One of several key trademarks of the Adventure Team GI Joes was the flocked hair. Invented by Palitoy, GI Joe's British Distributor (licensed as Action Man) the Adventure Team Joes became known affectionately as Fuzzheads.
Let's have a look at the phenomenon of the Fuzzhead. Click on any head for a larger image.
These are the only two vintage Joes I have. The left is the Land Adventurer. I bought this head as a re-flock, but it looks just about exactly like vintage, and I suspect it is. The right is the Sea Adventurer.
These two are vintage Action Man Eagle Eye heads. The left is an Eagle-Eye Man of Action with dark hair and no beard, on an ERTL body. The right is an Eagle-Eye Air Adventurer with blonde hair and full beard.
The Adventures Of GI Joe crew. Beginning around 1999 Hasbro began revamping the themes of the Adventure Team in a series called the Adventures of GI Joe. The Pygmy Gorilla Joe, for the first time, had a full beard, and not just the Van Dyke used in the other Adventures Of sets. Then in 2001 Hasbro began releasing revisitations of the Adventure Team sets which used the Adventures Of head, among others.
The brown sculpt above was used by Adventures Of sets, the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb Adventure Team set, as well as the Adventure Team Danger of the Depths set.
This year, Hasbro revisited another great Adventure Team set - The Search for the Yeti. One of the available head sculpts was this great Hispanic face, with flocked hair. One of last year's Secret of the Mummy's Tomb sets included this African American sclupt with flocked hair and beard. The next head sculpt was also from the Mummy's Tomb set, and is also used in the new Yeti set - first introduced with the Light Strike Vehicle set, this head sculpt now features blonde flocking. And Action Man returns with flocking in this figure from the Sky Diver set from about 1999 or 2000.
With the Secret of the Mummy's Tomb revamped Adventure Team set, Hasbro took one of its most frequently used heads and did a fine job flocking it. With a red-headed look and a thin beard, it was a new look for a commonplace sclupt, and it revitalised that sculpt. Then came Search for the Yeti with a reddish-brown-haired version. Then recently Hasbro released its first flocked non-Adventure Joe, the Tactical Advisor with several flocked sculpts, two of which are seen here.
Two more of the Tactical Advisors are seen here, but first, let us not forget that Hasbro attempted to re-invigorate the 12" Joe line back in the early 1990s with the Hall of Fame series, based on the 3.5" figures and the comic and cartoon series. Here we have, in the back, Rock-n-Roll, flocked with full beard in platinum blonde. Next up is one of the new Tactical Advisors. This is the same sculpt used in the Yeti set, the Hispanic sculpt, but this time featuring a full beard just like the original Adventure Team heads. Behind him is Rapid Fire, another Hall of Fame flocked figure, this time in red. Finally, for this set, this Pearl Harbor face sculpt has reddish-brown hair and full beard for what I believe is the most perfect flocked GI Joe head since the originals.
The GI Joe Club this year released a reproduction Air Adventurer. It contained not one but two heads because the people creating the set were sticklers for historic accuracy, and we win. We get two heads for the price of one. The more accurate head is seen here at the right, on a Timeless Classic body. The first, less accurate head is seen here on the left. Also seen here is the great Black Spider Rendezvous Joe (also used in Secret Agent set this year) and a very bright-red-haired Joe in Eight Ropes of Danger. With these Joes, Hasbro re-introduced the Adventure Team as a Timeless Classic Reproduction.
of the Savage Swamp
Secret of Planet Xenome
(New Adventure Team)
This is the new Asian head sculpt. First used in a non-flocked military set, it is now featured in two of the new Adventure Team sets. You can find him in Attack of the Savage Swamp and Secret of Planet Xenome. I think he's one of the best in some time.
As an experiment I took some Black Spider Rendezvous TC Joes and used some bleach on the flocking. Several people in the Sandbox were playing with this technique to get a more red-headed TC Joe (this was before the Eight Ropes of Danger Joe came out.) The first attempt used bleach for about 10 minutes. The second attempt had the Joe's head in bleach for about a half-hour.
Counter Culture Joe
The 2003 Convention Exclusive was the Counter Culture Joe. He is a TC Man of Action head sculpt with thicker flocking, and longer sideburns to represent the Afro look of the early 1970s.
2003's Club Exclusive was the Talking Commander reproduction. Another reproduction of a classic fuzzhead. When the Talking Commander showed up many people complained about the flocking. It was shorter than usual, thin and spotty in places. Mine was mostly ok but for a spot on his chin. Click the image for a close-up of the spotty area. A few months later the club sent out replacement heads to all purchasers and instructions for replacing the head. I did the replacement and put the faulty head on a Top Cop body to allow him to appear in upcoming Adventure Team photo stories.
Meijer store exclusives, Rendezvous at Danger Pass and Search for the Radioactive Satellite feature two new fuzz-heads. 40th Anniversary figures (grayer and more lean in face) with flocking. Danger Pass features a reproduction Land Adventurer while the Radioactive Satellite set features an Air Adventurer.
The flocking of these two figures is thin and short. This works ok for the Land Adventurer with his dark brown hair. It works less well for the Air Adventurer as the blonde flocking is easier to see through. These figures would have been far better had the flocking been twice as long, and/or thicker. Still, the more fuzzheads the merrier!
The 2005 Club Exclusive Sea Adventurer takes the AT head sculpt and flocks it in red with a beard. It is an accurate reproduction of the original 1970 Sea Adventurer - my favorite figure.
The 2004 Convention Exclusive Aged Adventurer takes a classic AT head sculpt, and flocks it in a balding pattern in dusty red hair. An excellent sculpt.
The 2006 Club Exclusive Adventurer takes a classic African-American AT head sculpt - created especially for the newly-introduced Adventure Team in 1970 and reproduces it for this year's new Adventure Team reproduction figure. This head sculpt has been a beloved one among fans since its inception in 1970.