The G.I. Joe Infantry Division was a bit of a surprise, showing up on Amazon.com listed as "Greenshirts" and mere weeks after the first photo was posted to Amazon, these appeared in stores. And around the same time came the arguing.
With the entire concept of G.I. Joe being "special agents," a generic gaggle of recruits or army types to do the dirty work wasn't something a lot of fans liked. Maybe because the heads look vaguely like Tom Green. But anyway, here they are.
You can't get more generic than this.
The set has six figures, all of which are made from a few different parts of previously released figures. All have the same head, arms, and waist. There are two sets of legs used three times each, and two torsos-- one used four times, one used twice. See below for the breakdown.
The figures themselves are of varying levels of quality. We found a case and examined them all, and at the time believed we had bought the best one. Of the sets we saw, all but two had horrendous paint jobs on at least one of the six heads. The one we ended up with had a few iffy eyebrows here and there and a horrible left hand on the blond trooper.
On the whole, the paint jobs are worse than we're used to, and the head sculpts aren't all that great. For a generic figure, the painted on facial hair worked well, but frankly the sculpt just looks odd. Some fans have dubbed them the "Tom Green Shirts" due to the facial hair on one figure, and given the haircut and unique head shape, we daresay we have to agree with them.
The figures are numbered here for ease of explaining. They have specialties listed on their file cards, but the cards do not sync up with any specific figure. As such, here's a look at their construction.
1, 2, 3: The torso was used with the bulk of the 1982 figures like Hawk, Grunt, Steeler, and several others. This waist has been used with countless figures. The arms were also used from several 1982 figures. The legs were from the 1992 General Hawk. Finally, the arms have been used for the bulk of the 1982 Joes. More recently, all these parts were used on the bulk of the green-suited G.I. Joe comic pack figures. The heads are new and are shared with all six figures, albeit with different paint ops.
4: Same as 1-3 except for the legs. The upper legs were used for the 1994 Action Marine, and the lower legs were used for 1992 General Hawk and several other recent figures.
5-6: Same legs, waist, arms, head as 4. The torso was previously used for the HISS Driver and later, Rip-It.
Were one to buy multiples of these, you could mix-and-match all sorts of just-barely-different figures. Aside from the heads and torsos, though, they all tend to look a lot alike-- so odds are one pack should be plenty for most collections.
Look at all this crap. This is impressive.
This set has enough weapons to arm these figures an perhaps several others. You get six each of four items-- a rifle, the backpack, the stand, and the helmet. For all the other items, you get one each. Five of the remaining items are some sort of rifle, two are pistols, three are machine guns, and as an added bonus, you get one knife. This is a pretty great arsenal for any team of commando types, although another machete or some sort of communications device (cell phone) would be useful, too. Of course, you probably have a few of those in your stash at this point.
Hasbro has released several multi-packs since Joe relaunched, and this is the third style of packaging used for sets of five or more figures. The Valor vs. Venom ones come with brand new art that looks... unique.
We're not overly pleased with the packaging art because it does not match the figures. It looks generic, which was the aim of the set, but all of the illustrated soldiers are clean-shaven and none of them are red headed. As such, it could have been coordinated a little better, because usually packaging art matches the toy. Call us old-fashioned, but we expect that sort of thing.
The green figures really blend in with the packaging especially well, which we don't particularly care for.
Our fascination with 1980s-style figures has no end. Although with this set, this may change. The figures are more or less well done, but slightly better heads and paint jobs would have really made this set awesome-- as it stands, they're OK figures, great for displays, customizing, and of course, arming other figures.
The set is pretty good for the price, but we're currently wondering if it will be a tough sell. Time will tell as it's a new release, and limited by virtue of its exclusive nature, but we don't see this as being a highly sought-after set by fans in the future. Still, if you like the idea of classic figures these should be a nice addition to your displays, vehicle crews, and/or cannon fodder. I mean, you need prisoners for your Cobra guys, yes?
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on February 16 2005
Sample purchased in January 2005 from a Toys "R" Us in Scottsdale, AZ for $19.99