Sci-Fi (1986)

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.


  • This guy was one of the first ARAH figures I got when I started getting into Joe around 2005/06. I got him complete from a great store in Tennessee called The Great Escape. Hopefully I’ll visit it again when I decide to go see Graceland. That same Tennessee trip also was where I got DTC Low-Light and the Lady Jaye/gas mask Cobrat Troopers comic pack.

  • SCIFI is a transfan. In the episode MY BROTHERS KEEPER, scifi can be seen watching an episode of Transformers which features a slightly off colour smokescreen.

  • A classic figure and trendsetter to boot! It took me a long time to track Sci-Fi down back in the 80’s, which leads me to think that he was a highly popular figure. I only found one (along with Wet-Suit) during the closeout period for ’86 recruits sometime in ’88 or so at a Chicago toy discount outlet. It was THE place to go for that one last chance at getting scarcer figures before they were phased out at retail.

    I’ve always loved how Sci-Fi’s lime green & silver compliments Lifeline’s red & white. If you look at 1986, it gave us all sorts of color palettes to choose from, including old standards such as Leatherneck’s green & tan camo and Low-Light’s black & gray night gear. I wish Sci-Fi had come with a removable helmet, but that backpack clip evened out things out for me as well. As a turning point in paint design, Sci-Fi is easily one of the most important figures in the vintage line’s history.

  • This guy replaced one of my all time favorites-Flash.Great figure that wasn’t utilized enough in the comics or the cartoon.

  • A great figure. Love the detail in the uniform and backpack and the battery packs in his pockets. The lime green is bright, but it works. His helmet looks suspiciously like Robocop’s, too.

  • The first “neon” G.I.JOE!

  • It’s interesting to see how much the line changed from 1982 (Flash) to 1986 (Sci-Fi), both being laser troopers. I was just coming into GI Joe in late 1985/early 1986, so the variation of characters and the loose realism and more sci-fi elements seemed more ‘normal’ and 1982 looked comparatively duller. 1986/87 seems to be what divides the early Joe fans from the middle bloc of Joe fans. The former tend to have more who hated it at the time, the latter love those years.

    Did anyone else use Sci-Fi as a Robocop stand-in? Except for the green, he looks the part. BTW, Robocop came out, I think, in June or July 1987 (definately 1987) so it wasn’t a case of making a Robocop knockoff. Now, Barricade and 1987’s Captain Power is another matter.

    And I wouldn’t consider Airtight’s yellow ‘neon’. It was bright, but not really neon.

    @ Clutch
    Hmm. I didn’t recall Sci-Fi being noticeably hard to find at the time. Can’t recall if he was somewhat common to somewhat uncommon (certainly wasn’t a shelfwarmer). Viper & B.A.T. seemed to be the hardest to find cardbacks from 1986.

  • @LittleBoa
    “On the plus side, the helmet makes me look like Robocop and chicks dig that” [Scifi, action figure theorapy]
    I was introduced to Robocop [the first film] in 1993 when i was 7. I remeber really wanting a scifi and Robocop figure but having to make do with one of my brothers many flak vipers which he used to army build. Helmet was simmilar enough.

    My Dad had no problems with me watching Robocop. If anyhting it aclimitised me to violance. I’m certainly not looking forward to that reboot. What next? Hollywood going to reboot anything more than 25 years old? Are they going to remake Cassablanca so tweens will find it appealing by turning Bogarts character into a vampire?

  • This was one of my earliest figures ever, and one of the most played with.

    I don’t think 1986 was a huge departure from years previous, I think 1985 really is where the ball joint really separated the line away from the 1982/83/84 figures.

  • @Little Boa

    Great theory regarding the early and middle bloc Joe fans. I was certainly among the former and 1987 was the first year I seriously thought about bailing out. Seeing how I’m posting here, that didn’t work out so well after all. LOL!

    According to Wikipedia, RoboCop came out on July 17, 1987. I never used Sci-Fi as a stand-in for ol’ Murphy since I didn’t actually watch the film until it ran on TV or cable. Can’t remember which, but it was likely cable because I do remember the violence. I did pick up the Night Fighter Robocop figure from Kenner a while later.

    I only managed to find Sci-Fi as he was being discontinued, so he might have been somewhat uncommon where I was living at the time (Chicago and its suburbs) but yeah, definitely not Crystal Ball status.


    Kenner produced a toy line which was loosely based on the movie versions of Murphy, Anne Lewis, and Sgt. Reed. But they filled out the line with generic stock characters instead of guys like Dick Jones, Clarence Boddicker, Bob Morton, Donald Johnson, and The Old Man. Might have turned out cheaper to produce too, since they would only have needed a single mold for the various corporate suits. It would have likely tanked with kids had they gone via that route, though.

    I’m not looking forward to the remake at all. The sequels alone went downhill fast, so I don’t think a remake is gonna work for this franchise. Total Recall got rehashed last year and that one didn’t fare well at all given that they were also remaking another Paul Verhoeven movie.


    I remember the ball jointed heads being a game changer for sure. I wish Hasbro had thought
    of it back in ’83 along with the swivel arm battle grip in order to keep stuff more consistent.

  • @Clutch
    I think i didnt get my hands on an official Robocop toy until that awful TV series came out. When it arrivied, i had an ice cream tub of Murphy figures and nothing for him to fight, he had to make do with CORPS figures. I remember there was one [1] villain for that line [“Pug face” Morgan] and he was a chronic shelf warmer [last time i saw one was in 2005]

    I also understand there are 2 robocop cartoon series. I heard they were so awful i dont think i can bring myself to watch them.
    Oh and heres a bit of trivia. Bumblebee makes an appearance in the second Robocop movie. In the scene in which Murphy is reading rights to the dead baseball coach, a Camero can be seen in the parkinglot in the background

    As for “weird” Joes. My parents were poor and i lived in an area in which Joe stock arrived in drips and drabs so i was happy whenever i got one. Even if it was someone as oddball as V2 Muskrat.

  • RoboCop kind of freaked me out during the scene of Murphy getting shotgunned apart.

    Sci-fi was not only just a Joe here, he was sometimes an interstellar space ship (S.H.A.R.C.) pilot.

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