G.I. Joe Classified Series Retro Card Gung-Ho Review

An upgrade in every single way. The retro Gung-Ho is exactly what I have been waiting and looking for, and having it in hand with those turquoise colors sends me right back to 1983.

As if a blister-carded GI Joe figure wasn’t enough of a nostalgia nuke…

The retro card is pretty awesome. If I was in any way a MOC collector I’d consider having a set of these to keep on card, but that is too expensive and I get too many toys. I’ve seen plenty pictures of people who got terribly messed-up cards due to Wal-mart being such excellent packagers (in a bag!!? A bag??!?!? The humanity…) but I got lucky and got both Gung-Ho and Destro in a box, and they were in decent shape.

The new card art evokes the original art, and the back has an actual file-card, although the necessity of so many different languages takes away some of the personality of the originals.

But the packaging, as nice as it is, is just in the way of the figure, so off it goes, and we have a brand new Gung-Ho.

I had come to terms with the original Classified Gung-Ho. With a few tweaks—removing the extraneous parts, a new custom head (to replace the worst part of the figure, which was that Chuck Liddel-looking noggin)and a new weapon—it ended up being acceptable, especially since I didn’t know for sure if a more vintage accurate one was in the cards. I didn’t mind that he was in green since he had worn a green version of his more well-known uniform in the comic. The second release that got rid of some of the gold accents moved the figure even further into acceptable for me. I was fine with it.

I was…fine. It was ok. It would do.

But then the Retro Gung-Ho was shown off and that was it. That was the Gung-Ho I wanted. With extremely minimal aesthetic updates and a faithful color scheme, I had found my Gung-Ho.

There’s still a lot of carryovers from the first Gung-Ho, but everything “objectionable” (to me, an admitted crazypants purist, so take that as you will) has been sideways shifted into more appealing avenues.

The bulk of the body is the same. Legs, torso, arms and all of that are consistent, with the same extraordinarily protected shins around. His chest is bare, but his shins are not getting a scratch on them. But the new parts are what make him so, so much better. There’s a new holster on his right leg, and new holster for his left that holds his extra grenades for his grenade launcher. Oh yes, the bloop gun has replaced the original-release Gung-Ho weapons, bringing that card art/vintage toy flavor fully into focus. He also has a sheathed knife for his lower left leg.

The vest is all new, and is faithful to his original design. I keep saying that like I’m telling everybody something they don’t already know, but it’s extremely cool to wipe away that nagging sense of disappointment with a figure like this.

In getting a new vest, he loses the “Joepro” as it’s being called, and I know there are many that like that little addition. I never had a problem with it but I don’t miss it either. Apparently, I just really don’t care if my Joe team still exists in the 80s.

He has the same altered tattoo that has a similar feel but isn’t “official” which I think most everybody has decided is due to trademark issues or something. It’s quite a bit larger on this Gung-Ho’s chest, which for some reason makes him feel more substantial. You put a tattoo on your chest and wear an open vest, you’re not shy about wanting people to see it, so the larger sizing to the tattoo reinforces his entire persona. I don’t know, I might be talking straight out of my buttocks, but he feels more Gung-Ho with a larger chest tattoo.

He comes with a vintage-styled backpack that’s also cast in that same turquoise color as his pants and vest. I like the backpacks, and kept his on for the pictures, but I think I’ll be taking it off for my perfect neutral Gung-Ho. I was very selective about who wore their backpacks and who didn’t when I was a kid, and Gung-Ho was decidedly a non-backpack guy. It was the same with helmets. Certain Joes were not “complete” without their helmet, and others never wore one.

The biggest improvement among so many excellent improvements with this figure is the head. I won’t mince words: I hated the other Gung-Ho head. I could make do with the wrong cover, but the fact that Gung-Ho wasn’t actually bald offended me on a molecular level.

Ok, I’m not that melodramatic about it, but that head just didn’t say Gung Ho to me at all. This one, however, is excellent. The mustache is far more in keeping with how I envision Gung Ho’s facial hair, and like I said He. Is. Bald.

I don’t know man, a bald Gung Ho is apparently very important to me.

And his 8-point cover is correct this time around also. It stays on nice and tight once it’s on.

In summation, I love this Gung Ho. If I were to continue to be ultra-picky, I do wish he was a little smaller, as I still don’t think Gung Ho and Roadblock should be on the same body, but this does so much to alleviate my issues with the previous offerings that I can’t muster up the desire to further vilify it. Gung Ho was a staple of my childhood battles, and this figure is the one I’ve wanted out of a six-inch line. I can’t wait to have him kick a HISS tank.

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