Wild Bill (2002 India)

The Sunbow cartoon had its fair share of Joe designs that weren’t totally representative of the figures to be found on shelves. Wild Bill was one of the more disappointing figures to me as a kid. He was such a larger than life character on the show that when I picked up the Dragonfly, I found him to be lacking. Naturally, since he was an ’83 release, his sculpt was much slimmer than the ’84 and ’85 figures. Thus, he just couldn’t quite hang with studs like Flint, Dusty and Shipwreck.

That’s not to say that the original isn’t a well designed toy. It has some signature Wild Bill elements: mustache, glasses and cavalry hat, vest and six-shooters. But the differences from the animated version stood out to me. His cartoon persona wore a blue flight suit with an almost life preserver type orange vest. He also sported a tan rather than blue cavalry hat. Not a big deal, though, right? Well, to a twelve year-old cartoon geek, yes.

Luckily, Funskool released a sort of mirror universe Sunbow Wild Bill in 2002. Did it satiate my need for a Sunbow Wild Bill? Initially. This one wore an orange flight suit with a silver vest and blue hat. His original arms have been swapped out and the molded forearm sleeves painted in a flesh tone. He also wore what look like silver bracelets. I suppose they kind of look like bare forearms if you squint.

Okay, never mind. That whole Sunbow similarity thing was a stretch, even for me. While I appreciate a valiant effort, upon further review, the play on the field is reversed: Funskool Wild Bill is as ridiculous as other Funskool exclusive designs.

8 comments

  • This guy is so bad he’s good. Sadly, I tracked down both the silver and black sunglass versions. But, at least he was something new to buy. Hard to believe it’s been over 10 years since this guy came out. Time flies, I guess…..

  • Part of the problem with the original Wild Bill might be that Hasbro hadn’t quite finished designing him by the time “The MASS Device” first aired. Look at his debut in the comics (issue #11) where he lacks his glasses and looks nothing like the figure. Also, the ’83 catalog pic is blurry enough to keep you guessing. Then Larry Hama began to use Wild Bill more as the Joes’ de facto air transport pilot, often teaming him up with Airborne, and even having him lead the team on a couple of missions by the late 80’s. Meanwhile, Sunbow jacked up Bill’s cowboy angle a notch and this ended up making him a lot more popular. I was okay with the ’83 version except for the size of his head. This guy? He looks more like he should be hanging with Tiger Force Hardtop instead. I think the ’92 WB in the ’83 colors and a Sunbow variant would have been interesting choices. But the 25th Anniversary kinda covered that ground already.

  • This is one of my favorite versions of Wild Bill. Seriously.

  • Except that I don’t use him as Wild Bill. Such a radically different looking repaint needed to exist but not as the old character.

    • Yeah, radically different Funskool release make fun new characters.

      The 1991 Cobra Commander arms are an odd match that adds to the strangeness of this figure.

      Steel-toed boots, too!

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  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    With whole orange prison jumpsuit thing going on, this could be a totally different character if you wanted it to be. Apparently after making his big break, he stole a cavalry hat, weapons and gloves, and joined up with Cobra.

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