Scramble Pilot (2000 Timeless Collection)
I was a 12 inch GI Joe collector for a period of time. I had seen the larger figures from time to time over the years, though I had little exposure to them as a child. When I began collecting the small GI Joes, and toys in general again as an adult in the early 90s, I naturally began to see them more and more via the various toy books and magazines that I read. The 30th anniversary collection of 1994 really brought the older toys to the forefront for me, and set me off for a while on a collecting frenzy for the big guys. Sadly, my interest later waned, and I sold off everything within a few years. I really must elaborate some day on my transient fickleness when it comes to toy collecting. It continues to plague me even now. As I write this, I’m in the process of purging my collection of Transformers Classics, Generations, etc. figures.
The Action Pilot, specifically the Scramble set, was high on my list to acquire during my period of 12 inch collecting. It represented everything I found fascinating about the large scale toys. Having grown up as a Star Wars kid, I wasn’t familiar with the idea of toys with removable clothing or large amounts of gear, unless it was a vinyl cape and a lightsaber. The older GI Joes opened up a whole new world of collecting and play to me, as now the uniform and accessory was of utmost importance. The Scramble set also interested me because it was an example of a set contemporary to its time of release. Many of the other GI Joes of the 60s were based on World War II era uniforms and equipment.
The Scramble pilot set is just plain awesome. From the grey flight suit to the wonderfully detailed helmet and accessories, this figure exemplifies the detail and quality of the 1960s GI Joe figures. From the standpoint of an 80s kid, these Joes don’t seem as much to me like toys as my era of Joes. That’s an odd thing to say, but I suppose the age and the unfamiliarity turns these guys into something more than just disposable playthings. It’s as if they should be treated with great care, like some sort of museum piece. Maybe that’s simply due to the toys’ age, as I get the same kind of feeling from my father’s collection of postwar era Lionel trains. In the end, I just can’t imagine those highly detailed figures being tossed about in a backyard.
Fortunately, the Timeless Collection re-releases allowed those of us who missed this initial period of GI Joe to relive some of the excitement of the introduction of America’s Movable Fighting Man. I don’t have an original figure any more to compare the two any longer, but the uniform and the accessories match their old counterparts, at least in look. The more I study this figure, the more I want to return to these reissues and pick up a few more choice figures.