DIALTONE v.8 (2009)
I’m a big fan of “modern-era” G.I. Joe figures. I’ve been supporting the line since it launched in 2007. I’m a near-completest meaning I try to buy at least one version of every unique character released. I have multiple versions of many characters but I don’t feel the need to buy every single version of Duke and Snake Eyes Hasbro puts out. They’re often nearly identical and there are literally dozens of them. There was a lapse in my near-completest commitment in 2009. The first live-action G.I. Joe movie, Rise of Cobra (ROC) had hit theatres and so the 1980s inspired 25th anniversary line, which had been going strong for 2 years, went into hiatus. It was replaced by a line of compatible ROC figures featuring designs inspired by the film. I had little interest in the ROC figures. I found them bland and I already had, in my opinion, better versions of most of the characters. I bought 1 of each of the main characters like a Channing Tatum Duke and a Marlon Wayans Ripcord and that was it. I had even less interest in secondary characters like Shipwreck who were added to the ROC line even though they didn’t appear in the movie.
I recall seeing a 5-pack of figures at Toys R Us one day in 2009 that featured a number of characters I would’ve loved to have in the modern style since they hadn’t yet been included in the 25th anniversary line. Other than a redundant Zartan the set included ROC inspired versions of Law, Repeater, Footloose, and Dial Tone (none of whom appeared in the movie). All of those characters were well-established Joes who each had a unique look in the 80s. The set was priced at around $25 or $30 which would have been a great deal had the set actually contained desirable versions of those in-demand characters. But instead we got what felt like a slap in the face to long-time Joe fans. Law and Footloose were both were semi-passable versions of their old selves but instead of unique colorful outfits they had boring brown camouflage uniforms. Repeater and Dial Tone were wearing equally boring brown uniforms but worse than that Repeater went from being a white guy with dark hair to a bald black guy and Dial Tone went from being a moustachioed dude in a beret to a woman. These were not the characters I grew up with and they weren’t even very good figures on their own merit. It was an easy pass for me.
The ROC line wrapped up after about a year and Hasbro went back to releasing more classically-inspired figures which I was happy about and thus went back to collecting with vigor. In the years that followed Hasbro and the Collector’s Club released much better versions of all of the characters from that 5-pack set based on their original designs. I got a Footloose in his classic leafy green camo as my free gift for joining the Club, I got a Caucasian Repeater in my 2013 Convention set, and I got a respectable Law as part of Hasbro’s Renegades line. The Club released a moustachioed, beret-wearing Dial Tone as well but sadly I missed out on it. Hopefully I’ll score one for a decent price eventually.
In general I’ve warmed to the ROC figures over the past 6 years. I actually regret not picking up more of them when I could have. I’ve purchased a few of them on the secondary market but I’m not willing to pay too much for them because I still feel that most are not essential to my collection. However there is one particular figure that I passed on which has haunted me; the female Dial Tone.
In the comics published by IDW they chose to have the female Dial Tone be a member of the team instead of the guy with the moustache that everybody likes. I’m not sure why they went that route but they’ve made lots of questionable decisions since they obtained the license to publish Joe books. However, the more issues I read featuring lady Dial Tone the more she grew on me. I began to see her as a unique character who could co-exist in the same universe as her male counterpart. When I made the decision to add her to my collection I figured I’d pop onto ebay and pick-up that 5-figure set I passed on in 2009. I was sure I could find a way to integrate black Repeater and the other guys into my collection too.
When I saw what those sets were selling for online I was appalled. They ranged from $130 to $200! Since I really didn’t care about the others I chose to find a Dial Tone being sold individually. To my horror I found loose Dial Tones were selling for $50 and up plus shipping. Cripes! She wasn’t worth that much to me so I put her on the back burner. I went back and searched every few months to see if I could find an affordable one but had no such luck. But a couple of weeks ago I found one for $35 plus $8 shipping and I snatched her up. She arrived in the mail the other day.
As you can see, there’s nothing spectacular about this figure. It’s relatively plain in both design and color. The body is a repaint of ROC Covergirl’s body which is a well-proportioned, decently-articulated, generic female figure. The only distinguishing design element is a sculpted name badge on the chest.
Her head is a repaint of Agent Helix’s noggin. I’m not a fan of reused heads but the brown hair goes a long way to differentiate Dial Tone from Helix who had blonde hair with black streaks. It’s a good head but I think they could have feminized it more by adding some color to the lips. Adding removable glasses, like the ones she wears in the comics, would have been excellent.
For accessories Dial Tone has a display base, a rifle, and a laptop computer. Her file card is interesting in that she has the same last name, Morelli, as the male Dial Tone. Apparently it was established in the ROC video game that the two are siblings.