1983 Clutch

1983 Clutch

For most of my collecting years, I’ve typically ignored a lot of the ‘82/’83 First Thirteen Joes. I see the characters as being an integral part of the GI Joe universe, though at the same time, most of those toys leave something to be desired relative to the prices they maintain. 39 years ago, I think most of these were a lot more tolerable. For me though, it’s a little hard to justify ‘83 Hawk for example, when ‘86 Hawk is a nicer alternative, that’s a heck of a lot cheaper. Clutch, doesn’t fall into this dynamic quite as much.

Of the 1982 cast, certain figures had a little more individuality than others. Clutch happens to be one of those figures, as he has a unique torso, and only had to share his head with Breaker and Rock&Roll. It doesn’t put him in quite the same position as Stalker, or maybe even Snake Eyes, but he is a lot stronger than Short-Fuze, or Grand Slam. Even the reused head seems more forgivable, as beards tend to obscure your facial shape, which kind of makes people in real-life with full beards look more generic.

Of course, I think what makes Clutch for virtually everyone is his appearance in the Marvel comics. I didn’t particularly care for the character until I read the first Marvel issues sometime around ‘08. He stood out to me as one of the more fun and vibrant characters in those early issues, and it solidified my interest in his figures a lot more. Prior to that, I knew GI Joe through Sunbow reruns and the ’87 movie, where most of the ’82 cast plays almost no role.

Of course, most of the Clutch toys out there are relatively blase. Not a lot of bad ones, just not a lot of good ones, either. Besides this toy and it’s ‘84 recolor, there’s a Mega Marines figure who looks nothing like Clutch, a very mediocre Spy Troops figure, a comic-pack figure with anemic skin and a pea-head, a better looking and more expensive convention figure, and then a few post-25th releases of the character. Compared to the other attempts, the 25th and POC figures aren’t so bad really, but they’ll never look right with an o-ring collection, leaving this figure and the ‘84 release as the only decent representations of Clutch.

V1 Clutch is a fairly good looking figure. The unique torso is nice and leaves a strong impression at time when half of the figures on shelves had Grunt’s torso. The head is a fine sculpt as well, and didn’t age as poorly compared to later figures in the same way that Hawk and Grunt’s ugly mugs did. For a guy who’s just meant to sit in a jeep all day, there’s a surprising amount of care that was put into him.

His only accessory is a helmet, which isn’t of much detriment to him. It’s the same generic piece used on him and almost every other ‘82 Joe, but the toy was designed for the helmet and it looks good on him. I have always sort of wished there were some more pistols from this point in the line, as the Joes were fairly lacking in sidearm options in these first few years. The best you can give him is Snake Eye’s uzi or Mutt’s MAC-10, but there’s not a really good M1911 or anything like that.

Getting a good Clutch is surprisingly not too hard. At the current market’s prices, you can get a complete Clutch with a passable VAMP for $40 if you look around. A lot of Clutches sell for around $30, but he should really be worth less than that, especially when you consider that ones with the VAMP don’t go for much more. Also worth noting, that I’ve seen at least a couple of Clutches show up with swivel-arms, and fat crotches, implying that some people are passing off poorly pieced together frakenstiens of the ‘82 and ‘83 figure, as a legit example of either one.

gi joe hasbro marvel vintage clutch OG13 original vamp gi joe hasbro marvel vintage clutch OG13 original vamp

1983 Clutch Links:

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

Half the Battle

Joe A Day

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2 Responses to 1983 Clutch

  1. Mike T. says:

    Clutch is probably my favorite original 13 figure. I need to find another loose one to have him for photos, though. He looks good in most of the early years vehicles. His uniqueness also helps him remain relevant. You can use him with figs from later years pretty easily. Certainly moreso than Grunt of Short Fuse.

    While I’m glad Red Laser used his chest for some figures, I didn’t feel he really tapped into it’s potential. Not getting a straight Clutch repaint that could match some of the other VAMPs seems like a wasted opportunity. (Though, I suspect he had pressure to not make figures like that.) Of the figs he made with the chest, only the Cobra Trooper really stands out in my mind. The rest fall into the amalgamation of too many similarly colored reuses that was the 2018 Red Laser sets.

    For the popularity of the VAMP, I’m surprised they haven’t gotten to be $100 vehicles in this market. That just shows how many of them Hasbro made. And, how many of them survived in decent shape.

  2. R.T.G. says:

    I love Clutch. He’s got a little more pizazz than the typical 82 figure, and the character he got in the comic was pretty fun, though I seem to recall his few Sunbow appearances made him sound like a southerner rather than a greaseball from New Jersey.

    Funnily enough, there should be a bunch of mint Clutch figures out in the wild, because maybe a decade ago or so, you could get bagged Clutch/Hawk/Grand Slam sets for REAL CHEAP. I think Joeparts.com before it went bogus was selling them.

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