1985 Tollbooth

1985 Tollbooth

Tollbooth is a strange figure for sure. He’s obscure, but he’s also fairly well liked by collectors. He’s a good looking figure; but isn’t all that useful. He has the older swivel-neck construction in a year where most of the other releases had ball joints. For one reason or another he’s a figure that’s just stranger than he should be.

Anything associated with GI Joe from 1986 and prior is a core part of the brand’s image and is generally well remembered. Odd characters like Copperhead and Wild Bill for example, aren’t really all that important yet Joe fans can sometimes herald them as irreplaceable parts of any decent character roster. That’s likely why characters like this continually saw updates going as far back as the tail-end of the vintage line. It makes sense, as this was the golden age for GI Joe; Tollbooth seems to be an exception to this line of thought however.

His obscurity likely isn’t helped by the vehicle he came packaged with, the Bridge Layer. It’s just a guess, but I imagine a typical kid buying Joe vehicles would go for something more action oriented like a Moray or VAMP ahead of what’s essentially a support vehicle. Of course, that’s far from a dismissal of the Bridge Layer. It’s a cool vehicle but logically, it’s only useful if you already have a collection of GI Joe vehicles at hand.

Tollbooth’s sculpt is honestly fantastic, and features a lot of nice details to look at. I think the best part is his head, with his strongly pronounced square jaw and tilted hardhat. There’s a lot of personality that just seems to emit from it that you didn’t see in every figure back then. The open shirt and dog-tags go along with that look.

The going rate for a mint Tollbooth is about $12 and sans hammer $6. He’s a really nice figure to go for so little, but the truth is that there isn’t too much to do with him. He’s meant to fill a support role and primarily drive a niche vehicle, so there’s not a whole lot of need for him. On the flip side, when you look at the quality present in a figure this obscure, it really speaks volumes about how much care went into the line to that point.

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1985 Tollbooth Links:

Forgotten Figures

Yo Joe

Joe a Day

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2 Responses to 1985 Tollbooth

  1. A-Man says:

    I never really had Tollbooth back in the day but my older brother did. It wasn’t long before he lost the sledge hammer…somehow. It’s not that tiny.

    The Bridge Layer (does anyone call it the Toss N Cross?) was an early 1985 item available in late 1984 via Sears. So with that in mind, it’s not too surprising Tollbooth has a swivel neck, like the Dreadnoks.

    It’s funny the Sunbow cartoon got Tollbooth in a couple of episodes with a couple of lines but poor Crankcase is a mute, barely visible backgrounder.

    I’d have like to have seen Tollbooth repainted in Sunbow colors. Or they could’ve kitbashed him using Hardtop’s head and maybe Pathfinder’s chest. (who knows it that part combo works?) But…too late now.

    • Mike T. says:

      I remember people saying they had found the Bridge Layer in late 1984, but I didn’t believe them as I never saw it. I even wrote it into a story based on my imagination of what it looked like. I finally found it in 1985 and was shocked by how different the picture of it my head was to the actual product.

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