1983 G.I. Joe Dragonfly Helicopter with pilot Wild Bill

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

DragonFly Box.jpg

I’ll never forget Christmas of 1983 when I got a G.I. Joe Dragonfly Assault helicopter. It was one of the most incredible toys with tremendous play value I ever had as a kid. I also had a G.I. Joe Skystriker jet but the Dragonfly copter always seemed to have more play value. It was smaller and less bulky than the G.I. Joe Skystriker and, as a kid who played outside a lot, you could set the G.I. Joe Dragonfly helicopter down and take off again without you and your friends having to figure out a landing strip or runway. I spent many hours running imaginary military missions in the woods with my friends and the G.I. Joe Dragonfly was an important part of that.


Like most of the G.I. Joe toyline vehicles, the Dragonfly helicopter also came with an action figure, a really cool western themed pilot named Wild Bill. I always thought Wild Bill had an exception design for an action figure with his cowboy inspired look yet clearly military influenced. I as more a fan of the G.I. Joe comic books than the cartoon but Wild Bill fortunately played a major role in both. Wild Bill was a tremendous character and I still think his design is one of the best of the G.I. Joe toy line.


From the G.I. Joe Wiki site Joepedia: If there is one helicopter in the G.I. Joe arsenal that proves a classic will always work, it has to be the Dragonfly. With a body and design based on the United States Marine Corps' AH-1T SeaCobra but with customizations special to the Joe Team, the Dragonfly is tough enough to fly through almost any weather condition and operate in brightest day and even in darkest of nights.

The Dragonfly seats two persons and has a maximum load capacity of 9,000 lbs. Twin turbo shaft engines allow it to reach speeds of 220mph and go as far as 510 miles. Primary offensive capabilities involve a multitude of missiles including Sidewinders, 25mm Vulcan chain gun that fires 1200 rounds of ammo, and a laser-guided 160mm cannon pod. All that are supplemented by a pair of X-551 mini-cannons and a M-34 grenade launcher both located at the turret section. The Dragonfly is provided with a high-resolution radar system and a classified electronics system.


The G.I. Joe database website YoJoe.com had this information on the G.I. Joe Dragonfly XH-1 helicopter: The Assault Copter Dragonfly [XH-1] was first released boxed in U.S. toy stores in 1983. The box included the driver, Wild Bill. The toy was also sold in 1984 and 1985, and was discontinued in 1986. Wild Bill was released as part of the second series (1983). He came packaged exclusively with the G.I.Joe Dragonfly Assault Copter XH-1.  There are several pieces that can come off and become easily lost - including the canopy, the nose turret, the hook and winch, the six missiles, the side gun, the black hose that attaches to the side gun, the two red rubber pieces at the ends of the rotors, and the white piece that is pushed to cause the rotors to spin. Also, check the spinning rotation of the rotors. The rotors should NEVER be pulled out, as that will break the spinning action.


It has also been our experience that the G.I. Joe Dragonfly helicopters roter blades will droop over time especially if stored in a warm area. Even in a climate controlled room like the When It Was Cool toy room the blades have wilted over time just due to the weight of the plastic. Most of the G.I. Joe helicopters have this same problem.


The great Forgotten Figures blog had this to say about the G.I. Joe Dragonfly helicopter: “As a toy, the Dragonfly was really awesome.  It was light years ahead of other toy helicopters of the era.  It was an excellent color and sleek design.  The rotors turn with the sliding of a small, unobtrusive white switch on the side… the Dragonfly is armed to the teeth.  It had 4 missiles, 2 bombs, a swivel, [and] a skid mounted cannon that plugged into the chopper's body… Underneath the copter's body was a working winch.  It included a long rope and hook.  It could be used for figures or vehicles… And, just for giggles, Hasbro threw in removable engine covers that hid the solid design of the inner machinery of the chopper.”


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