1984 Rip Cord


With the success and craziness surrounding the Classified Figures, I’ve been reminded somewhat of the early days of the Modern Era, where the sleepy G.I. Joe community is kicked in the head and gets to learn about collecting a HOT COLLECTOR’S ITEM. The first year or so of the 25th Anniversary, G.I. Joe was pretty popular, and there’d be all sorts of examples of dudes going to a dozen stores only to be disappointed they couldn’t find Tiger Force Flint.

By 2009, a year and a half into the Modern Era, Hasbro decided that G.I. Joe was back in a big way, and that required a summer blockbuster. In doing so, they hired numerous actors at very low points in their careers. So somewhere, someone thought “Shit, Marlon Wayans isn’t really big enough to be Roadblock, and Stalker has some real bad connotations. Who’s he going to be?”, the final decision wound up being Rip Cord, which was super controversial, mainly because it lead to hilariously bad takes by G.I. Joe fans, and a lot of people getting up in arms about a 3rd tier character in a movie most people didn’t bother seeing.

Still, the controversy of BLACK RIP CORD, never really went away, and Rip Cord took a hit in the popularity department, because of this. I personally always found the Black Rip Cord thing, hilarious, as for the most part it really bugged people, and I liked that. However I even stopped using Rip Cord, as I divorced myself from most aspects of G.I. Joe online fandom, Rip Cord kind of reminded me of the utter stupidity that I wanted to get away from. 

Rip Cord

The Rip Cord Figure, is the first real example of removable webgear in G.I. Joe. It’s probably the best example of it in the vintage line, and the parachute pack, was great because it could be used with anyone. Making even a semi-complete Rip Cord, something I’ll pick up if I find it. The basic camouflage fatigues are nice, and partially to work with the parachute pack, don’t feature a lot of sculpted details. It’s a catch-22, because the equipped Rip Cord looks absolutely awesome, but then your stuck with either a dude walking around wearing a parachute pack on the ground, or a super bare figure. 

The accessories Rip Cord came with are top notch, and probably some of my favourite in the line. The parachute pack, is excellent, with enough flexibility to it, but also not being flimsy. He also included an air mask, that plugged into the parachute. It’s belt is a little big, but for a first time experiment Hasbro did a pretty solid job. His rifle is a personal favourite of mine, the FN-FAL (L1A1 in the Commonwealth) which is a really strong design, and works well in the G.I. Joe scale. It also has a grip on the top, that with a little work, can be hooked into the parachute for aesthetic reasons!

The Parachute has an interesting design, which I’d never really noticed until recently, but the typical way people tend to strap it, where the belt is over the back part of the parachute. Turns out, if you tighten it by two ridges, it’ll fit UNDERNEATH, while also keeping the back from flapping upwards.

Rip Cord lucked out, in that his major appearances in the Marvel comics, wound up with him getting tied in with Zartan, the figure Hasbro decided was going to be the big push of 1984. So while, Rip Cord is a sold figure, his appearances in the comic were memorable, and this helped an already solid figure, gain popularity and notoriety with early online Fandom. Unfortunately, Rip Cord pretty much disappeared following this story arc, and outside of random appearances, never really did much. It was a memorable storyline he was involved in, but it was more about Zartan, than Rip Cord.

I’ve always liked Rip Cord, he’s such a solid figure, and he’s usable in most situations. While he might be a little plain, when looking at the figure in the context of the entire line, however he’s also a lot thicker than many of the 82-84 figures, so he can still fit in with some of the later figures. Though a lot of my memories of Rip Cord, revolve around wishing there were better 3 3/4″ scale parachutes, rather than the wimpy plastic ones from the Skystriker. 

At the end of the day, Rip Cord is an excellent figure, that has enough interesting history behind the character, that you can’t accuse him of being boring. His strong military figure allows him to work well in the background, and there’s always the ever-popular Zartan conflict, that can be worked into a photo or diorama.



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8 Responses to 1984 Rip Cord

  1. Mike T. says:

    I was pretty inactive during the “Black Ripcord” years. But, those bad takes continue to this day and Joe fans, generally, prove they are terrible people on a routine basis. I can’t wait to do a profile of the 1993 Cross Country for that reason. I hadn’t realized how he did kind of fall off the collecting radar. But, he was once one of the more popular vintage figures. Now, he’s relatively cheap and doesn’t get much use in photos and dios.

    Ripcord is one of those amazing figures, but is also tough to use. You’re right about him being plain with no gear. But, it makes no sense to have them traipsing through the jungle with a full parachute pack, either. I love all his versions. And, you can mix and match the Plastirama Fuego accessories with Sokerk to get a nice desert Ripcord, too.

    On some level, I wish we’d gotten the Tiger Force version of him. It would have been nice to get a second version. But, at the same time, Ripcord being a stand alone figure keeps him from being too diluted. And, Freefall is really just Ripcord with 1990 sculpting.

  2. A-Man says:

    There were better 3 3/4″ parachutes made by Fisher Price for their Adventure People years before. My brother and I were disappointed by the GI JOE parachutes flimsy quality and awkwardness compared to Fisher Price. It took until the Retaliation toys for Hasbro make a similar quality chute and even they made the chute itself a tad small.

    I remember Ripcord as one of my brother’s favorite figures. I never had him new.

    Hasbro seemed to forget about the character. All the paratroopers Hasbro made in 1990, and they didn’t remake Ripcord. It’s strange.

    Now he’s remembered as much for the race swap character in Rise of Cobra and being Lightning (Relâmpago) as he is for his comic appearances and being the only comic Joe with a civilian girlfriend.

  3. paint-wipes says:

    Ripcord has always been one of my favorite swivel necks, he had the coolest gear and early in the line pretty much any joe with camo quickly became a favorite. plus he was a paratrooper and my old man was ex-101st airborne/75th ranger so any figures that were rangers like stalker, had jump wings like duke or a parachute like ripcord always got used a lot more. in the 2000s i read about the first MACV-SOG halo teams during vietnam and i wanted to hunt down extra ripcords to head swap together a joe HALO squad, never got around to it.

    the black ripcord thing was hilarious in retrospect, it pretty much solidified most joe fans as reactionary wet-brains who were probably having serious obama era race anxiety. i’m sure this was an example of the “great replacement” dogwhistle melting down into these people’s world of childrens toys. it gave us at STS lots of hisstank cringe to riff on though. i’m convinced the character became black because someone drafting the script saw ripcords name as “wallace” in the media guide.

    the classified figures look like garbage and now gi jerks get to go shoulder to shoulder competing with the sociopaths that collect 6 inch figures. trying to hunt down “rare” store exclusives during a pandemic or getting clowned by hasbro pulse or whatever it’s called doesn’t sound like a good use of hobby time to me!

  4. Jester says:

    Lads, when it seems to you that every other car except yours is driving on the wrong side of the road, the problem is actually you, not them. 😉

  5. mwnekoman says:

    I sometimes find Ripcord’s blandness sans parachute to actually be one of his appeals. He doesn’t have much going on, but that’s actually rather unique among so many of the more busy and detailed sculpts.

    That FN FAL is one of my favorite guns too. Pretty amusing they didn’t include it more often since it’s one of the most common rifles in the world. There’s a nice grey version with the TBP at least though. Only downside to it was that it was a bit oversized.

  6. “there’s always the ever-popular Zartan conflict, that can be worked into a photo or diorama”

    Did I miss that one from you? 😉

    All the best from The Netherlands,

  7. Thanks to you and Mike, I actually like Ripcord a lot. Seeing your enthusiasm made me track one down and I ended up really liking him. He just looks so cool with his mask and helmet– that’s something I’m a sucker for with Joe figures. He’s definitely one of my favorites from the early years. I always want to think of a cool photo to put him and Freefall in together, but I can never quite figure out how to pull off anything I think of.

  8. Pingback: 1988 Hit And Run | Attica Gazette

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