1993 Gristle

1993 Gristle

I’ve spoken before of how I’m a big fan of the Headhunters, so it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I like Gristle a lot. Overall he’s kind of a mediocre figure, but he has enough of a role, and presents enough quality that I’ve always found him to be useful. Given that I also don’t like the 1993 lineup much as a whole, he stands out to me as probably one of the best releases from that year.

The Headhunters are a small group, so they don’t have much in the way of named agents. In fact, Gristle is literally the only unique Headhunter besides Headman, who’s the group’s requisite leader. This alone makes him fairly important in my collection, and overall I’d rate him as actually being a bit more useful than Headman. Headman’s a background character, possibly more so than Cobra Commander; going out and getting directly into danger wouldn’t make much sense for him. Meanwhile, Gristle acts as the field-commander for the Headhunters, and would probably be often found in the middle of crack alleys that the Headhunters have turned into war zones.

Technically, Gristle is a Cobra, because the DEF line was canceled and his sculpt was shuffled off to the ‘93 Battle Corps line-up. I don’t think of him this way very much, as I prefer to think of the Headhunters as a separate and distinct threat from Cobra, though, one that might intermingle with them and their related organizations. Mind you, the whole War on Drugs angle of the DEF line was probably one of the most propagandistic moments for the brand, so it really wasn’t a travesty that they moved away from that. Still, I prefer having a diverse selection of bad-guys/terror groups to making Cobra any more bloated than it already was by ‘93.

Gristle has a pretty nice sculpt. While I like late-line 90‘s figures, I typically associate them with busy designs that often overcompensate on things like grenades. Gristle, for the most part, only wears a detailed bike-suit with nothing on it that looks too absurd. His head’s a little cheesy with that pony-tail, but I like it. It gives him some personality that he certainly needs. There’s also a really nicely sculpted skull-buckle on his waist, which is sharp and nicely done compared to other attempts at a similar detail.

The colors could be a weak spot on Gristle, despite the nice sculpt. I’ve personally gotten to where I care a lot less about fluorescent colors than I used to, though this particular combination of burgundy with green-yellow strikes me as being very ugly, besides being very neon. For a longtime, I really wanted to get the darker colored Joecon repaint of this figure, but I always prioritized different things over a drab repaint of a figure I already like, so I never ended up with one.

His parts are okay. Like most of his contemporaries, he comes with nothing unique, and instead a generic runner of parts also seen with the Headhunter Stormtrooper and the Star Brigade Astro Viper. That includes a Rock Viper PSG1 rifle, ‘92 Destro’s pistol, and a Shockwave knife, all rendered in a dark red color that matches the figure. As well, he also included a yellow missile launcher, missiles, and a figure stand. These are decent guns, so he’s not much worse off for including them, but generic parts always hurt the appeal of a figure, if only by a bit.

Like with many figures these days, the prices of ‘93 Gristles can be random. Still, you can occasionally get one complete for about $10, and even carded for $20 if you look for long enough. I don’t think Gristle has ever been very popular, and 1993 figures tend to be common too, so that’s likely why his price has remained low.

gi joe gristle headhunters cobra arah vintage hasbro def

gi joe gristle headhunters cobra arah vintage hasbro def

gi joe gristle headhunters cobra arah vintage hasbro def

1993 Gristle Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

Joe a Day

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One Response to 1993 Gristle

  1. Mike T. says:

    I knew guys with Gristle’s haircut in the ’90s and, in general, I wasn’t overly fond of them. So, that kind of colored my perception of the figure for a long, long time. I even passed him by at retail a number of times. Then, he disappeared. But, I didn’t much care. In recent years, though, I came around and Gristle has some good features and a strong design. The colors aren’t great. But, even the convention figure still wasn’t perfect and it did show that the mold has some limitations.

    I liked there being some street thugs, etc., that battled the Joes. I always figured that Cobra would operate in secret and Joe would only engage them occasionally. So, having some criminal syndicates to fight would help keep them sharp for when they did stumble across a Cobra operation.

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