Sgt. Airborne (2003)

I remember this figure being a real oddity and a little hard to find for a bit when it first was released. Of course, that’s relative considering that the 2000’S series seemed to be more readily available than the more modern assortments have been, and there weren’t too many other collectors (at least in my area) to compete with at the time. I think it took about two tries at Walmart to find him. Remember when that was possible? Ah, memories…

The oddity with this guy didn’t center around his figure, but the package and file card. He was first released with the horribly stodgy code name HALO Jumper, and the file name of Wallace Weems (AKA Ripcord), then changed to Sgt. Airborne and the file name Franklin Talltree. I recall quite a bit of clamor for the variant packaging. We collectors can get pretty weird when it comes to these sorts of things.  I didn’t really care either way, since the figure was the same in both instances. The whole thing reminds me of the days of the initial 1990’s Star Wars figures and the search for card variants.

Among the Spy Troops Cobra disguises, his fits quite well. He’s supposed to be Copperhead, and the helmet is the best part of the disguise. In fact, the helmet and legs were later used by the Collectors Club to create parts of their version of the character. Airborne may have fooled more Cobras with his disguise than poor Shipwreck ever did.


Though I like the padded flight suit, with its excellent detail and interesting integration of removable straps, he’s really kind of a limited use figure for me. He’s definitely not as much of an all-purpose figure as the original Airborne. Having an uncovered head would have lent him to more uses for me in my displays, but as it is, I think he looks more appropriate in a cockpit than a firefight. In fact, he was later repainted as the pilot of the Sky Sweeper jet.

In the end, I think it would have made more sense for the figure to be called Ripcord than Airborne, but what do I know, I’m just a goofball with a blog, not a marketing expert.


  • And while the legs were used for the Club’s Copperhead (and its Python Patrol repaint), the torso, waist, and upper legs were used for another Club figure, the DTC Night-Viper.

  • I know most fans hate spytroops with a passion but i like them. In my area they were the first Joes and Cobras the toystores stocked in ten years. I had lost or misplaced all my A.R.A.H figures so it was Spytroops that helped start collecting again. Regaurding this version of Airborne i cant help but think he may have been intended for ‘cartoon colours’?

  • I tended to use his as Airborne since that was the “packaging variant” I got. I didn’t have either of those characters as a kid, so I don’t think I had as much as other Joe fans with actual opinions about who he should be did.

    I think his Copperhead helmet was one of the best disguise pieces Hasbro ever came up with for the SpyTroops line AND for a change, the body of the figure meshed with who it was supposed to be as opposed to guys like Tunnel Rat the Toxo-Viper or Grunt the Cobra C.L.A.W. It worked so well, that sometimes, I actually just wound up using him as a stand-in Copperhead if I was playing with my figures and needed Copperhead more than an paratrooper in the adventure (and bear in mind, I was in high school when this stuff came out, yet I still loved actually playing with my Joes–I think that’s what I really like about the SpyTroops era stuff is that they were well designed enough that my older self thought they looked cool yet I could still ACTUALLY play with them).

  • Mirroring the opinions of many here, I am fine with him being either Ripcord or Airborne but with that helmet and padded suit, he does look like an updated Copperhead.

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