Recondo (2004)

The saga of the interchangeable Recondo and Clutch (or Double Clutch, as he was known for a while) in the early 2000s can be a confusing thing. In 2003, the same mold represented these two very different characters. Not an odd thing in the GI Joe world, considering that mold re-use has been pretty common since the days of the original figures back in the 1960s. The first Real American Hero series borrowed parts from one another, and at the end of the 90s RAH run, repaints were frequent. So in this case, who’s who?


Recondo first saw release in the 2000s in a two-pack along with the revamped Iron Grenadiers. Both were pretty well-done figures in terms of sculpt and proportion, especially when compared to the initial relaunch assortments. The mold features extra articulation at the wrists and boot tops, and these small additions really improve poseability without intruding upon the look of the figure. It’s the sort of stealthy incorporation of improvements that I wish had been put into place in the 25th anniversary series. Sure, those later figures also had moving wrists, but Recondo here doesn’t lose his if you look at him crossways.

This 2004 repaint was part of a Valor vs. Venom special value pack that also included Wild Bill and the Tiger Storm Copter, as well as a Sand Viper repaint. The previous year had seen it also released in green as Double Clutch as the driver of the Desert Coyote. To make matters more confusing, another repaint as Recondo (with a new boonie hat head) was also part of Valor vs. Venom in 2005. What was he driving? The Desert Coyote. What? I know, I know. It’s really strange. Well, guess what–the previous Clutch-driven Desert Coyote was also released again (boxed instead of carded) in Valor vs. Venom as well. So in the course of three years, you could get two versions of Recondo, and the same version of Clutch twice. Whew.

To me, the mold has always read more as Clutch than Recondo. Without the distinctive hat and moustache, the two most recognizable elements of the team’s premiere jungle operative, this might as well be someone else. That someone else, if you read the Devil’s Due comic at the time, would most likely be Clutch. With a cap and chest harnessed sidearm, he looks the part of a motor pool specialist. This particular repaint could also function in the role of an unofficial member of Night Force, with its dark color scheme.

Recondo (2003)

Recondo (2003)


  • To tie him more to Recondo, I gave him a black version of the rifle his 2003 figure came with. On the subject of the Clutch figure, I got a headless copy a while back and set out to recreate a custom I saw that swapped out the head and lower legs, just to differentiate him enough from Recondo.

  • Well its easy to mistake both characters. Clutch was always chasing girls and if we are to beleive action figure therapy, Recondo spends most of his time in sleazy clubs.

  • Getting a feeling collectors never really liked this line. They were kind of rare when they came out in Ontario. When they were seen, they were only $2.99, and no one bought them. I guess collectors weren’t feeling the big shoulder joints/screws.

  • I’m not totally against the idea of shaving a character (maybe Recondo got tired of the ‘stache? Even Tom Selleck shaved once). But the figure design doesn’t look jungle-ready at all, and that makes it hard to accept for Recondo. Not a bad “Rise of Cobra” type of reinterpretation of Clutch. Weird black elbow joints, though.

  • The big controversy over this figure at the time was that collectors would have to spend $11 to army build the Crimson Sand Viper. (Remember when the biggest availability issue was getting 20+ of a single figure instead of seeing them at all?)

    But, this set ended up heavily clearanced, like a lot of the 2004/2005 releases did. I was never a fan of this mold: either for Clutch or Recondo. The figure itself isn’t bad. But, it didn’t really fit either character.

  • I picked up this set as soon as i saw it. Very little VvV stuff made it to my country as Spytroops performed so badly [a combination of kids prefering to play Halo and Yugioh and soccer mums frwaking out over John Howards decission on Iraq 2].
    I have a blonde moustache [like my namesake] but i wont be shaving it off as i’ve had no complaints about it.

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