Free Fall (1990)

Guess what? It’s a figure from 1990 that I really love. Have I mentioned before that 1990 is one of my favorite GI Joe years? Soon, I will have covered them all, and you won’t  have to hear me sing their praises on and on. Even then however, I’ll probably still find ways to talk about them in other entries.

Free Fall is similar in concept to previous paratrooper types like Ripcord and Airborne, but he successfully carves out his own little special niche in my Joeverse, thanks to a word that applies all around to this figure: unique. The entire mold and its accessories are a great breath of fresh air. Even in a year that featured several paratroopers with the Sky Patrol sub-team, Freefall stands out. At first glance, he might look plain, but there are so many nice details like the textures on his helmet, gloves, and boots that he’s become a favorite. For me, he’s also sporting a more combat-ready look than fellow jumper Ripcord.

As a paratrooper, he’s got a look all his own, and I can’t recall his parts ever being being reused elsewhere. There was a reuse of his bio and file name as Spc. Altitude in the Assault on Cobra Island multi-pack, but I call BS on it being Free Fall with a new name, since the figure looks like Ripcord instead of this guy. I assume the reason was that the Ripcord code name couldn’t be used because of Hasbro’s movie Ripcord was out the same year. I understand the need to avoid confusion, but why did Free Fall’s identity have to suffer as a result?

His look is about all he’s got going for him for those who place a lot of stock in comic and cartoon appearances. He’s been a non-presence in the GI Joe comics, and only made a couple of animated appearances. Granny Dearest, a Metal Head centered episode, was his closest to a starring role in the infamous DIC series. It’s as ridiculous an episode as you can imagine, involving Metal Head’s grandmother, and the wackyness that ensues when Metal Head convinces her that he holds a high position in Cobra, who battle the criminal GI Joes. Anyway, back to Free Fall, among his contributions to that particular episode was his ability to point out to the other Joes where landmarks around Chicago were located. He’s from Downers Grove, so I’m assuming that was a quality little detail on the part of the episode’s writer. An amazing feat, considering some of the dreck that came out of DIC. Although on a recent viewing, I realized that it was most likely simply because Free Fall had an aerial view of the city in that particular scene. Please forgive me for attempting to suggest that the DIC series was given a bit of forethought.


  • He did also disguise himself as a SAW-Viper in one episode.

    I just finished a deal where I got this guy and his helmet with mask. I’ve got his backpack, now I just need his hose and rifle.

    Sorry about your figure’s waist piece.

  • In my Joeverse, Freefall is to Updraft and their Retaliator as Airborne is to Wild Bill and their Dragonfly.

    I went to high school in Downers Grove up to the year before Freefall showed up. Weird. Going by his file card and DIC appearance, I imagine it you had Fred Jones from Scooby-Doo join up with the Joes, you’d likely wind up with Freefall.

    It’s certainly one of the best figures from an outstanding year. As in Salvo’s case, I only wish the helmet had matched the card art. Otherwise, Freefall is another great winner from 1990.

  • @Clutch, great minds think alike – I have Freefall riding shotgun with Updraft too!

  • 1990 is one of my favorites as in many cases you can see the brand going back to basics

    I remeber him appearing in the odd DIC episode but there is no way on Earth i’m going to watch them again. Most of my disgust from that particular series came from the low quality bootleg i bought. Every episode finished “Coming up next, Dudes pizza time!”

    I also undestand that Freefall is extreamly well educated and some even theorise that the reason he wasnt part of Sky patrol was because he was too pompous?

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I don’t think this figure looks plain at all. I like the camo colors and all the details on Free Fall. Great looking figure.

  • I remember using this guy a lot. While I liked my one Sky Patrol figure (Airborne), Freefall always got a lot more use. I think it was because while I liked Airborne’s look, Freefall’s was a bit more combat-ready with the nice camo. I could use him just as easily on the ground as in the sky and that was great. Plus he had that really nice (and unique) rifle that looked pretty cool. The helmet is a nice touch and I really liked that you could move the breath mask part down while still leaving the helmet and visor intact. While I’m sure he spent quite a bit of time without the helmet too since he has a nice head sculpt, I also know that helmet on but mouth exposed as a pretty common look for him since it really made him look pretty impressive.

  • There are two things that really bug me about this figure, though: the way the arms fit to the torso and the empty (?) pistol holster on his chest. Stretcher has a similar hoster, which on ’82 Clutch isn’t so bad, but they looked better in ’87 than ’90. Free Fall is kindofa non-character for me, which will be good when I figure out what I want him to be.

  • With Ripcord, Crazy Legs, Airborne and the 6 Sky Patrol’s guys, Freefall sits in the rear of my C 130…awesome figure!

  • @Dekkard: It’s brilliant, isn’t it? You have two Joes and a copter being released in ’83. Then, come ’90, you have a new pilot and gunner/paratrooper plus a second, updated copter.

    I like to think of them as having a friendly rivalry. Freefall and Updraft like to kid WB and Airborne about being the “old timers” and boasting that the Retaliator can fly rings around the Dragonfly, but at the end of the day all four Joes enjoy working as a cohesive unit.

  • @Clutch – that’s exactly the kind of thinking that makes this hobby great! I have similar thoughts with the additional dynamic that some missions the Dragonfly has to fly cover for the Retaliator when the latter is in recovery mode.

  • This is the first time I’ve seen Free Fall “all geared up”. This figure looks terrific with accessories on. I hope Mark Bellomo’s updated book will show the figures look with their stuff on.That’s also the problem YOJoe has. Not every figure profile shows them complete with their accessories.

  • Downers Grove was the home of another high flying superstar as well: Macho Man Randy Savage! Also Free Fall has a little Tommy Lee Jones look to his facial sculpt.

  • Acer, it was the same episode. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.