Mortar Soldier (Code Name: Short-Fuze)
GI Joe wouldn’t be nearly as long-lived and remembered if it weren’t for the depth and breadth of toys available to spark kids’ imaginations. From the 1960s line’s plethora of gear and weaponry to the Adventure Team’s motor pool of fantastical vehicles and accessories, the brand had gained a firm foothold with a variety of product in the boys toys aisle. When it came time for the American Hero’s revival, Hasbro took this concept to another level with characters and specialization.
Short Fuze isn’t one of the shining stars of the mythos, but he’s also not a forgotten man. If you’re going to have a fighting force, you better include some troops capable of providing long-range strikes on the enemy. You remember the little green army men; they always had a few mortar soldiers you could spread out to bombard the bad guys on the other side of the living room carpet. Would that be considered carpet bombing? Ouch. Anyway, this kind of dedication to specialized characters really blossomed as the line continued.
I find this parts combination to be the most sleek of the first series Joes. The swivel-arm version with the redesigned waist really showcases the clean look of the figure. For this reason, Short-Fuze and Zap have really risen in my eyes as two of my favorites in that first group. Sure, Flash is great for his details, but the simple shoulder harness here just works really well.
Under the helmet is the Hawk/Flash head again, but it’s not a big deal since he’s most likely going to be behind his visor. The most iconic look for Marvel comic fans though is his bespectacled portrayal, which wouldn’t make it into toy form until a 2000s era comic pack. I’m just glad to have it, as that’s what I picture for the team’s original mortarman.