Tracker Tom (1999 Corps!)

Say what you will about Lanard’s Corps! line and its copycatting of RAH GI Joe, there’s no denying its appeal to collectors of the odd and unusual. At the line’s beginning, there were plenty of cribs from Joe, including some incredibly close representations of Joe equipment. For years, I’ve had a backpack that resembles Major Bludd’s as well as a near identical copy of Torch’s blowtorch in my parts box. The figures themselves weren’t quite as exacting in their resemblance to Joes, but the basic looks were there.

As the line continued later into the 80’s and 90’s, Lanard branched out in design, starting with the strange series of sports themed operatives in 1988 and followed by a new set of figures in 1999 dubbed the Max Power series. Tracker Tom hails from that series, in which the multi-pack figures were decorated in a new exclusive camo pattern. It’s an odd pattern, to be sure. I’m not quite sure what the look is going for; to me it looks like blowing leaves.

Where the Joe line released a Native American figure in Spirit, one would have expected the Corps! to follow suit with its own similarly outfitted version. Lanard went one step beyond however, and whether you consider it good or bad depends on one’s cultural sensitivity. Personally, I think the figure reaches into cartoonish levels of stereotype, with brick red skin, chest armor and bow and arrow.

The worst element of the figure is the face, which reminds me of the old days of the Caucasian Barbies that were simply painted brown to create a different race. He’s a throwback to the days of plastic cowboys and indians, an oddly jarring look for something produced as recently as the late 90’s.

6 comments

  • I’m not much of a Barbie historian but I see where you’re coming from. Tracker Tom looks pretty generic. But even the original ’84 Spirit Iron-Knife looked more like your average John Wayne “gotta kill ’em all” Native American than the more realistic “Predator Billy” we’ve seen twice already. Heck, even the 25th Anniversary version rattled some nerves with its exaggerated resemblance to Chief Sitting Bull’s famous portrait. Lanard was never known for going the extra mile and their ethnic characters suffered for it. Still, I was glad to get this figure when I did since it added a bit more diversity by the Corps! not-so-lofty standards. You can’t beat most of the Sportsmasters for sheer wackiness, though.

  • I think you could salvage the legs on this figure for customs–and maybe the arrows and quiver.

    Some of the parts I’m surprised are similar to Joe molds–Tracker Tom’s upper arms alone are like those of Wet-Suit V1.

  • Everything you say is true, and yet I almost like him for some reason.

  • His features aren’t distinctly Native American, but I don’t see his face as being overly “white guy”. Yeah, he’s a stereotype. I don’t get offended by toys too much, unless they are poor quality (break easy).

    Aren’t those wet-suit’s upper arms?

  • where can i get the original tracker tom with his red breastplate and baige pants

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