Go Big or Go Home – Part 1
Updated: Mar 22
In the second series of Classic Collection GI Joes specifically targeted to kids (instead of only collectors), was a larger sized package containing Adventures of GI Joe 2010 Tiger Hawk. This set was a great value aimed at a $20-25 price point. It came with a 1/6th scale Joe, some small gear, limited uniform, and a really big accessory. The figure sold well, but as it was decided to make every kid-targeted product themed to augment the Real American Heroes GI Joes, some of these sets changed with this mandate.
The plan for the second large set also had three modes, just like the original Tiger Hawk (as noted in my GI Joe Collector’s Club Magazine review of GI Joe Double Duty). This new set was themed around Paradivers. I am happy to confess this is a toy we played with, in our backyard pool for years before making a real one for Hasbro. We would often take a GI Joe, put him in scuba diver gear and toss him up in the air with a parachute. When he crashed into the water, he would remove the chute and continue on the second leg of his mission (to recover a satellite, enemy test cruise missile… or another pesky spy shark).
GI Joe Spy Troops Air Assault w Barrel Roll package front
For the official GI Joe version, the mission was to parachute down to land in the sea, then continue unseen by approaching under water, then infiltrate an enemy stronghold. Since it was switched to be GI Joe vs. COBRA, Joe came with a simple COBRA guard uniform and the mission was assigned to the RAH character Ripcord. The dive uniform was simplified down to shorts and molded T-shirt torso. His gear was fins, an assault rifle with strap, an Action Man dive vest and a mask combo with air unit and hose.
Frequently, a RAH 12” Joe figure would be changed to match a 3 ¾” Joe figure to build on the synergy. In this case, the mission was reassigned to Barrel Roll before launch. The extra uniform was removed for costing as I was too ambitious and thought I could afford a big parachute and a second uniform (but it would have been a very fun mission!) It is the large amount of fabric which was the biggest cost hurdle to overcome. In the end, even the parachute size was reduced. If you measure the different parachutes we launched, this one is the smallest. However, it still works very well. Witnesses from the 2019 Toylanta can attest to see him floating down from fifteen floors. (However, three of his other jump partners were not quite as lucky as they were stolen by some short, greedy, villains. These Joes were nabbed as they hit the floor and are officially listed as Missing in Action. One was my Geronimo Kitbash GI Joe, and Ace Allgood lost two others that had been in service for over fifteen years. There was a COBRA COMMANDER preproduction figure with a blue parachute that jumped and landed in the elevator shaft, but I am happy to say he was recovered the day after the convention.)
GI Joe Valor vs. Venom Artillery Assault with Big Brawler
Anyone who dares speak about the ill-fated GI Joe Extreme is often a recipient of “boo’s and hiss’s.” But there were a few fun pieces that I was not too proud to pilfer. If you every opened and shot the canon in GI Joe Extreme Spitfire Battering Platform, you would see that it shoots a foam missile fifteen or more feet across a room.
Yes, it was designed for a smaller sized figure. However, I convinced management if they just let me tool a seat and new control bar, it could be very cool for Classic Collection Joe. This figure is one you need to take out of the package and set it up to see its true worth. I thought the modern military helicopter helmets are fascinating which can adjust weaponry to automatically point at a target the pilot or gunner is looking at. To exemplify that, I used a helmet we created for the Duke that had a missile on his arm (possibly the dorkiest GI Joe that can be blamed on me) with a microphone and eye scope. There was a gap left by removing some of the extra parts on the cannon which sat right in front of Joe’s new chair. I added a moving radar dish connected to handles which fit Joe’s hands and added a cord between the helmet and control unit. While the cannon did not move with the helmet, at least you had the sense of the play pattern, and you could move the control unit to aim the radar dish.
The overambitious plan worked well for costing this time, but the final problem was to make it look right in the package. This arrangement of a figure an unassembled cannon was very tricky to balance seeing to show most of the gear and still have Joe interact with it in an action pose. There were photos of several layouts that I suggested. Management was unsure of this concept until the 3 ¾” figures showed their design of a character with a big cannon. Now, we just needed to remove Flint and reassign the mission to Big Brawler so the set could move forward. Check out the versions of Flint that were originally designed. He has the classic Flint look with signature beret mode and an additional gunner mode.
GI Joe Duke with Desert Surfer
I re-tasked as mush old Hall of Fame GI Joe tooling as I could, but most of the large accessories made under the name “Kid Dimension” are lacked in detail and looked too cheap. Since Hasbro had rereleased Action Man with the HOF tooling, there were several years worth of 1/6th product that never saw US toy shelves. One interesting set was the Action Man Desert Surfer. These images were direct from the factory when we first asked about the item. Note the Chinese characters on the photos. It was an interesting set that could fit a desert scenario – which was not too far-fetched with all the action our armed forces had seen and are still facing in the desert.
The mission is built around a fast ground strike by a three-wheeled desert surf buggy which shot two missiles. We added desert camouflage paint to the sail and a tan color scheme. The uniform consisted of tan shorts, short boots, and a molded gear vest. This particular vest had a hole on the shoulder (originally for a camera… I think) but I used it to give him simplified scanning equipment. This new tinted orange part would mount in that hole on the vest shoulder so it could swing over to be a face mask when needed. Painted on the clear screen were heads-up tracking symbols. The go-to ground-pounder was always Duke, if we had not issued him recently, so he was chosen to drive the vehicle.
The set made it through costing but never shipped. I believe it was one of the last of these sets designed, so it was mothballed like the rest of the final figures in development.
But wait… there were others produced and unproduced still to review. Stay tuned for next week exciting conclusion in part 2!
Which is your favorite 1/6th scale big accessory?
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