Wild Bill (1983)
Wild Bill is one of those figures that not only looks different in his cartoon incarnation, but in his original comic appearance as well. Maybe that’s because he’s usually pictured sitting in the pilot seat of a helicopter rather than running about with his teammates. As a kid, my Wild Bill figure pretty much stayed in the Dragonfly. Being an avid watcher of the cartoon, I always wanted a “better” Wild Bill figure, meaning one wearing a blue flight suit and orange vest. Oh, and also with a much less prodigiously sized noggin. If Wild Bill could describe it himself, he might say, “Woo-ee! My head sculpt is biggern’ all Texas. It’s like a whole other country!”
In retrospect, this figure has all the charm of the early 80’s GI Joes. It’s actually another very impressive driver figure, considering the entire figure is newly created. The quality of the driver figures is part of what drew me in as a kid, and looking at it as an adult, it was a brilliant marketing move. To make a kid pine for a cool vehicle, then add in a figure not available anywhere else, that’s genius. It’s downright diabolical marketing.
Though it was never repainted in the Sunbow style, most of the mold made a reappearance in India, in a sort of reversed Sunbow color scheme. It was just as crazy looking as you’d expect. Sunbow fans finally got their Wild Bill fix, to an extent, with a 25th anniversary comic pack homage, but the original remained unchanged after all the years.
Wild Bill works in quite a few cowboy and cavalry elements, from the six shooters, cowboy boots, steer belt buckle to the cavalry style hat and gloves. Then again, he’s not overly cowboyed-up and looking like a ranch hand like some of his later versions. Wild Bill’s Air Cav hat and glasses also bring to mind, at least to me, Robert Duvall’s Col. Kilgore from Apocalypse Now. “Cobra don’t surf!”