Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Toychest Time Machine: Hasbro’s G.I. Joe Extreme (1995)

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March 23, 2011

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ULTRA SLAM EXTREME FIREPOWER ACTION!

We talk a lot here at the clubhouse about 80s era nostalgia, but the 90s were full of some pretty great stuff too (however gimmicky it may seem now). Stretch Armstrong made a comeback (along with his dog Fetch and evil twin Wretch), Saved by the Bell was in its prime, and just about everything had to have “EXTREME” next to its name… such as G.I. Joe Extreme.

Following in the mold of its predecessors as a reason to sell more toys, G.I. Joe Extreme was conceived as a total reboot of the franchise by Hasbro and Sunbrow Productions (The Tick, Conan the Adventurer). It even went so far as to replace all of the characters from previous series and creating a new Cobra Command in the form of SKAR (Soldiers of Khaos, Anarchy and Ruin) led my the evil Iron Klaw. I suppose using the letter “C” was either too obvious or not “extreme” enough. Gone too were favorites such as Duke, Lady Jaye, Hawk, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, and Sgt. Slaughter; instead we got Lt. Stone, Ballistic, Mayday, Black Dragon and Quick Stryke (among others).

While the cartoon itself wasn’t that memorable (aside from some all-too-funny live action intros), it reminded me of something between WildC.A.T.s: Covert Action Teams and Inspector Gadget (maybe because of the whole “klaw” thing), the franchise did take another notable deviation from its past incarnations in that the action figures were much larger. Instead of the standard 3.75″ scale, the “extreme” Joes were 5″ tall (most likely to accentuate their “extremeness”). This equaled the playing field for using them in battle alongside all of my TMNT and other assorted figures which was great, only… the articulation of each G.I. Joe Extreme figured sucked. In order to sustain their “Ultra Slam” firepower each figure only had 5-6 points of articulation (arms, legs, head, and waist), they were otherwise paralyzed.

Since I wasn’t a big fan of the cartoon, I didn’t get too excited about the figures either with the exception of Iron Klaw- that bad mofo with an “extreme” skull for a face and a Darth Vader voice. Armed to the teeth and looking all sorts of Special Forces Green Beret-style awesome, Klaw instantly became my new favorite bad guy once I convinced my parents to fork over some dough for him. He also had some robotic minions were pretty much just like him except all black and grey which I would often “borrow” from my younger brother. The coolest thing about these guys were they’re giant-freaking claw accessory that came with each one (kinda like Wolverine on crack).

Does anyone else remember these guys? Did you have a favorite figure or vehicle?

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About Author

Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

  • http://izombielover.blogspot.com/ iZombie

    man i was old in 1995, though i collected toys until 1999… i am unaware of this series and toys. i think i missed out on some great stuff. i have a lot of joe stuff from 1982-1988, opened and played with… and i was old then. my friends and i had d and d type of playing where you took the card with stats, and you fought. i was snake eyes and storm shadow all the time, and i won.

    ahhh the memories!

    iZombie

    • http://www.strangekidsclub.com Strange Kid

      I didn’t get into D&D games too much, but I sure would’ve play a G.I. Joe one! I remember my friends and I used to build these huge battles with the smaller figures and battle headquarters. It would be like an epic 2-hour kind of thing because we would both keep making up reasons why out figures couldn’t die… priceless. :)

  • http://www.jasonvorhees.wordpress.com Jason

    Being that these came out in ’95, I was out of their target audience(I was 16). So, I don’t know much about them. This past weekend, one of my friends gave me a huge tackle box full of action figures and accessories. One of the figures is the one you have pictured(Ironklaw). I didn’t know that this was a G.I. Joe(it looks nothing like the old-school 3 3/4 figures), I actually thought it was Chapel from Image Comics(maybe Spawn?). He does look cool, but I will probably sell him, as I’m not a fan of this series. Great article!!

    Oh! And I have an idea for my article. Now I just have to start writing. :)

    • http://www.strangekidsclub.com Strange Kid

      I’ve always been a bit of a toy nut at heart and this one (Iron Claw) is one of the last I can remember buying. It’s funny that the timing of this article coincides with your friend’s gift.

      Looking forward to that article, can’t wait to see what kind of forgotten favorite you pull out of your pocket.

  • http://cavalcadeofawesome.net Paxton Holley

    Haha, yeah I enjoyed GI Joe EXTREME however silly the concept seems now. The figures were designed to look bad ass. And they did. But I hated the cartoon. I had the Iron Klaw you show in the article up there. Like I said, It’s just a bad ass figure. I may still have it packed away somewhere. I need to find it.

    And that commercial. *shakes head* People make fun of the 80s, but DAMN, the 90s had its weirdness too.

    ….to the EXTREME!!!!!!! SLAM!!!!!!!

  • cracklotus

    SLAM! SLAM! SLAM!