in Toy Posts

Inspecting Gadgets

One of my favorite toys as a child was the Mike Hazard Double Agent action figure by Marx.  The figure was constructed the same as the very popular articulated Johnny West figures had solid colored molded bodies with flesh-colored heads and hands which came with tons of little parts. Only the heads had paint originally. What made this figure different, beyond being a Cold War spy, was a soft goods trench coat, and many of his accessories could be combined in multiple ways to create cool gadgets for adventure play.

In earlier articles, I showed the GI Joe Classic Collection High-tech figure, with the assignment to design a 1/6th version of the small Real American Hero GI Joe Gadget.  Later the name was switched to High-tech, probably due to trademark clearance of the name Gadget.  Based on the character, I took the opportunity to use the fun of Mike Hazard accessories but make them modern and even more rearrangeable.  Sadly, not many people understood the play value in that figure as the marketing team completely forgot to mention the feature on the package.  However, it is still the 1/6th scale Real American Hero GI Joe figure that I am the proudest.

There were other accessories the Hasbro made, which could also rearrange in the same way. 

In 1998, they were part of a segment of Action Man sold in Europe known as “Mission Systems.” These were low-priced impulse purchase items that came in printed cellophane bags. These were an early version of “blind-bags,” which are so popular in today’s market where you do not know what accessories you get until you open the package.  Each bag contained two or three small parts and a small cross-sell booklet to show you all the possible parts – but also how the parts connected. Each accessory had a few pins and pinholes so you could connect the pieces.

Later, Hasbro continued to use the same parts in other low-priced accessory sets on blister cards. Two of these were the

Hasbro Action Man Mountain Mission and Hasbro Action Man Thai Mission.

Overall, the accessories were “hit and miss” in terms of their quality.  Some were really well done, but I suspect they designed many different accessories by only looking at the small sets they were part of instead of a system as a whole. Yes, they all had the same sized pins and holes so they could all be assembled together, but often the attachment was weird or even useless beyond its original parts.

Since I was always on the hunt for good parts that already had been tooled, I took special note of these sets. We did use a few of these in some of the Classic Collection GI Joes. The ice ax in the GI Joe Adventure Team – Search for the Yeti was one of these pieces.

There was another figure designed to include many of these accessories.  It was supposed to be a follow-up to the original Hi-Tech figure.  This one was planned to be more prominent in the 3 ¾” figures and storyline. So attached are images of the never shipped GI Joe High-tech Robot Hunter Concept Model.

What is your favorite 1/6th scale gadget?

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