|Joseph Colton Mail Away Promo Cover|
For 3 3/4 collectors, this anniversary meant a small figure of Joseph Colton and reproductions of the Marine, Soldier, Diver, Pilot and Astronaut from the early days of the brand. While the "Action Series" of figures would be sold at retail in individual boxes and a commemorative boxed set, Joseph Colton was only available as a mail away. At the time, the internet was in its infancy and communication among collectors was heavily influenced by rumors and falsehoods. Most of these were driven by people trying to speculate in specific toys and drive up demand for something they either already owned or could easily acquire. And, Joseph Colton was heavily influenced by that. Adult collectors began hoarding up carded Joes so they could send off for the "sure to be valuable" Joesph Colton figures. But, Hasbro actually made more of the 3 3/4" figures than collectors could absorb. And, despite some high early pricing, the figures crashed in value and remain relatively easy to find to this day.
The insert shows a sample of both the 12" figure and the 3 3/4" figure. The 12" figure is posed on a bookshelf in an obvious showcase of Hasbro's intentions behind it. They created and marketed the figure for adult collectors of the day. In looking at the 3 3/4" figure, there are some differences between the figure shown and the actual figure that was sent to collectors. There are very subtle color differences in the green and brown colors. The main change, though, is the rifle shown. Colton is holding an M-16 inspired rifle. It is a far cry from the 1992 Gung Ho machine gun that was actually sent with the figure. The weapon shown in the insert was never, to my knowledge, released in any G.I. Joe line. The sample appears production level, but it might have been a mock up and the Gung Ho weapon was released to cut costs.
|Joseph Colton Mail Away Promo Interior Pages|
|Joseph Colton Mail Away Promo Back Page|
As mail in promos go, this one is fairly banal. The Colton artwork on the front page isn't spectacular. And, unlike most other mail away offers, this one only had a form to order the Joseph Colton figures and no other offers were present. Just being two pages doesn't leave much room for pizzazz. But, by 1993, the Joe line was in death throes and there wasn't much that was going to revive it. Colton is a solid demarcation of the end of mail away premiums. In 1996, Hasbro would start teaming up with food brands for mail aways for their new Star Wars line. After that, mail aways were mainly retro ways to appease some collector nostalgia for bygone days. So, this offer is one of the final legacies of the '80's Joe line.