Wednesday, May 29, 2002

1993 International Action Team Spirit Iron Knife

For a long time, I've wanted to profile the Spirit character. Since his memorable introduction back in G.I. Joe #31, I've liked the character. However, Spirit was a rare case where I felt the character outweighed the actual toy. While the first version of the figure was very cool and was someone that I used for quite some time, it has certain shortcomings, especially when it was compared to figures that came out in later years. While the original figure stayed on the outskirts of my Joe collection, the idea of Spirit did not. He remained a part of my Joe story line, though he was just never given a starring role in the toys. However, it is the second Spirit mold that I have finally chosen to profile. This mold has the updates that allow this figure to fit in with more figures from the entire run while still remaining true to the Spirit character. Of the 2 color schemes for this mold, I have chosen the 1993 mail in figure as the subject of my profile.

In 1993, Hasbro offered almost a dozen mail in figure premiums. The line was definitely winding down and they were trying to milk it for all they could. Most of the mail in figures were brightly colored and not highly desirable. (I know that I passed on a couple of them due to the colors.) However, a few of the mail in figures were sensibly colored and nicely done. While I've already discussed the Arctic Commando team, the International Action Team was another mail in set that was done nearly to perfection. This set included 4 Joe figures: Budo, Big Ben, Big Bear, and this Spirit figure. While the molds were nice and the colors were great updates to the originals, their accessories were lame. Spirit came only with a Hit and Run knife while Big Bear came with very lame remake of the Dodger rifle. Big Ben did have a version of Tunnel Rat's gun, but it just didn't fit for him. Budo came with his scabbarded sword and a helmet with orange highlights. The figures had no backpacks or other accessories to flesh them out. As such, they were not quite as inspiring as they could have been. Because of factors like these, the entire set has really become rather obscure and remains one of the less often mentioned 1993 mail in sets since so few collectors have really found a home for these re-paints in their collections.

My first encounter with this Spirit mold was back in 1999. I managed to get a 1992 version of this figure from Hasbro Canada. (Since then, I've not been able to get another one. Both versions of this mold are pretty tough to come by.) I really liked the mold and was impressed at how cool its design was. The sharp colors were aesthetically pleasing to me, but the hard, neon green was kind of a detriment to using that figure for the field trooper I always felt Spirit should be. When I discovered the '93 repaint on, I immediately wanted the figure. For a couple of months, I came very close to acquiring the International Action Team of whom Spirit is a member, but the price always ended higher than I wanted to go. As such, I kind of let this guy slide and didn't pick one up for a couple of years after that initial realization. Once I did, though, I was not disappointed in him at all. The muted maroon chest made this Spirit a perfect woodlands trooper. The gold leg details (like the ring of grenades on his waist) just highlight the mold's strong points. This is the version that did not have the hard edge of color like the original version had and makes for a much more usable figure.

Spirit was originally introduced in 1984. In the fall of that year, he made his comic debut as protection for Snake Eyes. He and Airborne parachuted into the High Sierras after Snake Eyes and ended up in a firefight with him against Destro, Firefly and the original Fred. While I won't summarize the plot of this story, I will say that it was about the best Joe story I had read at the time. I wore my copy of G.I. Joe #31 out as I read it so many times. Airborne had already been a oft used figure in my collection, but that story alone vaulted he and Spirit to the top of my collection. Spirit became an almost mystic warrior who was the only one capable of fighting Storm Shadow. (Remember, the '85 Snake Eyes didn't come out until the next year!) He was a loner, but a remarkable soldier who was able to overcome almost any odds against him. Like most of those early figures in my collection, though, my original Spirit suffered from his heavy use. In time, his paint wore off, accessories broke, and joints became loose. When this happened, the figure sort of disappeared into my collection. By the time an update of the mold was released under the Slaughter's Marauders subset in 1989, I was out of Joe and missed it. When I returned to collecting, the I picked up an original Spirit, but the later year figures that I was then concentrating on were just superior to those old molds and I didn't pay it much attention. Once I got this version, though, Spirit returned to my collection as one of the older, more experienced Joes whose insights prove valuable to the newer team members. He is often included on the most dangerous missions as he is still one of the best soldiers on the team. His personal strength and control keep him at the top of his ability and make him one of the few characters from the early years of the line that I still utilize.

Of the 1993 mail in offers, the International Action Team is the third hardest to find behind the Gold Headed Steel Brigade figure and the Create a Cobra. However, a large toy magazine managed to get their hands on a large chunk of the IAT overstock and has offered it, from time to time, as a bonus for when you subscribe to their magazine. Due to the price of the publication, though, it really doesn't make this set any easier to get. The fact that these are probably the most sensibly colored non Arctic mail in figures offered at that time as well as the fact that the members of the set were decent enough characters also helps explain their popularity. As such, you can expect to pay upwards of $30-$35 for a MIB set. If you divide that price by the 4 figures, it isn't too bad, but is a substantial increase from most of the other 1993 mail in figures. Still, for a set of figures that includes 3 nice repaints of figures (the Budo is a little bizarre), the price isn't too bad. I was very happy to acquire this figure and he has become the definitive version of Spirit in my collection. If you have occasion to add this guy, I think you will find him a valuable addition to your Joe world as well.

This is a great version of Spirit and I'm in need of 3 of the International Action Team filecards. I could also use 2 mint, unbroken Freedoms, a MINT version (all the gold on his wrist gauntlets) of Spirit V1 and a mint Spirit V2. I could also use the V2, V3 and European Exclusive Spirit filecards. I know that's a lot, but if you have any of it available, email me.

1993 Spirit, Mail Away, International Action Team, APC, 1983, 1990, Range Viper, Night Viper

1993, Spirit, International Action Team, Mail Away, 1992 Wild Bill, 1982 VAMP, 2001 Gung Ho, Backstop, Plastirama, Argentina, Duke, 1984

1993, Spirit, International Action Team, Mail Away, Backstop, Leatherneck

1993, Spirit, International Action Team, Mail Away, Ambush, LCV, Viper

1993, Spirit, International Action Team, Mail Away,Beach Head, Duke, Gung Ho, Battle Corps

Friday, May 17, 2002

1991 Eco Warriors Clean Sweep

I am sure that once the vast majority of people who visit this site saw that my most recent profile was of Clean-Sweep, a member of the hated Eco Warriors, they simply didn't click the link and decided to return in the next week or so when I return to sanity. However, for those of you who have ventured to this point, I'll just offer this warning: I like Eco Warriors. There. I said it. Now that that's out of the way, I also want it known that I'm not out to convince anyone else out there to like them. In fact, if you hate them even more when I'm done, that's fine, too. Basically, though, whether you hate the Eco Warriors or not, you have to admit that Clean-Sweep is the most obscure character relegated to it. As such, he is a perfect candidate for a Forgotten Figure profile.

When I first saw Clean-Sweep, one specialty raced into my mind: airport firefighter. His hooded suit just reminded me of the airport firefighters I used to see in my youth. As firefighters were an element that I often used as part of any airfield scene, I decided that Clean-Sweep would be a welcome addition to my collection. I went out in search of him and made it a top priority to track him down. In fact, if you look back in the Joe newsgroup you can find a post I made all the way back in 1998 when I first got this figure talking about how much I like him. (Notice the 60 figures with accessories for under $100 as well. Man, I miss the old days some times!) He was everything I had hoped his mold would be and Clean-Sweep became a firefighter/rescue trooper who was part of my airfield crash team.

Clean-Sweep does have one fatal flaw. (No, it's not the neon color!) He has the single worst head sculpt in the history of the Joe line. It is really too terrible for words. However, it is the hood that makes this figure. As that completely covers the head, you can forgive the poor design. Unfortunately, without the hood, the figure is just about useless. Given the opportunity to acquire a nice Clean-Sweep figure sans helmet for even $1, I know I would pass it by. The figure is just too lame without it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, sometimes an accessory does a figure make. Clean-Sweep's helmet is a prime example. With it, the figure is very cool, realistic and usable. Without it, he is probably one of the most useless figures in the history of the line.
One of the main reasons I stick up for the Eco Warriors is because so many people simply hate them. As a concept, they are pretty far removed from the classic definitions of what Joe is. I do, think, that the concept could have flown had it not been done in the way it was. Frankly, Airtight should have been the leader of this group and they should have focused less on environmental issues and more on things like Bio Terrorism, chemical warfare, or germ warfare. This was a hot topic in the early 90's and had the Eco Warriors been given issues like those to tackle, I think the subset would have much more respect from modern collectors.

Perhaps issues like these were too real at the time. However, having a group of heroes available to stop the horrors kids still heard about on the evening news might have been a good thing. Alas, we got what we got. The great thing about Joe, though, is that I'm not forced to make these guys' mission what the comics and filecards dictated it to be. In my world, the Eco Warriors are the guys who are stopping Cobra from spreading the SmallPox they stole from Russia in 1994. (There was a front page Wall Street Journal article on the lax security at the Russian lab where the SmallPox virus was held back in late 1993/early 1994. I used that as one of the early plots involving my newly established Cobra characters.) These are the guys who are preventing Cobra from launching an attack on the U.S. from the inside. In today's world, issues like this are even more poignant. I'm not saying I'd like to see the Eco Warriors return in the new Joe line, but a new Airtight figure with updated CBR gear might be something to consider as the line matures a bit.

Clean-Sweep's role in my collection has really remained unchanged since I first got him. He is still an airfield firefighter and rescue trooper. (I use him as a faceless minion rather than a full blown Joe.) As I've acquired larger aircraft for my Joes, Clean-Sweep has become an integral part of their support team. Should the day ever come where I own a U.S.S. Flagg, you can be sure that a small contingent of Clean Sweep figures will be on deck at all times to support damaged aircraft. Beyond that, though, I've found the figure limited. While I do use him as part of my bio-terrorism unit, he doesn't get as much use there as do some of my Star Brigade figures. This is definitely a niche figure and not one that has a great deal of versatility. For what he is, though, Clean-Sweep is a decent enough figure.

Clean-Sweeps are pretty tough to find if you want them loose, mint, and complete. However, they, like most of the Eco Warriors figures, can easily be found carded. Either way, the figure is going to be cheap. People hate the Eco Warriors and the figures are valued as such. I'd be surprised if you spent any amount of time looking for this figure and couldn't find an at least nearly complete one for under $5. That's bargain basement as far as Joe figures go. Personally, though, this is another figure who, for the price, is a great addition to your collection. He has a mold that lends him to only very specialized areas. As you probably don't want to spend a lot on a figure you will only use once or twice per year, Clean-Sweep is perfect. I've found this guy to be a valuable part of my collection and a figure that I actually keep out on display, from time to time. He is easily the class of the 1991 Eco Warrior Joes and is a figure that I think every collector should at least consider for their collection on some level.

While I'm covered on the Joe 1991 Eco Warriors, I could use a mint, complete with filecard 1992 Deep Six. I am also after a mint, complete Corrosao (Eco Warriors Dee Jay) from Brazil. If you have either one of those figures that you are willing to trade,email me.

1991 Clean Sweep, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Eco Warriors

1991 Clean Sweep, Eco Warriors, Flint, Ozone, Toxo Zombie, Biomassa, Brazil, Estrela, Eco Warriors Maverick, Forca Eco

1991 Clean Sweep, Eco Warriors, Flint, Funskool Toxo Viper

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

1986 Sgt. Slaughter (V2)

In the course of Joe collecting, you find there are a few sensitive subjects that tend to divide Joe fans. Many of them seem petty, but as important a part of life as Joe is to many people, you can see from where some of these passions arise. As I've matured as a collector, I've found that many things I don't like as an adult were immensely fun when I was a child. Among these is the character I've most recently chosen to profile. While he is not a big part of my collection today, when I was younger he was a figure who saw tremendous amounts of use. While many collectors no longer have any uses for this figure, the impact that Sgt. Slaughter had on the Joe line is more far reaching than that of anyone outside of the actual figure designers or Larry Hama.

I'll admit it. Back when I first heard of the Sgt. Slaughter mail in figure, I had no idea who Sgt. Slaughter was. Sure, I knew a little about pro wrestling. But my knowledge was limited to Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and the Junkyard Dog. As such, I had no idea about this character, or that he was even a real media personality until my friends filled me in on his background. As such, though, I didn't have the idea of Sgt. Slaughter as a wrestler driving my development of his character. I was free to create a character as unique as I wanted him to be.

In my adult collection, Sgt. Slaughter is as useless a figure as the Fridge, Big Boa and Raptor. He is simply a "gimmick" figure that I have no use for. I don't like the figure as a toy and I certainly don't like the Sarge as a character. There are a good number of adult collectors who are with me in these feelings. However, when you rewind to 1986, the Sarge was AWESOME! As a child, this guy was just what I wanted in a Joe figure. He was distinctive, cool, and well characterized in both the cartoon and in the comic. He was one figure that I wanted. In fact, I paid the $.99 and called the special 1-900 number on the mail in certificate to get the secret four digit code that allowed you to get the Sarge mail in figure with one less certificate. (I think the code was 1986!) I simply couldn't wait any longer to get another figure that had the certificate. I wanted my Sarge figure as soon as I could get him.

When I got my figure, I was not disappointed. While the mail in Slaughter had some shortcomings, he still became a top character in my collection. I used his baton like a boomerang and had it be so effective a weapon that he didn't need to carry a gun. I continued using him in this capacity until the summer. Right as school let out, G.I. Joe #51 was released. It introduced Sgt. Slaughter, only in the uniform that would be included with the Triple T tank later that year. This story hooked me on the Slaughter character even more! The minute I first saw the Triple T tank later that summer, I snatched it up just to get another version of this figure. With this acquisition, my original Slaughter figure was retired.

The Triple T version of Slaughter was much more combat ready than the mail in version. He still had the massive physique and signature head, but he was cast with camo pants and a black shirt. It make him look like a combat soldier instead of a drill instructor. As per the Sarge's initial comic appearance, I usually had my figure as the main gunner on the HAVOC. It was a position where he looked good. I gave him Rock and Roll's M-60 to also match the comic and my Sarge was set. He morphed from the brawler to a real soldier. He was the commander of the HAVOC and any crew that were with it while still being able to go out on foot to fight the legions of Vipers who were always riding around on STUNs. Of course, from time to time, he would still pull out his baton and go back to his old style, but I found a longer life for him as a soldier than anything else.

As with most of my figures, though, Slaughter's lustre faded. As I moved into 1987, the new figures were more compelling than the old stuff and I found that many of my '86 guys fell into disfavor. (It's a trend that continues to this day. The newest figures in my collection always see the most use.) As such, Sarge became just another guy in my figure box. Since then, I've never really considered him to be much more. As I moved into collecting circles, my apathy turned to dislike and I started to avoid any Slaughter figs. When I consolidated my childhood collection with my adult collection a couple of years ago, I just kept this Slaughter in the bag. He was such an afterthought that it never even occurred to me to pull him out. In fact, he was still in it that bag when I finally decided to use him for this profile.

The fact is, Sgt. Slaughter is a large part of Joe history. He was the first celebrity spokesperson for the line and was the media personality for many years. While it is easy to hate him, it is impossible to deny that he is an important part of Joe. As a figure, Sgt. Slaughter is no longer used in my collection. As a character, he has the same lot. However, for many people, he still remains an icon of Joe. He was a huge player in both the cartoon and the comic and he still has his fans. While many collectors still despise him and count him as the beginning of the downturn in quality for the line, many other collectors hold him in high regard and consider him a vital character to Joe mythos. Many arguments have developed over the inclusion of Sgt. Slaughter in the Joe line. Whether you like him or not, though, his impact is undeniable.

Sgt. Slaughter figures, any version, are pretty easy to find. As he is really a love-hate type of character (with more people probably on the hate side) there really isn't much demand for any of his figures. His little baton, that came with three of his four versions, though, can be problematic to find. Still, you can get him cheaply without too much trouble from a variety of sources. (You might also want to check out the Sgt. Slaughter figure from Argentina. It can be had MOC for a paltry sum and is a very nice version of this figure. It comes with his baton and has pretty good card art as well.) At any rate, the Sarge is never a guy that I've felt was necessary to an adult collection. However, pulling him out of his drawer really brought back some memories from a time when he was one of the most important characters in my Joe world. Will I start using him now? Probably not. The Sarge's days in my collection are past. Still, it's fun, every now and then, to reminisce about more innocent days. On that level, this figure is still pretty cool.

As my Sgt. Slaughter figures got some use, I could use mint, complete examples of his his first two versions. I'm also after the V1 and V3 filecards. If you have any of these available, email me.

1986 Sgt. Slaughter, Steel Brigade, Mail Away

1986 Sgt. Slaughter, Viper, 1982 VAMP, Claymore, Mission to Brazil, TRU Exclusive, 1983 Wolverine, Cross Country, Sci Fi, Dial Tone

1986 Sgt. Slaughter, Viper

Friday, May 10, 2002

1997 Stars & Stripes Scarlett - TRU Exclusive

I've made it no secret that I don't have much use for female figures in the Joe line. Of nearly 180 profiles, this is only the second female figure I've covered. The reasons for this are many. Suffice it to say, as a kid I didn't relate to the female figures and just didn't really see any reason to incorporate them into my Joe world. This is not to say, though, that I didn't enjoy the characters around whom the figures were based. While the Lady Jaye figure was relegated to bottom of my collection, I appreciated the character and always enjoyed her interaction with Flint. As the comics were my main source of Joe media, though, it was interaction between Snake Eyes and the subject of this profile that drove much of the story. While collectors now often bemoan the old Joe comic, you can't deny that it was compelling at the time. As such, I felt the time was right for me to offer my views on the most recognizable Joe female: Scarlett.

For me, the original Scarlett figure was terribly bland. Her colors, while unique when taken against her peers, were just not eye catching. As such, she was the only member of the original Joe run that I left out of my collection until late 1984. As a late entry, and one in whom I had little interest, that original Scarlett got almost no use at all. By the time I acquired her, figures had progressed so far beyond that first year that even an original color scheme like Scarlett's wasn't enough to measure up to the current offerings. As such, Scarlett's run in my collection was painfully short. In fact, beyond the day I first acquired her, it was non-existent. Naturally, this has lead to that original version of Scarlett being a figure that I have not sought out as an adult collector. My apathy towards her figure then has remained with me and it was only due to completion's sake that I've ever acquired any additional versions of her.

For many people, Scarlett is one of the most important characters in Joedom. She was introduced in the first issue of the Joe comic and remained in a starring role through the bitter end. Her connection to Snake Eyes made for a strong plot point and was utilized for many years. Of course, because of this, there are many people who dislike the character. You can usually tell a comic fan from a cartoon fan by whether they prefer Scarlett or Lady Jaye. Regardless of your preferred Joe canon, though, you have to admit that Scarlett is a character who is readily associated with Joe. Being the first female on the team at a time when the concept of female combat soldiers was pretty far out there made Scarlett stand out. The way she was utilized in advertising and other Joe media helped make her a mainstay in most people's minds when they thought of Joe. It was her run in the comic, though, that really cemented her in the mindset of most of today's adult collectors. She was so intertwined with Snake Eyes and Stormshadow that it was impossible for any fan of the comic to escape her. As such, this has made Scarlett a collector favorite in the modern collectible world. Like Lady Jaye, Scarlett will always have her fans and there are many collectors out there who, if they only own three or four figures, ensure that Scarlett is one of them.

This version of Scarlett remains my favorite. The deeper colors are a bit more striking and create a contrast of color that leaves more of an impression upon me than the original color scheme. You can be sure that I'm in the minority on this! As many of you know, though, I like figures who are bright and vibrant. This figure certainly fits those criteria. As such, I consider her a nice update to a classic figure. While I won't go so far as to say she is better than the original, this is certainly the version that I prefer. Her 1993 Ninja Force figure is not terrible, (In fact, the head sculpt is quite good and is often put to use by many advanced customizers.) but lacks the characteristics that fit the character. This version retains Scarlett's combat motif while giving the figure enough of an update that the character has some variety in a collection, even if the mold is the same. Had the entire Stars and Stripes set been done to even this level, (I think Stalker was the best of the bunch, though!) it would occupy a more honored place among today's collectors. Most people now dismiss it for the bland updates and poor figure quality. While this is, for the most part, true of the set, it is a figure like Scarlett that makes me glad I did buy one back when they were released.

Most of you now know that there is a new Scarlett figure being packaged with a new Zartan that will be released later this year. I will admit that this figure looks awesome and will definitely be one that I add to my collection. That being said, though, the new Scarlett will still be a pegwarmer. I know that most every Joe collector out there does not agree with me, but she will be. In 1997, the Commando Team with Lady Jaye was a pegwarmer even though she was packaged with both Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. The Baroness was packed with Cobra Commander and Destro and was an even larger pegwarmer than Lady Jaye. In 1998, the Rattler Jeep with Vypra was collecting dust for over a year while her female contemporary, Volga, was the greatest pegwarmer of the modern Joes as she was readily available at Christmas time 2000, over a year since she had last shipped. In 2000, Chameleon was packed with the definitive version of Cobra Commander and clogged the shelves in every store that received the Wave I's. Had it not been for dealers snatching up overstock due to perceived scarcity, she would have rivaled Big Ben and Whiteout as the most pegwarming repainted 2 pack. You see, there's a long history of female figures being pegwarmers. Despite all the fans out there who clamour for a new Scarlett figure and who will buy this new version up, she will still be the largest pegwarmer of her wave and will probably be available for some time. The bottom line is that female figures don't sell. I know there are fanboys out there who want female Vipers, Crimson Guards, and every other Cobra Trooper under the sun. The fact is, they won't sell. If Hasbro produces figures that don't sell, the line will end. As such, it is no ones best interest to release figures like this as anything more than occasional fill ins. Anything beyond that spells disaster.

As figures go, the 1997 Stars and Stripes set was pretty lame. As such, it was a remarkable pegwarmer back when it was released. Unfortunately, yesterday's pegwarmer is today's hot collectible and Star and Stripes sets are now fetching outrageous sums on the second hand market. What's even more frustrating is that there aren't too many people who broke this set up. And, if they did, they tend to hold onto the Snake Eyes, Stalker, and Scarlett figures. As such, finding this version of Scarlett is actually more difficult than it is to find either of her original incarnations. It is a maddening prospect, but serves as a good lesson to not let stuff pass you by when you have the chance to acquire it. For me, this Scarlett is a figure that I'll use as filler in dioramas and such. I just don't see her occupying any roles beyond that.

If you have any questions, or comments, email me.

1997 Scarlett, Stars & Stripes, TRU Exclusive V2 Snake Eyes, 1985

1997 Scarlett, Stars & Stripes, TRU Exclusive V2 Snake Eyes, 1985

1997 Scarlett, Stars & Stripes, TRU Exclusive, Quarrel, Undercover Scarlett, European Exclusive, Action Force, Z Force, Palitoy, 1984 Duke, 1983 G.I. joe HQ

Wednesday, May 1, 2002

1992 D.E.F. Cutter

Back in 1984, Hasbro released one of the greatest vehicles in the entire Joe line, the Hovercraft. It was a novel toy and one that most people consider a necessity to any Joe collection. The driver of this vehicle was a Coast Guardsman named Cutter. The figure was realistic enough, but had a very bulky sculpt and didn't look quite "finished". As such, he was never a guy who really captured my attention on anything beyond the character level. However, here, the figure succeeded. As such, the original Cutter played a prominent role in my early collection. However, as figure sculpts improved in the coming years, guys like Cutter found themselves falling farther and farther down in my hierarchy. These nether regions would have been a permanent residence for this character except that new life was breathed into him when an updated version of Cutter was released with the D.E.F. in 1992.

I've always liked the D.E.F. I think that many collectors out there just lump any figure from any subset released after 1990 into the dreaded "neon" category. However, the D.E.F. does not fit this in any way. The figures released under its banner: Headhunter, Headman, Shockwave, Bulletprooof, Mutt and this Cutter are all well colored and excellently accessorized. As figures, they stand tall among those from any year. What was it, then, that doomed the D.E.F. to a future of obscurity? Simple. The figures came with "light and sound" spring loaded weapons. While some, like Mutt's net launcher, had potential and fun play features, most were nothing interesting and really detracted form the packaged figure's presentation. More importantly, the extra features raised the price point on these guys so they were more expensive than the regularly carded figures they sat next to. Let's see. Were I a parent in 1992, would I buy the regular Joe figure for 2.99 or the D.E.F. figure for 4.99? To me, they look the same. I'll just save my money and opt for the cheaper alternative. As such, these guys never got the real retail push they needed to capture the imaginations of many of the children who would have owned them and they remain a part of the hobby that has a stigma attached to them, even though it may not be deserved.

As far as the figure itself goes, this is really an prime example that Hasbro was still churning out high quality figure molds well into the 90's. Cutter is an excellent example of an update to a classic figure mold gone exactly right. One look at this guy and you know it's Cutter. They retained the normal look of his as well as his trademark baseball cap. They then re-did the life jacket into a more modern version that is less bulky and looks more in line with what a combat sailor would wear. They also retained his original color of orange and dark blue. It is a scheme that works great as the colors contrast each other to a degree that they accentuate the figure's mold while still maintaining that look or realism. He is well accessorized as well as he comes with a nice, small machine gun and a large, rescue flashlight that attaches to his leg. He also comes with a grappling hook, spring firing weapon. While not great, I've always liked figure that come with ropes and hooks. Removed from the launcher, it works quite well as a nice accessory for a sailor. As Hasbro is heading towards updates of classic characters with the Wave 2 resculpts, they would be wise to look to this Cutter as an example of how it should be done. This figure is an improvement in every way over the original figure, but still pays enough homage to its predecessor that any long time fan will instantly recognize him. If Wave 2 is pulled off in the same manner, then Joe fans in general have an awful lot to look forward to in the coming years!

I have dual uses for this figure. First off, he is Cutter in my collection. I have no use for the original figure now that this updated version is in my collection. When Cutter mans the Hovercraft, it is this version and this version alone who is called upon to represent the character. However, from time to time, I like to also use this guy as a maritime commando or a port defender. The look fits, with the large flashlight and small, compact gun. In this role, the figure gets more versatile and can really utilize the attention to detail paid his design. He is an army builder type figure who usually fights against pirates (portrayed by Dreadnoks) or a team of Cobra Divers who are trying to infiltrate a facility. Usually, this capacity is for more out-of-continuity adventures, but it shows that the mold has more potential than just being Cutter.

There is good news and bad news about the availability of the '92 Cutter. He really isn't all that easy to find, especially if you want him mint and complete. You just don't see him, or many of his D.E.F. brethren on a consistent basis in second hand market loose collections. The good news, though, is two fold. First off, if you do find a loose version of this figure, he won't cost you very much. Like the other D.E.F. Joes, Cutter is cheap. He can even be had MOC for prices that allow you to open him. The other bit of good news is that this mold is currently offered by Funskool. You can see a couple of them in the picture below. They are very similarly colored to the American version and are almost identical in color to Topside. They also come with black accessories that work well with the original version as well as many other figures. As they can consistently be had for under $4.00, this is a figure mold that you can amass quite easily in that manner. It really allows you to enjoy the quality of this figure for a price that is easy to handle. I can't get enough of these guys. Their use in my collection lends itself to army building and I do whenever I get the chance. I think, if you are willing to give this figure the benefit of the doubt, that you will find him some nice uses in your collection as well.

Cutter is a good figure, but not one that I need more of. The Funskool version covers that for me. What do you think of this guy? Let me know.

1992 Cutter, DEF, 1985 Keel Haul, Whale, 1993 Beach Head, Barbecue, BBQ, Eco Warriors, Bazooka, Funskool Cutter

1992 Cutter, DEF, 1985 Keel Haul, Whale, 1993 Beach Head, Barbecue, BBQ, Eco Warriors, Bazooka, Funskool Cutter

1992 Cutter, DEF, 1992 Spirit, Whale, 1993 Beach Head,