1982 GI Joe Product Catalog – Part 2

Continuing on from yesterday, I neglected to mention the inspiration for going back to coverage of a catalog, and specifically the first year. When recording a recent Flag Points episode, I was struck by memories of the Christmas catalogs of old, sometimes also known as Wish Books. I would spend plenty of time as a kid looking through those wonderful toy tomes between September and January each year. If anything, these product catalogs could be seen the same way, although I’m tempted to call them Wish Pamphlets. Considering it’s close to the holiday shopping season, I thought I would indulge in a little flashback wishing.

The second part of the 1982 catalog focuses in the GI Joe vehicles. First up is what’s dubbed the Combat Series. These are the lower price point items that did not initially include driver figures. I say I initially because the JUMP would later be offered with Grand Slam. I don’t know who this is on the launch pad, as the boots and gloves look black. The designation of different vehicle classes would continue in later years, as assortment sizes were broken down into designations like alpha and bravo. The concept of movable and folding legs supports were a big feature for the year, and bascially anything without wheels had them.

The right side of the page focuses on the Battle Series, or mid-sized vehicles. Classics like the VAMP, HAL and SMS populate the display. Again, there are differences from these vehicles and what would end up on store shelves. Driver figures like Hawk and Short-Fuze have black visors rather than the familiar clear plastic, which make for a cool looking, if impractical design.

Like the file cards that were mentioned on the cover of the catalog, the equipment blueprints get a call out. This simple, yet effective addition to the toys’ mythos was another groundbreaking bit of marketing that really brought the toys to life for kids of the day. Speaking of marketing, the fact that the drivers can’t be found anywhere else is handily pointed out.

Tomorrow, we finally get to the single figures. Stay tuned, as some of the familiar faces of the 80s GI Joes’ first series may look a little different.


  • By count, I guess I had 6 of these as the only vehicle set I didn’t have was the HAL until just this past April. The only figures I didn’t have from 82 were Grand Slam and Grunt.

  • I really must assemble the model kit of the HAWK missile system and see if it is the same as the one in the picture here.

  • I loved all the stuff offered for the line’s first year. It was like the old green army men had received an upgrade in articulation and equipment. The uniform nature of green and gray found throughout the figures and vehicles spoke modern military like nobody’s business.

    I would have liked a shot at those black visors. They just looked cool, practical or not. And the fact that you could get exclusive drivers with the pricier vehicles who were actual important characters in the comic book was sheer genius! Clutch quickly became my favorite Joe thanks to his keen characterization in the comic. In addition, the VAMP was awesome and destined to be a classic. And you HAD to have the MMS in order to get Hawk. He was the team leader!

  • I finished HAWK missile system [and the search light wagon it came with]. The plastic was crap, the instructions were crap and its ’32 scale opperators were crap [all miscast and gangly]

    From what i can tell, its mould was clearly used to create the MMS pictured above. Now if i can only figure out how to load the photo

  • I’ve painted some of those visors with gloss black acrylic paint for customs over the years, and they do look nice, though I realize that visors on e-bay can be pricy.

  • I stared at this catalog too much! As if the vehicles could materialize from the pages. But I never realized the class assortment of Combat & Battle similar to today’s Alpha, Bravo, etc.

  • The RAM was an awesome motorcycle, any figure you had could be cool on this motorcycle. And if I’m not mistaken it’s Flash on the JUMP.

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