Thursday, August 6, 2015



Stories of Childhood Toy Triumph and Tragedy



G.I. Joe was originally a line of figures produced from 1964-1969 by Hasbro. They were 12-inch figures that represented all branches of the U.S. armed forces. The development of these figures led to the coining of the term "action figure." From 1970-1976 Hasbro renamed this line to "Adventure Team G.I. Joe" and added a host of comic-like characters and villains. While these lines did well with children of the day, they quickly fell into obscurity as other, more colorful action figures began to hit the toy market.

But it was in 1982 (when I was 9 years old) that saw the highly successful relaunch of this toy line. Now renamed to "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" with new figure molds scaled down to 3.75-inches (to mimic the Star Wars figures) and with new characters, vehicles, playsets, and a complex background story involving an ongoing struggle between the G.I. Joe Team and the evil COBRA Command which seeks to take over the world through terrorism, this toy line quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. It was so big in fact, that in 1985 both Toy Lamp and Hobby World ranked G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero as the top selling American toy. To go along with its enormous popularity were cartoons, an animated movie, comic books, posters, T-shirts, video games, board games, kites, etc. for me and every boy and girl that wanted to shout "YOOO JOE!" And speaking of girls, I can't even remember a prominently male toy line that showcased such awesome female figures that every boy wanted without question.

While this line lasted until 1994, and had many resurgences thereafter that continue on to today, it has never recaptured the popularity and quality it had during the years of 1982-1986. Everything we see today is loosely based on those prime years; the two blockbuster movies in 2009 and 2013, the revamped figures, the comics, etc. But IMHO, it will never recapture the magic G.I. Joe had on me and millions of other kids during that time. The package card art, the file card bio's (all written by Larry Hamma, who also wrote the comics and bible of the G.I. Joe world), the vehicles, playsets, box art -- everything. It was just a magical time for this toy line and I was lucky enough to be at the right age to enjoy every minute of it.

So in trying to capture the "magic" of the best of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, I put together a list of "The Top 10 Greatest G.I. Joe Figures Ever" in this Tales from the Toy Chest write up. Sure, like always, a top 10 list is purely subjective, but these were the figures that captured my imagination and had an impact on me as a kid while collecting them (and all the kids in my neighborhood and middle-school school drooling over them in envy). As I list my favorites, I'll also give some back story on why they impacted me the way they did (some even left scars on my psyche that still affect me today lol). So lets lace up your boot straps, tuck in that shirt and grab a canteen because you're in for a real treat... YYOOOOOO JOOOOOE!!!!

 10.) FLINT (1985)

The first figure to make my list is the cool-looking, beret wearing Warrant Officer code named Flint, who was first released as part of the fourth (and best) series of the G.I. Joe toy line in 1985. Leftover Hasbro stock of this figure was packaged with new accessories (a pistol or a rifle) and sold at an early G.I. Joe Convention. But taking away a "sawed-off" shotgun from a toy figure was a travesty in my eyes. So I'm only talking about the carded Flint here because you can only imagine how many COBRA soldiers I gunned down with that shotgun in the wars that took place in my backyard. When I had a special mission going down, Flint, his cocky attitude and his trusty sawed-off cannon-blaster (I nicknamed "ol' Betsy") was always included.

9.) BARONESS (1984)

There's something a lot of people tend to forget about when talking about the G.I. Joe line -- it was the first boy action figure line that had cool girls in it! And not just one, a bunch of them was in as much demand as any male figure. What other boy toy line could boast that? Especially from that time period!! An argument could be made for any female in this line to make this list, especially Scarlett or Lady Jaye, but Baroness is without a doubt the best of them IMHO. She was beautiful, alluring, seductive and deadly as any member of COBRA. Released in the third series in 1984, she still stands as one of the most iconic figures in the entire line.

 8.) SGT. SLAUGHTER (1986)

Mail-Away Sgt. Slaughter came in a clear bag.

The Mail-Away Sgt. Slaughter came in two different boot variants.

Sgt. Slaughter came with Triple "T" Tag Team Terminator vehicle

Their were two variants for the Sgt. Slaughter figure that came with the Triple "T" vehicle.

Both Sgt. Slaughter figures side-by-side and they were BOTH awesome.

Sgt. Slaughter file card that came with the Mail-Away figure

Sgt. Slaughter file card that came on the back of the Triple "T" box.

Professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter was the first celebrity immortalized as a member of the G.I. Joe Team. In addition, he voiced his own character in the G.I. Joe cartoons, filmed promotion spots and introductions to some of the G.I. Joe cartoons, and served as the spokesman in G.I. Joe commercials from 1987 to 1990 (he was let go by Hasbro when he turned heel for the WWF). Sgt. Slaughter was the first "muscle-bound" figure and the first available as a mail-order from Hasbro Direct in early 1986 (he was also available on and off from 1987 through 1989), and then was officially part of the fifth series in 1986, packaged exclusively with the Triple "T" Tank (in two variants). This made me REALLY love the G.I. Joe toy line because I was such a huge wrestling fan at the time and to see an actual wrestler as a G.I. Joe figure literally exploded my head. Although I never got the Mail-Away figure, I was lucky enough to convince my mom to get me the Sgt. Slaughter with Triple "T" Tank on my birthday that summer.

7.) DESTRO (1983)

Destro was released as part of the second series in 1983, and was never really appreciated by me until I got older to fully understand what he represented in the G.I. Joe world. First off, Destro was incredibly dangerous. He seemed to thrive on chaos and war and the more of it that went on, the richer and more powerful he would become. He was a weapons manufacture that created high-tech weaponry for whoever was the highest bidder and seemed to love the destruction and death that it caused. Plus, he looked so incredibly menacing with the iron mask he donned which was reminiscent of the Fantastic Four's greatest villain Dr. Doom whom I always worshiped.


Cobra Commander was first available as a mail-order offer with straight-arms in 1982, and he was overlooked by me because he looked nothing more than a COBRA solider with a silver mask. But when he got the swivel-arm treatment and released on card as part of the second series in 1983, he finally became the tyrannical face of the COBRA Command (something about seeing a figure in the G.I. Joe packaging in a store and reading a file card can totally change your perspective on it). While the ruthless commander of COBRA was always a figure that all the kids in my neighborhood wanted, it was the cartoon that really made him a legend. Voiced by Christopher Latta (who also voiced Star Scream in the Transformers cartoon), Cobra Commander rocked as the crazed evil fuehrer in a big way! When he entered the battle leading his legion of soldiers you couldn't help but scream "CCOOOOBRAAAAAA!!!" the way Latta did.

5.) DUKE (1984)

Duke was available first as a mail-order exclusive for the second series in 1983. He then became carded and available in the third series in 1984. What made Duke so cool was the fact that he was the face of G.I. Joe and he would lead your team into battle against the forces of COBRA. And when it came time for a final confrontation between the G.I. Joe Team and COBRA Command, it always ended up with Duke vs Cobra Commander for the fate of the world. In school, we debated on this outcome every chance we could get. When Duke lead his team into the battle you couldn't help but scream "YOOOO JOOOE!!!"

4.) FIREFLY (1984)

Firefly came in two variations

Separating the men from the boys on this list starts with the ever-villainous and mysterious Firefly. He was released as part of the third series in 1984, and just looking at him on the toy racks I knew I had to have him. Something about his outfit, sub-machine gun, accessories, backing card art and mysterious characteristics meshed together so well and captured my imagination. Firefly was a must for every kid on the block, we all loved to play with him because he was a complete "dick" and always in the game for himself. His file card said it all; Primary Military Specialty: Sabotage, Demolitions, and Terror (reading that as a kid you knew you had to have him no matter what).

 3.) ZARTAN (1984)

Zartan came with the Chameleon Swamp Skier vehicle

Zartan back card image

Zartan figure with accessories

Version one of Zartan's file card. After getting complaints that the file card was misleading people into thinking that schizophrenia and multiple personalities were one and the same, Hasbro changed the file card.

Version two of Zartan's file card without schizophrenia and multiple personalities mentioned.

While only a select few G.I. Joe figures could actually be cooler than Firefly, Zartan is definitely one of them. He was released as part of the third series in 1984, exclusively with the Chameleon Swamp Skier. Zartan was a toy that could do so much and look so good doing it that every kid wanted him. He could change color (with heat sensitive stickers that were included and came in two different variations) and put on a mask to disguise himself from the G.I. Joe Team to cause chaos among their ranks. Then place him on his Swamp Skier for a quick getaway and call in his Dreadnaughts to start more trouble. Simply put, this toy was only limited to your imagination.

2.) STORM SHADOW (1984)

There are very few figures in any toy line ever created that can truly take the place of Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe. He was first released as part of the third series in 1984, and no child was ever the same when they saw him or heard of his legend from other kids. If you can think back to 1984, when this figure first appeared on the scene ninja's were the shit (and I mean "shit" in a good way)! And Storm Shadow was the shittiest of the shits! This toy simply revolutionized and modernized how every kid views ninjas. Period. He was the figure that you always dug for on the racks and prayed he was there (most likely he was already sold off). In school, if any kid was lucky enough to have him and bring him into "show and tell" that kid was instantly the most popular kid in school. Never could a toy change the political climate of cliques in the hierarchy of power among American boys than the way Storm Shadow did. Even I had to succumb to this ninja's mighty elusiveness as a child as I was never able to get him and that trauma still haunts me even to this day. He was that awesome, that desirable and that powerful. Only one figure can claim to be greater than Storm Shadow and it's still debatable if it even is...

1.) SNAKE EYES (1985)

Everything I just said about Storm Shadow can be said about the second version of Snakes Eyes (third if you include the straight-arm Snake Eyes from 1982, and then swivel-arm Snakes Eyes from 1983) released in the fourth G.I. Joe series in 1985. It is widely considered that the G.I. Joe fourth series was the pinnacle of any G.I. Joe series Hasbro ever produced and it's mostly due to this legendary figure. Never in the history of toys can I remember an improvement from one version of a figure to the next that impacted the entire toy line so completely. The detail, the accessories, the package art, everything! Kid's all across America wanted this toy so badly that they were willing to do chores for a week wholeheartedly to get it. 

While both Storm Shadow and Snakes Eyes can be debated on until the end of time on which is better or a more desirable action figure, I had to rank Snake Eyes higher because this figure commands a little more money on the secondary market today (and because Snake Eyes was a tougher version of Storm Shadow and usually kicked his ass, as he was the only one that could). Not to mention that he was much more mysterious due to his fully covered black outfit and silent, brooding demeanor (Snakes Eyes never spoke). Storm Shadow always boasted about his superior skills and cried foul about playing second fiddle in the ninja ranks to Snake Eyes. I always thought that it was these facts that made Snake Eyes the cooler and better figure to play with as a kid. But regardless of who you think is the greatest G.I. Joe figure, this version of Snake Eyes will always rank at the top of any G.I. Joe collectors list and that is something everyone should know. And knowing is half the battle...



An honorable shout out has to go out to legendary wrestler and icon Roddy Piper who was immortalized as an exclusive G.I. Joe figure at a G.I. Joe Convention in 2007. I listed this figure because Piper makes a perfect COBRA combat trainer who can match-up with the likes of Sgt. Slaughter for a rivalry that can even rival "Snake Eyes vs Storm Shadow." Plus, if I was a kid seeing this figure for the first time it would've impacted me much more than when I first saw Sgt. Slaughter. So here's to you "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (who passed away on July 31, 2015), the Hot Rod and a perfect representative of the COBRA Command!!!


Another honorable shout out goes to a childhood favorite -- Footloose! He was first released as part of the fourth and undoubtedly greatest line of the entire G.I. Joe series in 1985. While this figure may be a total surprise entry for a lot of the G.I. Joe purists out there, I think it's best to point out that it was the cartoon that got me to absolutely adore this character and want to purchase him. Footloose was fun-loving and always had a smile on his face regardless of how dire the situation would become. As I grew older it was clear to see that he was a total "pothead" and the cool "hippie-stoner" of the G.I. Joe Team. Believe it or not, this made him even more lovable in my eyes. In his bio it states; "he got lost on the way to the fair..." yeah, it's because he was high as a kite from smoking friggin' dope or dropping tabs of LSD all day long! How could you not love this guy?

Agree? Disagree?? Let's hear it fanboys!

Other Tales From the Toy Chest:










John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.


  1. Impressive as always John.

  2. Snake Eyes is and always be the best G.I. Joe figure. No doubts coming here.

  3. A great list and I totally agree with your top 6. But you missed the twins of COBRA Tomax and Xamot.

  4. Perfect call on Roddy Piper. RIP.

  5. Top 10 GI Joes? Annapolis Cadet, Green Beret, Secret Mission to Spy Islan...oh wait, never mind.

    Thumbs up to Zartan though, very cool.

  6. I never knew they made a Rowdy Roddy Piper g.i. Joe, I wonder what that is going for today compared to say
    2 weeks ago? cool piece to own though.

  7. I had/ have all the mail-in figures mentioned and I loved collecting points to get the special figures.

  8. pretty close to my list...but no shipwreck? come on now
    3-Cobra commander steel plate
    5-Storm shadow
    7-Snake eyes 85
    8-Dreadnock Torch
    10-xamot tomax

  9. Like most kids back then, I jumped on this line when it first came out (after having loved the earlier Joe stuff), and got many of them over the first few years. But in all honesty, I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about it. For one, I remember feeling at the time that it was almost TOO big, like I was being forced into it (I realize now that I kind of felt the same way about Star Wars a few years earlier, even if it was unspoken), and some of the other stuff I loved was being ignored. The other thing is that the RAH line is sort of symbolic of the final end of the 70s (both toy-wise and in general), and full entrance into the 80s, which being someone who has a long memory and cherishes my early childhood the most, is somewhat melancholy. I probably think about this stuff too deeply, though.

    In any case, Dreadnoks for the win. I always preferred playing "Mad Max" with these figures and vehicles than any of that "Joe Vs Cobra" hokum, which I paid no attention to. I know, I was a weird kid..

  10. I was into RAH for one year, then it started to feel like kid's stuff to me. So I really only have fond memories of that first wave.

  11. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

    1. For sure! Was just gonna post that. The weapons that came with them were really well made and fit in the back pack also.

      Those were so cool!

    2. but kinda unpractical to have swords and a bow and arrow in a world of lazer guns, lol!!!

      But ninja's always find a way, everyone knows this...

    3. Yup. Those two figures defined the entire G.I. Joe toy line. Whether you like them or not (and you most likely loved them), there is no denying their impact and legend.

  12. Also had Sgt Slaughter but I simply could not get the Roddy Piper one. I think that figure is the baddest one ever

  13. The first Stormshadow from 1984 is #1 and it's not even close.

    I still remember the day on got that one at K-Mart. I was so fucking excited.

  14. Its so hard to choose a top ten on this line! i was 6 when the first wave hit k-mart and it was all downhill from there. for me it would probably be:

    1. hooded cobra commander mail-away
    2. cutter (loved the red sox as a kid and he wore that boston cap)
    3-4. breaker and rock and roll (tie) because they were the first two i got
    5. roadblock - the first time i had to choose between joes and star wars
    6. zartan
    7. storm shadow
    8. mutt
    9. spirit
    10. cobra officer

  15. No way I agree with this list...the best figures were completely left out!

    Major Bludd
    Croc Master
    Dr. Mindbender
    And the most awesome army building figure EVER...the Cobra B.A.T.

  16. The text on Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes is spot on. As kids everyone I knew wanted those figures and whoever had them were envied by everyone.

    I agree with the rankings listed here

    1. Snake Eyes
    2. Storm Shadow

  17. Not a great list IMHO. Flint? and Footloose? not a chance they're anywhere near the top 50.

  18. You missed Bazooka....I am very disappointed. How could you not have the biggest idiot with the biggest gun in G.I.Joe! lol

  19. I really dont agree with that list much at all...i can understand snake eyes and storm shadow being the top 2, as they are the most popular...but my personal top 10 is more like this:

    10. Hawk (from the mms)
    9. Steeler (from the Mobat)
    8. Silver Pads Grandslam (from the JUMP)
    7. Mail order Starduster
    6. Torpedeo
    5. Deep Six (from the Sharc)
    4. Tomax/Xamot
    3. Eels
    2. Croc Master
    1. Zartan

  20. I took a look at that big YoJoe database for the first time in a while, and I've gotta say... How did this line survive for so long?! Some of those later figures are absolutely hideous. Garish re-paints, terrible attempts at sci-fi, etc. It's almost morbidly fascinating.

    I'm no expert on the subject, but it kind of confirms the feeling I've always had that the action figure market seems to have really hit the skids after about 1988/1989 (the victim of a glut of product during the red-hot toy market of the mid '80s and the giant late '80s Nintendo boom) and kind of languished there until the later '90s when the "adult collector" thing started becoming more mainstream. I'd be curious to know what Millennials/'90s kids think about that. From what I've seen, it seems like "TMNT or bust", and I'm not sure if they're as toy-centric in their nostalgia in general as us Gen X geezers tend to be.

  21. My vintage list followed by the greatest Hasbro Joe figure of all time...

    GI Joe
    1 - Snake Eyes Series 1 (1982-3) or Snake Eyes - with Timber Series 4 (1985)
    2 - Beach Head Series 5 (1986)
    3 - Flint Series 4 (1985)
    4 - Recondo Series 3 (1984)
    5 - Stalker Series 1 (1982-3) or (with Kayak) Series 8 (1989)
    6 - Roadblock - Series 3 (1984)
    7 - Big Ben - Series 10 (1991)
    8 - Airborne - Series 2 (1983)
    9 - Scarlet - Series 1 (1982-3)
    10 - Hit and Run - Series 7 (1988) (According to the file card his parents were killed by a drunk driver - note the code name - pretty morbid)

    1 - Cobra B.A.T. Series 5 (1986)
    2 - Cobra Commander (Hooded) Series 3 (1984)
    3 - Baroness Series 3 (1984)
    4 - Storm Shadow Series 3 (1984) or Series 7 (1988)
    5 - Zartan - Series 3 (1984)
    6 - Destro - Series 2 (1983)
    7 - Cobra Viper Series 5 (1986)
    8 - Crimson Guard Series 4 (1985)
    9 - Firefly - Series 3 (1984)
    10 - Night Viper Series 8 (1989)

    Greatest Hasbro figure of all time. This figure is probably the last of its kind produced as Hasbro decreases accessories and articulation across all brands. This is a version of Snake Eyes that emulates a Sideshow figure in 3 and 3/4" scale.

    Snake Eyes Version 54 Series 27 (2010) Gallery

  22. X2

    It would amaze me how I could never find Snake eyes or Storm Shadow when I had the opportunity buy them, but they were always available when I couldn't get one. My parents could care less when buying them too.

    I did OK with the DC superhero figures.

    1. Hahaha it was heartbreaking wasn't it? Pick up the packaging, stare longingly at the figure you can't have, imagine playing with it... All the cool scenarios you'd make. Then it's time to go and you need to put it back, only it's like it's superglued to your hand.

    2. Lol. That was so perfectly written that it could be considered toy poetry. I'm sure every kid in America can relate to that statement.

      Love it and well said.

  23. had so many G.I. Joes and vehicles as a kid....used to run from the car into the Toys R Us straight to the aisle to look at all the cool G.I. Joe stuff...still have a box of them somewhere at my mother's house.

  24. How old were you guys when you realized you were too old for GI joe's?

    I was 11. I remember my mom wanting to get me a little something and the suggestion seemed off, like it was time to move on.

    What a sad day:(

    1. Never too old.

      The reason why I write about them (and other toys) so much.

  25. Flint and Duke I get as they were major characters on the cartoon but, Footloose??? Really?!?

    I was a huge fan of the comic series and was very disappointed that the Sunbow cartoon was such a joke. Larry Hama is a true wordsmith as he crafted a magnificent storyline around a bunch of figures and gave them personalities and back stories that made the characters a bit more least to me. Issue #21, Silent Interlude, is an amazing issue, no dialogue, no captions, the story is driven and flows by the scenes depicted in each panel. Issues 108-115, collectively known as the "War in Benzheen" series, really hit Joe fans hard when over a dozen members of the Joe team were killed in action during a conflict that was similar to Operation Desert Storm. And, those are just a few off of the stories off the top of my head that made an impact on me.

    So, that being said my personal top 10 figures are a based on the connection I made with them through Mr. Hama's stories, they are:

    10. Recondo v1 (84)
    9. Torpedo v1 (83)
    8. Gung-Ho v1 (83)
    7. Croc Master v1 (87)
    6. Shockwave v1 (88)
    5. Destro, v1 (83) and v2 (88)
    4. Falcon v1 (87)
    3. Cobra Commander v1 (83) and v2 (84)
    2. Storm Shadow v1 (84) and v2 (88)
    1. Snake Eyes v2 (85) and v3 (89)

  26. 1. 83 Rock n Roll (with swivel arm) classic military look, blonde hair like me, dug that as a kid, beard connection to the AT Joes
    2. Snow Job - arctic trooper, with cool accessories, beard again awesome
    3. Blow Torch - don't know, just liked him
    4. Mutt and Junkyard, he came with a dog and a face mask, the card artwork sold me a kid
    5. Shockwave - SWAT!!
    6. Stalker - Classic camo, beret, so damn cool
    7. Firefly - ninja? Didn't know as kid but thought was cool as hell
    8. Snow Serpent - again, arctic trooper, super cool accessories
    9. Cobra trooper - classic, nuff said
    10. Recondo - awesome uniform, bush hat, again more ties to the AT joes

  27. Here is my list of just 10 (Joes and Cobras), that were the most fun to actually play with (I was 10, 11, 12 and 13 when I collected Joes, and set up huge war scenes on this huge desk I used to have in my house). Who was normally around at the end? This list will break it down;

    10. Flint. One of the few guys with a girlfriend, had a cool hat, used only a shotgun--now that's a bad A$$.

    9. Storm Shadow ver 1. Always liked him, but didn't love him like all the other little boys I hung out with. Same with Snakes (who doesn't make this list because of redundancy, basically the same character). Came with ultra cool weapons, always hated he couldn't shoot that bow.

    8. Zandar. Was the kid in school who everybody forgot about, but practiced at that. I always loved that. You just never knew he was there, even though he wore a mad max outfit and had orange hair.

    7. Vapor. Didn't have this figure as a kid. Super cool VTOL driver, looks like a BAT but cooler.

    6. Mutt and Junkyard. The dog would often save the day. Mutt was mean, but so many cool little accessories and I just loved the colors. I still love setting him up with the dog and posing him (sad isn't it--lol)?

    5. Destro. The boss. Played both sides of the fence. Would work for anyone but had morals (unlike CC). Should have led Cobra from the get go.

    4. Firefly. Can't disagree with this pick. Smooth, no forwarding address, no telephone number, nobody knows where he lives or what he even looks like. Always loved the mystique.

    3. Scrap Iron. He has a ROCKET LAUNCHER as a weapon. Let me say that again, HE HAS A ROCKET LAUNCHER. The first time I saw this guy I was about 10, it blew my f'n MIND!

    2. Zartan. He can CHANGE COLOR!!!! (and he was smooth, and evil mastermind and able to look like anyone else in the comic). THE BOMB!

    1. Roadblock (1986 - version 2). This guy came with a tri-pod for his M-60, but we all knew he didn't need it. He'd usually end up on his back out of a Vamp that was flipped over and survive (while Clutch would of course be killed). It would usually come down to a battle between him and either Destro or Zartan (my stories would almost always be taken from the classic issue # 48 GI Joe comic where Zartan infiltrates the GI Joe base). Roadblock would inevitably break Cobra Commander's neck with his hands, and start a huge bonfire with the soliders, CG's and Bats. I liked the first version, but version 2 showed you his immense strength, and being a big Arnold and Hulk Hogan fan at the time, this guy fit right in.


  28. 10) Second series (1984-85)Snake-Eyes. Very cool. Impossible to find in my area. In fact I saw only 1 in Kay-Bee toy stores my entire life. The one that came with Timber.

    9) Zartan. Changed colors came with the Chameleon sled. Leader of the Dreadnoks.

    8) Roadblock.(1983-84) One of my first GI Joe figures. He uses a .50 cal Browning as a service weapon just in case you do not have a Sherman tank to mount it on! \:o

    7) Dial-Tone. He is a computer wiz and has a cool frikin' berret like the Special Forces.' Nuff said.

    6) Firefly. Check out the Camo. That is cool. One of my first figures. Got him the same day as I got Roadblock. I loved to read the comics then re enact the battles so it was perfect that I got those 2 when issue #23 of ARAH came out.

    5) Shipwreck. Same deal reenacting the battles of issue 40-43 with the KillerW.H.A.L.E. and the battle platform.

    4) Spirit Iron Knife . Native American and brave!

    3) Baroness. I love boobies!

    2) Destro How did they get his head so shiny? Perfect pivot gunner for the HISS tanks and the Rattler .

    1) Storm-Shadow. (1984 &1987)The ninja. The man of mystery. The clan brother of Snakes with that mysterious matching tattoo. Raw bloody fighting style that would strike his enemy down with one fell slice. Wicked power ...and he is all in white but never gets any blood on him.

    The comic books really enriched the figures for me as it was a back up to other wise lifeless toys with no personality. Really they were all so many of my favorites it is hard to pick just 10 but those are the most memorable.

  29. In no particular order (except #1)

    #1 Serpentor - loved the design - still hoping one day a statue maker takes a serious run at getting this produced

    #2 Sgt Slaughter

    #3 and #4 - Tomax and Xamot

    #5 Zartan

    #6 Storm Shadow

    #7 Snake Eyes

    #8 Quick Kick

    #9 Destro

    #10 Cobra Commander (silver mask)

  30. I like mostly the ones from '82. Most of them look like the original 12" ones. But in 3 3/4" form.

  31. 1 Gung Ho
    2 Flint
    3 Snow Job
    4 Storm Shadow
    5 Airborne
    6 Destro
    7 Blow Torch
    8 Spirit
    9 Mutt and Junkyard
    10 Hooded Cobra Commander
    all in their 1st version style..

    I was 11 1/2 when they came out in 82 so by the end of 85 I was done buying toys for awhile getting ready for a learners permit and saving for a vehicle.

  32. I was really into the first two or two-and-a-half years of the RAH line, when I ultimately reached the "little too old for these" phase. But I still have a strong affinity for those that came out between 1982 and 1984 Here's what I came up with:

    1. Flash (82)
    2. Snake Eyes (82)
    3. Breaker (82)
    4. Snow Job (83)
    5. Gung-Ho (83)
    6. Cobra Officer (83 swivel arm)
    7. Storm Shadow (84)
    8. Scarlett (82)
    9. Doc (83)
    10. Torpedo (83)

  33. I love Beachhead but his figure is ok. Here's my list:

    1- Firefly/Hawk 1982/3
    2- Duke
    3- Beachead
    4- Flint
    5-Cobra Officer (Blue Shirt)
    6- Low Light
    7- Falcon
    8- Snake eyes
    9- Steeler
    10- Roadblock

    Now, there are scores of figures out there that are better than the 98/83 Hawk, Flint, etc- Airtight, Mutt, Ripcord etc are all fantastic figures but they arent as cool characterwise to me.

  34. Me and my brother got the Hover Craft for Xmas one year we could not wait for spring so we could go play with it in the river. Once the weather broke we took it across the street loaded that damn thing up with a shit ton of Joes my brother went down the river about 50 foot he was supposed to catch it. Well where he went the river opened up a little wider and with the water being cold and the current up a little from the spring thaw the dumbass missed it. We chased that thing probably 2 miles before we got to the high way and could not go any further.

    We watched it float away! But my brother had an idea our Aunt lived up river about 30 miles we called her and asked her to see if she could catch it hahahaha she was like yeah I will do my best to catch. We called her like a 1/2 hr later and she told us she did not see it and it was probably lost forever. I hated my brother for that hahahah we was like 9 and 11.

  35. These are in no particular order (and this was very hard to pick. Through 1985, I am very fond of the majority of the Joes.):

    Stalker (v1)
    Snake Eyes (v1)
    Rock n Roll (v1)
    Cobra Soldier (v1)
    Destro (v1)
    Gung-Ho (v1)
    Duke (v1)
    Major Blood (v1)
    Storm Shadow (v1)
    Firefly (v1)

    Honorable mention to:

    Clutch (v1)
    Snowjob (v1)
    Roadblock (v1)
    Airborne (v1)
    Doc (v1)
    Quick Kick (v1)
    Shipwreck (v1)
    Spirit (v1)

    Also, I realize that I left out all of the first version of guys like Breaker, Grunt, Zap, Hawk, etc. That doesn't mean that I don't love those guys. I absolutely do.

    - Ian

  36. here are my favorites, mostly based on how cool their gimmick was, and how i loved them as a kid:

    1-zartan (he friggin changes color!)
    2-snow serpent (cool gear)
    3-bats v1 (had a hologram chest and changeable hands)
    4-firefly (he was cool and mysterious)
    5-storm shadow (he was a bad mofo)
    6-duke (was the gi joe version of optimus prime, or hulk hogan without the racism)
    7- snake eyes v2 (iconic bad mofo, with an eagle headed sword an uzi AND a wolf.. nuff said)
    8- flint- cause he was pretty cool.
    9- night viper (i found him as an adult, but his equipment is so cool i army built him)
    10- ripcord- 1- his eqipment is cool, 2 my grammy gave him to me for xmas in 84 as a present, and was the first real joe i had that sparked my love of all things joe.

    there are others i like, like barbeque or blow torch, or dusty (v1), and spirit, all the dreadnoks, the twins, ect... but those are my favorites. it's hard to go wrong with any picks though. all the other replies are solid enough for me to say "yeah those are a good top 10).

  37. 1-9: Snakes Eyes (1985)
    10: Storm Shadow (1984)

  38. I add my voice for Tomax ans Xamot. The packaging alone was awesome.

  39. Great stuff-/nice to go down memory lane--I just have a slight correction to add in regarding Duke.

    Col. Hawk was available with the MMS in 1982--(Gen Hawk was the 2nd figure) and Sgt. Stalker was the original field team commander. (At least how Larry Hama envisioned the team and initially supported by hasbro)

    I likewise add in Tomax/Xamot, their repainted Crimson guard hiss tank (Sears exclusive) was awesome. But there are so many cool villains (serpentor, baroness, etc) it couldn't have been easy to scale them back! Nice article.

    1. Thanks for the correction, I fixed it. There was no doubt that Duke was the face of G.I. Joe so he was always the leader that we made all our Joe figures follow into battle. General Hawk never had our respect back then, it was Duke all the way lol!

  40. No William perry? Lol. Nice list and I had everyone of these. Zartan was number one for me though.

  41. garbage. best gi joe's were from 1964-1976 when hasbro made 12 inch action figures unlike the cheap 3 inch toys of the 1980's.

  42. Nice list. But I think you missed Hooded Cobra Commander. As a kid, that was my dream figure.

  43. Honourable mentions to
    Doc V1, Stalker V1

    10. Cobra Commander V1, V1.5, & V3
    9. Beachhead V1
    8. Roadblock V1
    7. Stormshdow V2
    6. Grunt V1
    5. Firefly V1
    3. Airborne V1
    2. Snake Eyes V1
    1. Flash V1

  44. Chuckles is #1. all others are #2. or lower.