1983 GI Joe Product Catalog – Part 5
The new Skystrikers are real beauties, opined Stalker in the first line of the Sunbow series’ GI Joe animation. I echo his sentiment, and would add that they’re also quite photogenic. The Skystriker photos were my favorite of the many shots in the ’83 catalog. The plan and elevation style inset shots show off the detail and scale of the toy, and the space dedicated to it is second only to the HQ playset. This is obviously the centerpiece vehicle of the year. Even Ace gets a full figure shot, unlike most other drivers in the catalog. The toy itself didn’t disappoint in its play value. From the swing wing design and moving landing gear to the ejector seats with parachutes, the Skystriker remained of of the most well used Joe vehicles in my collection for many years. There are some differences between the catalog shots and the production vehicle, most notably the black tail fins.
The aircraft spotlight continues with all-new Joe and Cobra ‘copters. Does it get much better than the FANG and Dragonfly when it comes to iconic copters? The two vehicles were used throughout the Sunbow years, and there were toys produced based on them even decades later. The Dragonfly survived to be part of Tiger Force, the Street Fighter line, and also the 2000 collector series. The FANG was repainted as part of Dreadnok Air Assault set, but the FANG concept lived on through the 2000s era, and even into the 25th anniversary series.
As long lived as the helicopters have been, the foam Falcon and Viper gliders were a one and done concept. Although the glider theme would return in the 90s with two entire assortments, these fragile foam flyers wouldn’t be seen again. I know that my Falcon glider didn’t survive too many flights. Both gliders pictured in the catalog are shown with a much brighter color scheme than what was produced. Again, the pilots weren’t too visible in the photo, but we all know what those two look like.
Finally, the focus is on Flag Points. This promotion, that ran through the entirety of the Real American Hero era, was another brilliantly conceived bit of marketing. Though the mail-in plans were notably vague at the time, the program would soon take off like a guided missile.
Looking back on the small Joe era’s second year catalog has been both a memory jogger and a nice overview of the toys of the time. It’s also been a nice break from the grind of just figures and vehicles and such. Someday, maybe I’ll continue the series, or even expand it to cover some of the various contest and mail-in brochures or catalogs, pamphlets or whatever you call them. What do you call them again?