Okay neon naysayers, here’s where it started, way back in 1986. This is where Joe got a lime green infusion of highlighter-esque hues. Sure, Airtight was released a year earlier, but I don’t consider his suit in the same way, since bright yellow is a common hazmat color. No, Sci-Fi is wearing his green just because. For some, between the shift in color palette and the introduction of Serpentor and the Zartan siblings, 1986 is the year that Toy Hell began to bubble up and flood the Joeverse. I find as much to like about ’86 as I do ’85, and I think Joe was still the highest quality and most consistent boys’ toy line of its time.
The Sci-Fi mold just exudes cool from neck ball to foot peg. If Flash was the laser rifle trooper that tapped into the well of former Star Wars kids of my generation and hooked many of us into Joe, Sci-Fi turned the dial fantasy dial up to 11. He’s not just a regular Joe with some extra padding, special gloves and a visor, he’s all new and kitted out like a trooper ready to do battle in a galaxy far, far away. The biggest bonus to me was the rifle storage clip on the backpack. This sort of thing is always a plus, and is one of the kind of details that set the GI Joe line apart from many other action figure lines of the day. You can’t always tote your weapon around in your hands, after all.
As an adult, I’d like to see a removable helmet for this figure. As a kid, the thought never really crossed my mind. I was just happy to have another cool looking laser trooper. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who wanted a Seymour Fine figure sans brain bucket, as the 30th anniversary remake gave us just that.
Finally, there’s the file card. Though there were many memorable early file card entries, this is one of the standouts of the era. It not only paints a perfect picture of what the character does within his specialty and how he uses his weapon, but it also gives the toy some personality. Not like a guy dressed in bright green needed help to stand out from the crowd, but it’s a welcome addition nonetheless.