I’ve talked before about a few figures that I used extensively as a kid, which included the Frag Viper and Vapor. The third figure I used almost all the time was the TARGAT, who was another major member of my Cobra-robot army (I didn’t have the filecards and I liked androids, so most of my Cobras were reimagined as robots). Because of that, I’m pretty sentimental towards this figure and his Star Brigade repaint, but objectively I do think he’s one of the better Iron Grenadiers.

The TARGAT is a “Trans Atmospheric Rapid Global Assault Trooper”, who deploys into orbit from a space shuttle, and then flies to their mission area on earth, according to his file card. With some suspension of disbelief, it sounds neat, though personally I just see them as normal paratroopers. Maybe the whole idea is a bit cooler in the comics, but I just started reading the Marvel run again and haven’t gotten to the issues where they show up (if they do).

There was some nice uniformity on the colors of the early Iron Grenadiers. I like that the TARGAT keeps the red and black theme of the Iron Grenadier, but replaces the gold with sky-blue. It’s attractive and different looking, while still fitting with the established look for the group. This was something I didn’t like about the later convention Iron Grenadiers, like the Iron Anvils, where they went to strictly using the black/red/gold pattern with no changes. It makes the figures too generic when they all have the exact same colors.

The TARGAT is a pretty nice mold. There’s a fair amount of detail on it, but it’s mostly kept to little things like the stitches on his chest or the ribbed part of his uniform. I always really liked his head and visor combo, especially as a kid, and I think it was executed a slightly better than the fragile mask on the Alley Viper. The belt of grenades around his waist exemplifies the start of a trend we saw more of in the 90‘s, but here it’s not too overdone.

Originally he included a pistol, a control stick, a hose, the visor, and his flight unit with folding wings. The flight unit is really cool, it’s bulky and surprisingly large for a pack-in item. The control stick is extremely small, so although it was a nice detail, I tend to ignore it since it’s usually missing and doesn’t add much. The pistol is also an interesting, if not somewhat weird part. It’s made of a flexible plastic and clips onto his bicep while he holds it, I guess to make it easier to use while he’s flying? It’s unique at the very least, though personally I think it’s easy to replace with a normal gun.

I find it somewhat surprising as to the amount of repaints this mold received. After this release, it showed up again in ‘93 for Star Brigade , and sans the head as Create-a-Cobra, before going to India where Funskool used it for their own version of the Star Brigade figure, followed by a recolor as Street Hawk. Then, the mold was returned to Hasbro, and was used one last time for the convention Coil Troopers (with a Decimator head). All of those mold uses were pretty good, though personally I think the original here had the best colors of them all.

Complete TARGATs can trend around $25, but ones missing just the control stick go as low as $10. I don’t really think that part adds that much to the figure, which means this guy is still a fairly affordable and fun army-builder in 2021. After getting a couple mostly complete examples, I enjoy picking up the occasional extra with only his visor.


1989 TARGAT Links:

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

Half the Battle

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6 Responses to 1989 TARGAT

  1. Mike T. says:

    I’ve always considered the TARGAT the step child of the 1989 army builders. But, he made perfect sense in Star Brigade. If only he’d included his original gear.

    His pricing hasn’t moved much in the past year. Which is probably indicative of his popularity or lack thereof.

  2. R.T.G. says:

    The T.A.R.G.A.T. is probably the best figure for what the original Iron Grenadiers concept was. The ’88 IG is a nice figure, but doesn’t have that “G.I. Joe through a Sci-Fi lens” that Battle Force 2000 has. The T.A.R.G.A.T. does.

    I haven’t picked up an ’89 but I want to. I’ve got a few Funskool versions though, that I really like.

  3. Great pictures and review! I’ve noticed a variation in the gold pistol: some have a strap that’s bendy enough to attach to the wrist, while some are too stiff. I have one of each. It looks like yours are all the bendy kind?

    I like your point about his blue trim livening up the IG colors. To me the TARGAT was the last IG army-builder with an appropriate color scheme. I liked the Annihilator and Undertow when I was a kid, but now they just don’t fit well enough with the rest of the subset. The TARGAT has aged much better. (The Annihilator is also pretty redundant: he has the exact same specialty as the original Iron Grenadier, and the same gimmick–a flying backpack–as the TARGAT!)

    I also appreciate the 1993 and the Funskool, but I don’t mix them with the IG version. To me the 87-89 space Joes are part of a limited space-borne adjunct to the quasi-realistic Joe vs. Cobra vs. IG struggle of the 1980s-1990s, centered on a few shuttles and satellites and space stations. Their individualized accessories make spacewalks and the like possible. The Star Brigade figures, on the other hand, live almost in a different universe, probably in the near future and with a lot more suspension of disbelief. Since they have generic accessories with no airtanks or jetpacks, they work best indoors, stalking the corridors of mysterious space stations. Never the twain shall meet.

  4. A-Man says:

    “This was something I didn’t like about the later convention Iron Grenadiers, like the Iron Anvils, where they went to strictly using the black/red/gold pattern with no changes. It makes the figures too generic when they all have the exact same colors.”

    They added grey, though. How exciting. It’s funny that people decided that the IG’s had a set color scheme based on 1988 but chose to ignore two colors from that year: fuchsia (Voltar and Nullifier) and khaki (Nullifier and Ferret)

    I found TARGAT hard to use. High concept idea, but not sure TARGAT ever gelled with me. They could make great fun for something like a cartoon…even though they barely appeared in Operation Dragonfire…and didn’t use their packs. Destro also never had a shuttle, so no deployment fun there. I mean, really. He’d have to use two hands for his grenades, which makes them an odd choice. Double holsters (he was ahead of the early 2000’s figures!), but where’s the other pistol? Or is it for his controller. And the biggest mystery, why were the pack’s turbine facing backwards, not down or up or whatever. Or do I not understand jetpacks?

    I find their sculpt too distinct to work well for other characters, which is why Create A Cobra seems odd and COILS Troopers aren’t as interesting as they could be. An unmade 1995 Frostbite would’ve reused TARGAT legs. On a Joe they work even less.

  5. DJV says:

    I love TARGAT! I grew up with the Star Brigade version, but I like this one more in every way. The colors are great– and you’re right that they do fit in with the IG stuff while still having their own “space guy” identity.

    I quite like the TARGAT as described on his file card. It’s a cool concept and it gets my imagination running wild. I also think the wrist clip on the gun is pretty neat and makes sense for what he does.

    Really, though, I just use these guys as generic space heavies and/or jetpack troopers.

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