Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Adventure Team Commander
G.I. Joe Collector's Club Exclusive - Part of a two-pack with Dr. Venom
The G.I. Joe brand has evolved quite a bit over the past 50 years. I’m not just referring to the obvious scale changes that have occurred first with Super Joe and then with A Real American Hero and eventually with Sigma 6. Instead, I’m referring to the current concept of G.I. Joe. In 1970, Hasbro found themselves under a great deal of public attention for marketing “America’s Movable Fighting Man” when the United States found itself embroiled in the unpopular Viet Nam war. In a brilliant move, the design team switched gears and created the Adventure Team where G.I. Joe was a former soldier turned scientist and explorer. Joe would travel the world recovering lost artifacts, saving endangered species, and even helping to fight natural disasters. With that simple change, G.I. Joe became more like Jonny Quest in the scope of his adventures and it worked. For six years Joe remained an action hero until the 12” line was retired. In 2010, the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club decided to introduce the Adventure Team to an entirely new set of fans by releasing four separate 1:18 scale sets based on the classic AT members. Did the concept work? Did characters like the Adventure Team Commander successfully make the transition to a new scale and bring the AT concept to a new generation of fans? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s opinion.
To recreate the classic Adventure Team Commander look, the designers at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club had to dig deep in the library of generation 3 parts. The resulting parts combination borrows from four different figures from the 25th Anniversary collection. The figure’s arms come from the Comic Pack #115 “Captain Ace” figure, the upper and lower torso are from the 25th Anniversary Cobra Viper, the upper legs are from the 25th Anniversary Storm Shadow, and finally the lower legs and feet are from the 25th Anniversary 5-pack Shipwreck. The resulting combination which is molded in a bright green is a near perfect 1:18 recreation of the original Adventure Team Commander’s uniform. The design has a decidedly “retro” vibe to it as if it stepped directly out of the 1970’s. To top off the resemblance to the original, the Collector’s Club painted an “AT” logo just above the left shirt pocket. To complete the appearance, a sculpted rubber skirt is added to the waist to simulate the untucked shirt/jacket of the original AT Commander. From a visual standpoint the design is about as perfect of a job that the Club could have done without a significant amount of new tooling. From a practical standpoint the body works as well as most of the Generation 3 1:18 Joes although the range of motion is a bit limited. The rubber skirt as the waist limits the hip motion while the arms used are more limited than we’ve seen since the release of the source Captain Ace figure. This means that Joe can’t quite hold his rifle in a proper two-handed grip, even with the vest removed. (More on this later.) Still, if you’re more concerned with form over function this figure really does look the part.
I mentioned in the description of the body that the Club built most of this figure without any significant new tooling. It would seem that the tooling budget for this series was saved entirely for a brand new head sculpt that strives to recreate the original 1:6 scale “fuzz heads”. However, a big part of what gave the Adventure Team their distinctive style was their “life-like hair and beard” which was created by flocking the 1:6 scale heads. The GIJCC’s head sculpt is actually very good and it is immediately recognizable as a recreation of a vintage 70’s Joe. From the set of the eyes to the wider nose to the prominent mouth this is a solid rendition of Joe’s AT look. Even the signature scar is still present on the right cheek. To simulate the flocked head and beard the sculptors gave all of the hair-covered portions of the sculpt a dimpled texture not unlike what is found on a golf ball. For the most part it works quite well and it’s only when pictures of the head are enlarged larger than life size that the illusion falls apart. One thing that I should point out is that this head doesn’t quite blend in as well as one might hope with more recent sculpts. The reason for this is simple—the AT head sculpt isn’t trying to update the vintage look but rather it is recreating it. As such, some collectors might find it a bit odd when mixed in with newer Joes. This Joe fan, however, is loving it!
The Adventure Team Commander comes equipped with a pretty basic kit which includes the following:
All of these items make sense for a figure that comes from a time when Joe wasn’t a member of an active military. The rifle is his primary weapon and could have been used for everything from hunting to firing tranquilizer darts. The pistol serves as his back-up weapon and vest is an attempt to recreate the holster found on the original figure. Personally, I found that the vest both limited the range of motion in the figure’s shoulders and covered up the Adventure Team logo so I removed it after a few shots. In fact, my default look for most of the Club’s 1:18 AT members is sans vest. Your individual mileage will vary.
At the end of the day, is the Adventure Team Commander worth a purchase or is he just a nice oddity for the 1:6 scale collectors? Personally, I love what the Club tried to do with these figures. For years, the G.I. Joe fandom has really been split into two major groups: 12” collectors and 3.75” collectors with not a great deal of crossover. With this series, the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club tried to bridge the gap by offering the characters of the 1:6 scale in the 1:18 scale construction. Sadly, I don’t think this gamble paid off as well as the Club would have liked as many of these figures were still available nearly 4 years later. The first set to sell out was the Adventure Team Commander and I think that this was mostly due to the fact that he was packaged with the Dr. Venom action figure that 1:18 collectors had desired for so long. Still, I have to say that as someone who has become a fan of the Adventure Team over the past few years due to the Adventure Team comic in the Club newsletters I couldn’t be happier. The Adventure Team harkens back to the type of entertainment I watched in my childhood—reruns of Jonny Quest and James Bond films on ABC. It’s also very evocative of the classic Fisher-Price Adventure People line that consumed some of my earliest memories. (The irony being that the Adventure People were obviously inspired by the Adventure Team.) As such, these figures have given me a whole new appreciation for the 1970 – 1976 era of G.I. Joe and I’ve picked up quite a few 1:6 AT Joes in the years that I’ve owned these figures. Are these for everyone? Probably not but those fans who are “AT curious” should definitely check them out. I know I’ve had a blast with mine.
The Bottom Line: A great gateway figure to the world of the 1:6 scale Adventure Team. The articulation is a bit limited when compared to more recent Joes but a solid addition to any collection at a good price.
Questions? Comments? Wish you had a "lifelike hair and beard" and "kung-fu grip" like Joe?
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