You may not know it by reading this site, but I am a child of the 1980s. And like any red-blooded American child growing up in the ’80s, I took pride in my toy collection. And while I dabbled in He-Man figures and even had a decent M.A.S.K. collection, for me it was all about Transformers and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
Recently I decided that with my son on the cusp of prime toy-playing age, it was time to restore one of my old collections to something approaching its former glory. I picked up a few Transformers G1 minibots and a few M.A.S.K., vehicles, and that was fun enough. But I don’t think rebuilding either of those lines is practical for a few reasons — namely a tight budget and a lack of good storage/display space.
So I’ve decided to cast my lot with G.I. Joe, and have already picked up a handful of figures on eBay. And so this series will be a document of my journey in bringing my beloved Joe collection back to life for my enjoyment and my son’s.
But where to start? From the start of the modern 3¾ action figure line in 1982 until the time I stopped collecting — roughly 1987/88 — there were dozens of figures, vehicles, and playsets to choose from. Should I start from the beginning and the original group of 16 G.I. Joe and Cobra figures? Some of them are pretty rare and quite expensive. Or should I just go for the cheapest ones I can find?
As it turns out, I kind of wrote my own starting guide a few years back and had forgotten about it — a list of my favorite G.I. Joe characters from 2011. So yeah, I’ll start there.
So armed with some discretionary income, and a handful of extra stands and replacement rubber bands, I’m ready to rebuild my collection of vintage G.I. Joes! The first few have already arrived, and more are on the way. I won’t spoil any surprises, so you’ll have to stay tuned for future installments.
OK, I’ll give the first one away. The first figure up will be Blowtorch. Here he is in this great 1984 Hasbro TV ad.