The 1986 Hawk mold is probably the iconic look for the character. The 1982 commando sweater wearing look, is nowhere close, and is often times only preferred by sticklers for the real early years. I’m somewhat in the middle, and would’ve loved to see some of the 82 parts cobbled together to make something similar to the ’86 version, but that’s likely not gonna happen.
The ’86 mold is a nice looking figure, the bomber jacket and camouflage pants are quite the update, and while the hair turning brown is questionable, it’s still a strong look for the character. For such a classic look, the second repaint of the figure wound up being left in the dustbin of the line’s history, even when the 1997 would wind up having a revival of collector interest, the 1997 Hawk wouldn’t show up in pictures or for sale all that often. I understand a lot of it has to do with the fact it was a figure that was released with an expensive repaint of a popular COBRA vehicle that had been re-purposed for the G.I. Joe team, but it was still an oddity, considering how popular the ’86 Hawk is.
1997 is a year where Hasbro got collector input, that led to some takes on figures that were interesting in the fact that they did something new, even if it really wasn’t the intention. Hawk, though is one of the figures that didn’t have a mold issue, but also wasn’t out of left field, so he should really be ranked up there with the 1997 Stalker, as a true highlight of “what could have been”, with the 1997 and 1998 Toys R Us exclusives. However, he isn’t.
The biggest knock on this figure, other than the 1997 quality, is that his accessories are lacking. He comes with a black version of the 1986 Hawk backpack, which is a nice accessory, but his only other accessory is the de facto 1997 Helmet, which is a flimsy hunk of junk, that doesn’t fit on this head (or any head). He’s also missing the 1986 Hawk pistol, which is a shame, because that is one hell of a weapon.
This figure is pretty much the 1986 Hawk, but with grey pants and a different shade of brown for his jacket. There’s a few more paint apps, but the overall vibe is the same. This can be taken two ways, on one hand it’s slightly lazy and doesn’t provide anything new. On the other hand, some of the “new” in the 97-01 era, didn’t hit the spot. So it’s almost a situation where you need to weigh the pros and cons of a figure barely being updated, or a figure that likely would’ve ended up a dud.
One thing I’ll say that I really like about this figure, is the choice of camouflage pants. Going with the grey on grey, is nice, because it was only seen on Firefly, so it helps make this version of Hawk stand out. Not everything has to be it, but it’s always somewhat nice when there’s more than one example of a pattern, on VERY different styles of figures and characters. Yet, despite the colour similarities it isn’t exactly the same as Firefly, so it references a pattern, without aping it.
There’s a weird thing about this figure. Most 1997 and 1998 figures have horribly pale or sickly skin tones. Not this version of Hawk. He’s got a skin tone reminiscent of a pencil eraser. It’s odd, but, a lot less unnerving than some of the figures who look like they’re made of soap. It’s strange though, that this skin tone was only used on the one figure, Hasbro tried a similar one on the first wave of ARAH figures, but it was definitely not the same colouring. In the end it’s just another oddity in a line filled with them.
Outside of rarity, there’s no reason for a well done figure like this one to be so underrepresented when it comes to online G.I. Joe content. There’s been 3 or so times when people start caring about the 1997 line, and even in those blips, this Hawk still never makes an appearance. It’s a shame because he’s quite a well done figure, but that often times is the fate excellent figures are subjected to.