RECOIL v.1 (1989)
I don’t think that this is news to anyone but I spend a lot of my disposable income each month on action figures. I currently collect 4 major toy lines, all of which are subject to pricey convention pieces, rarities, and store exclusives. Besides the big four of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Marvel Universe and Masters of the Universe I also collect Beast Saga figures which are exclusively available from Japan plus I buy frequent odds and ends like Pacific Rim or Pop! figures. This leaves little room in my budget to chase down old vintage toys. But every now and again I get the urge to hit up ebay to look for figures from my youth. This usually happens when my brother Doug shows me his latest vintage toy haul and I get envious. Doug doesn’t buy nearly as much current stuff as I do (mostly just Marvel Legends and McFarlane’s Hockey) but recently he’s been completing a bunch of small vintage lines we once collected. He’s been buying lines like Buck Rogers, Dukes of Hazard, and Lone Ranger; and he’s also been filling holes in our old Star Wars, Joe and He-Man collections.
When it comes to G.I. Joe, I still have all of my childhood toys so I don’t have to worry about re-purchasing any of my old favorites. However, Doug and I collected toys in a joint effort when we were kids, each buying half of each new wave. Therefore, my vintage Joe collection is straight up embarrassing because of all of the key characters that I’m missing. Doug had Duke, Flint, Beachhead, Cobra Commander, Zartan, Serpentor, and dozens of other key characters which I don’t have. If there were one vintage toy line that I would like to shift some of my toy collecting dollars towards, it would be my Real American Hero era Joes.
A problem that I have with collecting old toys is they’re either in great shape and very expensive or dirt cheap and all busted up. I’m fine with collecting vintage toys that fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t need the best of the best but I would like to avoid broken limbs and scratched paint. If a figure is missing his guns and has loose knees I can deal with it.
Well I’ve found an online retailer who has vintage figures for sale right in my wheelhouse. They’re missing some accessories but they’re in decent shape and the price is right. I’ve picked up a handful of old Joes from him over the past few months. I usually add one or two oldies to my orders when I’m buying more current merchandise. In my most recent order from this particular retailer (which included the Karnak that I reviewed yesterday) I added this fella to my order; Recoil.
This figure is nearly 25 years old but it doesn’t seem that old to me. Any Joe figure released after I stopped collecting feels “new” to me. The year Recoil was released was the year that Doug and I decided that, for the first time since the line’s inception, we didn’t need to collect all of the figures. I never owned Recoil, never saw him in the cartoons, and don’t recall if he was ever in the comics. The character was never revisited in the new-sculpt or modern era either so I’ve never had the opportunity to get attached to him. And yet, when I saw him for sale for only a couple of bucks he seemed like an obvious purchase. I may not have been as enthusiastic but I was still collecting Joe figures in 1989 and in fact bought most of the figures released that year. I remember consciously passing on Recoil in the department stores, leaving him hanging on the pegs, and for that reason alone I do have a bit of a nostalgic attachment to this character. He blends in well with my vintage collection, unlike the neon ninjas and space men that came out in the years after I stopped collecting completely.
My “new-to-me” Recoil is actually in very good shape. His paint is good and his joints are firm, which is more than I can say for many of my old Joes who are now in pieces. I always found the look of this character a little weird, but not necessarily bad. The digital camo pattern is unique and looks pretty good and the head sculpt is nice as well. I think it’s the hat and glasses combo that make him look a little odd to me. I can’t be the first to point out that he looks like a reject from the band DEVO. Like, is that a ballcap or a helmet? And are those sunglasses or goggles?
My Recoil is missing his weapons so I can’t comment on those but I guess he came packaged with a couple of blue guns, a backpack, and a briefcase. I’ve got bags of extra guns so I’m not too heartbroken about their absence. If anything I’m glad they’re missing because otherwise he’d have been listed as “complete” and probably woulda cost me ten bucks. I may never complete a vintage collection but I think I would at least like to acquire all of the ’89 figures that I passed on. The year I bowed out seems like a good place to start. 7 out of 10.