1987 was an odd year, as a whole, the year is remembered for the outlandishness of the G.I. Joe movie, a lot of red, and some really bad COBRA figures. However some of the G.I. Joe team members from 1987 are amongst the finest figures in the line, and really take inspiration from the line’s military roots. Falcon, the team’s Green Beret, is one of the best overall figures in the line, and features an incredibly well done sculpt. When Hasbro was choosing figures to repaint for the 1991 Super Sonic Fighters line, Falcon was a definite home run choice.
The Super Sonic Fighters, as a whole aren’t as strong as the Sonic Fighters from 1990. The three repaints in 1991 feature two duds. Road Pig isn’t a strong figure in general, and turning him orange isn’t going to help, and the ’89 Rock ‘N Roll repaint is harmed by the colour choices, and the lack of the accessories that connected to the figure. However, the final repaint, Lt. Falcon is top notch, and perhaps the best overall figure from the entire noise making backpack sub series.
The nice thing about the three vintage Falcon repaints, is they all are quite different takes on the mold. The 87 one is classic camo, and wouldn’t look out of place in 1982 or 1992. The Night Force version, moves away from the camouflage, and gives the mold a different look with the two tone stylings. The 1991 Super Sonic Fighters version, goes back to the single base colour with camouflage, but it’s not some re-hash of the 87, it’s a dramatic difference, featuring a combination of colours that shouldn’t work as well as they do, a deep green and a light grey. Honestly, the only fault I can find with the Falcon mold, is the fact his fatigues top is sculpted to go past his waist, which makes parts swapping awkward at best. The most intriguing part about this Falcon is the fact the camouflage pattern is something that would’ve been a possible paint job for this mold if it had originally been released just one year later.
In the G.I. Joe Movie, Falcon was portrayed as having black hair, his first two figures were brunettes, but this one actually has black hair. I kind of like it, because it ties into a media portrayal, unlike some of the odd dye jobs characters underwent when they got new clothes
In 1990 the Sonic Fighters came with a batch of recoloured accessories. For the most part, the accessories were an interesting combo of good weapons, and space age Battle Force 2000 accessories. The 91 Super Sonic Fighters, ditched the rehashed accessories, and included brand new weapons. Some of them aren’t the hottest, like Major Bludd’s goofy gun, but the two that came with Falcon were quite cool. One of them is a futuristic gun that has nice detailing, and a cool brace that fits around his arm so he can fire it with one hand. It’s not all that realistic, but it’s cool. His second gun is a pretty cool assault rifle, that’s not as good as the 87’s shotgun, it’s still an above average weapon. The nice thing about this Falcon, is he still looks good with the classic accessories.
I’d be remiss to not talk about the SUPER SONIC BACKPACK, which is a large, and goofy blue thing with a deadly looking rotor blade to make it a helicopter or something. It’s hilarious, and makes annoying noises, but at the end of the day isn’t really worthwhile. The 91 series spent more time making the backpacks an almost replacement for the small vehicle assortments of the 80s. It’s a failure, but that’s almost where things seem to have headed. The 1990 Sonic Fighters packs are less helicopter/jetpack gimmicky and more along the lines of a big dumb backpack.
I really like the Falcon figure, he’s very well done, and matches up with the Lieutenant ranking. Having a fairly strong looking leadership figure, allows the ’87 and ’88 figures that I’m a pretty big fan of, to coalesce as their own little unit. The Falcon mold is the strongest of them all, so it works with him as the leader. The nice thing about the ’91 repaint, is, like I mentioned earlier, the fact that this design isn’t too “out there” to be used with late 80s figures, in place of the 1987. While it’s a little more nuanced, the digital camo on this figure is reminiscent of Repeater or Shockwave, which helps this figure work even more as a bridge between 1987 and 1988.
I try to keep my G.I. Joe eras somewhat separate, as while the line as a whole is fairly compatible, there’s years that work better with each other, than others. So Falcon has found a role, leading a small team that consists for the most part of Tunnel Rat, Outback, Repeater, Hit & Run, Muskrat and a couple of other stragglers. The figures all match up pretty well. I don’t think about scenarios they would be in, or anything, but it gives some of the figures in my collection a reason for existing, without them being micro-managed to death, like some of the 90s subteams tend to be. If you ever see a picture of an Eco-Warrior, taken by me, he’s either by himself, or with other Eco-Warriors, there’s little chance of interaction with other G.I. Joes.
Falcon is one of the finest G.I. Joe figures, and this version, is wildly different from v1, but is still an excellent figure. He’s got an appearance that isn’t strict military realism, but at the same time isn’t far-fetched. That’s a nice thing about G.I. Joe, in that it can take an overtly realistic military figure, like Falcon, and then change the colourscheme, and be something new, without detracting from the mold. There’s very few repaints out there, that that can be said about. This figure is solidly in 2nd place, in regards to the usage of the mold, which isn’t anything to sneeze at, as it’s an incredible mold, with an untouchable first release.