Holy Crap!

Over two years. I can't believe it's been over two years since my last post.

Well, watch this space, because we're coming back.

No really, I mean it.



GI Joe 25th Anniversary Original 13: Grunt

Continuing on with the "Heavyarms saw his picture on the box and was fascinated with the character" meme, we pick up with Grunt. Check out that card art. Grunt's the guy that grabs his M-16 and charges into the firefight. The other Joes got laser guns and bazookas and mortars and missile launchers or got to be commandos. Not Grunt, he just got a rifle.

5 Grunt

How does an eight year old boy reconcile this, though? All the other Joes have some sort of specialty, what about Grunt? I had a friend that actually had the audacity to suggest that "Grunt" was just a grunt. A generic soldier. Cannon fodder. As in, there was more than one "Grunt." A retarded idea if you ask me. GI Joe is the code name for America's highly trained special mission force. There's no room for average grunts there. Besides, Grunt had a real name, Robert Graves. When I was a kid I decided that Grunt was GI Joe's ├╝ber-soldier. He did soldier stuff, and he soldiered like no other soldier had ever soldiered. He did it all, walked point, reported for KP duty, could hold his own in a firefight. Grunt was the member of the team that did the dirty work, from taking watch at 3am to performing flanking maneuvers in the field to walking right up to a Cobra HISS and dropping a grenade in the cockpit.

Grunt, like Grand Slam, did not get a single-card release but instead was another store-exclusive, released in one of the three "Senior Ranking Officers" three-packs available only at Toys R Us. Grunt came with his helmet, knife, handgun, UZI, and a giant M-16 with an underslung grenade launcher, which I didn't like so I replaced it with a cooler M-16 I got from the great folks at Marauder, Inc.


GI Joe 25th Anniversary Original 13: Grand Slam

Here's another Original 13 member that was originally released as a vehicle driver. Well, actually he was released with the Heavy Artillery Laser (HAL), so I guess he wasn't really a "driver." Except for a different head, the Grand Slam figure released in 1982 was indistinguishable from Flash, he even had the same red oven-mitt pads. In 1983 Grand Slam's pads were repainted silver and he was included with the GI Joe JUMP Jet Pack.

For the 25th Anniversary Line, Grand Slam was included as the driver for the Target-Exclusive Night Spector, which was a olive-green repaint of the classic Joe flying submarine, the S.H.A.R.C. Since it was Target-exclusive, you either found this thing on clearance on an endcap or you didn't find it at all, I don't think there was an in-between. The three Target-exclusive vehicles (blue Cobra HISS, the Night Specter, and the A.W.E. Striker) all cheaped out, the file cards were printed on the side of the box and they did not get stands so Grand Slam is the only 25A O13 character that didn't get a stand with his name on it.

4 Grand Slam

25A Grand Slam is just a straight repaint of 25A Flash. Just like the original Grand Slam, his only accessories were a helmet and visor...no weapons or any kind...so I bought an extra Flash and gave Grand Slam his XLM-1A Laser Rifle. I also had an extra Joe JUMP pack laying around, so he got one of those since the 83 version came with one, too. Like Clutch, Grand Slam wasn't really high on my interest list as a kid and I guess I gotta blame that on the fact that he was a vehicle driver as well. Also, I probably just assumed Flash was included with the HAL since he looked the same as Grand Slam and was already they team laser expert and was more awsum.


GI Joe 25th Anniversary Original 13: Flash

So, with today's figure I realize that I maybe shouldn't have gone with the idea of posting them in alphabetical order. Flash actually is the one figure that I would say embodies all this stuff, this "remote admiration/interest" I had for the Original 13 characters. I mean, I was a Flash fan. Here was this guy, he had green fatigues just like the other guys, but was a little different. He had this visor on his helmet, and these weird (read: cool) oven mitt pads over his uniform. The other Joes were carrying carbines while this guy was packin' HEAT. His card art suggested to me that Flash was the guy the other Joes called when it was time to bring the pain. And his codename..."Flash"...is there a better name for a guy who is the team laser rifle expert?

3 Flash

I think that what I always found interesting about Flash was that, at least according to the card art, Flash looked to be easily the most sci-fi-ish of the Joes. The other guys had machine guns and pistols and bazookas and crossbows, but not Flash. He had the thing that could burn through the armor plating on a Cobra HISS, and then cook the snakes inside. This was before I saw any of the GI Joe cartoons where as soon as the fit hit the shan everybody just reached for their standard-issue laser rifles and Flash just chilled in the ready room playing video games and reading Popular Mechanics.

The stupid thing is, through all this interest and love I had for the Flash figure, I never actually asked my parents to buy one for me. Oh well, the 25A version is good enough for me. Flash was only released as a single-carded figure, and was actually the one that got me wondering if it would be possible that Hasbro would released all of the Original 13 in 25A form. In fact, the 25A Flash figure was only the fifth version of Flash released since 1982.


GI Joe 25th Anniversary Original 13: Clutch

Our second O13 figure was not a single-carded figure but a vehicle driver. Clutch's ride of choice was the Multi-Purpose Attack Vehicle (VAMP), and thankfully he was included with the 25th Anniversary release of the VAMP. Or more appropriately, thankfully Hasbro released the VAMP in the 25A line. Strangely, the 25A box art boasts that the VAMP includes the figure "Double Clutch." I'm glad Hasbro thought to put his correct codename in his stand.

2 Clutch B

Unlike the regular figures, I didn't really care much about the early Joe vehicle drivers, I guess because their character art was usually never included on the back of regular figure cards. Also, because young Heavyarms knew that Cobra vehicles were where it was at. However, the VAMP has actually grown on me, probably because its olive green paint job fits so well with the the figures. And I just realized that was a little gay.

2 Clutch A

Anyway, Clutch is on of the few Original 13 I don't really have any attachment to but I'm glad he's part of the collection. Just check out that non-reg facial hair.


GI Joe 25th Anniversary Original 13: Breaker

For me, there were three milestone, or "gold standard" toy lines during the 80's; Star Wars, Transformers, and GI Joe. Sure, there were other good lines, MASK, Centurions, He-Man, etc. but for me, these three were the pinnacle of toy-having. Chances are, if you were a boy in the 1980's you had multiple toys from at least one of these lines in your toybox. More than likely, you had at least one from all three.

I have said before that life in the Heavyarms household was rarely stimulated by television, so I didn't have the exposure that most other boys my age had to Transformers and GI Joe, namely, those 30 minute toy commercials claiming to be afternoon cartoons. To date, I have seen maybe 5 Transformers episodes, probably even fewer GI Joe episodes. No, my love for these two toy lines was fertilized by that big steaming pile of manure otherwise known as my imagination. What characteristics and personalities my GI Joe toys had was based solely on the info I got from their file cards, and sometimes from just a picture from the back of another toy's card.

1982 was the year that GI Joe hit toy shelves, and it did so rather ambiguously at first, with 13 characters that are now known in Joe circles as the Original 13. Later years became more colorful, with more memorable characters but for 6 year old Heavyarms, the guys in the plain old green fatigues (the uniform most of the Original 13 wore) were the ones that captured my imagination. When the 25th Anniversary line debuted, I didn't think it would be possible to own all 13, but a few single-carded figures, 5-packs, vehicles, online- and store-exclusives later, I am proud to present the Original 13 GI Joes, 25th Anniversary style!

1 Breaker A

First up is Breaker, the Joe Communications specialist. Breaker's card art suggests a guy that always in the thick of things, yelling into his radio requests for air strikes and artillery support.

Breaker was actually released twice in the 25A line, both released in 2008. First in a comic 2-pack alongside Destro and a reprint of Issue 14 from the Marvel's GI Joe comic series. This version came with webgear with painted details, a pistol, backpack, helmet and radio headset, a stand that said "CODENAME: Cpl. Breaker," and a bubble. Apparently in the comics Breaker had a reputation for being a gum-chewer.

1 Breaker B

The second time Breaker was included in the RAM Cycle vs Flight Pod vehicle set, along with a Tele Viper pilot for the trouble bubble. This time Breaker only included plain black webgear, a pistol, a helmet, and a stand that just said plainly "CODENAME: Breaker."