GI Joe Toys Guide - An Introduction
In the 1960s, Hasbro created G.I. Joe, the first “action figure.” After watching how successful Barbie dolls were with little girls, they developed a male counterpart—a fully articulated figure instead of the rigid toy soldiers that had been produced for years. Hasbro used the term “action figures” to separate G.I. Joe figures from girls’ dolls.
G.I. Joe is a military-themed product line. Initially, the action figures represented the four branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. G.I. stood for Government Issue, a generic name for U.S. soldiers at the time.
The G.I. Joe name has been used for two different lines of toys. Originally, the 12-inch figures were realistic action figures. In the UK, the line was known as Action Man. In the 1980s, the action figures were re-launched in a smaller scale known as Action Force that includes play sets, vehicles, and a new background story. The story revolves around the ongoing conflict between G.I. Joe and his team versus the evil Cobra Command.
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There are many popular characters in the G.I. Joe product line, both good guys and villains. Each character comes in different versions, and we’ve highlighted a few here. Some of the key figures include:
- Duke Hauser is the field commander of the G.I. Joe team, second in command behind Hawk. He is a central character in the line, sometimes thought of as the main character. With the G.I. Joe Movie Action Battlers Duke figure, squeeze his legs to active the quick-draw action. The toy includes his weapon accessories.
- Hawk is Major General and commander of the team. His 3 ¾” action figure comes with all the accessories for artillery missions, including pistol, goggles, helmet, and backpack.
- Scarlet was the first female action figure in the G.I. Joe line. The 25th Anniversary Counter Intelligence figure comes with weapons and a stand for displaying the figure.
- Cobra is G.I. Joe’s enemy, often shown as a group of ineffective terrorists. The 25th Anniversary Cobra Viper is a top-rated fan favourite. The articulated infantry specialist is equipped for encounters with the G.I. Joe team. It comes with weapons and a backpack.
- Baroness is a villain and femme fatale, often working with Cobra. The 25th Anniversary figure is a pose-able action figure that comes with weapons and a display stand.
- Ripcord, is the HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jumper for the G.I. Joe team. The Jungle Assault Rip Cord figure comes armed with a rocket launcher and other weapons.
- Zartan is a mercenary who works for Cobra. He is a master of disguise, able to use makeup, languages, acrobatics, and martial arts. The Master of Disguise action figure comes with several face-changing disguises.
- Destro is an enemy weapons supplier who is in love with the Baroness. He wears a metal mask as punishment for selling arms to both sides of a conflict. The 25th Anniversary edition features a gold mask and comes with weapons.
- Snake Eyes is a quiet hero on the G.I. Joe team, but much of the information about his background is classified. The 12 inch ninja figure has realistic sword-fighting and combat sounds.
- Storm Shadow is Cobra’s bodyguard and assassin. He has conflicted feelings about the G.I. Joe team because he and Snake Eyes are blood brothers, having trained together before circumstances separated the two. Like the Snake Eyes figure, the 12 inch ninja Storm Shadow comes with sword-fighting and combat sounds.
G.I. Joe figures have a wide range of vehicles to supplement your child’s role playing fun. They are usually sold with an action figure.
- The G.I. Joe Steel Crusher is an APV vehicle that has a missile launcher. The doors open, there are flip-down storage bays, and there’s a removable Iron Plow attachment. It comes with a Nitro Viper action figure.
- The G.I. Joe Gunship has doors that open and a rotating gun that fires missiles. There are access panels to the engine and cockpit, and you can load and drop bombs. It comes with the Firefly action figure.
- Rockslide is a G.I. Joe snow vehicle that has turning front skis. It fires missiles, and it includes a Snow Job action figure.
- There are a few different G.I. Joe motorcycles, including a collectible Harley-Davidson figure. If you’re looking for a toy, consider the Sgt. Savage figure, which comes with an Attack Cycle. The set comes with the action figure, rifle, helmet, motorcycle, and decoder ring.
- The G.I. Joe Attack Craft is a one-man submarine. You can open the cockpit to place a figure at the controls. It has hidden missile launchers and capture claws to grab your opponent. It comes with an action figure, helmet two missiles, and weapons.
- The G.I. Joe Sky Sweeper jet has a firing missile launcher and cockpit that opens. It comes with an Air Raid action figure.
- The G.I. Joe Mole Pod is a desert driller that has a spinning drill on the front nose. The cockpit opens, and you can fire missiles. It comes with a Terra-Viper action figure.
Games, DVDs, and Misc.
There are many games, movies, and accessories to complement the G.I. Joe series.
- A good G.I. Joe computer toy is the M.A.R.S. laptop. This learning tool teaches language skills, including letters, rhyming, and spelling. Kids can test their knowledge in the Quiz mode. The toy matches the game’s difficulty to the child’s progress. It has a full keyboard and easy-to-read display.
- There are many different G.I. Joe games, including versions of classic games like Monopoly and Battleship. In Monopoly, players compete to buy 22 locations from the 1980s G.I. Joe series. The pewter tokens include a helmet, timber, flag, dog tags, thunder machine, and cobra. For Battleship, team G.I. Joe fights against team Cobra. In this versatile game, you fight on land, sea, and air.
- For a G.I. Joe DVD or video, you can choose from the 2009 live-action theatre release—The Rise of Cobra—or there are several different TV shows available. Popular TV titles include G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. There are several different collections of each.
- Consider decorating your child’s room with a G.I. Joe poster. You can buy retro prints from the 1980s, posters of the recent movie, or posters featuring individual characters or groups of characters. Whichever style of G.I. Joe your child prefers, there’s a poster that fits, as there are dozens of different versions.
- The same is true of a G.I. Joe t-shirt. They are available in all sizes and themes to fit your G.I. Joe fan’s needs.