Sunday, July 27, 2008

Australian Jungle Fighter by GI Joe

In 2001, Hasbro re-released the Australian Jungle Fighter under the "Timeless Collection" line. The Australian Jungle Fighter was part of the "Action Soldiers of the World" line released back in 1966 by Hasbro and consisted of six soldiers from both sides of World War II - the others were German and Japanese soldiers (Axis powers), British, French and Russian soldiers (Allied forces). The most unique feature about these sets was the headsculpt - two new sculpts were created, one asian sculpt for the Japanese soldier with stereotypical slanted eyes, and another for the other five soldiers, a more "Nordic" face. All the other GI Joe soldiers had the same original sculpts. You could say they were the original clone army because when you displayed them together, you got a whole army of identical faces.

The Australian Jungle Fighters bravely distinguished themselves as excellent forward observers, tracking and communicating valuable information about Japanese ship convoy movements and troop deployments in World War II. The regular Australian troops also fought off the Japanese force in New Guinea and prevented them from establishing the island as a foothold from where they could strike Australia itself.

Basic GI Joe Australian Jungle Fighter figure with "Nordic" face

His accessories consisted of a flame thrower, machete, entrenching tool, trench knife, six grenades and Victoria Cross medal. All six "Action Soldiers of the World" had medals unique to their country.

GI Joe Counter-intelligence Manual - in essence, an instructions booklet.

GI Joe Action Soldier was the true father of today's military action figures. GI Joe and Action Man created a desire for boys to collect action figures and when these boys grew up to become men, there was a void that had to be filled because the GI Joe and Action Man lines had been discontinued. Then came Dragon, BBI, Hot Toys, DiD, ACE, Toy Soldier etc etc. GI Joe and Action Man's rich history holds a special place for me because they were there before every other Tom, Dick and Harry deciced to jump on the 12 -inch, 1/6 scale bandwagon.

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