GI Joe General Colton (1994)
By Past Nastification
Unlike his teammate GI Jane, a recently reviewed figure, GI Joe got an action figure in 1:18 scale during the initial ARAH run. I’ll be referring to this figure and the character as “General Colton” for this review, not GI Joe, as to avoid confusion with the toy line as a whole. As the Hasbro/Marvel timeline would somewhat retcon General Colton into the ARAH continuity, by making him the first GI Joe. General Colton’s inclusion was passable as an “unrevealed” backstory, so it worked okay.
This figure was released in 1994, when General Colton the character would have been about 54 years old. This is an oddly time-locked figure, as President Kennedy in 1960 was mentioned on its filecard. The headsculpt doesn’t look that old and was probably meant to depict a younger General Colton as he would have appeared after the GI Joe team was initially formed (and perhaps not yet a general).
General Colton’s appearance in Marvel Comics around the same time was much different than that of the action figure. There were age lines, a beard, and a suit. He was a retired solider, and now a top-secret weapons system operator/government black ops type.
Hasbro used parts from its 1960’s-inspired Action Marine/Soldier/Pilot 1:18 scale figures (from the “Original Action Team” set) for General Colton’s body (plus a new waist) and topped it with a new head. The head has a fantastic face, clearly harkening back to the original GI Joe head. But it also has a beret that sits too high on the scalp.
There’s nothing fancy about this figure. Its accessory, an M60-ish machine gun, appears to be randomly thrown in (sadly, I don’t have one to show you, but have photographed a stand-in to approximate the look). The closest thing to “bling” on the figure is the shine of its two sculpted silver grenades. The medium green of the uniform is simple. The slightly opened right-side hand features an extended trigger finger; a slight design change used on the “Original Action Team” figures. The arm sockets were also set slightly lower, which doesn’t quite work.
Perhaps not the very last of the ARAH run, but General Colton feels like the bookend for it. General Colton was one of the last times that Hasbro used a good plastic “recipe” (I’m sure this isn’t the correct technical lingo) for its molded flesh tone for a long, long time. The flesh tone has a good “density” to it, for lack of a better word. During the near three years the Joes were off of toy shelves, Hasbro must’ve lost its ability to correctly pour plastic that didn’t look cheap. When the Joes returned for the Stars ‘n Stripes set, the plastic used for the flesh had a milky, not-quite translucent quality. General Colton’s plastic showed detail; the Stars ‘n Stripes figures looked like they should be showing veins. The paint details on General Colton may be sparse, but they’re well done; the Stars ‘n Stripes paint detailing just doesn’t work like it should. (Quick sidenote: the Stars ‘n Stripes Breaker and Rock ‘n Roll figures are so atrocious that I apparently refused to add them to my collection because I couldn’t find them when I looked for them. They must’ve made their way to my custom parts fodder box! That’s saying something about just how badly Hasbro botched the set.)
General Colton and the “Original Action Team” figures have some significance as they respectfully blurred the lines between our 1:18 scale GI Joe and the earlier 1:6 scale GI Joe. This is not a perfect figure, but it’s a noteworthy one. Compared to the other ARAH figures released towards the neon-colored end of the line, its more realistic design and subdued color set gives it a few extra points.