Friday, November 30, 2012

Fumaca - Brazilian Exclusive Ripcord

Through the years, I've profiled hundreds of G.I. Joe figures.  In that time, I've hit on both major characters and minor bit players.  One niche I have found to be particularly enjoyable, though, is finding an obscure version of a major character, especially if that obscure version is from a country outside of the U.S.  Such is the case with Fumaca.  At his core, this is just Ripcord from Brazil.  But, the reality is that the figure is distinctly different from the American and Argentine releases of the mold.  The result is a figure that is extremely cool, even if he's something that, on the surface, appears to be commonplace.

Fumaca is a much deeper green and blue than the American Ripcord figure.  Really, that's his most notable difference.  But, visually, it is major as the figure is very distinct from the Hasbro released figure.  Brazilian figures have a distinct shade of green that is mostly seen on their accessories.  But, Fumaca uses that color as his base.  The darker green gives Fumaca a more visually attractive look and really draws the eye to him when displayed among his contemporaries.

Fumaca includes the full complement of Ripcord's accessories.  The helmet and mask are cast in the standard black.  The plastic is of Brazilian quality, though, and the mask tends to be a bit more fragile than the American version.  The parachute and gun, though, different shades of green.  I wrote before of a "Brazilian Green" and these accessories fall into that description.  Estrela used a specific shade of green for their figure accessories.  It is darker and deeper than the green used on 1984 American accessories.  Estrela used this color, though, on all their green accessories produced in the line.  It is the same color used for Spirit, Recondo, Hawk, Footloose and many other figures in the Estrela line.  I find this green to be much more interesting than the Hasbro green used in 1984 and it really helps to make the figures pop even beyond the slight differences in figure color.

For me, Ripcord has always been a figure whose gear made him vital to a collection.  Without the parachute and mask, Ripcord would be relatively unused as the mold, sans accessories, is somewhat bland.  But, that's the genius of the figure.  With the accessories, Ripcord is a must have.  Without them, it's a bland figure, but still good enough to keep around.  As a kid, I always had Ripcord in his full gear.  Even when part of a patrol who had miles of ground to cover, Ripcord wore his parachute and mask.  I liked the look and always felt the mask gave him an edge if Cobra dropped a gas grenade on the Joes.

The Ripcord mold got a lot of use throughout the world.  After his release in the U.S. in 1984, he was shipped of South America.  There, he was released as Fuego by Plastirama in Argentina and Fumaca in Brazil.  In Argentina, Plastirama also used the mold in tan for some versions of their Sokerk figure.  In Brazil, Estrela painted Ripcord in Python Patrol colors and released him as a Cobra named Relampago.  In 1988, Ripcord was slated to be a charter member of Tiger Force in the U.S.  Painted mock ups of the figure even appeared in advertisements for Tiger Force.  But, due to the mold's continued use in South America, Hasbro did not have the actual figure available to them.  So, Ripcord fans are treated to mostly foreign releases of the mold to sate their desires for differently painted Ripcord variants.

Fumaca's aren't terribly hard to find.  They were very common in Brazil and many survived to this day.  Getting one mint and complete, though, is a bit of a challenge.  The paint wears easily and Fumaca's thumbs are notoriously brittle.  As such, it can take some time to find a mint specimen.  But, even mint and complete with filecard Fumaca's sell for under $20.  Now, you may pay an additional $15 to ship one from Brazil.  But, the overall price isn't terrible when you consider that the figure has enough differences from the American version to be noticeable by eye alone.  Personally, I enjoy the foreign figures that are similar to their American counterparts.  They give me an opportunity to appreciate a classic mold in a slightly different way.  As the vastness of any collection grows, that is something of value.

Fumaca, Ripcord, Brazil, Estrela, 1984

Fumaca, Ripcord, Brazil, Estrela, 1984, 1993 Gold Head Steel Brigade, Mail Away, Rare G.I. joe Figures, 1983 Dragonfly

No comments:

Post a Comment