In my adventure looking over Hasbro’s classic 3 3/4″ G.I Joe line that were an integral part of my childhood, as well as many others out there, 1988 was a good year for G.I Joe toys of that period. What has started as a celebration of the G.I Joe: Retaliation film, has quickly been evolving into me looking back further into these toys that were a big part of my childhood. What might strike some readers interesting who aren’t familiar with these 3 3/4″ inch G.I Joe’s is how much they reused molds or tweaked around with the designs, you’ll notice this as you look through the history of these toys. G.I Joe is a toy line that evolved in many strange and wonderful ways as time went on, 1988 set that kind of standard that helped to make the G.I Joe toy line great.
#5: Hit & Run
The design for the figure itself is good for the name, camouflage paint design does fit the name. What makes Hit & Run a great addition to the G.I Joe line of the period, also what appealed to me as a kid, he had a grappling hook. Yes, the duffel bag that you had to assemble was nifty, but Hit & Run had a grappling hook, and you can’t deny that’s just a nifty addition. Going on outside adventures and having a G.I Joe and simulating rappelling off of trees and what not, that’s just fun. Though, I have to admit I wish I had Target stores near me as a child because you know what they had there? Hit & Run had a parachute exclusive to their stores, though either way, Hit & Run was a great toy, grappling hook or parachute.
#4: Road Pig
Was this a basic design in theory? Yes and no, what was important to a child’s mind, mainly my own, he carried a giant concrete sledgehammer. Not even kidding here, this G.I Joe toy had to be mine because he had a cool look, basic, and had a giant cinder block sledgehammer. Even better he had extra accessories, cool shoulder pads, a forearm shield, Road Pig looked like a tank with all of his accessories. You could legitimately believe that this toy would be an excellent addition to any child’s Cobra army fighting against the G.I Joe team.
To put this at #3 was a tough decision, but considering how strong this line was, I had to set it right in the middle. Astro-Viper was a toy that had one of the more creative designs out of the G.I Joe line, yet he was just one of the rank and file Cobra soldiers. His red and gray suit and high tech design, stood out nicely. I loved the design of his accessory though, he had a build together flying pack. Any G.I Joe that has a unique design, and cool build it yourself accessory, that’s going to grab the attention of any fan. Astro-Viper also had one of the simplest yet coolest masks of the line, a simple helmet with a nifty looking yellow emblem. You couldn’t help but want this character in your Cobra army, and he was in mine.
#2: Iron Grenadier
Iron Grenadier being on this list is why Astro-Viper ended up being #3. Nothing special accessory wise, purely on the aesthetic for Iron Grenadier for me. A mostly black coloring, red face mask, and little flecks of gold, make him different from many of the G.I Joe designs of the period. There’s only so much more detail to get into with Iron Grenadier outside of, great design sense and a good paint job will catch anyone’s attention.
#1: Super Trooper
Now this one is special for many reasons, one being that the only way to get Super Trooper back in the day was via mail-order. For anyone who may remember him, back in 1988 the Super Trooper was a coveted toy. Gathering those certificates and getting to look at that mini-comic just made me want to have this in my own collection. Slick metallic armor, a shiny machine gun, and a cool looking shield, and a helmet to boot, that just makes for a nice toy. This was one mail-order toy that didn’t let me down as a child, which is why I make this my number one. Super Trooper was a character that will always be a special member of the G.I Joe team.
That’s my list for the year 1988 for G.I Joe toys of the period, stay tuned as I continue this journey through my childhood. I say another special thank you to G.I Joe Retaliation for inspiring this journey, so far this has been a fun one. Feel free to send me a comment below as to what your favorite G.I Joe toys were, I’d love to hear what toys of the line you liked. Next time on here, we check out 1989, which toys were my favorite of that year? Stay tuned, same examiner time, same examiner channel.
#5 Hit & Run
Hit & Run is a toy that doesn’t seem that remarkable in nature, but the camouflage coloring fits his character well. What makes him such a fun part of the G.I Joe line is the accessories he comes with. The regular version of the toy had a grappling hook accessory, which was the one I personally owned. Now the one I have pictured here for this list, is the Target exclusive with the parachute. Sadly, I never owned this one back then mainly because there were no Target stores in my area back in 1988. Either way though, Hit & Run was a great part of G.I Joe, no matter what version you got your hands on.
#4 Road Pig
If ever a character fit his name, Road Pig would be it. A member of the Dreadnok gang, Road Pig got awesome by his extra accessories with the character. The shoulder pads make him intimidating, the crossbow on his forearm is cool, but what makes him great, the giant sledgehammer. Put all these together and you get a character that fits the name, and makes him someone that you wouldn’t want to see in a dark alley. A personal favorite of mine actually, could have gone higher on this list, but Road Pig had tough competition. Still a great figure and a fun part of my G.I Joe toy collection back in the day.
Design is everything on this one for Astro-Viper’s part on this G.I Joe list. Well, the design helps anyway, the extra bonus is Astro-Viper’s accessory. The accessory is everything, a jet pack with blasters that you got to build yourself. Just added an extra touch of interaction to the toy. Because with any member of the G.I Joe line, if you had extra stuff to add or play around with, made sure you got your moneys worth. The mask was a nice touch too, a simple mask to set off a striking design sense.
#2 Iron Grenadier
Now this one isn’t about the accessories, while they are cool in their own right and fitting the character, this isn’t why Iron Grenadier hit so high on the G.I Joe list for this year. This one you can fully chalk up to design, pure and simple. Even today Iron Grenadier looks cool, not just for a toy made back in 1988, Iron Grenadier just looks cool period. In my research too, I noticed Iron Grenadier was a completely original mold, which is what helps to make him a great toy. Another personal favorite of the G.I Joe line for me in general.
#1 Super Trooper
Super Trooper is remarkable to me, the armor was striking and still looks slick even today. Anything metallic would catch a child’s eye and this was fitting the shiny and cool quotient. What made Super Trooper even better was the fact that you actually had to do some extra leg work for this one. To get Super Trooper, you had to have certificates from the G.I Joe toys proper, and mail them in and then you got Super Trooper for yourself. A fun fact, the character of Super Trooper hailed from Dayton, Ohio, which to the Ohioans reading this should enjoy greatly. Great accessories as well, and Super Trooper was worth the wait for him to reach your mailbox.