Cheesy Knockoff

email rudy

Cheesy Knockoff #14 by Rudy Panucci

Just the Knockoff the Doctor Ordered

Okay, we're looking at yet another 12" GI Joe knockoff here, but don't get antsy. There's no back story. This guy is not related in any way to any of the other Joe Knockoffs we've examined of late. He isn't part of some secret mold-swiping cartel. This is just an old-fashioned good ole boy Cheesy Knockoff.

I found this happy-looking fellow at Rite Aid on an early-morning medicine run. I always stop by the toy racks in Rite Aid, because they have an intriguing mix of overpriced three-year-old mainstream toys and brand new cheesy knockoffs.

On this day, I hit paydirt. "Action Soldier" by the Magic Toy Company ("If you can have fun with this, it must be Magic!"-not their real slogan, but it ought to be). Just under six bucks, and not nearly worth even half that.

Despite sharing his name with the very first GI Joe, this fellow turns out to have more in common with products by Kraft, instead of Hasbro, because the Cheese-O-Meter is registering off the chart with this puppy.

First, let's take a look at the packaging. He comes in a brown camo-ish box that proclaims "Fully Articulated Posable With Accessories Rifle-Pistol" Wow! Not only is he fully articulated, but he's posable too! I wonder if they knew those words pretty much mean the same thing?

But wait! Is he really fully articulated? Well, if you think that means Dragon-style joints coming out the wazoo, then you'll be disappointed. However, if all you're looking for is a slight improvement over the original Hall Of Fame GI Joes, then this is your man. He has exactly the articulation of a HOF Joe, with the addition of one extra joint at his waist.

So how "Posable" is he? You can place him in a variety of poses suitable for any doorstop. Grabbed firmly by the legs, he can make a decent blackjack.

On top of that, other than the joints at his elbows and knees, his joints are very loose. And that headsculpt ain't exactly a prize-winner, either. He reminds me of Jimmy Cagney, playing Gomer Pyle. Seriously, this headsculpt looks like it belongs on a ventriloquist dummy. I've seen better-looking heads on pimples. This is one ugly action figure, I'm telling ya.

So the body and head stink, how about the uniform. It's not completely useless, but it uses Velcro instead of snaps. The duck camo isn't bad, but it's not the best that's out there and the sleeves are short, so you're limited by that, too. The boots are decent enough knockoffs of vintage-style GI Joe boots. He also comes with a Western-styled holster and revolver, so he must be one of those Cowboy Marines. Kitbashing potential is minimal, unless you want the head for a 1930's style Hotel Bellhop. It's not useful for anything else I can think of. Well, maybe target practice.

There are two versions of this guy that I've seen, but the only difference is that one has a regular cloth fatigue cap, and the other has a boonie hat. In both cases, the hats were attached to his head with one of those little plastic price-tag ties. It leaves a hole in his head.

Now that must sound pretty darned cheesy already, but I've saved the best for last. His rifle. Actually, he comes with five rifles, and even a knife. There's only one problem with them. They seem to be made using the molds from one of the Magic Company's 3 ¾" GI Joe knockoffs. The only problem with that theory is that they're too small for even that use. These five rifles and a knife are on a plastic sprue, and the whole thing measures less than two inches square! Amoebae carry bigger guns than this!

So there you have it. A lousy knockoff with no collector appeal whatsoever and no connection to any other 12" GI Joe knockoff. It seems that there still are new things under the sun. We just have to turn over the right rocks to find them. At six bucks, this guy isn't cheap enough, but he sure does make up for it in the crappy column. I pity the poor kid who gets this as a gift from Grandma when he asks for a real GI Joe.