Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Mail-Away Lifeline (1991)
The year 1991 was one where many familiar faces made a return to store shelves after the previous year of mostly-new characters (Sonic Fighters aside). Among those returning included two characters first introduced in the 1986 lineup; while Sci-Fi got an entirely new look with newer accessories, Lifeline got his third figure and did not look any different (from the waist up) from the original. Unlike Sci-Fi–and for the most part, the rest of the 1991 figures–Lifeline was only available via a mail-order offer from Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal (which also included offers for an exclusive My Little Pony or Weebles figure). When it came to how Kellogg’s would offer the figure, there was a catch–they didn’t want the figure to come with any weapons (be they molded on or not), so Hasbro swapped out the original legs with those of Frostbite V1’s, as the original Lifeline’s had a holstered pistol molded on the left thigh. They did match the coloring of the legs on the Frostbite ones, and it should be noted that those legs have the 1988 date stamp on them, meaning they came from the reuse of the Frostbite mold, that of the 1988 Tiger Force version.
As you can see, this effectively “halts” the progress of the straps that start on the sides of Lifeline’s waist. They did manage to keep the RESCUE tampograph on the left leg. Aside from that particular construction, the rest of the figure (head, torso, arms, and waist) is the exact same construction and coloring as the V1 figure. He even comes with 50% of his original gear, in the form of his backpack and med-pack that opens–both in the same coloring as the originals. Because of Kellogg’s edict, he does not come with his pistol (the one you see in the next photo is one I got from the Valor Vs. Venom Duke’s accessory compliment), and strangely enough, does not come with the oxygen mask that plugs into his med-pack. (Whether this was Hasbro’s oversight or a Kellogg’s request is up for debate.)
Overall, this is a neat figure to have for a couple of reasons: A) he’s the second G.I. Joe figure exclusive to a cereal offer (the first being Starduster in 1987), and B) some would say that this figure best reflects the portrayal of the character on the Sunbow cartoon series (who was an avowed pacifist). If you manage to find one, you won’t regret getting it, and it is easy to give him an oxygen mask for his med-kit–if you used a V1 or Tiger Force Lifeline for a custom, that means their gear’s up for grabs. I know I did so when I found a spare mask at a flea market.