Toys / Toy Collecting

G.I. Joe Classified Gung Ho


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By Hervé St-Louis
November 10, 2020 - 21:10

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Gung Ho is the Louisiana Cajun member of the G.I. Joe team that joined the team in 1983 as their marine. He is tough, strong, and a non-nonsense soldier. Gung Ho likes his mom’s gumbo but very few others enjoy it as much. Gung Ho was always proud of being a marine and was one of the few action figures featured in dress uniform later. For most kids at the time, he was a useless action figure but in hindsight, the ceremonial Gung Ho is a great addition to a military mall or an aircraft carrier.

Perhaps G.I. Joe Classified collectors would welcome such a variant but since Hasbro is too afraid to feature the real military side of the toy line, in favour of Fortnite-like ethos, perhaps we can keep dreaming. Nevertheless, if you watched the cartoons as a kid or read the comics, Gung Ho was often featured as a supporting character with few storylines of his own, but he made the best impression wherever he went.

Likeness
The Hasbro designers kept the classic look for Gung Ho, modifying his colours. They replace the light turquoise with dark khaki in terms of likeness with the original character, Gung Ho is one of the best adaptations. He still wears an open vest and green hat, camo pants, while sporting a moustache. But the update is great and a good mix of the modern G.I. Joe Classified visual style and that of the classic A Real American Hero line.

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The main change is the Marine Corps’ tattoo on his chest. It is not the same for obvious reasons related to design trademark. Hasbro got away with using the design for years, but the service has become more proactive in protecting its intellectual properties lately and Hasbro would have to apply to use it. While this has bothered many collectors, it is a sensible decision by Hasbro. Yet, one could argue that Hasbro could have tried to obtain a licence for the use of the logo as it has worked with car manufacturers in the past to license design marks for its Transformers’ line.

Sculpt
Gung Ho, following Hasbro traditions, is a complete reuse of the Roadblock sculpt released earlier. The only differences are his left knee and his head. The torso, legs, arms, and the waist are all reused from the Roadblock action figure. The difference between him and Roadblock is that the colours used for him are much better and thus he looks less flamboyant. Having mentioned this, the face sculpt for Gung Ho makes him look butch. I had a friend who used to say that G.I. Joe reminded him of the Village People. Gung Ho would fit well in that group. The face sculpt is excellent, but that moustache is ridiculous. Ditto the Mohawk hair cut. Both that and the moustache would be nonconforming to military dress and attire.

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Gung Ho’s advantage compared to Roadblock is that we can see his chest. That alone has made the action figure more popular with collectors even though they use the same parts. My only complaint about Gung Ho’s sculpt is that his head seems proportionally larger than it should be. When compared with Roadblock’s it is much bigger. This gives him a slight height increase over Roadblock. According to his statistics, he is 6’4 while Roadblock is 6’6.

Paint
The facial details in Gung Ho’s face are incredible but they are also shiny. His pants have camouflage patterns which are good. I don’t like the use of silver on the arm band or the kneepads. Something green or khaki would have worked best there. The vest has some detailing. His backpack and weapons are one colour only, although the latter have a slight metallic sheen. The paint application on his gloves looks rush and poor.

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Scale
As mentioned above, Gung Ho is currently the tallest G.I. Joe Classified action figure. He towers over Roadblock slightly because of his bigger head. With his hat on, he is the tallest. Putting him next to Scarlet could make you think that they are from different toy line but they work well nonetheless. One I get some Cobra troops, putting them in brawls against Gun Ho will be fun.

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Stability
Just like Roadblock, Gung Ho’s feet are too small to support his weight. Once I figured out how balance his top-heavy weight, he became somewhat stable. The backpack helps balance his weight by adding some backward. If he carries two weapons in his hands, he will lean forward. Were his feet larger, this would not be a worry.

Articulations
Gung Ho’s articulations are good, but I feel like his right arm wants to twist out of his socket. I dislike that. He has the now standard articulations of male G.I. Joe Classified action figures at the head, the neck, the abdominals, the shoulders, butterfly arm pits, bicep curls, double elbow joints, wrist curls, waist twist on a pivot, thigh curls, hips over extending pivots, double-knee articulations, calf curls, pivoting ankles that also go up and down.

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G.I. Joe Classified now have an extra pivoting neck articulation on top of the ball-jointed heads. Gung Ho’s wrists can rotate up and down. His hips with the extending pivots allow him to perform a full-Jean-Paul van Damme split. The pivoting waist articulation gives him more range than a regular waist curl.

Plastic
Like other G.I. Joe Classified, Gung Ho is made of soft plastic that feels like rubber but is not. The sheen is matte all over him, including zones with skin. Often, such zones are shiny. I prefer the matte look. His pants have weaving patterns which are lovely.

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Props
Gun Ho has a lot of props. I wonder why he has so many compared with Roadblock which is the closest comparable action figure. He has two guns and one grenade launcher. He also wears a removable vest with three grenades attached to it. I do not know if these are standard-issued grenades. He is one of the few G.I. Joe Classified to not have an extra belt or torso strap on his chest. He does, however, has a strap on his left thigh with three extra grenades.

He also has no knife or blade weapon. He wears another strap on his right forearm that could offer support from backdraft. Gung Ho’s backpack stays on his back but not solidly. You can attach all three weapons on his backpack, but they fall off easily. The grenade launcher is the most difficult weapon to attach to his backpack. The grenade launcher’s design makes it difficult for the action figure to grab. I don’t like this weapon. One of the weapons is a long-range shotgun while the other one seems like mix between a laser rifle and an automatic weapon. The colour of these weapons is good because even without highlights, they look better than other single-coloured black or green guns.

Gung Ho’s hat is weird. Don’t press too hard for it to stay put. If you press too hard, it will fall off. Gung Ho has no peg hole in his brain to hold his hat so be gentle!

Packaging
James Paick did the box art for the package. He is a conceptual illustrator better-known for environments than character designs, so his choice is odd. His art is good but more painterly. At the scale represented on the package, it is not the best artwork of the series. I was not sold on Gung Ho with his art.

Gung Ho comes in the same kind of package the other G.I. Joe Classified action figures have come from. It is good and sturdy enough.

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Cost
Gung Ho costs about $19.99 USD and $29.99 CAD. His price has not become inflated yet, now that most stores have received their stocks. Hasbro seems to be releasing two batches. One is the initial one that you see many of the early reviewers using. They come months in advance. The rest of us get the general second batch, it seems, where there are far more products released for various stores.

I cannot tell for sure, but this is the pattern that I have observed with the G.I. Joe Classified action figures so far. This would explain the discrepancy where the initial batch is marked up a lot by scalpers and early buyers. Then they appear to be lower in price as the second batch comes by and most people get their copies of these toys. All I can say is that collectors who are not on the early-release schedules should wait and not purchase scalper-inflated toys.

Availability
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The speculation around G.I. Joe Classified action figures is becoming ridiculous with the Cobra Island release being sold at exorbitant prices online and difficult to find in Target and Toys R Us Canada stores. At one point, everyone but me seemed to have received their Gung Ho action figures even though I ordered mine as soon as it was announced. People able to order theirs through Hasbro Pulse got them first. People ordering through other venues such as Amazon had to wait until November.

As long as Hasbro can guarantee that we will get mass-released toys eventually, I am willing to wait and continue collecting this line. But if Hasbro cannot guarantee that, then I will stop. I did not want to get the Red Ninja action figure or the Arctic Storm Shadow at first. Now, these seem impossible to get at a decent price. As for the Cobra Island series, this one has been a total train wreck for me and many other collectors. I would like to get them too, but I will not pay exploitative prices for them.

As of November 2020, the second large batch of Gung Ho seems to have hit all stores at once. Collectors can get him at a reasonable price for now. Older releases of Duke, Scarlett and Roadblock have received new batches at least twice now it seems. Hasbro Pulse sold out on them at least twice but they were offered later.

Many stores list them as under reorder. This is a good sign, even if it annoys collectors. G.I. Joe should be a toy line that is easy to find everywhere much like Marvel Legends, Star Wars and the Transformers. As collectors and newer fans rediscover this brand, it seems that finding these toys will no longer be a problem. All I want are more fans of this toy line so that we can get all the characters that we like.

Rating: 9 /10


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Last Updated: November 17, 2020 - 02:26

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