Hasbro G I Joe A Real American Hero Action Figures
The ‘G.I Joe: A Real American Hero’ line of figures was released in 1982 by Hasbro in an attempt to reinvent the G.I Joe brand for a new generation of kids. Rather than the original 12” figures, Hasbro took a lead from the huge success of two smaller action figure lines of the late 1970s – Kenner’s Star Wars figures and the Micronauts released by Mego - to produce figures which measured 3 3/4" tall.
Hasbro teamed up with Marvel Comics to create a new idea for the line, which revolved around a ‘G.I Joe’ team which would battle the international terrorist organization Cobra. The driving creative force behind the new line was the Marvel comic book writer and editor Larry Hama, who created a series of characters with their own personal histories, back-stories and special skills.
Each character was given a file card which included character information used in the continuity of the Marvel comic books.
The 3 3/4" figures were based in part on the success of the earlier Kenner Star Wars figures, but were given far more points of articulation. This included joints at the elbows and knees, along with ball sockets for the legs making them much more poseable than previous figures on the market. In 1983 Hasbro introduced the ‘swivel-arm battle grip’ which allowed the arms of the figures to rotate at the elbow as well as bend, and in 1985 ball joints were added to the necks of all figures meaning they could look up and down as well as side to side.
Many characters have been redesigned several times over the years, either with new sculpts or re-painted colour schemes (known as ‘redecos’).
Starting in 1982, the line was produced in all its variations until 1994 when Hasbro ceased production. This initial run included numerous different ranges including Tiger Force, Slaughter's Marauders, Battleforce 2000, Ninja Force, Eco-Warriors and Star Brigade. Each of these ranges was based around a different team within G.I Joe, each with its own characters and vehicles.
In 1997 the line was reintroduced to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the original figures. A growing interest in toy and action figure collecting amongst adults led Hasbro to go back to the roots of G.I Joe and produce the ‘Real American Hero Collection’ which was initially exclusive to Toys R Us. This series included many new versions of figures from the original series, with figures being sold with small vehicles and in team packs featuring multiple figures.
The Real American Hero Collection continued until 2002, and included many box-sets and figures sold exclusively through different online and U.S retail stores.
The second generation of figures came in 2002, when Habro re-launched the line with brand new figures and updated versions of older figures. Until 2005 the line consisted of three ranges: G.I. Joe vs. Cobra, Spy Troops and Valor vs. Venom. Each range was based around a specific storyline, with many figures sold in two-packs or team packs.
One of the most significant ranges released during this time was the introduction of comic packs, which featured three figures and a classic issue of the Marvel comic.
The third generation of figures was introduced in 2007 with the 25th anniversary of the original line. Hasbro initially released a series of 25 figures based on original characters, featuring entirely new sculpts and articulation. The figures proved hugely popular, and the series was expanded with the release of classic vehicles, Entertainment Battle Packs featuring figures and DVDs of the original 1980s cartoon, and comic packs including all-new issues written by the original creative force Larry Hama.
In 2009 the line was expanded further with the release of figures based on the feature film G.I Joe: Rise of the Cobra.
List of figures
See main article: List of Hasbro G.I Joe Real American Hero action figures