Category Archives: Toys and Toy Art

Rampart by Payette

James A. Payette made an important but limited contribution to G.I. Joe. His is not a well-known name like that guy who writes all the comic books, or the fellow who designed the first seven years of action figures. Payette likely sculpted military and fantasy miniatures for a variety of companies separate from Hasbro, and for two or three years he painted a lot of G.I. Joe art that we never saw. That includes 1988, ’90, and ’91 figures Downtown, Sub-Zero, Ambush, Hawk, and Snow Serpent. These are the internal presentation paintings used to help pitch characters to upper management in line reviews. If this sounds familiar, I’ve posted such art here at A Real American Book! by artists like George Woodbridge and Bart Sears. Again, these where not the Hector Garrido or Doug Hart renderings that adorned every G.I. Joe toy package, but rather, paintings seen only by R&D, the sculpting department, Marketing, and a Vice President or three.

Payette’s work is more mannered than all the rest. Whereas Dave Dorman slightly cartoons and there’s a silky quality to his cloth textures, or Sears is channeling anatomy books even down to facial musculature, Payette is elsewhere on this Venn Diagram. His characters’ proportions make them a little taller, their eyes set closer together, their clothes fitting a little tighter.

Here’s a detail, click to enlarge:

These presentation paintings tended to have no background, or just a sketch of one, and so the pieces with more information behind the character are particularly interesting. As Rampart is a Coastal Defender, let’s see some coast and some defense, right?

Rampart as a design was quieter at a time when many other figures were getting louder. As a kid, I never fully understood what his specialty implied. I suppose now I do! In a few 1990 animated episodes, Rampart’s schtick of talking like everything is a video game is a bit much, but I was excited when any character from the toy line got a speaking role.

Click to enlarge James A. Payette’s Rampart presentation painting:

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Sgt. Slaughter by Woodbridge

In the development process at Hasbro, every G.I. Joe figure that made it to retail (and some that didn’t!) got a fancy drawing or painting whereby the higher-ups could see the character as a bold, dramatic illustration. This wasn’t the package art that we all saw on toy store shelves, but rather, internal only to Hasbro. A pencil turnaround of the figure from front, side, and rear views didn’t offer enough punch, nor did a sculpt or a casting. George Woodbridge, better known for military history books and Mad Magazine, was one of the eight or so artists who created these. (He also delineated most of the 1988 turnarounds.)

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Gnawgahyde by Pennington

The Dreadnoks are a biker gang under the leadership of Zartan and informally and occasionally on the payroll of Cobra. It’s one of the wonderfully bizarre team dynamics in the G.I. Joe universe.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Remembering Hector Garrido

Sad news from the world of G.I. Joe.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, General Musings, Toys and Toy Art

Charbroil by Woodbridge and Sears

Charbroil was never a favorite of mine. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Remembering Joe Bacal

I missed this news. Joe Bacal died in October. It’s December as I write this.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Animation, Book Behind the Scenes, G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art, Writing Process

Mestophoni by Groen

 

Around 1994, Kurt Groen was sketching a bunch of super-heroes for possible inclusion in the G.I. Joe line.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Ron Rudat faces 1981

Ron Rudat 1981_17_TEASE

In May and June of 1981, Ron Rudat was sketching up a storm.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Cesspool by Groen

Cesspool turnaround TEASE

Cesspool started out pitched as a similarly eco-themed “Oil Baron.” I’m not sure if that was a codename (probably not) or a title, but the figure and his ilk evolved and we got Cesspool. Along the way, Cesspool dropped his earlier name, “The CEO,” and Eco-Warriors dropped its earlier monicker, “Eco-Force.” We met the Oil Baron here several years ago at A Real American Book!, in fact, another Kurt Groen drawing.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

Wetsuit original sculpt by Merklein

The “Cobra Assassin” post from earlier today had some factual errors, so I’ve taken that down and am putting up this one it its place!

Wetsuit_sculpt_TEASE

Bill Merklein sculpted around 65 G.I. Joe action figures in the 1980s.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art