Rescue Copter Pilot (Fisher-Price Adventure People)
By Past Nastification
The internets doesn’t seem to know this guy’s proper name, but the ladies at the bar around the corner call him “The Plumber” because he’s known to be good at laying pipe. Obviously, this must mean that cheapskate bar-hopping women don’t want to pay full price for a professionally licensed and bonded plumber when this handsome devil will do the work for almost free. All they have to do is take him home after buying him a few drinks. They say he’s a whiskey man because it helps him fly his copter better.
And see those eyes, ladies? He’s not looking at you. He’s looking up. Looking at where he’s going to take you- Heaven. And his smile (50% friendly, 25% confident, 20% relaxed, 3% smug, 2% emotionally unavailable) guarantees whatever he’s thinking about, you’ll enjoy it.
All that facial perfection is framed by a helmet. Maybe it’s a helicopter pilot helmet. But it could a helmet for any occupation that needs a kick-ass wraparound super chill visor. A jet pilot helmet. A tank guy. A guy who works around heavy equipment and stuff. Whatever the ladies need him to be, he is.
Only the seventies could have created a short-sleeve jumpsuit with bellbottoms. The Plumber wears it with a nonchalant coolness that would make Steve McQueen jealous (if weren’t busy being dead).
How did Fisher Price make such a generic figure so awesome?
Let’s take in the toy. Looking back at the FPAP, the figures tend fall into four subjective categories:
- Bland-but-loveable (the divers, swimmers, construction guys, and pilots)
- Moderate-level details (kayaker, dune buster, street urchin)
- High-level details (deep sea diver, astronauts, new reporters)
- Ridiculously fun (X-Ray man/woman, aliens)
When I first looked at this figure, it was basically the same as the other bland-but-loveable figures. It’s simple and minimally detailed. There are no stitches, seams, or wrinkles sculpted into the clothing. The helmet is about as generic as possible. The proportions are fine, but decidedly un-heroic.
But the eyes, the same ones that the ladies dig, are what bring life to the figure. They are the hat that works magic for Frosty the Snowman.
It’s the way they’re painted. Instead of looking straightforward at eye level, they actually are positioned looking up and over to the side. So then I dug through my box of FPAP, figuring that it was just this one particular figure. A slight factory imperfection, perhaps? Nope. They’re all like this (note that those are two different figures photographed). It adds a surprising amount of character. If the position of the paint was moved only several hundredths of an inch, the eyes would be standard/looking straightforward like all of the other FPAP figures.
FPAP heads are sculpted without eyes, making it hard to spot errors in paint application of the eyes. You’re probably tilting your head to the side, asking yourself, “What the frack* is he talking about?” If a GI Joe or Star Wars figure of this era had unpainted eyes, like most 1:18 Mego figures did, there were still be sculpted eyeballs and eyelids. Mego went the extra step of having a negative spot for the iris. But no eyes for FPAP. Just eye sockets. It’s both lazy and ingenious. Your brain fills in the blanks and assumes that there’s a sculpted eye under the paint, but there’s not. The offset eye placement of The Plumber was probably not an intentional design element, just a barely noticeable fluke. But one that imbues this figure with charm that other bland-but-loveable FPAP just don’t have.
There are several Fisher Price Adventure People pilots, but only this guy knows how to really fly.
*Unnecessary Battlestar Galactica reference.