I initially stopped purchasing GIJoe figures back in 1987 with one solitary purchase of Deep Six in 1988. As such, I missed out on a great many fan-favorite figures from the “back half” of the original RAH run. It wasn’t until 2001 that I first encountered a figure that immediately caught my eye. I was over at TheMatrix’s apartment and was perusing through several recent additions to his growing GIJoe collection when I stumbled across a figure whose realistic color scheme and equipment took me by surprise. I spent the rest of the evening posing him and eventually slipped him into a sniper position in their Christmas tree before I left. This figure was so perfectly camouflaged that he remained undetected by Matrix’s wife until the tree came down in January. Ever since that one fateful evening I’ve been a fan of Hit & Run.
Honestly, I don’t know where to begin when it comes to describing this figure. This review isn’t going to turn into one of those “I love Figure X. He’s so dreamy! He’d beat Cobra all on his own!” fanboy love-fests. This is more of a case where all of the design elements- from coloration to molding to file card- just fell into place to create a figure that can’t help but be interesting. At its most basic, H&R’s uniform is a set of camouflaged BDU’s with what appears to be a black rappelling harness over the top. There’s even an actual molded bracket on his belt that could be used as a tie-point for a rope. Not even Alpine, the team’s mountaineering expert had such a detail included in his mold. Attached to the harness are two molded grenades and his head is covered with a light helmet reminiscent of the black “biker” helmets used by the Delta Force soldiers. Perched atop that same helmet is a molded pair of goggles that resembles those worn by the team’s premiere “night spotter” Low-Light. The uniform, like so many others that I’ve reviewed recently, is elegant in its simplicity and practical in its design. However, what really makes this figure design come to life in mind is the head-to-toe camouflage pattern that covers not only the BDU’s but also every exposed patch of skin on H&R’s body. I’d go as far as to state that this particular Light Infantryman is the most well camouflaged member of the GIJoe team from any era! While I’m a bit surprised that the figure’s hands are covered in camo makeup rather than gloves, I’m completely “wowed” by the thorough nature of the color scheme. There is literally nothing on this figure design that would make him stand out when placed in the midst of some foliage. Heck, pair him up with Nunchuck as a two-man strike unit! It’s a terrific design and one that makes him one of the most immediately useful figures in my entire collection. Any time I find myself setting up any sort of “woodland” dio set-up, I find that Hit & Run has already been chosen for the team.
Normally, I’d use this portion of the review to describe a figure’s head sculpt and whether or not it conveys any sense of the character’s personality or not. (Just wait until I get to ‘Grunt v3’. I can hear him shouting already.) However, with Hit & Run it’s a bit harder to do for two reasons – his makeup and his helmet. The very nature of his color scheme obscures the very details that give a head sculpt character. A closer examination of the head sculpt reveals a decidedly neutral expression on this figure’s face. By “neutral”, I don’t mean “non-exaggerated”; what I’m referred to is the very emotionless nature of the set of his features. It’s not a look of “grim determination” or any such over-dramatic description. Rather, it’s a look that seems to tie directly into his file card. According to his biography, Hit & Run lost his parents at the age of three. He was bounced from institution to institution and never really had anything that might be called “home” until he joined the army. As such, he’s someone who has a hard time forming attachments to people or places. His life was filled with institutions and so the army makes a perfect home for him. He’s part of another “system” now and that’s all he needs to know. It’s the very reason that this head sculpt is so utterly perfect for him; it’s as if the whole story of the file card is told in this one sculpted expression. It’s also just other reason that I’ve become a huge fan of this figure.
Hit & Run’s gear is as distinctive and practical as his character design. Included with the figure are an M-16 rifle, green knife, and a duffle bag and it’s this last piece of equipment that makes the set. Protruding from the bag is a line and a grappling hook. Simply pull out the line; toss the hook around an object, and H&R can climb to safety. When finished, simply wind the line back into the bag by turning the plastic handle. It’s such a simple mechanism that you are virtually guaranteed YEARS of use from this feature. There are no missiles to lose, no springs to break, and no batteries required. If all of the figures in the following years had accessories so practical and so well designed there would be no need to complain about “neon gear” and “action features”. Once again, Hit & Run is just a perfectly equipped figure.
In all honesty, Hit & Run is just one of those figures that comes together in all the right areas. He’s got a terrific and believable sculpt, a terrific paint deco, an interesting back-story, appropriate gear, and a practical action gimmick for the kids. He’s one of those rare designs that just plain works—no matter how you look at him. I never had the figure as a young Joe fan so I really wasn’t aware of what I was missing. However, as an adult collector I can honestly tell you that this is one of those “must own” figures for any collection. You won’t find me saying this too often because everyone’s collection is different and reflects his or her personal preferences. Yet, I’ll challenge any Joe fan to pick up a good condition Hit & Run figure and not discover a new appreciation for this character. It’s kind of ironic to think that I might have missed out on this figure except for one evening in December over at a friend’s house. If you don’t already own this figure, go out and get one. For a decent price, he’s a great addition to any GIJoe collection.