Face Camouflage Insert (1988)
Ever thought about painting your face a la one of the members of the Joe team? I hadn’t, mostly because I can’t remember many of them who did so during my childhood collecting days. I guess there was Dusty in ’85 and Tunnel Rat in ’87, but that was it. Hit & Run got a big feature in this insert, since he was prominent in 1988, the year of this pack-in premium release.
I must admit, it was a pretty neat idea. After all, what kid doesn’t like smearing dirt all over their faces? Why not make it official, and brand the GI Joe name on some cheap make-up to capitalize on young boys’ propensity for getting their faces dirty?
I bet you didn’t know that face camouflage had been carried into every major battle by the Joe team. Well, that’s what it said in the insert included with the paints. The concept presented in the insert itself is actually more compelling than the little tubes of glop that accompanied the figures. There’s some pretty interesting comic style line art in the insert, and three of the four faces cross-sell some of the ’88 Joes very effectively.
According to the instructions, there were four different kits, including jungle, desert, night/snow, and sea. Wait a minute–snow and sea? Would painting white streaks on your face really make a difference in the snow? And yes, the instructions suggest that if you paint blue streaks on your face, it can simulate ocean waves. Ridiculous as that sounds, I have to give them points for originality, and also for thinking like kids. My only complaint here is the lack of representation for air camouflage, though I suppose you could paint some white on your face to simulate clouds.
I have to wonder how many of the more dense kids of the 80s were confused, and thought that the stuff was meant for the toys. They were probably gripped by frustration at trying to apply tiny streaks of color to their toys, and just squeezed the entire tubes out onto their figures. Somewhere, there must be a pile of 1988 figures smeared with black, brown, green, white, and blue make-up. Whatever the kids did with them back in ’88, I sure hope they heeded the instructions and washed up with plenty of soap and water.