Rock N Roll (1982)
I was just a little late to the game as a kid to have been exposed only to the first assortment of small Joes. It was well into 1983 when my interest in GI Joe bloomed. My first figure was a swivel arm Cobra Commander, and he was followed up by a straight-arm Flash. I couldn’t resist the laser rifle, red pads and especially the visor (loved the visor figures!) Within the next year, my only other non-swivel arm Joe was Snake Eyes.
To be honest, I found the new recruits from 1983 to be much more interesting than the original team. In fact, on my next outing to get a figure, I picked out Torpedo rather than any of the refitted swivel-arm first series guys.
The refinements from straight to swivel arm go beyond the mid-bicep joint. The earlier figures overall have a chunkier look thanks to larger shoulder joints and a bulkier waist. Rock N Roll, like Flash, has some extra interest and character in his uniform. The crossed bandoliers are instantly recognizable and an iconic element of the character that’s endured.
Looking back at the original 1982-83 Joes, I have to say that I’m sorry I didn’t see them for their individuality when I was younger. Sure, they mostly wore green, but the different shades as well as little personality touches here and there helped to set them apart somewhat. I have to wonder if I would have been more inclined to collect them all as a kid if they had been released with individualized head molds as originally intended.