Tracker (1991)

1991, the year I got back into Joe collecting, was also sort of the birth of my adult geekdom. It began for me with the release of Heir to the Empire, the Star Wars novel that appeared to be the sequel story we had never gotten. The sudden appearance of a new Star Wars book was exciting. Did it mean a new movie, toys, etc? Whatever the case, I read it voraciously, and was hooked on all aspects of the galaxy far, far away all over again, from the movies to the toys. That interest also fueled other nearly forgotten remnants of childhood, GI Joe being one of them. I had seen the latest figures in a toy magazine that I had picked up to read about old Star Wars toys, and my curiosity was piqued.

So I eventually got up the gumption to make a trip to Children’s Palace. I hadn’t been there in years, and felt kind of weird about it. After all, what adult goes to a toy store to buy toys for himself? But the lure of the toys was greater than any potential embarrassment. I went in and perused the GI Joe section, and saw most of the current year’s figures on the shelves. I suppose I could have bought all of them, but two stuck out to me. The first was Snake-Eyes outfitted in a fashionable new blue getup. The other was an odd-looking fellow who I found intriguing even though he was unfamiliar to me. I picked up both of them. I was back on the Joe wagon, and haven’t looked back since.

Maybe I’m missing something, but Tracker sure has an odd look considering that he’s a Navy SEAL. He looks to me like he’s out on some PT rather than a combat mission. His look is just plain strange, and some aspects are downright inexplicable, like his Geordie-esque visor and high-powered running shoes. 1991 was of course the first year of missile-firing gimmicks, and although Tracker doesn’t include one, he does have an inflatable raft, a real first for a 3 & 3/4 inch Joe.

15 comments

  • Yeah, seriously. What adult would go a toy store looking at the toys for himself? C’mon!
    Oh wait, yeah. Me, too.

  • I’ve often wondered what inspired Joe design teams in terms of sculpt and paint–what went into conceiving Tracker? WHY does he have those running shoes?? Why do they have Lakers colors??? And what does the rest of the number on his shirt make out to be??

  • I totally had this toy as a kid. The raft was money cause I could play with it in the swimming pool or bath tub.

  • Do indoor malls and shopping centers still have toy stores? Ever since Kay-Bee folded I haven’t been to one. Then again, I don’t think there are many indoor malls left to begin with.

    Tracker is all about his awesome inflatable raft. Easily one of the best accessories in the line’s history. That makes him a winner in my book, but he still gets a lot of grief due to his choice of footwear and suit colors. I never noticed that his visor stood out so much, either. That’s another negative right there. But the sculpt itself still rocks and merits revisiting whenever the o-ring Joes show up next.

    • Didn’t they reuse the mold for Action Man in the 2004 Night Force 6-pack? And early prototypes showed it was going to originally be Tracker, with a green shirt and gray pants.

      • Yep, Hasbro reused him as Action Man and went with the orange shirt which the UK character wore. Wish they released him in those prototype colors somehow. DDP also merged the Tracker and Action Man characters into one guy and then killed him off.

      • The hand painted proto at the convention was shown in awesome Night Force colors. But, the fig was changed to Action Man at the last minute. Back in ’04 and ’05, you could get legit NF Tracker unproduced figs from Asia. They weren’t too expensive at the time. But, now, they are very hard to find and I’ve heard that the current going rate for the figure is in the $225 range.

  • Amazing design and colors for a (river) NAVY S.E.A.L.!
    😉

  • I like Tracker… My brother got him back in 1991. We were really excited to try out his inflatable raft! But I always thought his outfit was definately not military. He looks like some kind of decathlon athletic training suit.

    Thats fine unless you want to send him on a covert mission…

    • Well, Tracker has good camo for autumnal forests. That would make him not quite a man of all seasons, just one season.

      I agree, he looks more like an athlete (notice the similarities to The Fridge & Captain Grid-Iron). He looks more suited for wilderness exploration or search & rescue where helicopters & vehicles can’t go (but rafting a river can).

      I often wondered in a rafting race who would win, 1991 Tracker or 1989 Stalker?

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