In 1983, Airborne was one of my favorite figures. The sculpt, accessories and colors worked together to create a figure that was so different from my previous team which consisted of Flash, Grunt and Snake-Eyes. When I got Scrap-Iron in ’84, I noticed that certain parts of him looked–familiar. I knew that the first series of Joes looked alike, but this was the first time when I looked at resued parts and wondered why they did it.
The repeat of Airborne parts however didn’t change my opinion of the figure. In fact, Scrap-Iron quickly became one of my favorite and most used Cobras. I imagined him as a high ranking operative, taking orders directly from Cobra Commander. Plus, he had a huge Cobra symbol on his helmet. In my young mind, that had to stand for a high rank of some kind. Finally, Scrap-Iron looked just plain mean to me, and I imagined he was always in a bad mood. He was a guy you didn’t want to mess with.
If his looks weren’t imposing enough, he also came with a missile launcher, the most impressive accessory of any single figure up to that point. Scrap-Iron was never far from his launcher, and took out many a Joe VAMP in backyard battles with it’s dual missiles. Now that I think of it, I wonder if this large accessory explains the reuse of parts. Was it to save tooling dollars and justify the accessory?