Ornament Set (2006)

For me, childhood memories of GI Joe and Christmas are intertwined. That’s how I received most of my toys, especially the large ones, as a kid. 1983 was the first big Joe Christmas for me, as I received most of the year’s figures as well as the Cobra Missile Command HQ. Amazingly, I still have most of it, though the missile has disappeared.

Here’s a natural for the GI Joe line–Christmas ornaments. This ornament set was released by American Greetings, and is a change from the previous Hallmark ornaments. This set includes three pieces based on the popular Adventure Team Mummy’s Tomb set. It includes the Land Adventurer, his vehicle, and a sarcophagus. The three pieces aren’t to scale with one another, but that’s not a big deal. In fact, the sarcophagus for the real set was much smaller than its true scale would have been.

The detail on this set is pretty amazing, particularly the sarcophagus. The sculpting and hieroglyphs are very crisp, and accentuated by a black wash. There are great little touches as well, like the jewels on both the mummy and the Land Adventurer pieces. Joe even has his signature scar as well as the AT logo on his jacket.

Other 12 inch inspired ornaments included the original Action Soldier, Pilot, Diver, Astronaut, and the Adventure Team Commander with helicopter. Sadly, the Real American Hero era has yet to receive its due on Christmas trees. The closest I’ve seen have been Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes scene ornaments based on the 2009 movie. Think about it, with all the figures and vehicles that have been released during the small scale Joe years, and the size of the figures themselves, Hasbro could have cut a deal with Hallmark or someone else, and had the potential for years of product. Look at long running ornament series like the Lionel trains, or even other licensed product like Star Wars, Star Trek and Marvel and DC Comics.

Yes, GI Joe ornaments are among the goofier licensed material released for the brand. I really like the ancillary products associated with GI Joe as much as the toys themselves, and I often find myself pausing to take a look at things some collectors would either find too kitschy or just scoff at. The side oddities are fun little offshoots that are often cheap or downright weird, but the few ornaments released were of a pretty high quality, even if they don’t generally appeal to the main focus of my Joe collection. I think the time is right for 80’s nostalgia to net us some Real American Hero product. Who knows, we may yet get our version of Joe hanging from a Christmas tree one day. Who wouldn’t want a little MOBAT hanging alongside the tinsel and lights?

 

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