G.I. Joe 1982 Zap Action Figure Review

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

I am fortunate to have collected several 1982 G.I. Joe straight arm action figures over the last several years.  I remember the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line when it came out in 1982 (I was 11 years old) and while I don't remember exactly the first 3.75" figure I got was, Zap the bazooka soldier was one of the earliest.

 Zap the bazooka soldier from G.I. Joe 1982 (straight arm version).  The thumbs are infamously brittle. 

Zap the bazooka soldier from G.I. Joe 1982 (straight arm version).  The thumbs are infamously brittle. 

 

Many of the G.I. Joe figures, especially in the first couple of years, shared a lot of body parts.  There were several which shared the same head with variations of color and body designs.  Grunt, Zap, and Grand Slam all shared the same head sculpt.  As did Rock & Roll, Breaker, and Clutch.  As also did Flash, Hawk, and Steeler.  Only Snake Eyes and Stalker had single use head sculpts.

 Other body parts were also used.  This is Grunt on the left and zap on the right.  They share the same lower bodies from the hips to the feet just recolored.

Other body parts were also used.  This is Grunt on the left and zap on the right.  They share the same lower bodies from the hips to the feet just recolored.

  

There is a huge problem with the 1982 Zap figure.  One thing most of the G.I. Joe figures had in common were that they were very durable except for their thumbs and crotches which often broke off.  Zap's plastic, however, is significantly worse than the other early G.I. Joe's and is very brittle making him one of the more expensive action figures to find complete.

The fragility is further aggravated by the straight arms which did not allow the figure to hold the bazooka properly.  Adding the swivel-arm battle grip feature in 1983 helped this problem significantly.  There is also a slight size difference between the 1982 Zap back pack and later years.  With the plastic being so fragile pushing the wrong back pack into Zap can cause the infamous "Zap back explosion syndrome" so be careful.  I suggest leaving the backpack out all together since it's almost impossible to tell the size difference.

 Zap after a failed backpack insertion.

Zap after a failed backpack insertion.

 

Please check out this short G.I. Joe 1982-83 video from the When It Was Cool YouTube channel which explains more. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOZvZrZwsPk&feature=youtu.be

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