1983 GI Joe Product Catalog – Part 2
Continuing from yesterday’s post about the 1983 catalog, it’s the section that first greets you at the top of the pamphlet. This section got the most attention from me way back when. I still have a very vivid memory of going to get a haircut, and waiting for what seemed to be an interminable amount of time. I’m sure it wasn’t that long, but to my ten year old mind it was an eternity. Luckily, I had my GI Joe catalog to help fill the time. Funny enough, I see the same thing with my young son, as he’s been fascinated lately by the pack-in brochure included with his Ninja Turtles and Lego blind bag minifigs. The cross sell concept is apparently still effective and going strong.
The figures are the stars of this first section of the catalog, and rightfully so. The breadth of designs and personalities are a large part of what made GI Joe a hit with 80s kids. Most of these same characters are still compelling decades later. The photo showcases the new recruits well, placing them front and center in a marvelously rendered and rocky environment, complete with blue sky over the horizon. Snow Job is the lone exception, getting his own little snowpatch hangout. I assume there’s either a 1/18 scale snow machine or a box of baking soda just off camera. The other environmentally specific figure, Torpedo, gets no special treatment, and simply poses on the rocky ground in his flippers. The refitted first series figures are also on display, and even get a nice onset photo to show off the new “swivel arm battle grip.” By the way, I think that beautifully descriptive term for a mundane feature should be enshrined in the halls of marketing legend, right next to its older Kung Fu brother.
The APC also features prominently in this section. Its appearance here is sensible, as the vehicle also functions as a carry case. I was always impressed with the shot of the topless APC, as its absolutely crammed full of Joes. I may have to recreate that shot in my display someday. I just hope they all remembered to wear seatbelts.
Carrying on with the carrying theme are two carrying cases. The Collector Display Case, which can hold twelve figures, weapons and file cards, functions not only as storage but can also be hung on a wall. The other, a less titanic traveling tote, is the Pocket Patrol Pack, a legendary item in the annals of kid nerdery. This wearable case, while goofy, is less of an overt “steal my lunch money” sign than the Star Wars Chewbacca action figure bandolier.
This catalog sure brings back memories, and just as effectively as the toys themselves. I just need to find a pristine copy that I can dog-ear all over again. In the meantime, I wonder: can anything top the 1983 action figures? What new vehicles and other Joe toys awaited us thirty years ago? Would Cobra finally get its own arsenal of vehicles? Stay tuned…