Wildcard (1988)

Wildcard is an-looking odd driver for an odd-looking vehicle.

The Mean Dog was an interesting concept but made for an unwieldy toy. It detaches into three sections: a gun turret, missile vehicle and scout car. I don’t mind the design, and I think for the most part it’s a quite nice looking vehicle. However I don’t get the turret just sitting in the back. It looks be on the verge of falling out during sudden acceleration, like a refrigerator hurriedly loaded into the back of a pickup truck.

On to the figure, and first off–the helmet. Wow! The thing is monstrous, and just doesn’t quite sit down far enough on his head. It almost beats out Wild Boar for the Most Ill-Fitting Headgear award. And what is that on the front, a washboard? Unfortunately the helmet and head sculpt showed up again a few years later as Major Altitude, with equally goofy-looking results. The accessories aren’t all bad, however, as he carries a very cool and unique weapon in the form of a machete with sheath. Speaking of which, what was with the machete mania in 1988? First Muskrat, then Spearhead, now this guy. It’s like they all went shopping at Home Depot with Danny Trujillo.

Overall the figure has an interesting look, with his open and ripped sleeveless shirt. I suppose his clothing style is meant to represent his destructive nature as explained in the file card and also portrayed in his comic appearances. Since he breaks everything around him, it would stand to reason that he probably couldn’t keep a shirt in one piece. Looking at his design as a whole, including the strange inclusion of the machete, I’m beginning to wonder if he was originally meant to be a driver figure. Was he designed to be a Dreadnok and then later placed with the Mean Dog? Or was it simply influenced by the popularity of Crocodile Dundee in the late 80’s? Maybe the body was designed as a “Jason Voorhees joins Cobra” mail-in offer and fell through at the last minute. It’s one of those figures whose design origins I would like to know.

6 comments

  • The one figure from that year I haven’t gotten, I have the mean dog, like it, but I agree about the turret design. I never did figure out how I missed this figure though, he is cool but somehow, someway he just never made it into my collection, something I need to fix at some point I guess.

  • You brought up some interesting points about Wildcard. I never thought of him as not having been meant to be a driver. The figure is very Dundee-ish, more so than your average Dreadnok type since the face sculpt is very soft and appears neutral. I could never understand how the Joes let a goofball like Wildcard join up but it’s not like there wasn’t a precedent (see: Bazooka) there to begin with. He’s an okay figure though, and the machete/sheath combo does add some extra value for a driver.

  • I always thought that the Mean Dog was a cool vehicle, at least as a whole, but not in it’s component pieces. Wild Card’s intro in the comic was handled well by Hama.
    And I have never made the connection between Wild Card and Mjr Altitude until now. Now I know!

  • I plan to get a couple of extras of the version one and two Major Altitude in order to give them distinct heads–I don’t like the aspect of Major Altitude and Wild Card being twins. The head will be from a Unifighters figure (hopefully compatible with Joe torsos), while the helmet will be either a repaint of the Comic Pack Lady Jaye with a microphone attached, or the chopper helmet that came with the senior ranking officer version of Ace in the 25th Anniversary line.

  • I have few collecting regrets. But, selling my Mean Dog in 2001 is one of them. It was a fun vehicle that I miss.

    As for this figure, there’s not much to say about it. He kind of sucks. The machete is the redeeming factor and looks great on the Night Force Muskrat. But, when that’s the best thing you can say about a figure, you know you’re dealing with a loser.

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