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By Thomas Wheeler

You wouldn't think a G.I.Joe like Tripwire would get around as much as he
has. He's no Snake-Eyes or Duke. He's not on the level of a Storm Shadow
or Destro as far as overall popularity and recognition is concerned. And yet
he's turned up quite a bit over the years, and in some fascinating forms.

This Mine Detector expert first appeared on the scene in 1983. He looked fairly anonymous, with a helmet and visor molded to his head that covered all but his lower face. We couldn't see his eyes, or hair color, or know much of anything about him. His uniform was fairly bland -- olive-drab green with grey protective padding, gloves, and boots.

But somehow, this figure has managed to appear repeatedly over the course of
G.I.Joe's run to this very day. The first revised version actually turned up in a side product, a series of "Listen 'N' Fun" story cassettes. These included versions for G.I.Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony, all Hasbro products.
Recolored toys for each line were included with the set. The Joe chosen for
the G.I.Joe version was, for some odd reason, Tripwire.

The poor guy was given a pretty obnoxious uniform, though. Bright orange
with red trim. That was pretty severe for those days. However, the figure is highly sought after these days. Since the "Listen 'N' Fun" items were not marketed
in the action figure aisle, many collectors and G.I.Joe fans at the time didn't even know the item existed. I only happened across it at the time because someone who knew I liked G.I.Joe and worked in a K*B Toys pointed it out to me.

Unknown to most G.I.Joe fans at the time, Tripwire also appeared in England's
ACTION FORCE line, although the figure had been given the name "Blades". He was part of the SAS Team, and wore a mostly black uniform, with grey trim
and a blue visor. It's an especially cool version of the Tripwire figure. The only
known time any substantial quantities were sold in the United States were those sold by Hasbro at the 1992 G.I.Joe Convention, when they brought in quite a few international figures, including the legendary Scarlett recoloration, known as Quarrel.

Tripwire reappeared in the United States again in 1988, as part of TIGER FORCE. This time, his uniform was mostly brown, with green helmet, boots, and
gloves, and tiger-patterned padding. It was certainly more of a fashion statement for the Mine Detector than his original outfit.

Tripwire's final appearance in the United States was part of the 2000-2001
line, in one of the two-packs, in a uniform that was very close to his original
look in 1983. Tripwire had, essentially, come full circle.

Not bad for a guy whose main claims to fame were being a maladroit on the level of "Clumsy Carp" from the BC comic strip -- except when working with
explosives, and for having the rather dubious real name of "Tormod S. Skoog".
Didn't they use that for a Cardassian on Star Trek Deep Space Nine some years later...?

But, you can't keep a good explosives expert down -- even when he's prone to
tripping over his own feet. Funskool, the company based in India licensed to produce G.I.Joe figures for that country, has turned out their own version of
Tripwire, and it's a very cool one, indeed.

Funskool's Tripwire has a purple uniform. Not exactly military, but the Joes haven't been that picky about maintaining a uniform code since Bazooka showed up wearing a baseball shirt and they let him get away with it. The uniform trim has been done in black and red, and the chest padding has been done in orange, with the lettering "BOMB SQUAD" on the front. This is not just
any ordinary orange, either. It's an eye-searing neon traffic-cone reddish orange that is one of those colors that does not process well on camera film or video
monitors, so you'll have to take my word for it.

The "Bomb Squad" lettering is probably a good thing to advertise. You sort of
figure that if someone is wearing these words on heavy padding, if he's running and not carrying anything, he's probably trying to get somewhere to keep something from blowing up. If he's running and is carrying something, you want
to get out of his way. Either way, he's not going to be very inclined to stop and explain himself.

The figure is, of course, made in the traditional-style of G.I.Joe figures. Funskool has been known for years for coming up with some interesting combinations and color schemes for G.I.Joe figures and associated parts, even if their quality has been somewhat less than the original line in America. Funskool, however, has become increasingly aware that they have a substantial American market of collectors that are more interested in their product and so have responded accordingly with a fair upgrade in quality.

There's a few glitches, though. Some of the paint is a little blobbish in spots, and on my Tripwire, whatever paint or process they'd used to get that eye-searing orange hadn't dried entirely before they assembled the figure, so his upper and lower torso were frozen together. A small tap on the back with a hammer remedied this, fortunately. But as for overall quality, if traditional G.I.Joe figures from 1982-1994 are a "10" on a scale of one to ten, then I'd give Tripwire a definite "8.5".

Tripwire is presently available for a very reasonable price on SMALLJOES.COM. I most highly recommend him as a very worthy addition to any G.I.Joe Collection! Thank you, Funskool!