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REVIEW: G.I.JOE HERO'S HOMECOMING
By Thomas Wheeler

This superb Wal-Mart exclusive 12" G.I.JOE was released just prior to Christmas. I found it four days before the 25th. Although clearly a G.I.Joe that's not going to be making great inroads in any battlefield dioramas, it is nonetheless a charming and excellent addition to the collection.

A number of years ago, before the current G.I.Joe collection even got started, Hasbro released a special "Home for the Holidays" G.I.Joe to Wal-Mart. It was a 12" figure that used the "30th Anniversary" body, and was outfitted in an Army dress uniform and came with a sack of Christmas presents. This new "Hero's Homecoming" is the upgraded version.

The figure is a Navy Sailor, dressed in his white uniform with a navy blue "pea coat". He comes complete with a very nicely made Santa cap, a duffel bag, two wrapped gift boxes, and an assortment of small toys.

What's interesting is the toys. Although I have not opened this item as of this writing to make a full inspection, I can make some guesses as to the origins of a few of them. The small train and tow truck look distinctly Micro Machines in origin, which is entirely possible, since Hasbro bought Galoob several years ago. I would also suspect that the tiny boxed G.I.Joe figure (that's right, this G.I.Joe comes with a boxed G.I.Joe) might also be from a Micro Machines set, as it's too small to qualify as an in-scale 12" G.I.Joe figure. However, to give credit where credit is due, the tiny little G.I.Joe window box that the figure is packaged in is astoundingly well done. There's also a tiny toy horse, doll, and F-14 fighter jet, whose origins I am not certain of. It's possible they were created specifically for this set, although the plane looks a little too detailed for that.

The back of the box has a delightful illustration of the Sailor father coming home to his family, and opening the door to a smiling wife, three boys, and a girl. The illustration borders on Norman Rockwell charm. Would that more modern families were truly like this. Maybe they are, though. They're just not the ones that the news and entertainment media pay attention to.

The profile for this figure reads as follows: The men and women of the United States Navy are dedicated to defending America anywhere its freedom and values are threatened. Navy sailors know that when they are deployed on a mission, they are willingly placing themselves into the heart of danger and conflict for the defense of their country. Their missions may take days, months, or years. The families they leave behind are filled with pride but also bear the pain of being separated from loved ones for long periods of time. When the great ships of the naval fleet sail into port, they bring home the dedicated sailors who have put their country first and can now, for a brief time, be reunited with their families. Coming home for the holidays, the Navy sailors know that their sacrifices are made for the noblest of causes: the safety and freedom of their families. Happy holidays to the men and women who proudly serve in the United States Navy.

I'll let the increasingly PC "Happy Holidays" slide because the package illustration is so clearly that of a Christmas image, and of a family image that society at large would do well to emulate. The family love and unity shown here is something we would all do well to emphasize and strive for much more, and is, as far as I'm concerned, a superb portrayal of what America is really supposed to be about.

It's an excellent figure, nicely detailed. One of the "Pearl Harbor" style heads has been used for the figure. It's clearly intended as a present-day figure, as well. The train toy included in the set is of a modern design, the F-14 certainly is, and the G.I.Joe package included with the toy is of the Navy SEAL Take Down Team figure, a 2002 entry in the line. The only complaint that I have is the gigantic buttons on the pea coat. These are WAY oversize and I don't know what the designer could have been thinking when there are zillions of appropriate size buttons in Hasbro's inventory.

I don't know what this figure's availability will be after the holidays, and it's clearly intended as a holiday product. But if you can find it, then I highly recommend adding it to your G.I.Joe collection (you can change the buttons yourself). It's a nice, basic figure, with some charming accessories, and an image of a decidedly traditional America that I believe still exists to a greater percentage than many of us may be inclined to believe.