1992 Big Bear

1992 Big Bear

Big Bear is a weird figure for me. A few oddities about him, mainly his deco, have always turned me towards 1998 Gorky as my default version of the sculpt. I still think that’s a somewhat better figure as Big Bear than the original is, but this is a very strong figure from the tail-end of the line that’s worth recognizing.

One of the coolest things GI Joe did in the 90‘s (that oddly enough, it’s rarely credited for) is bring us figures based on the October Guard from the early Marvel issues. This came in the way of Red Star, and Big Bear, neither of whom were characters from those early issues, but it was cool for them to finally put the concept in toy-form so many years after the fact. Of course, the most amusing part is that the Soviet Union dissolved the year before this toy came out, but that didn’t lessen the usefulness of the figure.

The quality and style of Big Bear has a lot more in common with an early eighties figure than it does a nineties figure. The sculpt is highly detailed and the colors are fairly good too. His design features a simple uniform that avoids being busy or over-the-top, and instead shows natural details like fabric folds and whatnot. The only thing I can really gripe about is that his paint applications leave something to be desired. The colors themselves are pretty good, but he looks somewhat flat with so much green and nothing else to really break up his colors. I also really hate that his eyes are red like his beard, which looks cheap to me.

I find his parts to be very interesting and curious; his gun in particular. The card describes it as an AK-88, a fictional Soviet-styled SMG, but it looks a lot more like the real-life PP-19 Bizon SMG. Many strange guns in ARAH were based on actual designs, so it doesn’t seem odd that this gun would be based on the Bizon. Yet, as far as I know, the Bizon was still in the planning in 1993. It could just be a coincidence, but it has made me wonder over the years if this gun was based on an early patent for the Bizon or something similar to that. A bigger gun enthusiast might know more definitively, but it’s cool to me none the less.

As for his overall load out, it’s pretty good. You get the aforementioned AK-88, which is a great part the figure can easily hold and pose with. You also get a nice and simple backpack, a missile launcher, and a stand. The missile launcher is really an ugly and oversized piece that provides nothing for the figure, but ignoring it, the figure has a decent gun and backpack similar to classics like Leatherneck, or the Viper.

Big Bear’s are worth about $8 complete, on a pretty consistent basis. 1992 figures are pretty common, so it makes sense that he doesn’t go for a whole lot. Still, it’s a cool figure that’s especially worth having, even if you’re not a big 90‘s fan. Then again, for all that he’s worth, I still think the 1998 Gorky is the better Big Bear.

1992 Big Bear gi joe Cobra ARAH vintage Hasbro October guard red star volga gorky
1992 Big Bear gi joe Cobra ARAH vintage Hasbro October guard

1992 Big Bear Links:

Forgotten Figures

Yo Joe

Half the Battle

3D Joes

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3 Responses to 1992 Big Bear

  1. Mike T. says:

    I enjoy Big Bear. He’s a good figure. Solid sculpt and decent colors. He’s different from other figures in the line and has gear that’s good enough. Heck, I army built him for a while. I like the 1998 Lt. Gorky more, though. It’s a better figure in most ways. More could have been done with this mold. But, I’m fine with what got. All three of the mold’s uses are good enough.

    1992 gets a bum rap. But, it’s a solid year for figures overall.

  2. A-Man says:

    Someone once said Hasbro planned to add Oktober Guard figures one a year but then the USSR fell. Damn you, Gorbachev!

    Funny thing in the Pravda Patrol, Tom DeFalco and Herb Trimpe’s original team that was altered into the Oktober Guard, the Horrorshow character was named BIG BEAR.

    By 1992 standards, Big Bear was a cromulent figure. I however, like the mail-in Big Bear better because it’s more obscure and I’m one of those people. Ha-ha. Maybe it’s that he doesn’t have a red beard. Too many red beards in GI JOE universe already.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    Big Bear is a good figure, not one that’s outstanding, but good and outside of the red eyes, isn’t really a figure you can find many faults with. I always felt that his body could’ve been used for a pretty good updated version of the 1982 torso.

    It’s funny, Bravo mentioned the planned use of Pravda Patrol, which was shot down because it wasn’t something Hasbro could own.

    1992 is an odd year, as it’s full of solid figures, but some of the design choices are a little iffy. I don’t mean figures like Firefly or the EEL, I mean Hasbro’s weird desire to do leg holsters with straps that criss-cross. TBC Hawk, Gung Ho, Wild Bill and Big Bear all feature it, and it doesn’t look good on any of them (Big Bear, is the least impacted by it, though)

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