Adventure Team Dog Tags

GI Joe comes with a dog tag. Almost always have. It’s part of being a GI Joe. Hasbro began by mimicking dog tags used by soldiers during World War II, slightly oblong tin things with a small dent in them.


Then when the Adventure Team came about, this continued, but they changed the dog tag to be a circle with the AT logo of the Adventure Team. The back side had the GI Joe logo with bearded face over the J.

Here are a line-up of the dog tag as it has been used over the years since the originals (I regret I can’t show a photograph of an original, mine are all in storage. And I’m not even certain I have any vintage dog tags):


Left to right:

  • Counterculture GI Joe 2003
  • reproduction GI Joe dog tag used in the past decades in sets such as their revised Secret of the Mummy’s Tomb set
  • metal 30th Anniversary version used in the Timeless Collection and some of the Club exclusive Joes
  • the 35th Anniversary one (these two had a thicker circle border)
  • the smaller Sigma 6 AT dog tag
  • the metal real-scale club exclusive dog tag

Left to right:

  • Full-color peace symbol
  • accurate reproduction with bearded head over the J on the GI Joe logo used in the reprised Adventure Team sets
  • 30th Anniversary metal
  • 35th Anniversary plastic (these also come in metal)
  • Sigma 6 (with what looks like a stylized version of the cobra snake that comes with the set)
  • the blank back of the club exclusive mini dog tag

When Hasbro brought out the 30th Anniversary figures, they reproduced the original AT dog tag for the 12″ figures. The back of these had 1970-2000, 30 Years of Adventure on them.

Then when they brought out their Timeless Collection Adventure Team sets, many of these had a metal version of the dog tags.

The 35th Anniversary editions had 1970-2006, 35 Years of Adventure on their reverse sides. Some club exclusive figures came with a metal version of this one too.

The GI Joe Collectors Club created a smaller version of the AT dog tag to proper scale with the 12″ GI Joes. Those had the AT logo on one side, and the obverse was blank.

But what I find interesting is the Sigma Six Adventure Team line (three sets produced a few years back) had its own AT dog tag. It’s about 2/3 the diameter of the original, and the one I have here has a symbol on the back that may represent the cobra snake in the Snake Eyes “Pyramid of Peril” Sigma 6 Adventure Team set.

And for further fun and joy, the club created a very special figure in 2003 for the convention that had an Adventure Team GI Joe dressed as a hippie with bell-bottom jeans, platform shoes, a dashiki, a white T-shirt with shoulder holster and pistol. He was the Counterculture Joe, operating undercover.

One side of his AT dog tag was a beautifully colored (for the first time) AT logo, and on the obverse, a peace symbol.

This figure was making a number of inside jokes about GI Joe from the two-finger (toke) grip to the longer fuzzy hair (a ‘fro) to the idea that the AT logo was intended to look like the iconic peace symbol from the hippie years.

And now for the 50th Anniversary, the Club is creating a gold version of the miniature AT dog tag for the 12″ Adventure Team figure in the set.


In the 1970s joining the GI Joe club (then run by Hasbro itself) could get you this special-edition dog tag. It is a child-sized dog tag and measures approximately 2″ across and was meant for the kid to wear.


And last, this piece is a bit of a mystery. I can find no reference to it online but I managed to get my hands on it. This one measures just over 4″ in diameter and has a very large metal ball-chain.


It’s next to a metal 35th dog tag for scale.

Joseph Colton – The Original Retconned GI Joe

GI Joe is of course one of the most iconic toys in history. He has some competition, but not much when you consider just how many toys there are in the world.

But what is the story of GI Joe? And how did his origins as America’s Fighting Man morph into his history as the Adventure Team? And how did he then become the Real American Hero?

It started out in 1964 with the introduction of a very risky toy. At that time the general wisdom was “boy will not play with dolls”. So Hasbro did something very clever. It coined the term “Action Figure” and the first Action Figure was born with GI Joe.

It being just 20 years after World War II, America had military accomplishments to be proud of, and many kids grew up knowing their fathers had been in the war. Honoring them by playing soldier with GI Joe was something many kids thought was cool. With the glut of Hollywood movies about the war, war comics being popular, there was a lot supporting the sale of GI Joe.

With the Viet Nam war, however, everything changed. It was a war that became so hated that the soldiers who came back were often shunned when they returned, if they returned. War was no longer popular.

Hasbro switched gears and created the Adventure Team, a globetrotting group of heroes who hunted white tigers, or searched for the Yeti, or dealt with dangers in the depths of the ocean.

By 1976 GI Joe, at least in his 12″ form, was no more. An attempt was made to bring back Mego-scaled (8″) SuperJoes, but that didn’t take off either.

In 1980 Hasbro brought Joe back to immense popularity with a new 3 3/4″ line of figures that were doing rather well in the Star Wars line, and so GI Joe, the Real American Hero was born with some very cool equipment, lots of figures, this time with real names and identities kids didn’t have to infuse into their toys themselves, with real villains and a comic book series that sold the toys perfectly.

But the connection between the original 12″ GI Joes, at least back-story-wise, was tenuous at best.

So the writers of the comic book “rectonned” (retcon: (n) a portamteau of “retroactive continuity” – deliberately changing previously established facts in a work of serial fiction) Joe Colton into the story to link the current line to the original, and not many people complained about it.


In 1989 in issue #86, “Not Fade Away”, of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, (reproduction cover seen above) featured a battle against Cobra inside the Chrysler Building in New York. Inside, the GI Joe team meet the head of security for the building, and a female psychologist. His is not revealed until the end, when one of the GI Joe crew says he looks familiar, and was good enough that he should join the GI Joe team. The psychologist, named Jane, laughed, telling the newcomers that they were talking to the original GI Joe, Joe Colton.


Joe Colton would later be solidified in the lore by being in the second GI Joe movie, as played by Bruce Willis.


To honor GI Joe in all of his most successful incarnations, the GI Joe Collectors Club has previewed images of its Convention Exclusive 12″ figure set for the upcoming 50th Anniversary Convention in Dallas, Texas.


The set will come with a 12″ Green Beret figure to commemorate the original 1964-1970 military GI Joe, a 12″ Adventure Team GI Joe to commemorate the Adventure Team era, from 1970-1976, and as a special treat, a 3 3/4″ Joe Colton figure to commemorate the Real American Hero figures that have been so enormously popular.

Joe Colton is designed to look like the character revealed in the comic book.

And in honor of that 50th Anniversary, and now very real connection between the original GI Joes and the subsequent lines, I have created a custom 12″ Joe Colton myself.

Here is my custom Joe Colton. I used a reproduction Land Adventurer, dressed in a Donald Trump suit, with shirt and tie from an Unknown Soldier figure. He’s wearing Neo’s twin shoulder holsters, though you can’t really see those in the picture, and is carrying one of his two .45 pistols.


Adventure Team Crates (Sigma 6)

A couple of years ago Hasbro tried a new line of GI Joe toys which I thought were quite beautiful. Sigma 6 were six-inch stylized versions of the GI Joe figures from other lines. Despite the fact that Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are Real American Hero Joes, created in the 1980s for a new 3 3/4″ toy line and comic book series, Hasbro incorporated them into a few Adventure Team Sigma Six sets and the sets were quite nice. They also created a couple of more traditional, bearded GI Joes in this line for the AT sets.

The released Adventure Team Sigma 6 sets are shown here:

 Pyramid of Perilsigma-six-snake-eyes-front-01

Snake Eyes here is trying to retrieve a rare green gem from a pyramid, protected by a giant cobra (irony?) and the gem itself is booby-trapped behind two spring-loaded swords. The set comes with a bunch of gear including a zip-line for Snake Eyes.

Danger in the Junglesigma-six-tiger-front

This reprises the vintage Hunt for the White Tiger set from the original GI Joe Adventure Team line, as well as the Save the White Tiger from the more recent Adventure Team revival of a decade ago. Here, for some reason, Storm Shadow faces down an orange tiger.

Terror of the Swampsigma-six-crocodile-front

This also reprises the Secret of the Savage Swamp sets from both the original Adventure Team line as well as the more recent Classic Collection Adventure Team line.

There was a fourth set that Hasbro apparently planned, but I don’t think it was ever released. I only know this because a web search brought up this image:


This one would have reprised the famed Pygmy Gorilla sets from the Adventure Team’s illustrious past.

Holders of these sets will appreciate the packaging. Sigma 6 sets were packed in plastic boxes sealed at either end with an intricately molded cargo box in two pieces. When the package is opened, you can snap the two pieces together to form the top and bottom halves of a cargo crate which you can fit all the gear into.

The regular Sigma 6 sets had gray ammo cargo boxes, but the Adventure Team line had them modeled in Adventure Team theme, including the familiar and beloved AT logo.



Here my 3D printer comes in handy again. I designed an AT logo that can fit into the recessed AT logos here to add color to the crate.

Here is the AT logo fresh off my Afinia H479 printer:


It prints on a raft of plastic to secure the print to the bed and ensure good printing. Using a small chisel I lift the logo off the bed and clean it up:


Then I can glue it into the recess. Here is the top:


And here, the bottom:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Voila. Another nice GI Joe Adventure Team project created with my 3D printer.

Adventure Team Set Five: Cyber Counter-Attack – EMP Grenade

As I posted earlier, I’m creating a new GI Joe Adventure Team gear set. This one is to counter cyber-terrorists. It’s called Cyber Counter-Attack, and features several helpful bits of equipment to thwart an active local cyber attack.

First, the concept:


The first model I tackled was the Cyber EMP Grenade. It’s a bulky hand-thrown grenade that contains a very powerful magnetic pulse circuit. Simply push the plunger and throw. A timer, set by using the hacking console, counts down and then BOOM! A massive localized Electro-Magnetic Pulse knocks out any electronic equipment a hacker may be using.

To make it a bit more useful, there is also a magnetic base the grenade can fit in to make it a plantable mine. You simply stick it to a wall and let it count down. Same result without having to toss it.

To make this, I modeled five separate parts:

– Plunger
– Body
– Body Bottom
– Base Cup
– Base Bottom

I also use three rare-earth magnets in each grenade/mine combo. One very small one for the base of the plunger, a cylindrical one for the bottom part, and one for the mine base.


The first one is glued to the base of the plunger:

The second magnet, the cylinder, is fitted into the grenade bottom, rather snugly. No glue is necessary for this one:

Then the red plunger is fitted up inside the blue body from below, and the black bottom glued in place. The two magnets repel each other so they act as a spring when you push the red plunger:

Then a third, flat magnet, is placed into the base bottom piece:

Then the base bottom is glued to the base cup. This is intended so there is no magnet exposed. You can see part of this largest magnet from the top, but it’s safely glued into the base:

Here’s a little movie I shot showing how it works:


GI Joe Convention – The Fiftieth Anniversary of GI Joe

It’s true. GI Joe turns 50 this year. And it’s also true we were born in the same year, within weeks of each other.


This year the GI Joe Collectors’ Club is holding its annual convention in Dallas and as a birthday gift, my wife and my daughter gave me this convention.

The only other convention I was able to attend was the 2010 Con in Providence, because it’s a half-hour drive from here. I went, met some great people, some of whom I have known for years online, and I had a good time. I got the Convention Set, which is this amazing piece of work:


One thing the Convention offers is contests. There are two diorama contests I will likely be entering. One is restricted to a 15″ x 15″ table space, and the other is less restrictive at 30″ x 48″.

Here are my two entries from the 2010 Convention. I scored a prize for the TARDIS Interior dio.

Large Diorama: – The Regeneration.

Here, two characters from my epic 8 chapter “The Second Key” photo story, Sir Edmund of Sussex and Ellanuir of Aquitanis, watch as my Doctor undergoes a regeneration.

This one was my full TARDIS interior set, on a foam-core floor, with a small hole cut into it for a blue LED which slowly flashed. I used a clear GI Joe figure, whose head diffused the light beautifully, lighting up the whole head. He was dressed in my Doctor’s costume, and there was a photo frame monitor in the back wall flashing images of space, and the title of the diorama.


Small Diorama: Return to Metabelis III

This one did not win a prize. You could have knocked me over with a feather. The thing is, this is a GI Joe convention, not a ComiCon. This diorama shows MY Doctor character with a blue crystal in his hands, landing on a planet, leaving the TARDIS, and being approached by dangerous spiders. This is a fairly deep diorama in that it makes many references to the Jon Pertwee Doctor Who era. In that era, he keeps promising his companion, Jo, that he will take her to Metabelis III because it has these amazing blue crystals. He never gets to. For most of his time his TARDIS is out of commission as a punishment from the Time Lords. But he does get there at one point, and steals a blue crystal. This comes back to bite him in the ass in another episode “The Planet of the Spiders” because the spiders want the crystal back. It is a very important crystal to them. However, at one point, the Doctor mails the crystal to Jo who is in the South American jungle doing missionary work. While there, the crystal, apparently, spooks the natives. They can feel its power.

So my diorama is the Doctor returning the crystal to Metabelis III. The crystal is a real cobalt crystal, the spiders are Shelob from the Lord of the Rings series, and one from a creepy Little Miss Muffett action figure.


Photo Contest: Remote Delivery

This one is a dog sled in the snow, being driven by one of my Joes. It’s a photo from my “Remote Delivery” photo story, a one-page sentimental story I did when Charlotte was young.


So this year I will be entering two dioramas, but probably will not submit a photo.

The two sets will highlight my 3D Adventure Team sets.

1) The Adventure Team Backpack Flight Pack

2) Save The Endangered Pygmy Rhino

Without going into too much detail, since I don’t want to alert the competition, I will be doing a test flight of the Flight Pack, and I will be displaying the Rhino set as an AT set.


Here is the comic I did. This is not the final, and it has test fonts, but it’s close. This will also be a part of the set. I’m also going to print a bunch to give away.


I’ll do a more detailed photo spread when both dioramas hit the Convention floor in April.