(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from my good friend Cody, who has reviewed a few Corps! figures for this website in the past. Today Cody is gifting us a GI Joe review, which is extra exciting. Please check Cody out on Instagram to find some frankly amazing custom figures. I appreciate the hell out of you, Cody!)
Article and Photos by Corps Commander Cody
1994 GI Joe Stalker Review
What’s up everyone? It’s nice to have you all here. I’ve previously written two Corps articles for the site, but I wanted to write about an underappreciated figure I really came to like last year.
Since I was born in 1992, I was still being kept vertical in a baby seat due to acid reflux when GI Joe went off of toy shelves(temporarily). By the time I was 6, my dad got me the Oktober Guard set in 1998 at Toys R Us. They were the first Joes I got, and I love them. I still love them- except for Lt. Gorky, I kept most of my original two other figures. But this ain’t about them!
Instead, we’re going to talk about one of the coolest 1994 figures. Stalker was released in both the first year of the vintage line and the last, and I can’t think of a badder dude on the original team to deserve the honor. Stalker was a heck of a character in the comic book, though I can’t speak for the show. The only 1994 figures that represented the original cast were Cobra Commander (a really cool version of him too, for space combat) and Snake Eyes, who was just a shadow of his former self (because he was part of the gimmicky Shadow Ninjas line! Eh? Eh?) and finally, Stalker. Stalker was the no-nonsense professional, and it showed in this figure.
So let’s take a closer look at this guy, shall we?
Stalker, like all of the figures from 1992 on, came with a weapon tree of accessories. This was different from the previous releases as everyone had come with unique equipment to their character. Stalker had one of the “hero sets”, which included (all in black) Muskrat’s shotgun, Tracker’s MP5, Muskrat’s machete and 1991 Grunt’s big rifle. He also included an unique missile launcher and two missiles.
It’s been said time and again that weapon trees were the sign of the end for the vintage line. However, while it is sad these figures did not receive original accessories (for the most part- check out that aforementioned Cobra Commander’s suction pad walker!), I think the accessories they chose to reprint were pretty cool. I think that Tracker’s MP5 is a bit large, but it helps show you all the detail on the gun. Plus, it’s a toy. And it was the 90’s- bold and brash was in.
Tracker’s MP5 is my preferred weapon for this figure because I imagine this Stalker taking part in wet work, asked to go in quickly and quietly. As a skilled operative of the Joe team, he’s a man you can trust. For the more tactical minded Stalker, I feel this MP5 matches him well and is fairly similar to his first machine gun, the M32 Pulverizer.
As for his other weapons, Muskrat’s shotgun and machete is an awesome combo, especially in black plastic. While personally I would’ve preferred Falcon’s shotgun, (I just really like the big handle for not breaking thumbs) Muskrat’s is really cool. The machete could be a bit misplaced at first with 90’s figures (Ozone and Roadblock from Star Brigade come to mind) but there’s no doubt what Stalker uses his for- silent infiltration of a Cobra base. (Also, the machetes in Star Brigade are either space machetes or lightsabers. Use your head!)
Grunt’s rifle is pretty neat, if a little large. But seeing as how Grunt only came with this rifle, it had to be able to lay down a lot of fire and be effective. I see this as the last resort weapon, along with the missile launcher. (Also, the way you can tell this one apart from Grunt’s is that his had notches on the side to place it on his missile launcher. Knowing is half the battle!) I don’t have any complaints about this weapon, but it’s not my favorite of the set.
Finally, there’s the missile launcher. It’s a bit awkward to get the figure’s hand on the handle, but it’s doable and the missiles do fly far and fast. So much for weapons do not shoot! Take this, Cobra scum! And maybe also my mother or grandparents, by accident.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that this figure came in several versions.
Say it with me-
In 1994, Hasbro produced figures in China and Indonesia. This resulted in several paint app variants. To compound matters further, Hasbro also changed the card art on some figures from the older horizontal logo (with a red or blue laser backdrop) to a new vertical logo (with a red or blue to black gradient background). The back of the new card also featured a reformatted baseball card sized file card with condensed writing. Several figures did not get the new vertical card art treatment. Stalker did get the vertical logo treatment. (3DJoes)
So, basically there were four versions- Old card made in China, old card made in Indonesia, new card made in China, new card made in Indonesia. Thank you 3DJoes.com!
One version of this figure had yellow highlights, like mine did. The other version had a completely black torso, with only the green on his legs present. I firmly believe the one with yellow detailing is the best one. I couldn’t even call the other version plain- it’s actually unnoticeable. There’s nothing to break up the color there and it suffers for it. The other version has 4 colors (black, yellow, green and Stalker’s skin tone) and it’s so much richer for the yellow. Plus, this is the neon shrine website- live a little!
I gotta spend a little time talking about the flaws. These are some complaints I’ve seen from others online and some I experienced myself.
- The head is too large.
- There’s an unpainted strap on one of the legs.
- His arms don’t come down by his side because of his chest mold.
I’ll address them in turn:
- Yeah, the head does have a fairly long neck. Not sure what’s up with the accordion ridges on the bottom part. But, overall, I still like this head a lot.
- There’s an unpainted leg strap on the yellow version. Which is a shame, since the yellow is much better. This is likely just a missed application in the factories. I will say- at least it was a very minor one like the inside of his leg.
- His arms sadly do not go right to his side. I am usually obsessed with putting their arms right by their side so I feel this one. But it’s not a terribly big issue- his arms are still good to grip his weaponry, which is a lot more than I can say for any 5 POA figure.
- I didn’t have a number 4. I’m done!
So he may not be ya granddaddy’s Stalker. But I feel like this figure has a lot of merit and shows that in 1994 the G.I. Joe line was far from dead even though it totally would be in a few months. If it had continued developing like this and releasing such classic favorites as Stalker, I would’ve been very pleased. This figure is a nice sendoff to one of G.I. Joe’s original bad asses and I feel like it should be appreciated far more than it is currently. It is one of my favorite figures to photograph as his wide range of weaponry allows for several situations to use this figure in.
I think it might be fun to paint one of these guys in the original Stalker camo. What do you think? No(t as many) broken thumbs!
EDIT: It was! Check this out!
Anyways, I say he’s definitely Recommended. What do you think of this guy? Do you know any other figures in the 1994 line that please you? Who should’ve been remade next? If there were two astronauts on the moon and one killed each other with a rock, that would be fucked up, right?
Leave a comment below!
Closing Thoughts on 1994 GI Joe Stalker
I want to give another huge thanks to Cody for reviewing this figure.
About six months before I started this website, I got heavily into collecting ARAH GI Joe figures again. I still had a Collector’s Case full from my teenage years and early adulthood, but there were so many figures I wanted. Stalker is my favorite character, so I knew I wanted a version of him almost immediately.
It was Mike T’s profile of Stalker from 2000 that convinced me I needed this figure. Funds were a bit tighter for me a few years ago, so I had to choose only a few GI Joes per month. But 91 Hawk (my first review) and this Stalker were two of the first figures to arrive from eBay.
Thanks for doing one of my faves some real justice, Cody!
And thanks to all of you for bearing with me. I do have photos for about 5 or 6 reviews squirreled away, so I may post one a month or so. My situation has not changed and I’m still taking care of my mother, so I don’t really have the means to take any new photos.
But, if you’re all still interested, I could slowly write some reviews for what I have photographed. And you may see a few things from some of my regular contributors, as well.
Thank you and take care.
Also, as Cody said, please leave a comment!