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.