Steel Brigade (1992)
Ever collect cereal box tops as a kid to send away for a cheap plastic tchotchke, or eat 10 horrible subway sandwiches just so you could get the 11th horrible sandwich free? If you were a kid buying GI Joes during the 80’s and 90’s, there were similar offers, only the results weren’t so disappointing. In fact, they were downright awesome. Hasbro began to offer figures through the mail in 1983, first with as-yet unreleased figures like Duke and Major Bludd, as well as an exclusive hooded Cobra Commander that was not available by any other means.
Hasbro took this idea and went even further in 1987 when they began to offer the Steel Brigade figure. Instead of a character from the comics or the cartoon, this one was personalized. A child would fill out an application which allowed them to choose their own code name, military specialty and weapons training. When the figure arrived, the personalized file card was included, along with an iron-on patch.
The figure itself is a patchwork of sorts, but the parts do mesh well together, mostly thanks to the paint scheme. The Steel Brigade offer continued through the end of the vintage line in 1994. Over the years, some of the parts used to make up the figure changed. In 1992, the figure was recolored with a darker blue and gold color scheme. Known as the “Gold Head” this late run figure is highly sought after and commands high collector prices. Entirely appropriate for a guy who accessorizes with gold.