I consider myself to be a very big G.I. Joe fan. I’ve been collecting them since I was a kid and have large collections of vintage, modern and “new-sculpt” era Joes. I collect the comics, own the DVD sets, have watched that silly live-action movie multiple times, and frequent Joe related websites. I’m a Joe fan that boarders on Joe fanatic. And yet it’s almost embarrassing to discuss my vintage collection with other fans. I imagine most kids had to fend for themselves as young collectors. They might not have had all the Joes but you can be sure that they had the main ones. And then when they went to a friend’s house to play in the backyard they would have had doubles between them of Duke, Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow and all the rest. When I was a kid I collected alongside my brother Doug like we were one unit. We would do “picksies” on which toys we would claim as our own every time a new wave of figures came out. Those picksies might as well have been a legally binding contract because one our selections were made we honored them to a T.
The picksies meant every character had to be claimed. Sometimes Doug lucked out and got to pick Storm Shadow and other times he got the short end of the stick and had to put Hardball on his Christmas list. There was very little jealousy involved, we picked who we picked and that was that. And it worked great for both of us. I didn’t feel the need to own a Zartan. I never played Joes without Doug so Zartan was always there. The problem with this process only became apparent when we grew up and moved away from one another. Suddenly my vintage Joe collection was full of gaping holes. I ended up with wankers like DeeJay in my collection and yet I didn’t have a Scarlett. No Destro, no Zartan, no Storm Shadow, no Duke, no Serpentor, I could go on and on.
When G.I. Joe was revived in 2002 it was my first time collecting solo so that meant I was spending twice as much money but it also meant I was getting my very first versions of some key characters like Firefly and Flint. Some of the classic characters missing from my collection were completely ignored during the new sculpt era of the 2000s and some of them still haven’t even received a modern interpretation so my collection still has a few holes that need filling. And that sucks because I’d like to own at least one version of every character; I have a nostalgic connection to even the crappy ones. I even find myself hoping for a re-release of Hardball so I can finally own him for myself.
Cutter was one of the vintage Joes that Doug owned that falls in the middle of the pack for me. He’s nowhere near as important to the mythos as a character like Duke but he’s not as un-important to the mythos as Hardball. Cutter was originally released in 1984, back in the days when every character had an opportunity to shine in an issue of the comic or on an episode of the cartoon. The figure itself wasn’t all that exciting but he was the sole member of the Coast Guard on the G.I. Joe team and he piloted the hella cool Whale hovercraft so that upped his cool factor substantially. When this modern version of Cutter was released in 2oo8 in a 3-pack along with Torpedo and Deep Six, it was the 5th release of the character and yet it became my very first Cutter figure. The character had seen re-releases during the dark days of the 90s when my interest in Joe had waned and they weren’t readily available at retail so this 3 pack was my first opportunity to call this guy my own. The three pack he came in wasn’t easy to come by either so I’m lucky to have him at all.
It’s kind of sad when a classic character like Cutter doesn’t get his own head. I have no problem with Hasbro reusing arms, legs, weapons and even full bodies to create new characters but I wish every guy at least got a unique face. The original Cutter had a face that was all his own, with a gingery moustache and a blue ball cap. The entire figure of Cutter was a fresh sculpt back in ’84. This poor modern day Cutter didn’t have the pedigree to warrant a single new body part. His body is almost entirely made up of Ship Wreck’s body, which I actually don’t mind at all. Ship Wreck is a sailor after all so by sharing his uniform with Cutter it gives the Joe naval forces a more unified look. Cutter’s trademark life jacket is a newly sculpted add on accessory that hides the reuse of parts fairly well anyway. The issue I have is with the head. His noggin is a just a repaint of Gung-Ho’s, the Joe marine. And even worse, this head has already been re-used to give us a modern Leatherneck. If you’re gonna re-use a head it’s not so bad if you’re using a generic face, free of distinguishing features. A new helmet and some painted on scruff can dramatically change the look of such a head. But Gung-Ho has one of the most recognizable heads in the Joe world. Sure the vintage Gung-Ho, Leatherneck and Cutter all had moustaches and hats but that doesn’t make them interchangeable. I really would have liked to see an original head here. However, this Frankensteining is usually done as a cost saving measure so if my choices were a Cutter that looks like Gung-Ho or no Cutter at all then I’ll take this Cutter any day. And even though the head is recognizable as Gung-Ho it really is the best choice for Cutter, I can’t think of a head that would’ve been better suited.
So rehashed parts aside I really like this figure. It’s reminiscent of the Vintage Cutter but with some modern flare. The colors are brighter and better and he finally has some weapons of his own. I’m not sure what this hook on a rope is for but I like it. The removable life jacket is also a nice change. It fits nice and snugly on him for aquatic warfare but he won’t look like suck a dickhead displayed on land anymore. 6 out of 10.
Since this is the only Cutter toy I have to review I have to make mention of his real name. According to his file card, written by Larry Hama, Cutter’s real name is Skip A. Stone. The man is a genius.