Funskool Captain Gridiron

Funskool Captain Gridiron

Paraphrasing something RTG told me once, even a bad GI Joe figure, it still a good action figure regardless. I think that’s true, and I also think it applies pretty strongly to Captain Gridiron. I actually find it strange that Captain Gridiron isn’t more maligned by the GI Joe community, as while I’ve seen countless jokes pointed at Ice Cream Soldier or ‘85 Bazooka’s shirt, Gridiron probably doesn’t get the grief he deserves. I don’t outright hate him, but he’s incredibly hard to take seriously.

The 1990 GI Joe line-up was pretty fantastic, you had great figures like Topside or Rampart. And silly sports-centric figures, aren’t new to GI Joe either, even with oddballs I’ve liked in the past, like Hardball. Then you’ve got Captain Gridiron, who’s just… inherently silly. I think ever since I was a kid, I’ve been very sensitive to characters that felt like they’re making fun of my intelligence (whether that’s intentional or perceived) and Captain Gridiron has always made me feel that way, maybe more than any other GI Joe figure. It’s difficult to describe what makes me feel this way, but it’s a lifelong viewpoint I’ve had, and it’s shaped my distaste for certain brands; I like my toys to take themselves seriously.

There’s a few factors that differentiate Captain Gridiron from other silly GI Joe figures. The main aspect I see, is that other figures like Hardball, are more earnest in their approach to being a soldier toy with a sports theme, compared to Gridiron, who’s completely over-the-top and is more so rubbing your nose in it. Comparing him to another silly figure, Raptor, I can at least take Raptor a little bit seriously, because that figure is earnest in it’s approach to being a villain, even if the animal motif requires some suspension of disbelief. Gridiron on the other hand, is fundamentally a neon football player with football themed weapons and gear, which is something I have trouble looking past.

Putting all of that aside, he’s an okay figure quality wise, and something that’s extra strange when you own the Funskool version like I do. I got this figure sometime just before prices started to skyrocket on Funskool Joes, and I think the only reason I got him was that I had enough of a notion that prices were going up, that I knew there would be no way I’d bother with him again at a later date.

He’s got the sculpting quality you’d expect from a GI Joe toy, and the sports theme doesn’t do much to get in the way of that. There’s enough detail here like the ribbing on his sleeves or the zippers on his vest that it provides an amount of redemption for an otherwise questionable character. Overall though, I’m tempted to say he looks kind of boring, and the hard-points for his football-grenades really takes away from the look of his leg sculpt. Can’t say I’m sad he never got a repaint besides this one.

The Hasbro release actually had some decent colors, featuring two shades of green and yellow that overlaps with a few contemporaries like Scoop. Funskool turned the colors up to eleven though, giving him more yellow and making his pants orange, notably. There’s also a few other odd differences, like his hair being black now or his vest being a much darker green, gray details were replaced with silver. Among Funskool figures, this one’s more on the unique end.

I hate his parts. Captain Gridiron comes with a rifle, four missiles, two football grenades, two clip-on arm pads, backpack and a helmet with visor. This Funskool version comes with all of the same gear as Hasbro’s, save for the pistol and an extra football, but in different colors. It’s actually a solid upgrade, since now his rifle is made of black plastic, while the missiles are a contrasting orange color. The clear visor on his helmet is a nice touch, but I hate how the helmet looks, and rifle just looks like garbage; easily one of the worst ARAH guns. The football grenades are part of what makes his motif seem so overbearing, and lastly, you’ve got his arm pads, which just seems like a toss-in. It’s amazing he has so many parts and all of them seem to only lessen my opinion of the figure, but I guess that’s just how it is.

Like I expected, Funskool Gridiron’s have become hard to find… for a fair price. There’s a bunch of nutters trying to hawk this figure for $100 at any given time, which should clue you in on how rare he is (hint: he’s common), but he’s certainly not worth that much. This is a figure people could not give away years ago, and is still very common. I expect an auction would only fetch between $20 to $30, and even that is way more than this figure’s worth.

Funskool Captain Gridiron Links:

Joe A Day

Funskool Rony

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4 Responses to Funskool Captain Gridiron

  1. Mike T. says:

    Wish I hadn’t gotten rid of mine as I’ll never pay the current prices for one. I see this as a $4 figure. I’ll give it $10 on inflation. But, beyond that, there’s no reason to own this guy.

    Captain Grid Iron in general is ludicrous. And, like you said, ludicrous in a bad way. He’s just cheesy and useless. And, his parts aren’t even useful for customs or re-accessorizing other figures. But, even the US figure has gotten somewhat pricey. So, what do I know.

  2. bradley barnes says:

    a fun figure for sure but these funskool prices are insane. i remember getting mine at discount for like three dollars back in the day when no one wanted this dude. has everyone forgotten how cheap these were and how many were available? its not like unsold funskool figures were returned they are still out there.

  3. A-Man says:

    Despite color differences I never really considered getting Funskool Grid-Iron.

    His character was bad. He was supposed to be the lead hero in what amounted to a reboot year, but only Dic reflected that change. He went to high school with Metal-Head.

    I assume the goofs paying too much for Funskool aren’t opening them. The false allure of rare foreign releases…but it’s hard to accept because domestic GI JOE is a vast line for a new collector, even completing a single year’s releases is $$$, so who is also getting into Funskool, too?

  4. R.T.G. says:

    Figures like Grid-Iron and Raptor are pretty much exactly the ones I had in mind when I said that!

    Grid-Iron’s a strange spectacle. Like A-Man said, he was intended to be the lead hero in a reboot year, and I think that’s why the vast majority of the 1990 figures are good toys, but bland characters, Grid-Iron is the opposite, he’s a weak figure with a lot of character (though, if it’s a good one is debatable)

    The Funskool figure is interesting, not really better or worse than the American version. I like the black hair a lot better, to be honest.

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