Lifeline (1994)

1994 was a sad year for this GI Joe collector, especially since I was an adult who had come back to the line just a few years before. The rug was pulled out too quickly for me. I had been excited to see each year’s new offerings, even though I had a different purpose for my little plastic men than I had as a kid. At the time, I was still thinking about toys purely from a collector standpoint. I wasn’t quite as capable as I am now of seeing GI Joe simply for its inherent value as a toy line. I had my share of moments of “I’m buying these things; why aren’t they all exactly what I want?” Well, because they weren’t made for me. They were made for kids. Duh.

Lifeline showed up in the Real American Hero era’s swan song assortment, and he was a great addition. Thanks to a solid design, and some wonderful card art, he was impressive, and more than ever looked the role of rescue trooper. The card pictured him in a very dynamic fashion, descending from above on a line, with his med kit at the ready.

Unlike many of the later figures, with their often random “tree” full of gear, Lifeline’s accessories made sense within his specialty. With a medical case, searchlight and grenade pistol (I like to think of it as a flare pistol, since I like the Sunbow pacifist angle) he was ready for medic and rescue duty. Even his missile launcher tied in, to an extent. It’s one of the few that incorporated a grappling hook, perfect for search and rescue missions. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the larger launchers. Lifeline also wears a small helmet microphone, although it’s not nearly as tiny and easily removable as those on Heavy Metal, Lift Ticket or Sneek Peek.

In the midst of a Skittles-esque rainbow of color, the final year of GI Joe’s first small scale era offered a few of its heroes in more subdued hues. Lifeline is among them, as his red is not such a big change from his first figure. The accessories are yellow, but I can pretty much forgive that too, due to their inclusion with a rescue trooper. What impresses me more than the colors, however, is the detail on the figure. He’s equipped with a veritable medical supply kit on his vest. It’s too bad some of those details didn’t get a paint app, but that’s to be expected from the time. Things truly did appear that year to be winding down for Joe. That’s too bad, as the line seemed to be headed into an interesting direction. All was not lost with this mold, however, and someone on the brand in later years must have liked it as well, as this Lifeline has been reused twice since 1994.


  • It’s not the classic Lifeline look, but I like it. Well, except for the big ass grappling hook launcher.

  • In 1994, I was focused on studying overseas so I barely scanned the aisles during Joe’s farewell year. Looking back on this version of Lifeline, it really is one of the last great figures. A solid update to the original with excellent artwork on the card and accessories that make sense. I just wish they had gone with Red Star’s launcher or something similar. It’s great to see the mold reused since then, especially with all that sculpted gear waiting for some genuine paint app love.

  • I just got this a few weeks ago. I like this figure, and can’t wait to complete him. By the way, that small gun IS a flare launcher.

  • He’s on my battlecorps wish list.

    I’ll never forget the day, back in ’94 when i went into the local Woolworths and saw the ultimate horror. A trainee was roughly throwing anything that wasnt a peice of power rangers crap, roughly into the discount bins. Nothing was spared [not even the Barbies which were always selling]. All either smashed or discarded for power rangers. Sad 🙁

  • A surprisingly realistic figure for what was GI Joe’s most unrealistic and brightly colored period. Though as we now know, 1994 was showing traces of what Hasbro intended for GI Joe in 1995 (though they would’ve continued the wierd creatures too). In a way, he’s the most realistic Lifeline. He looks like a medic that would be jumping from a helicopter or coast guard boat. 1986 Lifeline’s outfit looks a bit more fantastic than the 1994’s conventional gear, like it was more suited to being from a scifi movie set in the future. The tinted glasses and the Hunter S. Thompson-esque filecard art (something he shares with Pathfinder) made him have a more menacing edge than the cartoon made him out to have. And the outfit is obviously more realistic than the tiger-striped medic from Tiger Force (the most interesting/odd choice of a figure to get tiger stripes from those selected).

  • Tiger Force Lifeline was one of the TF that benefited most from having a recolor. The yellow isn’t that bright, so it made a more subdued alternative to the 86 figure.

  • I’ve liked this figure since I got it back in ’95. The mold is solid, the colors are acceptable and the accessories are useful…really quite a win for a 1994 release. The 2002 repaint with the new head was an incredible disappointment and the hard to find convention figure was OK, just too expensive for the 3rd use of the mold.

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