There’s a charm about the original thirteen Real American Hero GI Joe figures that transcends the differences between the early figures and later releases. Say what you will about the repeated parts and simple sculpts and paint schemes, but I still love the class of ’82-83. I find it hard to pick out a favorite among them, but every time I break out the original Zap, he grows on me more and more.
One of the things that I hadn’t appreciated with the original team as a kid was the variation in uniform colors. I noticed it in the Sunbow cartoon (even though those designs weren’t always true to the figures) but somehow it slipped by me with the toys. Now that I’m looking again, I think I prefer Zap’s lime green color over many others. It’s not quite neon, but I find it pleasing to the eye. Yeah, I’m strange.
Varation hunters have something to be pleased about with Zap. If Joe collectors were like Star Wars collectors, Zap would be a variant superstar. His bazooka comes in three flavors. There’s a two handled version, and two variants of the single handle. One of the single handles is much wider, and just looking at it in comparison to the average RAH hand gives me the heeby-jeebies. Since I’m pretty sure he likes his right thumb, I’m not putting that thing in Mr. Melendez’s hand anytime soon. The other version of the weapon has a thinner handle that doesn’t risk an unfortunate thumb snapping incident.
Of course, Zap’s countenance doesn’t match up with his comic or animated counterparts, as it’s simply a reuse of the Grunt mold. This was remedied in the 90’s redesign and also in a comic pack, although the uniform didn’t feature the distinctive harness. The modern style version finally got it all right