3.75" of plastic heaven…


By Shawn Robare

So I thought I’d cover an easy topic, nostalgia wise for today.  I’m all full of dim sum and kind of drowsy.

Absotutely-positimibly my favorite toys growing up were G.I. Joe figures and vehicles.  I was weaned on the Star Wars 3.75″ figures and I have a butt-load of He-Man figures, but G.I. Joe was where it was motherfucking at for a seven year old in the 80s.  I had a whole mess of ‘em too, mostly because the figures were cheaper than Transformers or pretty much any other action figures at the time.

Most of the nostalgia I have for the figures and vehicles involves the little odd things, like how the figures would get soap caked into their backpack hole and the peg holes on their feet when I took ‘em into the bath with me, or how all the figures ended up having this bite indentation on the thumbs where I would bite down to make them have a stronger grip on guns and stuff.  In fact I was a pretty weird kid when it came to playing with toys anyway.  I didn’t really play as much as set up elaborate scenes in the living room using the TV stand as the hidden Cobra base and the couch as a vast mountain range.  Then after surveying all that I had set up would then tear it all down and set it up somewhere else, possibly in the kitchen under the table or in the study on the bookshelves.

Another aspect I find mildly amusing about collecting the figures as a kid is that I had this really weird system of favorites.  Any figure in water or diving gear, any figure with a beret or any figure with a face mask (like the stocking kind that covered everything but the eyes) were automatic favorites.  So Cobra Eels pictured above, Dial Tone, Storm Shadow, and Beach Head were prized possessions.

Now I definitely had a lot of figures, but I only had a handful of vehicles.  In fact I only wanted one in particular, the G.I. Joe Sky Striker, but alas by the time Christmas came around the year I could actually get it, it was out of print.  Instead my parents decided to buy me something else, something that would both shock and amaze friends and family alike, the U.S.S. Flagg.  This was six feet of room swallowing toy glory.  It took the place of the dining room table for a good three years and became an instant toy boy where I would pile up all my figures and vehicles.  Because it was so big we never moved it and when we finally moved from Florida to New Hampshire in 1990 we dismantled it and it was never reassembled again.

Anyway, here is a great website where you too can relive all your G.I. Joe memories, it was invaluable when I was first searching for images and stuff for my personal collection.

  • Murphy

    Dude… great site. kinda just stumbled in and all. Some great memories, here. You paint a good picture of the times in your words. HooveR’s right, though. the figures were 3 3/4″”. That was pretty much the standard. It was great, though, because then the star wars weapons and stuff fit, too!

  • Simon Placek

    I am trying to find a toy I had as a kid, it was a building toy that was sort of geared towards an intergallactic war… there would be purple and blue pipes, gray pieces which coupled the pipes together which would have spikes on the outside that could be used to put little black hoses on them, they came with cockpits and had little wing panels which could be used to make ships and what not, the sets used to include two inch action figures, the bodies of the figures were plastic but the arms and legs were made of rubber. also they came out with a glow in the dark version of the toy as well where the little caps that would go at the end of the pipes would glow in the dark and the small stick things would glow as well. any ideas what toy this is? I think it came out in the late 80s, maybe early 90s. thanks.