12 Joe A Days of Christmas: Day 8

Eight Command Rings! I know I covered the verse about rings three days ago, but this one fits better as an eight reference, I think. You wouldn’t want me to leave out three rings, would you?

1990 sure was a big year for package premiums. We already covered the same year’s Combat Pay inserts just a few days ago. This insert also showed up in packages, and prominently showcased Sgt. Slaughter and (oddly enough) a TARGAT shoving their respective jewelry in our faces. The Sarge looks more like a state trooper than usual, thanks to his mirrored glasses and wide brimmed hat. Maybe this is what inspired Funskool to make their Super Cop figure.

The Command Rings themselves were included in the figure packaging, and the concept reminds me of the old days of cereal and Cracker Jack premiums. I wouldn’t mind a cool little ring with my action figures nowadays. I’d wear one proudly, if it fit one of my adult sized fingers. In fact, speaking of free rings, I ordered a mail-in Phantom ring from that crappy movie back in the 90s. It was actually metal instead of plastic, but was too small to fit any of my fingers. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t slamming any evil that year.
Back to Joe, each of these rings featured a different element of the GI Joe forces, and Cobra is only the subject of one of the eight, with the TARGAT. Why is the Iron Grenadiers jet trooper so prominent? Maybe it’s just because the helmet has a nice nameless Cobra trooper look to it. Could also be the fact that the figure came out the previous year, like many of the vehicles picutured on the rings. Whatever the reason, this insert and the ring has to be the TARGAT’s fifteen minutes of GI Joe fame.


  • I remember that Phantom movie. Hard to believe there was a time when it wasnt possible to make a “good” super hero movie.

    On a pedantic note. Why is Sergeant Slaughter on the infantry ring? I thought he was a marine/ drill instructor?

  • I have one of them, the Arctic Force ring. Now I want to collect the rest!

  • Slaughter’s last new toy appearance in the vintage ARAH run was as a ring.

  • As I recall, I had the Arctic Force and the Airborne rings and I loved those things. Gosh, Rob, now I think I need to go check eBay and see if anyone is selling a full set of these bad boys. I’d never known how many there actually were until this article.

  • These and the Battle Ribbons were fun to collect, but it’s not that easy to complete a set. Each different ring is clearly visible inside the figure bubble, so at least we have an edge there. I have the Airborne ring right here in my desk drawer along with the Arctic Force one and maybe the Artillery or Tank Corps still inside a couple of MOC figures. I tried to collect a full set of rings and ribbons not long ago but gave up on the hunt due to their scarcity and overall pricey nature. A complete, loose set is a more viable option, but there aren’t many of those out there, either.

    I wonder if some rings are rarer than others? I haven’t seen the ones with Slaughter, Wet-Suit, and T.A.R.G.A.T.’s mugs as I do the ones with vehicles on ’em. Same deal with the ribbons, some appear to be more common than others. Still, they were neat little extras which provided a great added value for your buck and were always welcomed back in the day.

  • @ Clutch– Yeah, I was surprised when I looked on eBay last night at that. No one apparently has a complete collection for sale and each individual ring is around $6 and there were only a few rings for sale to begin with. I never would have thought those things would be so scarce.

  • I had just the Arctic and TARGAT rings. I think the 1989 Stalker figure is where one came from, maybe Metal Head, the other.

  • You think maybe the mirrored visor of TARGAT was as close as they could get to Cobra Commander? Not sure why they wouldn’t just do one for CC, but it’s a thought. I’d rather they had gone with more generic insignia, like the Airborne one. The Arctic Blast on the Arctic Forces ring doesn’t do anything for me. A polar bear on a chevron or something would be awesome, though!

  • I bought the test pilot Hal Jordan figure so I could get a Green Lantern ring for my daughter.

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