Psyche-Out (1988)

By Past Nastification

1987 was a great year for GI Joe. It arguably gave us the last wave of strong characters (or it could be that this was the last year I was solidly into toys). Among these characters was Psyche-Out, the team’s deceptive warfare specialist.

That figure was classic, but its lime green quilted short sleeve shirt, could have been better. The color issues were remedied with the 1988 Psyche-Out, in his Night Force attire. Like many of the subteam figures, this was a simple repaint with no new gear (my apologies for not having the little dishes or sidearm to photograph).

Instead of lime green, this time around Psyche-Out’s shirt and lower sleeves were the same medium grey, making it appear to be the same shirt/jacket. The trousers were olive, and the accouterments black with shots of silver.

And now we talk about hair.

The one oops Hasbro made was not checking the hair color of the original, which was blonde. Or, to be more technically correct, yellow. Yellow hair is an artistic shot made long before Hasbro gave us GI Joe. Some Fisher-Price Adventure People and Luke Skywalkers had yellow hair. Ken probably had yellow hair, too, but I’m too macho to even google it. I justify not checking because Ken is a doll, not an action figure.

A more accurate reflection of blonde would be the light tan color Hasbro would use on Duke in 1983. Why Hasbro reverted back to Crayon-yellow for blonde hair is beyond me. Even if Psyche-Out was intended to be a platinum blonde, the color saturation of pure yellow is still too intense.

So, instead of yellow, this Psyche-Out got a nutty brown hairdo. I didn’t own this figure as a kid, but I don’t think the color shift of the hair would have bothered me the way it did for Hawk’s shift from the original version’s yellow to the dark brown of the second version.

Subset figures sometimes had inexplicable hair colors shifts. Duke’s Tiger Force hair was darker than the original release. Frostbite’s jet black hair went ginger for Tiger Force. Comparatively, Psyche-Out’s change doesn’t seem all that bad. And, for those of you who can’t abide by that nutty brown goodness, a head-swap fix is just a screwdriver away.

Subdued colors make a solid figure even better.


  • ”Be careful what you say, or do, around Psyche-Out.He Could almost read your mind, and psycho-analize you .”

  • Such a huge improvement over the original colors!

    I always found Psych-Out’s parted hair and antenna combo comically reminiscent of Alfalfa.

  • Subdued buy seemingly less paint ops overall…cheap to produce. It’s better but blander.

    The hair color change is funnier when you take into account Europe’s Tiger force version with black hair.

  • Hasbro had a bizarre practice of changing blond hair to brown almost every time a figure got another version, especially if it was a repaint. Hawk, Duke, and Psyche Out all got brown hair. Low Light kept his yellow locks for Slaughter’s Marauders only to go straight to black hair in 1991. The only guy to stay mellow yellow was the original blond surfer dude Rock N Roll.

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