Wild Bill (2004)

The Real American Hero era GI Joe characters lend themselves well to the 12 inch format. The distinctive uniforms and bold concepts of both the heroes and villains are a natural for the larger scale. Details that add personality at the smaller size can be expanded upon in new ways.

Wild Bill has always been known for his tendency to supplement his uniform with Western and cavalry elements. In the 2000’s regular series, his look was changed up a bit, and Bill ended up with a shaved head and goatee, along with a flight jacket. He maintained his trademark hat, shares and six shooters. Overall, it was a return to a more modern military look from his Battle Corps 19th century cavalry homage.

The early releases of the new sculpt era large figures were at times disappointing and even cheap looking, many with molded shirts rather than cloth. Some of the the later Valor vs Venom figures were a big improvement, returning to full cloth uniforms and adding new accessories and very nice details.

Wild Bill was a recipient of this extra attention. He doesn’t follow his smaller counterpart’s design exactly, which I find refreshing. The figure treads a fine line of cowboy motifs without passing into ridiculousness. The larger scale allows for the first Wild Bill with both a removable hat and shades, and his head sculpt has a lot of character. I’m not sure if the vest is original, as sometimes the more recent 12 inch figures borrowed from the Hall of Fame and even the Action Man line.

Bill doesn’t have his dual six shooters, but has traded up in firepower with a double barreled missile-firing shotgun. Remember earlier when I said this figure doesn’t go into ridiculous territory? Well, I lied about the weapon. This thing is an unearthly big bore rifle, and it even has a folding stock. Maybe he’s going out with Gung Ho to hunt Monstro-Vipers with it.


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