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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Real American Heroes: First Responder!

03.30.2014 – G.I. Joe is celebrating 50 years and it’s not the “Real American Hero” team, which turned 30 years in 2012. But THE original G.I. Joe action figure first introduced in 1964 was always mistaken for a doll than a toy for the boys.

In 2012 when Hasbro was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe team for the 3 ¾ scale figures they also re-introduced their “Real American Heroes.” This is for the 12 inch line of figures based from real people from soldiers to firemen in the modern era.

The success of the G.I. Joe brand was not consistent but delivered some interesting real world figures based on actual soldiers and rescue units. The popularity of the 12 inch line of figures has found its niche with the older generation who grew up with this toy line. It is this line of figures that established the G.I. Joe brand in the early 1960s, that paved the way for the brand to expand.

Hasbro had a limited release for the 12 inch scale figures which featured Paratroopers, Navy SEAL, SWAT and Fireman. There where other figures but not all of them made it to Philippine retail and they are quite expensive for an average G.I. Joe fan who only knew about Duke, Snake-Eyes, and Cobra Commander to name a few.

These “Real American Heroes” are relatively unknown unless you grew up with the Action Team from the 1970s or the original G.I. Joe from the 1960s. The toy line didn’t get much interest until it went on clearance. The 12 inch toy line that was sold on retail is the soldiers leaving the Fireman alone in the toy shelf. But in some areas the Fireman was the first to disappear. The First Responder what’s was known now in this new packaging for the 12 inch toy line, which was previously released as the “Fireman.”

There were various iterations of the Fireman in the 12 inch line of G.I. Joe figures but there was no existing catalog for each figure that was released only online search, where you can find the different variations that came before.

The G.I. Joe 12 inch figures has one signature to find out that you own this type and that is the scar in its right cheek. If you’ve seen the live action films Channing Tatum had it because he portrayed Duke and it became evident also in the action figure version. It’s a signature trademark for Duke to have a scar but not the other characters. It is that mark that makes the 12 inch figures unique regardless if it’s a soldier, police or a fireman they all have it but not the smaller figures.

The First Responder has all the necessary tools of the real world fireman, which includes the detailed oxygen tank with wires and controller. This also includes the axe, flashlight, and mask which connect to the tank. The other signature that makes a G.I. Joe figure unique for the 12 inch toy line is the dog tag.

Even the clothes make the man and Hasbro painstakingly make the uniform accurate with slight change adding a “G.I. Joe” logo on the jacket for being authentic down to its boots. Unfortunately the gloves are not removable Hasbro could have made extra effort in having them removable and interchangeable with ordinary articulate hands.

Just like its small scale action figures this 12 inch has almost all the basic articulate of the current figure. Though not entirely naked his upper body has his shirt molded and none removable for you not to mistaken a G.I. Joe related to Ken.

What makes it interesting for this fireman is how intricate and detailed the gear he carries. When you put it together out from its window type box it gets more interesting. Seeing how the details on the helmet, mask, and gear down to its uniform make this figure a rare thing to see in store shelves nowadays.

Most of Hasbro’s focus now with the G.I. Joe brand is the smaller scale 3 ¾ size figures, since it’s easy to produce vehicles and play sets around them. Unlike the costly 12 inch toy line which started it all for the brand.

Imagine back in 1964 where they have the vehicles and even play sets? It was once documented how it all started and preserved those old TV commercials. There was even an astronaut with its own rocket capsule after making back to Earth. How cool is that?

The 12 inch toy line is a lost art for the younger generation who won’t appreciate this in the age of videogames and access to social media. But there will be a generation who would continue to appreciate this scale. Hot Toys dominates this scale with high-end quality with licensed products that some casual fan won’t be able to afford unlike back in the day. But just like any established brand G.I. Joe will find a way and knowing is half of any battle. The 12 inch toy line won’t be phased out anytime soon since it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Overall the First Responder is a figure that stands out among the 12 inch scale releases, since this one doesn’t carry automatic weapons. It would be cool if Hasbro had released a medic to accompany this fireman or another one of his brethren. Now on clearance sale rarely you’ll find one anytime soon, but if ever you do maybe you try to pick one up.

There is a small community of G.I. Joe fans out there who are into the 12 inch scale, and to think there is no interest in this toy line? They are called Manila G.I. Joe Collectors’ Circle established in 1996.

To find out more about the crew and the toy line they support LIKE Manila Joes on Facebook!

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