Airman John–I think (1986 American Defense–I think)
I can’t lie, I think this is Airman John, the pilot character in Remco’s GI Joe wannabe, American Defense, but I can’t be sure. The mold was repurposed many times for the line and its offshoots. Just off the top of my head, Remco also produced US Forces, American Force and US Military using the same group of molds. There are probably many more that I’m not recalling, and that’s the problem in identification. Collecting Remco is like the wild west. I’ve been able to figure out some of the figures and lines available via old Tomart action figure guides and Google searches. The more you dig for these figures, the deeper the rabbit hole goes. Every search seems to reveal more variations. I know that quite a few collectors have sizeable Remco collections; someone just needs to compile information and pictures, similar to a certain famous GI Joe site. Who’s with me on starting YoRemco.com?
Having tried to track down a few of the Remco figures in recent months has left me flabbergasted when I see the amounts of money that folks are willing to drop on them. The Airman John mold seems to be one of the more widely available, and therefore cheaper. I presume the rarity of these knock-offs are what drives the prices, since most probably got trashed back in the 80′-90’s when kids abandoned their toys. After all, who would have had the forethought to save their K-Mart purchased cheapjack GI Joes?
On the subject of cheapness, I have to say that the quality on these figures is fairly high. The plastic seems to wear better than other well known knock-offs like the Corps. None of my Remco figures have broken digits. The weapons however can’t match Joe. The plastic is quite rubbery–heck I’d venture to say they are rubber. As you can see, this particular figure’s rifle suffers from a
Despite being a Joe imitation, the Remco lines had a few unique features. The most interesting to me are the split fingers on the right hand. I can best describe it as a sort of “live long and prosper” pose. It’s a pretty successful workaround for a single trigger finger, which would probably have broken very easily. The figures also featured some modular accessories that plugged into chests or thighs. A gun could be replaced with a knife, etc. It’s the same kind of thing Hasbro would do with Joe years later in the 25th anniversary line. A knock-off was an originator? Gasp.
Back to this mold, it’s a fair representation of a fight suit, although the helmet looks more akin to a medieval knight meets Tom Corbett. Remco arms are a strange affair, with thin, pinched elbows and rivets at the biceps. The head details are soft, thanks to the rubbery plastic of the head. The paint job is quite well done however, with some very crisp camo patterns. I prefer this color scheme to the plain silver of Airman John. Wait, did I say this was Airman John? Guess I better check YoRemco.com.