Pathfinder (1990)

This year at JoeCon, Hasbro displayed a group of conceptual figures, some of which were modern versions of classic designs, and others were new concepts. One of my favorites, which also made an appearance in the customizing class, was the Lawn Viper. What’s that got to do with a jungle specialist like Pathfinder? Well, I would like to posit that the Joe team has had its own groundskeeper for years, and this is him.

The man is equipped with all sorts of brush clearing gear. Sure, the packaging will tell you it’s for eliminating jungle foliage, but truth be told, Pathfinder was often sent on special missions to clear weeds behind the motor pool and cut down limbs that overhung the HQ’s open-top jail cell. Wouldn’t want a Cobra prisoner shimmying up a low hanging branch and making an escape.

In all seriousness, despite the ridiculous weaponry, I still find a lot to like with Pathfinder. The sculpt and colors are by far my favorite aspects of the figure. He really has a unique look, and there’s no confusing him with other Joes, particularly with his nicely camo patterned pants. To make yet another jungle trooper insteresting and different must have been a challenge, and refreshing the line with new secondary characters is an effective way of balancing out the many versions of Duke and Snake Eyes. I’m glad they didn’t do it as much with other lesser known characters. Could you imagine 54 versions of Recondo?


  • I hope Pathfinder (either the first or second versions) ends up my next figure–I like his look. I even plan on doing a custom that combines the best of both versions, while adding a bit of detail to the weapons, which I have in this combination:
    -V1 figure’s ammo belts, weed whacker blade and chasis
    -V2 (VAMP release from 2004) backpack and guns
    *Just paint the outlines of the ammo belts black and presto!

    Now I just need to figure out the figure parts combo….

  • I always thought he looked Caucasian in the card art, yet his head sculpt appears to be Asian instead. And his file card gives him an Italian surname. Go figure… The card art also bears a strong resemblance to Hunter S. Thompson.

    Pathfinder is okay but he’s no Recondo. He was cool in the DIC cartoon where he didn’t use that crazy weed whacker. I prefer the more subdued 2001 version where he switched to driver duties.

  • Saw him on shelf loose with all his gear last week and could barely resist taking him home. I’m a sucker for accessories, and his are way up there.

  • Pathfinder is a neat addition to a collection but more an oddity than necessity. The accessories are odd but real enough to be cool. But without the accessories he’s not great.

  • Not a bad figure indeed. He looks unique, but avoids looking too wild as many 91-94 figures do. I think it’s not just the goofy ‘weapon’ but also the figure looks more civilian, not geared for combat, than other Joes. He seems like the ideal Joe to combat the Cobra Buzz Boar, the ultimate menace to pristine lawns & gardens everywhere. Can Hasbro make a 3-pack with Pathfinder, the Lawn Viper, and a Garden Gnome B.A.T.?

    I agree about the Hunter S. Thompson look. After I first learned who he was, then saw the Pathfinder art again, I had the same thought.

  • To me he always looked like Roy Orbison, Adventure Gardener.

    (I know I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating.)

    Pathfinder definitely seems like the kind of guy that would have been sent on a few missions, and then relegated to groundskeeping duties. You just know if you drive up to wherever the latest G.I. Joe headquarters is, and someone’s outside mowing the lawn, that someone is bound to be Pathfinder. Mmmm, I smell fanfiction.

    “I used to be a G.I. Joe like you–and then I took a Dreadnok to the knee. Now I fight APHIDS, an evil terrorist insect species determined to conquer the rosebushes.”

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