In 1994, 3.75″ G.I. Joe was on the way out, but Hasbro/Kenner sought to give many of the figure molds purpose in their upcoming lines based on the movie adaptations of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. In the case of the Street Fighter line, probably because of the then-popularity of the movie’s star Jean-Claude Van Damme, the toymaker sought to pad the line with a number of Guile variants, each in a uniform based on missions in either land, sea, or in the case of this Paratrooper figure, air.
Right off the bat, the figure uses the same Van Damme-as-Guile head seen on every Guile figure in the line (except for the one that came with the Heli-Fighter vehicle), and like every head in the line, it varied between either with or without eyebrows painted on. Below the neck, the body mold used was a then-recent one, that of the 1992 Battle Copter pilot version of G.I. Joe fighter jock Ace–very fitting for Guile’s background as an Air Force major. The color palette consists of a green flight suit, with black boots and gloves, an orange vest (with pouches and a flashlight sculpted on the chest) and harness, and another point of variation in the form of brown-painted or unpainted chaps on the legs. Truth be told, I do wonder why they used a fighter pilot mold for what is labeled a paratrooper figure, but I’m sure someone here will clarify anything on that subject.
Paratrooper Guile’s gear layout consists of a silver figure stand (same as Chun-Li’s), a silver version of Big Ben’s heavy machine gun, a black version of the 1985 mail-in parachute pack (whose straps have been retooled without the hole for the oxygen mask), the white parachute for said pack, and the third point of variation for the figure–while the included helmet and mask also originates from the Battle Copter Ace, brown-chapped Guiles came with a white helmet, while unpainted Guiles had a black one. While the inclusion of the helmet with the source mold is commendable, unfortunately the helmet is too small for the taller Guile head.
Like the rest of the Guile variants that weren’t the Sonic Boom, Ultimate Fight, or Heli-Fighter versions, some customizers tend to use the Paratrooper Guile figure to make a different figure simply with a head-swap–the great Thomas Wheeler has a couple of easy examples, using both variants:
These two customs actually inspired me to do the same, but for the life of me I still can’t find a distinct head that will work so that it a) fits the helmet and mask, b) doesn’t look too tall or short, and c) actually fit in the chest. I’m sure that I’ll get there–though suggestions would be nice.
In short, I’d say get this figure if you’re either a completist or a customizer itching to get in the game. Lines like this or the Mortal Kombat one are underrated sources of custom material for beginners, as they proved when many a collector or early customizer picked these up in droves at closeout.