Starduster (1987)

<Munch munch> Oh, hi again! Sorry, you just caught me finishing up my last box of GI Joe Action Stars cereal. It was pretty dry, but I think all that added sugar must act as a preservative. Anyway, I just slathered it in plenty of milk and it wasn’t too bad. Now I can get on with sending away for my free Starduster figure. Man, six to eight weeks seems like such a long time to wait for a figure. Waitaminute, what? The offer expired twenty-five years ago? Dangit! Ugh–why does my stomach feel awful all of a sudden?

Would I have been odd as a teenager to be buying box after box of GI Joe cereal just to mail off for a little plastic figure? The checkout ladies at the grocery store probably thought so. “It’s for my…uh…little brother. He loves the stuff…yeah.” Truth be told, that’s not how I got mine, but I did have a similar experience in my college years when I’d have to buy several boxes of Froot Loops to get that Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise figure.

The former trapeze artist turned GI Joe came first courtesy the infamous cereal mail-in, and was also available later alongside Hasbro Direct’s other Joe mail-ins. He’s quite the mish-mash of molds, and even saw a few parts variations over the years. Yeah, it’s a pain to get all of his different versions.

On to Joe fiction: Starduster made appearances in comics and animation–okay, okay, only if you count the cereal promos and commercial. Hmmm, can you consider that canon?

What more can I say–it’s a fun if goofy figure. So let’s see: circus background, baby blue uniform, cereal shape featured prominently on helmet. I’d say the Joe team has a solid cereal mascot on its hands. And he’s got a jet pack. Take that, Cap’n Crunch.

9 comments

  • I like this figure alot,. I have the 25th version, but he pales in comparison to this vintage version. By the time Starduster came out, I was completelty out of the GI Joe loop, having quit the comic at around #53.

  • I hope to get an original one at some point–maybe the one with the Recondo torso. I’ve got the 25th version, but hope to get an extra to give him not only a distinct headsculpt–but to also change out his torso and right hand, and give him the camo on his legs.

  • Never had the figure or tried the cereal. The baby blue color works for me since I’d first seen it on Gung-Ho, and the familiar Flash/Short-Fuze/Steeler head was okay for its time. The character remained so obscure that I used his name as my first moniker on USENET when I went online in 2000. I do like his circus background since it’s almost plausible compared to how Shipwreck and Quick Kick “enlisted” in the Sunbow cartoon.

  • The Fruit Loops Han brought back great memories. I too bought tons of Fruitt Loops in college just to get the certificate for mail away Hans. But, considering how much they went for back in those days, it was worth when I traded them away for Joes. (Think I got a complete TNT for one of them….)

    As for Starduster, this is a figure that should, by all accounts, suck. But, he doesn’t. I guess it’s just the right amount of vintage flair that allows him to overcome what should be goofy coloring. The jet pack also gives him a coolness factor and helps marry his coloring to his specialty.

    In Marvel Age 34, a jet pack trooper named Hedge-Hopper’s bio was featured, but with no picture. It’s likely it was an early form of Starduster before he was removed from the main line and became a mail away staple. Even with all the years he was offered, Starduster’s have never been overly common. Current Ebay pricing certainly reflects that!

  • I dig this figure, For his specialty, the coloring works. The frankenstein recipe of the differeny part variations work. And the filecard really works. Starduster rules.

  • The Action Stars cereal wasn’t that good but I did enjoy how the boxes had a cut-out-and-fold item you could use with your Joes.

    • I didn’t know there was a fold-out in the box. Has anyone ever scanned them in? Could be a neat diorama piece.

      Starduster is okay. But if everyone can fly a JUMP, he doesn’t seem that special. The figure, though rare, seems excessively overpriced, too.

  • When I see the image, I can picture a cartoon of Starduster saying “Remember kids, always eat your cereal. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet”.

    I remember someone in my family having to endure eating a few crappy boxes of cereal to get some mailaway item, but I’m not sure if it was Starduster or some other offer from another thing.

    In 87 or 88, even though 1983 was before my action figure time, I had the thought in my young mind that Starduster was from some early time, before the cartoon became a series. Something about him just looked older.

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