Infantry Division (2005)

I’ve covered an individual figure from this set before, but I thought it might be interesting to look at the package as a whole. When the Infantry Division set hit Toys R Us, I initially bought only a single copy. I didn’t think that I would care for it much, but there was something about it that struck my fancy. I later returned and picked up two more sets, one of which is still unopened. Why? I just like the look of the set. I know it’s not a popular opinion to have, and it’s taken me a while to realize just why I felt an affinity for these guys. I have to trace it back to the summer of 1986 and a trip to the K. What? Not the K as in the phony-baloney marketing gimmick nickname for Kauffman Stadium, but rather Kmart, the Savings Place.

Infantry Division (2005)

My family often made trips to KMart, mainly to buy plants at the garden center. Luckily for me, the toy section was right next to it. So every trip was a toy hunt for me. Over the years, KMart is where I found my first Zartan, as well as coming into contact with other lines like Secret Wars and even Bronze Bombers and Sgt. Rock. On this particular trip, I wasn’t able to find any GI Joes, but my parents did allow me to spend some money on something else. For same price as two Joes, I was able to pick up a couple of American Defense two-packs. The figures were not quite GI Joes, but nonetheless fun in their own unique ways, from their construction to character design. My favorite by far was Captain Steel, who you can check out at the end of this article. He’s too cool! Anyway, I had a lot of fun with these new almost-Joes, and even went back a few weeks later to pick up more figures.

Back to the Infantry Division, I recently began looking at these guys in the same way. They’re something of a take-off on the original ’82 Joes, and their odd mold and weapon choices shouldn’t work, but looking back, the set as a whole takes me back to my experience with my American Defense figures. They’re not perfect; heck, they’re downright cheesy. But that’s what I like about them.



  • And weirdly, Rob, my experience with the Infantry Division set was the opposite. When I saw it online for the first time, I thought it was pretty cool but then when I found one in person in Toys R Us, I was just kind of underwhelmed. It was a really good concept, but for my money, the execution left something to be desired so it remained on the pegs.

  • This set was a lame attempt to cash in on anything army builder when the concept was finally starting to wane. Here’s the thing: we know Hasbro had the Steel Brigade mold. How much better would this set have been with 2-4 Steel Brigade figures? It was so easy to make something collectors wanted, but Hasbro simply wouldn’t do it.

    I don’t have any of these left. They were just so bad I had to get rid of them. Of all I sold, I have no pangs of regret getting rid of these guys.

  • ”G.I.Joe action figures/their look-a -likes sure get around.”

  • Three of those guys look like Klingons from the original Star Trek series. They were infiltrating the Joes!

  • Captain Steel looks like Ned Kelly

  • When I was recently looking through a bunch of old odds and ends that my mom found an old box of Legos I found a black backpack but I couldn’t remember where it was from until I looked up some of these on eBay today and I saw that the character “flame” came with a silver version of that backpack so I must’ve had a few of these growing up too

  • Poor choice of a head to use on ALL the figures. Too much facial hair for nameless guys. The HISS tank river chest looks odd, too. And the mix of 1983 parts with 1986 roadblock waist and 1992-1993 legs doesn’t work that well. I don’t hate the set, but it could’ve been so much more.

    • James From Miami

      Isn’t military grunts, which is what these Joe soldiers are supposed to be, not supposed to have facial hair? That’s another reason why these figures are a failure.

      • . U.S. Army regulations require that a mustaches be “neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy”, and that “no portion of the mustache will cover the upper lip line, extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from the corners of the mouth…or extend above a parallel line at the lowest portion of the nose.” Beards, goatees, soul patches are a no-no except for religious accommodations (Sikhs, some Muslims, some Jews) or you are maybe like a SEAL operator out in the bush for some length of time.

  • Too bad this set didn’t look more like the cartoon

    • James From Miami

      I could be wrong, but I think it is possible that they were perhaps trying to be more inclusive of other ethnicities. But I think that they got it all wrong.

  • A nice set, could have been better though.

  • James From Miami

    When I first saw this set at a Toys R Us, it just looked so cheap to me. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted it in my G.I. Joe collection. So I din’t get it. As for the American Defense collection, they had this transparent figure called Hidden Force, I think. It is part of a set called, S.I.T. Strategic Intelligence Team. That figure is really cool. I might just get one. And that vest on the Captain Steel figure, is the exact same vest that came with this things called the Liquid Fighters backpack accessories. On the cover of those backpack’s blistered cards, it even says that they fit on G.I. Joe figures, and other 3 3/4 size figures. And that Captain Steel figure reminds me of the Baron Ironblood.

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