Yet another post about those silly 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe figures…

By Shawn Robare

I was browsing my local Target at lunch today when I was surprised by finding the new 25th Anniversary G.I. Joe figures on the pegs in the toy aisle. All they had was the 1st wave of the individual figures (all of the 5-pack box sets were sold out), which is all right because honestly I wasn’t in the mood to drop $80 on toys this afternoon. I couldn’t help myself though, and I bought all five of the new figures.

On the ride home I was trying to figure out why I caved so easily and bought all these new figures, and it occurred to me that the packaging is what sold me on these. A little while ago Hasbro began selling the 3.75" figures individually again, and they even sort of made an effort to hit that key nostalgia note with the coloring and design but it totally missed the mark in my opinion. Take their new Low-Light figure for example, and compare it to the original packaging…

The concepts are similar, but there’s something that just works better, at least for me, with the original release. I think it’s the painted artwork on the packaging that really sells me on the figure (at least initially.) The newer release still has similar art, but it’s a computer colored line drawing that just feels flat and hollow to me. It doesn’t help that I’m not a big of that particular line art style, which looks like something you’d find in a comic book where the artist was trying to copy Marc Silvestri or Jim Lee’s style. It looks like a knock off, which in turn makes the figure seem like a cheap rip-off to me.

Now take a look at the 25th Anniversary packaging…

Much better. Hasbro made a ton of strides here in terms of hitting the nostalgia nail on the head, from switching back to the 80s version of their logo, to reproducing the original paintings, right down to the awesomely dynamic bursts of flame. Now these paintings are reproductions, as you can see by taking a look at the original artwork for Flint, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, and the Cobra Officer, but I think it’s cool that Hasbro put the effort into making them look just as cool as they did 25 years ago (well actually 22-23 years for these figures if you want to get technical.)

Granted, I’m a nostalgia buff, so seeing something that looks almost exactly like it did when I was a kid is going to catch my eye, but as I was walking down the aisle in Target, these were the best looking toys, hands down.

Also, according to the back of the package, there are at least two more waves planned of the single figures (there are boxes that are grayed out, but you can see the silhouette of the characters), and judging by the poses we can definitely look forward to Beach Head, Lady Jaye, Sepentor, a Cobra Trooper, Buzzer, Firefly, Shipwreck, Zartan, Stalker, and one other figure with a bow and arrow that for the life of me I can’t identify. I haven’t felt this sort of pull to buy toys since the first couple of waves of Star Wars figures came out around ’95 or so. Now I have to decide whether or not to take these out of the packages, which I typically do, but the packing is just so pretty.  I’m so gonna go broke on these…

  • Savage

    Great writeup and pics. I got both of the 5-pack box sets and they look great. I’ve been looking out for these individual ones at stores, without any lucky so far. Will you buy more just so you can keep a set unopened and do you have a place to proudly display them? Also my original Hooded Cobra Commander only came in a little white box when I mailed away for it 20+ years ago. (Proofs of purchase flags from other G.I. Joe toys and a couple bucks) Did you ever have that figure too?

  • Michael

    I couldn’t figure out that “”bow and arrow”” shadow either!

  • HooveR

    No, the bow and arrow silhouette is not the third Stormy (who IS coming later I think or was just a Hasbro custom), but is RED NINJA. He is a Storm Shadow repaint with a new head sculpt. The RED NINJAS were very prevalent in the comics starting with #21. The package art is actually based on package art from… Brazil I think? Where they repainted Storm Shadow red as “”Satan”” (not kidding) and black as… someone else. Google will answer your questions I imagine. (Strangely, I’m asking you to Google “”G.I.Joe satan””….) See?

  • Joe Harris

    Yeah, as HooveR said, it’s not Storm Shadow. It will be using the same Storm Shadow body, but a new head and gear. The recent San Diego Comic Con had pictures of the new stuff. Check out these sites for more: