It’s too bad the greatest small scale GI Joe astronaut figure was released at a time when I had stopped buying the large sets. The Defiant looked like a cool vehicle, and I loved the look of Payload, but I just couldn’t bring myself to seek out such a huge toy at the time. 1987 was the last year that I collected as a kid, and the figures were most of my focus. Soon after picking up what I found interesting that year, I stopped buying. Much of the reason came from my new obsession: cars. My father bought an old ’55 Chevy Bel Air that year, and we began working together to restore it. What fifteen year old could choose toys over a car?
If this figure had come out in ’85, I would have been all over it. I had been a space nut ever since watching the first space shuttle launch. Much of my enthusiasm came from my father, who followed the space program religiously back in the 60s. He kept a notebook in which he recorded all of the launches and other happenings from Mercury through Apollo, and he even collected the newspapers, magazines, and other material that were released at the time. Now that I think about it, I can see where my passion for collecting probably came from. It’s in my genes.
The second version of the mold, which came with the Crusader, a shuttle-only alternative to the gargantuan Defiant complex, ranks second only to his initial version because of some bright yellow coloring. It doesn’t bother me too much, since actual shuttle space suits have also sometimes been colored brightly. The fact is, this mold is so cool, I would buy it figure in any color. I thought I was going to in the 90s, as the Payload mold was pictured on the back of Star Brigade sub-line’s cards, but ultimately Eco Warriors Barbecue stood in for it. Too bad.