Hit & Run’s almost-1995 transformation

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run action figure photo by Tim Finn

In 1988 Hasbro released a stunning G.I. Joe figure called Hit & Run.  Here’s a not-professional photo by me for context.

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run toy photo by Tim Finn

No flesh tone, just green and black camo all over — his hands, his face, and his clothing.  Fun fact:  Hit & Run is [EDIT: one of] the only Joe[s] with whites-of-his-eyes.  All other figures 1982-1994 are flesh tone plastic with a paint detail in black, brown, blonde, or red for eyebrows and retina.  [EDIT: Two others have whites-of-eyes].

Here’s his turnaround, drawn by Mark Pennington, with machine gun, duffle bag (taking the place of a backpack), and accessories.

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run figure sculpt input Mark Pennington

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run weapon sculpt input Mark Pennington

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run bag sculpt input Mark Pennington

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run accessories sculpt input Mark Pennington

Many Joe fans know that Real American Hero ended in 1994, and the planned 1995 line was scrapped, although images of package artwork and product samples have circulated.  Did you know Hit & Run was destined, in a way, for a return?

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run Hasbro memo as stealth figure for 1995

Indeed!  According to this memo from Greg Berndtson, Hit & Run, whose figure was never recolored or re-released, was going to be re-used for the ’95 line as the Stealth Tank Driver!  REVELATION.  Here’s his turnaround.

G.I. Joe 1995 Stealth Tank driver, sculpt input reused from 1988 Hit & Run, Mark Pennington

You’ll note it’s just a photocopy of Hit & Run’s, although a few specs have changed, which I have highlighted for clarity.  This looks to be early enough in the process that our new tank driver doesn’t yet have a codename, or if he does, as of June ’94 that’s happening in Marketing and Legal and the R&D guys don’t have the final name.

So what would he have looked like?  Kurt Groen’s breakdown tells us, even if it doesn’t show us:

G.I. Joe 1995 Stealth Tank driver color breakdown

Using these codes as a guide, I’ve taken the liberty of coloring that sculpt input myself.  So here for the first time ever is what the unnamed Phantom X5-3 Stealth Tank driver would have looked like:

G.I. Joe 1988 Hit & Run as unproduced 1995 vehicle driver

I’ve taken a small liberty here.  For clarity I used a dark grey rather than black, and I’m approximating “LT YELLOW GRN.”  “IVY,” as well, but that’s less up to guessing.  After the sidetracks and excesses of ’91 – ’93, the ’94 line was getting back to basics and ’95 would have only continued the trend.  That it never happened has always been a little sad, although the Real American Hero line certainly surpassed all expectations by lasting twelve years.  I hope you’ve enjoy this look behind the curtain at what may have been.

Fun fact:  Hit & Run is the only Joe [EDIT: one of only two] with an ampersand in his name that doesn’t denote an animal companion.  Law & Order was Law, the MP, and his K-9, Order.  Spearhead and Max is the point man named Spearhead and his bobcat, Max.  Well, that’s the word “and” rather than an ampersand, but you get my drift.  Hit & Run is this guy’s whole name, ampersand-ed idiom and all.

[EDIT: Thanks to Tolan, who caught my two errors, as noted in the comments below.  -Tim]

11 Comments

Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

11 responses to “Hit & Run’s almost-1995 transformation

  1. Tolan

    Fun fact: Hit & Run is the only Joe with whites-of-his-eyes. All other figues 1982-1994 are flesh tone plastic with a paint detail in black, brown, blonde, or red for eyebrows and retina.

    —-this isnt true though —

    Heavy duty

    http://www.yojoe.com/action/91/heavyduty.shtml

    Headman

    http://www.yojoe.com/action/92/headman.shtml

    also have white corneas and painted pupils

  2. Tolan

    Fun fact: Hit & Run is the only Joe with an ampersand in his name that doesn’t denote an animal companion.

    —-this isnt true though —
    Rock & Roll

    http://www.yojoe.com/action/89/rocknroll2.shtml

  3. Right you are, sir. Thanks for the fact check. Noted in the main post.

  4. What a cool discovery! Think about it: getting a Hit & Run without gamma-ray green flesh would’ve been awesome.

  5. Nega

    Hit & Run sounds like a vehicle driver’s name. Though, they probably would’ve named him a new character. Or changed his birthplace to Scotland or something.

    Never heard of a stealth tank planned for 1995.

  6. Nega

    Also, I guess I should be that guy and point out he was recolored as Tiger Force Hit & Run in Europe, technically not part of the domestic collection, but still a true Hasbro produced release.

  7. Right-o, Nega. Thanks. Even though it’s all cataloged clearly at yojoe, my knowledge of the international stuff is limited.

  8. He seems cool, but I wish (if they made the 1995 line) they would have mixed parts. Rumbler and Claymore are examples of figures that I think they did a nice job of mixing up the parts for. It makes the characters more interesting. Even if they still called him Hit ‘n’ Run, it would be nice to have a slightly different uniform.

  9. Very cool, Tim. I had not heard this before. Any idea what the Stealth Tank was, or did it end up being the Sgt. Savage “IRON Panther”?

  10. Pingback: So, yeah… about that G.I. Joe Convention Hit & Run. | Generals Joes - A blog about the importance (or unimportance) of little plastic men

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