2001 Big Brawler

2001 Big Brawler

Big Brawler is the butt of many jokes, and has been a loathed character among GI Joe fans since his creation. When you know the history of the character and a little of what was going on back then… It’s not hard to imagine why. Still, like a lot of ARAHC figures, he’s kind of nice when taken in on his own. Kinda.

To understand a little more of why Big Brawler is so egregious, let’s take a look at his filecard:

“A master of both psychological warfare and hand-to-hand combat, Big Brawler has engaged in top secret operations against despots and terrorists worldwide. When it became evident that most of the world’s terrorist activities were orchestrated by COBRA, Big Brawler transferred from Army Intelligence to the G.I. Joe team. He now takes his battle directly to the snake pits, while acting as liaison to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). He has a natural ability to persevere in the adverse conditions of the world’s jungles, in ways that Tarzan himself would be envious of. Big Brawler has refused all officer-level promotions, preferring to remain on the front lines where the real action takes place.
Despite his superior intelligence-gathering and infiltration skills, Big Brawler is quick-tempered and can’t resist the urge to pound any COBRA on sight. Since his first mission, when he was only supposed to take photos of a secret spy headquarters but “improvised” and blew up the island instead, he has been regarded as a loose cannon. Good thing he’s a G.I. Joe – he’s too dangerous to be anything else.”

I have so many sick burns, buzzwords and clever one-liners I could unload at this tripe, but really you just have to laugh and take it for what it is. Most of these filecards from around this time are easily this corny, though this one seems especially great when you consider that it’s the story for a guy who looks like the coomer wojak. You also have to know that he’s named after Brian Mulholland of the GI Joe Collector’s Club. I’m personally foggy on exactly why Brian got a GI Joe figure named after himself, but I thought the Collector’s Club had a lot to do with writing some of these files. That sort of makes it narcissistic, in addition to being cringey.

Onto the figure, Big Brawler’s a repaint of 1987 Outback, with a new head. For the most part, it’s an appealing looking figure based on a underused mold, and makes a nice, cheap alternative to the expensive Night Force Outback. Of course, a major flaw of the figure is the aforementioned new head, which looks pretty terrible. The proportions look squished, and his neck is pretty long too. The figure would’ve been better if they had just reused Outback’s original head, and that’s a shame.

Another thing that really bugs me is the paint on his biceps: there’s no flesh color above the swivel joint, giving him these weird and ugly bands on his arms. Otherwise, his paint applications and colors are okay. There’s not really a whole lot going on, and he feels a lot less detailed than Outback, but everything that needs to be painted is painted. Still, there’s a certain cheapness to this figure, that when combined with his head, makes him feel a lot more like a dollar-store bootleg than a real GI Joe toy.

His accessories include Outback’s flashlight, ‘92 Big Bear’s backpack, and ‘91 Red Star’s rifle, in addition to a figure stand. I hope the Red Star rifle is more of a coincidence and not an intentional inclusion for the figure, as I hate to think they ditched Outback’s parts in favor of making him seem more like some hackneyed Rambo knock-off (stolen AK). His backpack is magical and unlike Outback’s, Big Brawler’s can stick to him without straps! I want one of those in real life.

My personal hope was to go to eBay, find some idiot who payed a gigantic sum for Big Brawler, and then berate them here. However, most people aren’t that dumb, and Big Brawlers still aren’t very expensive relative to everything else. He’s easiest to find carded with Tripwire for about $20, some odd loose examples will go for around $10. Put all of the cringe and ugliness of this figure aside, and I think he’s nice for that much. It’s a repaint of a good mold, and if you really wanted the figure would still look pretty decent with his head swapped for Outback’s.

Gi joe arahc duke night rhino big brawler side track cobra commander

“That’s right chumps, I just caught the guy you’ve been after for 19 years, all by myself! Maybe you dudes should go back to basic training while I grab my Medal of Honor.”

Gi joe arahc duke night rhino big brawler side track cobra commanderGi joe arahc duke night rhino big brawler side track cobra commander

2001 Big Brawler Links:

Half the Battle

Joe A Day

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3 Responses to 2001 Big Brawler

  1. Mike T. says:

    While this figure sucks, Sure Fire pisses me off more than Brawler. But, that’s likely a function of the Sure Fire guy being WAY more problematic than Brawler.

    But, not using Outback was just a boneheaded move. He was known as a fan favorite. And, while I don’t think the orange hair would have been a great look with this color scheme, this figure would have been exponentially more popular had it been outback.

    But, Hasbro listened to the wrong people back then. And, they paid for it with a short lived series of ARAHC. Once them moved to the more retail oriented JvC, sales shot up.

  2. A-Man says:

    His filecard is pure Marty/Gary Stu. He’s an expert at everything, so good but refused officer promotions. Even though that would seem to indicate he’s got leadership potential, he’s a loose cannon! It literally say he is.

    His name sake had a tin armada club “code name” but it wasn’t Big Brawler. Surefire’s guy was “Commander Starfire” I think.

    Weird history of the character in toys. After this the ARAH style Big Brawlers wouldn’t use the new head, instead using Lowlight V2’s head and in India, Ambush’s head. For some reason NuSculpt era thought he warranted an ALL-NEW sculpt, before countless more deserving characters. Very strange. BUt a lot of decisions then seemed to be.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    Good ol’ Big Brawler!

    He’s not a very strong figure, because despite being just a new head on Outback, he loses the wild man aspects of the Outback head, and the missing accessories kills him.

    I’m definitely not a fan of Big Brawler as a character, he’s a joke! The worst thing about him though, was the fact that he pretty much took Outback, Salvo, Lowlight, and Ambush/Sidetrack out of commission. For all the hullabaloo about wanting “New Characters”, there hasn’t been many (any?) post 1992/93 that really resonated with the fanbase, so getting new versions of familiar characters probably would’ve been better in the scheme of things.

    I mean, who actually cared about the RLA versions of 2000s era characters? Nobody!

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