The CORPS! HiPo
As a kid, I never really delved into The Corps! by Lanard all that much. I remember seeing them on the shelves, but I was never really all that taken by them, even when they were much cheaper than name-brand Joes. I bought a few Lanard figures here and there, but when I did, they were definitely doing something really different from what Hasbro was doing with the Joe brand (I remember a pair of fully vac-metal figures with light up weapons—the gold one had a hoverdisk and blaster while the green one had a shield). However, garage sales are a funny thing. I was reading my local paper and a garage sale one weekend mentioned it had “lots” of Joe figures and vehicles, so I figured I’d wander over. I was working on the Friday, but I was off Saturday morning, so I got up early and their selection was thankfully still pretty good. I wound up getting quite a few interesting vintage Joes, but the seller was smart and grouped the figures in bags and interspersed the bags with some knockoffs. That’s where this police officer (who I probably would have called HiPo as a kid) came from. It’s an interesting addition to my collection to be sure, but HiPo does kind of reinforce some of my childhood aversion to The Corps. He’s not a bad figure, but when purchased alongside a good batch of vintage Hasbro figures, he definitely looks a bit like the odd man out.
HiPo’s overall look reminds me of a motorcycle cop. The mold is decently detailed, though it is a bit soft compared to Hasbro’s offerings. However, Lanard made him look unique. The legs are designed to look like riding pants and he’s wearing knee high boots. The chest is a bit broader than a vintage Joe, and unfortunately, despite the bigger canvas, the detailing is a bit softer. There’s still some good detailing work on it, but it doesn’t seem quite as crisp as it does on Joes released at a similar time. The chest holster is nice, though even like some Joes that have rocked that look, I do question a holster that puts the gun on the center of your chest. It just seems like that would be a bit awkward to draw. The uniform detailing is decent, and I do like the badge on his chest and the epaulettes on his shoulders are well done. His arms are bare (sort of—more on that when I start talking about his paint work) and they look good, but with as barrel-chested as Hi-Po is, his arms look awfully scrawny. Up top, Hi-Po’s head is decent. He’s wearing a sculpted motorcycle helmet with another badge sculpted on the crown of his helmet. There’s a little bit of a visor on the open face helmet and he’s wearing goggles. HiPo has a pretty nice mustache and it’s a decent looking face. However, with as much of the face is covered, it leaves him looking a bit generic—and not in a good way. Honestly, even as an adult, I had trouble coming up with a unique name for this guy because he feels much more like a generic cop. If he’s actually supposed to be a generic cop, good work, Lanard, but I’m used to most of my figures being named individuals, so HiPo seems just a little odd because I don’t really get much of a character out of him. He’s a cop that rides a motorcycle. That’s it—there’s no other real defining aspect of his character and that’s a bit of a bummer. He is a solid generic motorcycle cop figure, but since I only scored one at the garage sale, I feel like he should be a unique individual and I just don’t get much of that kind of vibe from him.
Where I think at least this particular Lanard figure falls a little short is his paint work. The Joe line didn’t start cutting paint apps on molded details extensively until 1992-ish. The date on the inside of this figure’s leg has him listed as a 1990 figure, so if that was the year this figure came out and not just the year the mold was created, we’ve got some problems here. The legs are done in two tones. The pants are a very light tan while the boots are black, but the bottoms of the pants that are tucked into his boots aren’t actually painted. That makes the whole lower leg look like the boot when that’s clearly not the case when you do more than just glance at the figure. The sculpted boot laces also aren’t painted, and it makes the lower legs look more like a toy than anything else. Up on the chest, the paint work is better. His vest is khaki while the exposed undershirt is reddish orange. The holster strap is painted gray while the holster itself is painted brown and the badge on his chest is silver. It would be nice if the medals he wears under his badge got painted, but as it stands, the paint work on the chest is serviceable, if a tad underdetailed. Where HiPo has some real problems are on his arms. The arms have sculpted gloves, but they gloves aren’t painted so his gloves are the same Caucasian skin tone color as his arms, leaving him with some really funky growths on his forearms. I know Hasbro got pretty bad about not painting details back in the day, but they never went this far. The paint work on the head is decent. His helmet is white and the badge up there is also silver. His goggles are black, like they’re tinted, and his mustache is painted brown. The paint work on his mustache is a tad sloppy, and sloppy paint on a figure’s face is always a bit of a bummer to me.
HiPo is a decent figure, but the lack of paint detailing does really affect his quality quite a bit. Unlike the other The Corps! figure I got from the garage sale, this one kind of honestly feels like a knock-off. I don’t know if this figure came with a motorcycle or some other kind of vehicle, but as it stands, he’s just a little uninteresting. I know accessories have always been important to me, but this figure especially, without accessories, is just a little boring. Add in some of the obviously not painted but still nicely sculpted elements on the figure and you have one that looks a little off compared to his Joe cousins. Clearly, that’s not something that can be said about all Lanard product, but as it stands, HiPo is just a little bit weak.