whole generation had gone by before Hasbro took a second look at the character. I’ve always thought that he is underrated and ripe with story potential due to his “soldier of fortune” status. It’s only been touched upon in recent years aside from his U.K. continuity.

    This figure started it all for Bludd and remains the definitive version for me, with the brown and black colors perfectly suiting his bad ass, take-no-prisoners demeanor.

  • His right arm is a mistery!

  • @Clutch–I totally agree with the soldier of fortune aspect of Bludd needing more attention. The main reason I started reading the Max Brooks “Hearts and Minds” miniseries was because the opening issue had Bludd as the Cobra who he followed. It’s been a while since I’ve read it so I don’t remember who the Joe was, but the Bludd story was really cool and I really appreciated what he did with the character in that respect.

  • Funny you should mention 1986–Bludd, along with a Cobra Officer and some of the original 13 (plus Doc and Airborne) were available as a mail-away set called “The Original Action Team”.

  • I thought his arm was covered in some sort of protecting armour as thats the one he uses to fire his missile gun with?

    Bludd wasnt forgotten about in the comics. circa 87/88 he appeared in that issue in which snake eyes has to save a kid in that fictional USSR paraody country.

    The two Bludd’s i have are the sonic fighters and the purple battle corps one. The sonic fighters one is okay but what the hell is the spike on the arm of the battle corps one for?

    Oh yes and regarding the cartoon, he was supposed to be Australian but to me he sounded British. Not that i’m complaining about Micheal Bell’s performance or anything

  • Great write up! I never had him until I was an adult either.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I never had this version of Major Bludd, so I never knew he had a green stripe on his pants. It’s a nice touch, but I think it would make more sense if there was a stripe on the other pant leg, too.

  • I got the original Bludd as a mail away figure back in the day and was surprised that his one arm was not bendable. I chalked it up to being a cybernetic arm and imagined he pummeled people with it. He had a lot of personality as a figure and he’s always been given a lot of attention in the comics.

  • My favorite Bludd moment was when Grand Slam kicked him through a bus front windshield back in G.I.Joe #17.

  • Great write up. This will always be the classic Bludd for me as well.

    Bludd was still going strong in the comic in 1990, sniping a 1989 “Butterfly Knife” style Snake Eyes on this cover (

    I remember that cover over 20 years later because I thought it was curtains for sure for Snake Eyes. Jeeze, I sure was a gullible 11 year old.

  • Yeah, I love that cover. I don’t know where I saw it first, but I was really happy that IDW finally got all the issues of the original G.I. Joe series out in collected form so I could actually read that storyline.

  • ”Major Bludd was always known to write poetry very bad.”

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