Top 10 GI Joe Figures

Top 10 Personal Favorite G.I. Joe Figures by Mike Matthews

When it comes toys from the ‘80s, you don’t get any bigger than G.I. Joe or Action Force. G.I. Joe produced figures from 1982 until 1994. Through the years the line that saw several different figures, vehicles and playset. The wide array of adventures a kid’s imagination could create was endless. Whether you played inside or outside, there was a Joe for every season. With the help of a successful Marvel comic series and cartoon show, G.I. Joes grew in popularity. Whether you watched the show, or you read the books, you always had favorite figures. This is a list is my personal favorites that I owned when I was a kid and not the be-all-end-all, of all-time top Joes which I will tackle at a later date. The Joes line was revived in 1997, but I am only going to concentrate on the early years.

10. Airborne (1983)

Airborne is one of the earliest Joes I had. He was introduced in 1983 in the second wave of original Joes and was one of the first paratroopers. Whether he was jumping out of a Skystriker or Dragonfly, Airborne was always the first to cross the enemy line. Either he would be captured and have a daring escape or clear the way for other Joes to come knock out the enemy.

9. Zartan (1984)

Zartan, the master of disguise and the leader of the Dreadnoks (a group of mercenary bikers), was introduced in 1984 and came with the swamp skier, the Chameleon. To me, Zartan was the fake informant that snaked his way to Joe side and found holes in the Joes defenses. He was always the first to start the battle, but also the first to retreat. Also, the color change effect was fun to play with… when it worked.

8. Low-Light (1986)

1986’s Low-Light just looked cool to me because of his black and red color scheme, that and him being a sniper. Low-light was always the guy in the shadows or high on a ledge or tree. Low-Lights skills were always a key factor for turning the tides against the enemy. It was also fun to have him in a Tomahawk picking off Cobra Bats and Vipers.

7. Scrap Iron (1984)

The 1984 Cobra anti-armor specialist was one of my favorites and my unfortunately the first that I owned that broke. I was able to fix him with a rubber band. I always like this figure. I thought the cool looking helmet and the color scheme was dope. I always had him blowing up the M.O.B.A.T. or the RAM. Once the figure broke, he was either in the Cobra A.S.P. or firing the canons on the H.I.S.S. Also, I remember getting this from my uncle the one year our family celebrated Christmas at his place.

6. Clutch (1982)

Clutch was another one of the earlier figures I remember getting. He was released in 1982 with the VAMP. It was usually Clutch that would rescue or pick up Airborne. Clutch would be the mechanic and a back-up pilot for most of the Joe’s vehicles and would be the one to hijack any Cobra vehicle.

5. Tunnel Rat v2 (1988)

The 1988 Tunnel Rat Night Force figure was cool because it came with a Psyche-out figure. I like the character from “G.I. Joe: The Movie”, and color scheme from 2 looked cool. I wasn’t aware of what Night Force was ‘til later. He usually worked with Low-light and other Joes. He would often sneak around and blow-up stuff or rig traps. While playing, he was usually the first figure to zip line into battle. Yes, I said zip line. I pissed my parents off because I used their dental floss and paper clips.

4. Thrasher (1986)

While most would have other Dreadnoks ranked on this list, I didn’t have those figures. Thrasher was release in 1986 with the Thunder Machine. This Camaro/jet truck combo was awesome. Thrasher looked like on of the AWA/WCW Road Warriors plus he had that cool green strip in his hair. Thrasher was the fast attack and quick escape member that Cobra needed. Also, he and the Thunder Machine would assist Gi Joe to defeat common enemies.

3. Rock & Roll v2 (1989)

Rock & Roll was one of the original 1982 figures. He was cool and had the attitude. He was fun in the cartoon and comic, but nothing compares to how cool I thought the second release of Rock & Roll was. He was! Look at that image! 10-year-old me thought those machine guns were so cool. This guy became my Joe field leader.

2. Sci – Fi (1986)

This laser trooper was released in 1986. He’s honestly just really a gloried Flash, but he was bright green. I always loved this figure, probably because neon-green is my favorite color and I always thought his design was copied when creating RoboCop. When I started to rebuild my collection, this was one of the first that I bought. I often had Sci-fi and Low-Light team up like in the cartoon and go on missions with the likes of Falcon, Breaker, or Dial-tone.

1. Blowtorch (1984)

This figure was part of the 1984 toy line. I mean sure, Duke was released that same year and was certainly a more popular character, but there was just something special about this figure. He has a flamethrower, a cool looking outfit, and the cool color scheme to match. I am sure 5/6-year-old me saw something that 40-year-old me is missing, but I still remember him being a part of the adventures. Maybe it was simply the color scheme. The red and yellow stuck out from the green and tan drab that must other figures had.