Unknown Steel Brigade
While looking through the inventory of GI Joe pics I’ve collected over the years, I happened upon this image that I captured from an eBay auction many years ago. If you were collecting Joes during the new sculpt era, you may remember that new releases were fairly regularly previewed via online auctions coming out of China. Some of the figures even sported paintjobs that were quite different from what eventually made it to stores. This is still happening to a certain extent, as there were some differently decorated figures from even this year’s batch of figures.
This apparent Steel Brigade figure never saw the light of day, and it’s an interesting variation on the classic figure. Sporting a Firefly mold for the chest and arms, which is a surprisingly effective substitute for Recondo or Duke with its crossed bandoliers, the Steel Brigade would have been a cool throwback for the modern line. The top half’s paint job makes me wonder if there wasn’t also an intent to cross over into Tiger Force. Could you imagine Steel Brigade and Tiger Force mashed up? Heads would have exploded. Unfortunately, the closest we came to a classically styled SB figure in the 2000s were the helmets included in the Anti-Venom multi-pack.