By 1992, I was fully back into Joe collecting, and (in those pre-internet dark ages) waited with bated breath every February for the annual Toy Fair issue of Tomart’s Action Figure Digest to reveal the year’s Joe offerings. I won’t pretend that the idea of anti-drug plot within the Joe toyline didn’t seem patronizing and ridiculous when I first saw it. But then I remembered that these toys weren’t being marketed to a 20 year old. A valuable point for an aging Gen-X’er to remember even today.
Here’s proof that it is possible to find a classically awesome Joe figure in the midst of what’s often perceived as the line’s lesser years. The late 80’s and early 90’s did produce some effective and memorably designed Cobra troops, but few for me have had the impact of this figure. Even though this isn’t a Cobra trooper in the strictest sense, it incorporates elements that the great enemy forces possessed.
First off, the color. You can’t go wrong with black. The detail colors of brown, gold and blue mesh nicely in a time when paint schemes were beginning to rely on bright hues for highlights. Then there’s the uniform design itself, which is heavily biker influenced, yet maintains a kind of The unique sloped helmet and featureless facemask provide an almost robotic sort of look that is quite intimidating. Finally, the weapon. I go absolutely crazy for weapons and accessories that store on a figure, and this figure fulfills my wishes with a sawed-off shotgun that nicely tucks away into a backpack. Awesome. On the whole, the figure has the air of an elite trooper, much like the classic Crimson Guard.
In the end, I’m amazed that I found something to really like in a non-ironic way in the DEF sub-line. I’m more amazed that Headman, a guy with a penchant for unfortunate fashion choices, was able to outfit such a slick looking bunch of troops.