We all know that 1993 had a significant amount of figures that were poorly colored. We also know that the year featured some of Hasbro's best sculpting. But, it was extremely rare when the excellent design was matched with quality colors. More frequently, Hasbro released spectacular figure sculpts in bright and even clashing colors. This lead to great unrealized potential in the line. 26 years later, though, the bright colors definitely stand as a relic of their release time. The figures who received the bright hues have even found renewed collector interest as younger collectors who grew up in the 1990's now make up a larger segment of the collecting world. For an old timer like me who haunted retail in the line's dying days, though, some figures bring back memories while others were nothing more than a picture on a cardback. The 1993 Long Arm figure is one such windmill. When I first saw his tiny portrait, I was intrigued. But, I never found the figure at retail and it was several years before I finally added the figure to my collection.
I really had no knowledge of the figures that would have been the 1993 series of DEF figures until December of 1995. A friend of mine found some Joes at his local K-Mart in Bloomington, Indiana. I finally got down to see him and went to the store. There, at the back of an aisle, scattered among random toys were two carded Joes I had never seen before: Muskrat and Mace. I paid the $3.44 each for them, despite the bad designs. Both of the figures left much to be desired. But, after they were opened, I spent some time looking at the cardbacks. There were several figures on the back that I had never seen, but looked far superior to the two I had found at the store. Among these was Long Arm. Any figure with a full helmet that appeared to be removable was going to be something I liked. So, I made a mental note of Long Arm in the hopes I would find him one day. Alas, though, that was not to be as Joe was mostly gone by then.
When I started buying online in the late 1990's, lots with loose figures from 1990 through 1994 were almost impossible to find. (You could get all the 1980's collections you wanted, though, for maybe a buck or two per figure.) But, as I was one of the few collectors who cared about such figures, I found little competition for the few lots that did appear. Through one of these random purchases, I acquired my first Long Arm figure. I pulled the figure aside to look at him. But, he was quickly outclassed by other new acquisitions who were also better figures. My desire to find a Long Arm was overcome by the sheer volume of newness I was adding to my collection in those days. So, Long Arm was packed into a drawer and never really appeared.
And, here he stayed for nearly two decades. I tried to place him in Star Brigade. But, there were so many new astronauts to my ranks that Long Arm couldn't compete. He could have worked as a deep sea diver. But, I had an army of mail away Deep Six figures who were better at that role. Even Mace found himself more useful than Long Arm in general DEF type duties. In short, I could not find a purpose for the Long Arm figure. And, that remains true today. Long Arm is simply a lost figure in my collection. He's a guy who can't find his way home. That's rare for me...especially with a mold and color scheme that lend themselves to holding my attention. Had I found the figure that day in 1995, I think Long Arm's fate would be different.
In the early 2000's, Long Arm was a favorite answer to the question of what 1990's figure would you most like to see repainted. Even when 1992 and later figures were hated, Long Arm's design could attract attention. But, the line died before Long Arm could ever appear. But, then in 2008, the mold appeared as a convention exclusive. This is the only other repaint of Long Arm and is a highly desired and expensive figure. The only other Long Arm collectible is an Australian release of the figure. There, Long Arm was packaged on a DEF card back: mimicking the original intention of the figure's design. There was a time when this was a highly desired international variant. But, it has lost its lustre in recent years. Long Arm could have been a cool release in Star Brigade, but that never happened. At least there's one good version of the mold. It would have been cool were there more, though.
As a visual entity, Long Arm is pretty basic. His body is all bright orange. It is broken by a smattering of golden highlights on his chest. He has black boots and gloves. And, that's the end of the figure's paint applications. But, the helmet is a solid design and the blue faceplate helps bring some additional color to the figure. The real surprise is the excellent head sculpt on Long Arm. The face and hair are well detailed and show a great amount of character. Since Long Arm is mostly seen with the helmet on, it's surprising to me that his head is not more used on custom characters. Few collectors would recognize it outright. But, the figure's late release year and general obscurity seem to diminish his appearance on customs.
Long Arm's gear is non-descript. His red weapon tree contains accessories that are both uninteresting and poorly colored. It's not a good combination. You do get the red version of the 1992 Roadblock knife. But, the 1991 Grunt and 1991 Sci Fi rifles are bad weapon choices. Long Arm does have the novelty of a shield that affixes to his spring loaded launcher. While the visual isn't fantastic, the play value is there and I recall thinking the concept of these shields was cool...even if the execution wasn't great. Long Arm would have been better with bomb defusing tools. The green color of the Clean Sweep's accessories aren't a perfect match for the orange. But, they do add some life to Long Arm.
Long Arm pricing can be all over the place. The figure has a bit of cachet due to the convention release. You'll see dealers selling carded versions for $40+ and they'll even sell at that price as they are not as common as they once were. Left to market pricing, though, carded figures sell for under $15. You can get loose mint and complete figures for around $15, too. So, if you want one, you're better off waiting for a carded figure and just opening it up. You can, of course, get incomplete figures for drastically less. And, since the figure's weapons suck, that's the way to go. That way, you get a fun figure to own and spend an amount that makes sense for a guy who's bright orange.