This here is Recondo, the G.I. Joe team’s jungle trooper. The original Recondo was released in the third wave of Joe figures in 1984 and I loved him. He had a funky old school moustache, a wide brimmed safari hat, a bandaged up rifle and funky camouflage pants. He was oozing with personality and showcased just how far the Joe line had come in just a couple short years. The figure was later repainted in Tiger Force colors and those two versions of Recondo were the only ones released during the ”Real American Hero” years.
The modern 25th anniversary style figures usually provide us with better designed versions of old favorites but I don’t feel that was the case with Recondo. The modern version’s moustache just looks goofy and his eyes look tired and lazy. A removable hat would usually be a good thing but the modern version’s hat comes off only to reveal a silly middle-part hair cut underneath. The modern version failed to capture the cool factor of the original.
Now in-between the classic RAH figures and the modern sculpt figures lies that oft forgotten period known as the new sculpt era. This particular version of Recondo (version 3 ) was Hasbro’s first attempt at updating the classic character. This version was released in 2003 and when I first saw it I was not happy. How the hell is this supposed to be Recondo? There’s almost nothing about this figure that ties him to the original. All of his signature pieces have been removed. However that drastic departure is what I eventually came to love about this figure. Sure he doesn’t look like the Recondo of old but he’s still a great figure.
As much as I love the vintage figure it does come across as pretty old fashioned. The old-timey moustache really makes Recondo seem like an out of touch relic. This fresh faced, clean shaven version looks contemporary and much less of a stereo-type. The safari hat has been replaced by a cap and Recondo has picked up some body armor along the way as well. The armor provides some chest protection yet he still retains the holstered pistol and pouches of the original. The tan shirt with rolled up sleeves and the camo pants remain as well. So maybe this guy isn’t as different from the original as he first appeared. The bright blue eyes and half smile really breath some life into this figure.
One element that I love about this toy that’s hard to put into words is his playability factor. Granted I’m too old to play with toys but this figure makes me wish I wasn’t. I love the super detailed, accessory loaded modern figures because they make great display pieces but they don’t strike me as overly fun (too many joints, too many pieces to lose, too dark). The new sculpt era was full of bright colors and silly concepts and bad direct-to-video movies but it felt fun. My new sculpt toys are buried away in a box in the closet these days but they’re just as fun to revisit as my vintage collection. 7 out of 10.