Helicopter Pilot (Code Name: Wild Bill)

Wild Bill is one of those figures that not only looks different in his cartoon incarnation, but in his original comic appearance as well. Maybe that’s because he’s usually pictured sitting in the pilot seat of a helicopter rather than running about with his teammates. As a kid, my Wild Bill figure pretty much stayed in the Dragonfly. Being an avid watcher of the cartoon, I always wanted a “better” Wild Bill figure, meaning one wearing a blue flight suit and orange vest. Oh, and also with a much less prodigiously sized noggin. If Wild Bill could describe it himself, he might say, “Woo-ee! My head sculpt is biggern’ all Texas. It’s like a whole other country!”

In retrospect, this figure has all the charm of the early 80’s GI Joes. It’s actually another very impressive driver figure, considering the entire figure is newly created. The quality of the driver figures is part of what drew me in as a kid, and looking at it as an adult, it was a brilliant marketing move. To make a kid pine for a cool vehicle, then add in a figure not available anywhere else, that’s genius. It’s downright diabolical marketing.

Though it was never repainted in the Sunbow style, most of the mold made a reappearance in India, in a sort of reversed Sunbow color scheme. It was just as crazy looking as you’d expect. Sunbow fans finally got their Wild Bill fix, to an extent, with a 25th anniversary comic pack homage, but the original remained unchanged after all the years.

Wild Bill works in quite a few cowboy and cavalry elements, from the six shooters, cowboy boots, steer belt buckle to the cavalry style hat and gloves. Then again, he’s not overly cowboyed-up and looking like a ranch hand like some of his later versions. Wild Bill’s Air Cav hat and glasses also bring to mind, at least to me, Robert Duvall’s Col. Kilgore from Apocalypse Now. “Cobra don’t surf!”


  • He wore his dog tags so long that his skin grew over them.

    The cross draw holsters confused me as a kid, since most depictions of cowboys didn’t have that. It’s odd they are part of his pants? No straps or belts.

    Too bad we never got a Tiger Force version. Seems unlikely we ever will in o-ring form. I doubt Red Laser or Black Major will “revisit” Wild Bill.

    • Thank you very much for your comment. I am just getting sick, and tired, of the Red Laser, and the Black Major folks, doing all of those same old tired repeat useless Cobra troopers(except for a few), or lots of Snake Eyes(but no real arctic version made yet, as far as I know), or whatever. I am very thankful to them for all of the work that they have done for G.I. Joe fans, and even collectors, but I would prefer if they would just move on onto other classic o-ring figures. Or even do some vehicles. Like a snow version of the 86 H.A.V.O.C.(how hard would it be for them to get each of that vehicle’s parts made?). And as for the Tiger Force, I would love it if any of those folks would do Tiger Force replicas of not only the unreleased figures like the ones of Wild Bill(Funskool released an orange repaint in India back in 2002), or Rip Cord, or the Firefly repaint called Sabretooth, but also the figures that were made exclusively in other countries(like Outback, Shipwreck, Airtight, and many others).

  • He’s always been a favorite of mine. But ill always prefer his Sunbow look as the vintage toy is just so drab. The dragonfly is an awesome toy, I wish it had gotten a reissue so we can have it in modern plastic. Glad to see im not the only one with brown elbowed figures lol

  • What Snake Eyes Said (...)

    From giant-headed on this figure to pin-headed on the 25th, he just can’t win!

  • The giant head + hat was problematic, was a bit tough fitting him into the Dragonfly!

  • I recently saw a couple fields being crop dusted by helicopter and immediately thought of Wild Bill. Although as a cowboy could probably rustle cattle by ‘copter too. Whether he grew up on a farm or ranch, I imagine him using a helicopter in some way before joining the armed forces.

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