Tag Archives: Bart Sears

Charbroil by Woodbridge and Sears

Charbroil was never a favorite of mine. His brown and yellow color scheme didn’t grab me, the shape of his chest plate looked like science fiction, and his helmet design made him look like a Cobra agent. Plus I was already attached to Blowtorch, the 1983 flamethrower recruit and the first G.I. Joe action figure I ever bought, and so the Joe team now had its second flamethrower. The fact that he was redundant didn’t make or break the purchase, but all the other strikes against him did, so I passed. (A year later I acquired the Night Force repaint of Charbroil in grey and blue, an improvement, but still not a vital part of my line-up.)

Here’s a wonderful photo of the 1988 Charbroil figure by Terry Dizard, courtesy of YoJoe.com.

George Woodbridge, that wonderful artist of military history books and contributor to Mad Magazine, drew this turnaround, as he did for much of the 1988 G.I. Joe line. Click to enlarge.

Bart Sears, about to leave G.I. Joe behind in order to focus on C.O.P.S., designed supplemental pieces, like Charbroil’s helmet and flamethrower weapon.

Of particular interest is the backpack.

Around 1986, ’87, and ’88, Hasbro was experimenting with lenticular printing on a few stickers (the B.A.T. chest plate and Lightfoot’s tiny robot), and one arrived on Charbroil’s backpack as well. Such objects feature a kind of animation, where an image shows movement across a few frames (like a flipbook with only three or four pictures) or in this case, a simulated 3-D imagery. As you wiggle the backpack back and forth, there’s depth to those yellow pipes, canisters, and circuits over that black void. They seem to slide a little to the left or right in parallax, as if they were real bits deeper inside that backpack.

It’s worth remembering that in toymaking, nothing is left unaddressed. Copywriters pour over every word on the packaging, sculptors and engineers measure every curve and angle, and designers delineate every detail. So yes, Bart Sears drew out the design for the lenticular sticker of Charbroil’s backpack.

What’s your favorite lenticular label?

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Rock & Roll Hasbro development sketch

Detail, internal Hasbro pencil sketch design of 1989 Rock & Roll by Bart Sears and Ron Rudat

As I’ve noted here, when R&D was concepting a G.I. Joe figure, that character would go through quite a process.  A multitude of pencil sketches, input from other members of R&D, line reviews for higher ups, and even a rendered, full-color painting, all before sculpting commenced.  As fun as it is to see proposed designs of toys that didn’t make it, it’s also fun to peak behind the curtain on favorites that did.  Like ’89 Rock & Roll here. Continue reading


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Charbroil presentation painting

Bart Sears G.I. Joe Charbroil presentation painting detail photocopy

To comics fans, Bart Sears means Justice League Europe, C.O.P.S., his “Brute and Babe” column for Wizard Magazine, Turok, X-O Manowar, Spider-Woman, and more recently a Legends of the Dark Knight double-sized issue and some Indiana Jones work.  Sears was also at Hasbro in the late ’80s.  There he briefly worked on G.I. Joe, and designed the company’s C.O.P.S. line.  Here’s his presentation painting, seen internally and not part of any package design, for Charbroil.  Unfortunately it’s a color photocopy, so it’s much contrastier than the original artwork.

Bart Sears G.I. Joe Charbroil presentation painting photocopy

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Behind the scenes of G.I. Joe – Hydro-Viper

Today’s art post is the complete sculpt input (i.e. “turnaround”) for the 1988 Hydro-Viper.  Again for casual or non-fans, let’s start with a photo (by me, not my fancy book photographer) of the production figure for a baseline comparison.

G.I. Joe 1988 Hydro-Viper figure

Here’s George Woodbridge’s turnaround.  Such a crisp and clean line, and a deft spotting of blacks.

G.I. Joe 1988 Hydro-Viper figure turnaround

Note that the figure is referred to as “Cobra Frogman,” so “Hydro-Viper” hadn’t yet cleared Legal.

Woodbridge’s association with G.I. Joe is limited. He drew most of the ’88 inputs, and did many of the Hasbro-internal figure presentation paintings that Dave Dorman and Bart Sears didn’t around 1988.  Writer Mark Evanier wrote a short biography of Woodbridge in 2004 when the artist passed away.  You can find it here, but if you want a shorter version, I’ll just throw out the terms “Mad Magazine” and “military and historical illustration.”  In the near future I’ll show a few more pieces like this here, and in the not-near future I’ll have Woodbridge’s Crazylegs (a Joe paratrooper) color piece in my book.

Here are three sheets of the Hydro-Viper’s accessories, drawn by Bart Sears.  In toys, Sears is known for designing Hasbro’s C.O.P.S.  In comics, Sears drew Justice League Europe and has recently penciled some Conan and Indiana Jones for Dark Horse.  Of note here is the ray, the most bizarre of all animals that any G.I. Joe figure came packaged with.

G.I. Joe 1988 Hydro-Viper backpack turnaround

G.I. Joe 1988 Hydro-Viper weapons turnaround

G.I. Joe 1988 Hydro-Viper manta ray turnaround


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