Monday, February 17, 2014

1994 Star Brigade Space Shot

The 1994 Star Brigade series was one of the last items produced by Hasbro for the vintage Joe run. Like most of the subsets in the line's final years, it was a mix of existing molds and some newly scupted parts that were often paired with some pre-existing parts as well. It was all part of a drastic, but unsuccessful, cost cutting move that was intended to save the Joe line from cancellation. Despite the imposition of these mandates, Hasbro still managed to put a strong group of figures througout 1994. The regular Battle Corps line was a solid mix of military colors and neon brightness. Star Brigade was much the same. The 1994 series was a substantial upgrade from the 1993 group, even if all of the 1993 Joes made a return appearance, but with better paint applications, in 1994. Among the newly introduced figures in the Star Brigade line was the Joe's new pilot: Space Shot.

Spaceshot's overall look is more futuristic commercial airline pilot and less astronaut. The spacesuit is surprisingly formal with the buttoned tunic. The red, white and blue motif is subtly patriotic and is an exact match for the more common 1994 Payload figure. With the helmet on, I still see Space Shot as more of a terrestrially based pilot who would be a good fit for the Skystriker...if only his sculpt weren't so bulky and he actually fit into the iconic plane's cockpit.

Spaceshot's helmet is very reminiscent of the Egyptian inspired helmets from the original Battlestar Galactica franchise. In some ways, this is good as it gives the figure sci fi roots. In other ways, it is very derivative of existing work and makes the figure less original. Whichever stance you take on the helmet's appearance, though, everyone will admit that the helmet is the hallmark of the figure. Unfortunately, it has an open face. It's likely that a clear plastic visor inside the helmet would have been too expensive for a newly sculpted 1994 release. But, it would have made a world of difference with the figure.

In the late 1990's, I was on a mission to own every single 1994 Star Brigade figure both loose and carded. Back then, the figures were fairly hard to find carded and, basically, impossible to find loose. The upside, though, was that they were dirt cheap since collectors had largely written the entire series off as too "neon". Within a few months, I completed my goal with one exception. I never got around to finding a carded 1994 Space Shot. This is surprising when you consider that I had duplicates of most of the harder figures to find in the series and, in some cases, as many as three or four carded versions of specific figures. Space Shot, though, eluded me. I didn't realize I was missing him of course, until I did an inventory and realized that he was the one carded figure missing from my 1994 Star Brigade collection. I figured it wouldn't be difficult or expensive to fill the gap.

But, I quickly learned how wrong I was! It seems Space Shot has taken on something of a aftermarket popularity boom. Loose and carded figures are extremely scarce. Open auctions on carded figures can go as high as $60 with loose, mint and complete figures selling for $30. The upside is that there are still some old time dealers who don't really realize that some of the late run Joe items have become more than the bargain basement pegwarming fodder they were a decade and a half ago. And, from time to time, you see a carded Space Shot sold with a buy it now price of $12 to $20. Until I get lucky on one of those, though, Space Shot will remain the gap in my otherwise complete carded 1994 Star Brigade collection.

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