1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders) Review

It’s been a while since I rapped at you about a classic 1990s American GI Joe, so let’s break that dry spell with today’s review.

Today we’re looking at a figure I had as a kid, but we’re also looking at a version of my favorite GI Joe character— the Joe team’s first Ranger, Lonzo R. Wilkinson aka Stalker.

This is probably the least-liked version of Stalker from the classic ARAH GI Joe series, but it’s the one I grew up with so I’m still pretty partial to it. But I feel I can be objective, too, as I’ve accumulated most other o-ring versions of the character over the years, as well.

Let’s party!

My Childhood with 1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

1992 was maybe my biggest year for GI Joe. I loved all the new figures I got that year, and the brand kept my attention over other toy lines for almost the entire 365 days of the year. I think 1991 was a stronger year of releases, and Joe was also a favorite in 93 and 94, but even as a little kid I could tell the toy line was flagging a bit in its last two years. So 1992 was the sweet spot.

But in 1992, I hadn’t really read much of the Marvel comic. Most of my exposure to the brand came from the old Sunbow cartoon, the 1987 animated movie, and the toys themselves. So, while Stalker eventually became my favorite GI Joe character, he hadn’t yet reached that point for me in 1992.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

I received the 1992 Talking Battle Commanders Stalker sometime during that year. And, once some kid on my elementary school playground told the rest of us how to remove the “permanently attached” TBC backpacks, I took a huge liking to the figure itself.

The figure’s file card and his overall look let me know he was someone important. Plus, he was a heavily-involved side character in the NES Atlantis Factor video game, which gave him even more street cred for me. I’m still not sure why he wasn’t a playable character in it, though. That would have been great.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

The sounds Stalker’s backpack made amused me more than the rest of the Talking Battle Commanders. “Blitz ‘Em!” and “Let’s Party!” were just the most fun phrases found in any of those noise-making backpacks, and I played them endlessly for laughs. Even my grumpy stepfather liked those little catchphrases.

Once the backpack came off, though, he was instantly a part of my main GI Joe squad. He joined 92 Storm Shadow, Heavy Duty, Eco Warriors Flint, Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat, and a few others as one of my go-to guys. His beret and fancy uniform made him seem like a wise leader type and his perpetual sneer made him seem like a fierce combatant.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

And that’s about it. 1992 GI Joe Stalker was a figure I really enjoyed playing with, but nothing dramatic happened to the toy itself. It wasn’t lost and it didn’t go out in a blaze of glory. This Stalker was a big part of my childhood GI Joe adventures, but he was never a main character.

I still have the parts of my original childhood TBC Stalker somewhere. The toy lived through my house fire, but was a little worse for the wear and I never put him back together again. I was on the lookout for a nicer version, though.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Then, at JoeFest in 2019, I found a carded TBC Stalker for a very nice price, so I bought it. I waited a little over a year to open the toy and take some photos for this review. I took these pictures on a summer weekend in 2021 while I was taking care of my mom, as she was doing well enough at the time where I could return home for a couple of days to see my friends and take some photos for this website.

I figured it was about time I put the photos to good use and finally wrote the review. So here it is!

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders) Review

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

This figure, also known as Stalker version 3, was released in 1992 (some say the tail end of 1991) with all-original body parts and accessories. It was sold at a higher price point than normal figures, as it came with an oversized backpack that made four different sounds.

I love the packaging for the Talking Battle Commanders figures. The combination of eye-searing neon yellow and black is eye-catching and dynamic. It also easily set the figures apart from the other Joes released that year.

Here’s the carded figure:

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

And the card back:

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Hasbro also included some instructions on how to replace the batteries inside the backpack, which required removing it from the figure. Luckily, that also meant you could remove the backpack and have a fully functional GI Joe action figure.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

The figure itself is pretty eye-catching, as well. It’s a unique color scheme for a GI Joe figure, but it’s actually fairly subdued for a mid-90s release. He’s wearing a black uniform shirt with crossed orange-yellow straps, orange-yellow gloves, cream-colored pants with black camo, black boots, and a black beret with those same orange-yellow highlights. There are some nice little pops of gold on the figure for things like pistol handles and grenades, as well.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Out of the package, Talking Battle Commanders Stalker is also burdened with a huge orange-yellow backpack that makes him very hard to stand up without the included figure stand. If you want to hear the backpack’s four “realistic battle sounds,” 3DJoes has you covered.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

If you turn the figure around, you’ll also notice some really nice detail on the backpack itself. It’s full of pouches, pockets, and gizmos. It’s also framed by some pieces that look like metal or wooden rods, making it look like this backpack has everything he needs to set up a tent and field camp. It’s an unwieldy piece, but at least Hasbro didn’t skimp on the sculpt.

When I was a kid, everyone I knew removed the backpacks from their TCB figures. Except sometimes, the backpacks just wouldn’t come off. That was the case with my Talking Battle Commanders Hawk. I could never remove the screws. That was the case with this Stalker figure, too. To get the backpack off, I ended up having to break it a bit, which was a bummer. A bummer, but not a surprise.

Here are the results:

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

And here’s the front-facing part of the backpack, just in case you’re curious.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Once the backpack is out of the way, we can look at more of the details.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Stalker has a bunch of magazines for his smaller submachine gun strapped to his left leg, which is unorthodox but cool. It kind of makes him look like a Todd McFarlane or Rob Liefeld character, but I’m not bothered by it. It adds some character to the figure.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

1992 Talking Battle Commanders Stalker also has a knife strapped to his left leg, which looks pretty cool.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

If we continue around the back, we can see that those yellow straps are at least partially painted on the rear of the figure, which is more than Hasbro had to do since they weren’t really planning on you seeing that part of the toy. The back is flat, sadly, which is the case with all of the TBC figures. Stalker can wear a normal GI Joe backpack, though, if you want to cover that bit up.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Another little detail I particularly like is the small holdout pistol strapped to Stalker’s right inner wrist. That’s another unique thing for a GI Joe figure. I like that Hasbro tried something new with all of the TBC guys, even if it wasn’t always successful.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders) comes with three real accessories– a huge machine gun, a smaller submachine gun that resembles 1992 Destro’s weapon, and a black figure stand.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

With the backpack still on and both weapons in hand, he certainly looks like a one man army. Sure, it’s not practical, but I don’t think that was a major concern for most kids in 1992.

Here is he is All Geared Up, without the backpack:

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

He can certainly hold both weapons at once, but I doubt most adult collectors will photograph him that way. The machine gun is a very cool piece– it’s nicely sculpted and looks different from any other machine gun in the GI Joe toy line. It’s also as tall as the figure is and would  certainly require two hands to operate.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

I tend to use the smaller SMG with him more, as I don’t see Stalker as a guy who uses a full size machine gun very often. The SMG is nothing special, but it works just fine for the character and the figure looks good holding it. I tend to give the big machine gun to other figures who are more inclined to use such weapons, like Rock N Roll, Roadblock, and Heavy Duty.

In modern social media parlance, this certainly is A Look for Stalker. It’s a bold fashion statement. It’s not neon or even very bright, but it certainly commands your attention. A lot of fans bemoan the “cow pants” but I think the aesthetic is very nice. Likewise, the beret and overall uniform tie this figure in nicely to Stalker’s classic look. It’s just, you know, A Little Extra.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Here’s the figure next to 97 Stalker (a stand-in for the 82-83 version), 89 Stalker, and 94 Stalker. The man is versatile and he has an interesting closet. We can all agree on that.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Fans have noted that Talking Battle Commanders Stalker’s color palette is similar to 1993 Mace’s, and that’s true. The colors don’t match up exactly, though, and Stalker’s outfit is much more interesting.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

This mold was only reused once, in a 2003 Tiger Force box set that was a Toys R Us exclusive. I love the figure’s overall color scheme, which is a tribute to the old European exclusive Tiger Force figures. I don’t love his purple skin tone, though. I’m not quite sure what happened there.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Overall, I like this look for Stalker. I don’t mind the grimace or the cow pants at all– I think they make the figure visually interesting, though they might limit his usefulness in the eyes of some fans. It’s not a very “practical” Real Ass Military look, after all.

Stalker has had plenty of looks over his o-ring career, and you’re pretty much spoiled for choices when it comes to the character. You have several figures in nice, basic military colors. You have several arctic versions, a desert version, and even some black ops commando-type versions. I think you’re set. If you want to complain about this figure, just remember that you don’t have to buy it.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

I kind of see this outfit as something Stalker might wear at headquarters when he’s in meetings with General Hawk and Colonel Courage. Then, when all hell breaks loose as The Colonel is going over all of Chuckles’ disciplinary infractions, Stalker straps a bunch of magazines to his legs, breaks out his little submachine gun, and yells “LET’S PARTY!” as he heads for the door.

Stalker is my favorite GI Joe character and this was my first Stalker figure, but this will never be the first one I choose to play around with or take photos of. That honor goes to either the 1997 version or the 1994 version. Still, this is a very striking look for a beloved character. The nostalgia is strong here, but I think it also survives on its own merits.

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

I’m ready to Blitz ‘Em any time you are, Lonzo.

Overall: I like 1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)e even if it’s a little bit divisive. The black, white, and yellow color scheme won’t be to everyone’s liking, and the big “permanently attached” backpack and the flat spot it leaves on the toy’s back regularly sends crusty Joe fans into grumble mode. The teeth-baring snarl might also be a problem for you if you hate fun. But I think it’s a very well done sculpt with unique colors and fun accessories. And, most importantly, it looks like Stalker and upholds the character’s legacy. You’re just more likely to see this version partying at Texas Roadhouse than you are to see him on a rescue mission in Trucial Abysmia. Fans of the character will want this toy no matter what, but if you’re just cherry-picking old GI Joes, then this toy is Mildly Recommended.

Other Resources:

Closing Thoughts on 1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders)

Thanks for joining me! It’s been a while since I did a regular-ass review and this one felt pretty good.

October will be a themed month based on another favorite Joe character of mine, so stay tuned for that.

What do you think of this version of Stalker? How do you use this figure? Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “1992 GI Joe Stalker (Talking Battle Commanders) Review

    1. This is the Stalker I remember the most, though my friends only had the second version. The Talking Battle Commanders just stood out to me – probably because of that eye-catching package. I managed to get Overkill (and didn’t know I could take off the backpack until waaay later) but was never able to get the others, though I have vivid memories of seeing them on KB Toys’ shelves many times. Cobra Commander and Stalker were the ones I had my eyes one next, back then. But it was not to be!

      Nowadays, honestly, I don’t see how anyone could have a problem with this one, with the backpack off. He really stands out! The yellow and black just works, and his sneer adds a lot more to his character than the standard Joe straight face. I was not a fan of unmasked heads back then, so Stalker standing out to me spoke volumes about his cool sneer!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dracula

    The instructions make the dubious claim that the sonic backpack can be used as a “hand-held weapon.” Given that the thing is some sort of conglomeration of survival and communication equipment and has no apparent hand holds, I wonder how this line even got in there. Do any of the other sonic backpacks have obvious weaponry?

    Maybe I’m not big-braining this. Maybe they don’t mean Stalker’s hands. Maybe Hasbro is coyly suggesting that with the added weight of the batteries, you can use the sonic backpack to squarely strike your brother in the forehead right after he breaks both the thumbs of your precious Toxo-Viper. Or you could threaten to play “LET’S PARTY” into your mom’s ear until she buys you another Septic Tank to replace the one your brother threw in the lake. A hand-held weapon indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barry

    Ah stalker the talker. I had this one and the overkill. And cc. Never removed the backpacks because I just so happen to be that kid parents didnt trust with sharp objects or blint objects either. I will admit these figures were played with roughly and thrown like potato smasher grenades more than a few times. Eventually the electonics shorted out probably from water damage, it would play constantly, overkills all at once haha, until the batteries died.I threw him and cc and some other figures down an open well because I was a real smart kid. Please dont let this become the next car batteries into the ocean trend. (Also epa can f right off. statute of limitations.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sam "Owns Furry Cow Pants" Smith

    Oh….poor Ol’ Stalky… this is what happens when a Hasbro VP loses a Super Bowl bet to a Mattel VP and, as punishment, Hasbro had to design and release a dairy-themed action figure. I mean… uh… His gloves and straps are the color of cheddar cheese!!! 94 Stalky is the Wisconsin dairy commando, fighting crime on the farmers’ time. In the SpyTroops era, he went undercover as the Holstien Viper, infiltration a Cobra creamery in Amsterdam.

    – Weapon of choice: Cheese grater, which doubles as his Ninja Force weapon.
    – Giant backpack converts into: Portable robotic milking equipment.
    – Submitted GI Joe name change form asking for: Major Gouda.

    “LET’S PARTY!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice review! In general, I do like this look for Stalker but the cow camo is still a tiny stickler for me – but only because I actually saw the Hall of Fame Stalker first! So, in my mind’s eye version of that costume for him, I think of the black and white tiger stripes and I kinda forget it’s only the 12incher that features that. Also, my experience with the mold comes more from the TRU Tiger Force figure, so I probably just kept retroactively assuming it was the same paint mask or something.

    I think it’s a solid sculpt. and I really like your take on him kinda hanging around base and throwing on some munitions to repel a Cobra attack for this costume. Hawk has a similar vibe, and I think they pair well together. Like with all the TBC figures, I wish he had gotten a second life with a new back panel and alternate color scheme in battle corp like Cobra Commander, but then maybe we wouldn’t have gotten 94 Stalker and that’d have been a big shame.

    Stalker had an impressive number of figures in the 82-94 run. The character was effectively “always” available during my childhood, the way figures would linger for a year meant from 89 up to 94 he was always available in some form, and for my money not a single one of them is a bad figure. He’s clearly still an important character to Hasbro, but I’d love to see them get away from going version 1 every single time, he’s got so many good looks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A-Man

    I think I’ve said this before, Talking Battle Commanders were $10 each, and in 1991-92 that could still buy something. They were clearance fodder by the end of 1992, I think. That’s when I got Stalker and…maybe Cobra Commander? The one I know I paid full price for was Overkill.

    Yeah, the TBC’s showed up where I lived, the east coast at the time, in early November, 1991…more or less. With the surprise reveal of the 1992 basic figures at the bottom. That wasn’t too unusual, some of next years stuff showing up in the last two months of the year.

    Not a huge fan of the mold, to me all the weapons and magazines seem awkward (why a hold-out pistol when you already have a pistol and a space magazine would be lighter?), but a green repaint would’ve been nice in the early 2000’s. Also, the Hall of Fame release based on this was pretty good. Translated better in 12″ form.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s