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Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified Airborne Review

I never had Airborne growing up, but it seemed like all of my friends did. I distinctly remember pretending that his backpack was a parachute, but that’s about all I remember so he was never super high on my most wanted list. Sometimes that really works in a figure’s favor that I have no preconceived notions. Let’s take a look at Franklin “Airborne” Talltree!

I’m still getting used to this new box style, but I think I like it. The portrait on the side captures the character feel nicely and the scene render on the back is a nice reference to his Sunbow episode, Operation Mind Menace, where Airborne attacks a secret Cobra Base on Easter Island. It’s one of the more outlandish episodes as Cobra is experimenting on people with psychic abilities, one of whom happens to be Airborne’s brother.

Airborne comes with a good chunk of stuff including a helmet, two different goggles, a night vision attachment, a pistol, a rifle with removeable clip and silencer, a knife, and a backpack.

The pack is re-use from Duke which is how it was back in the vintage line. While I like the look of it fine, it does not want to stay on at all. The ratchets on the knees are so tight and the pack so loose, every time I reposed the knees the legs, but vibration from the ratchet in the joint would pop the pack. I must have dropped this thing 20 times while taking photos.

The pistol and rifle are cast in gray plastic with no paint detail and while not rubbery, they aren’t as stiff as I’d like (ahem) as the stock on the rifle will bend when posed under the figure’s arm. They are re-use from Firefly and can swap silencers and use blast effects on the silencer barrel. The pistol and silencer fit into the thigh holster securely. I’ve seen a lot of consternation online about Airborne not coming with his original rifle. The line has made that gun already as it came with the Crimson Guard, so while I have no connection or requirement for the inclusion of the original gun, I could see where people would expect it.

The knife is the same gray plastic as the guns and stores securely in a sheath on the chest overlay. Airborne’s helmet has a couple of goggle options and I noticed the fit varies a bit. The helmet just by itself is fairly loose and the little straps will interact with the neck of his vest to knock the thing askew, so you have to fiddle with it a bit to get it centered and down around his eyebrows.

There are goggles that are wrapped up in green and I noticed the helmet sits a little bit tighter with those on as it sort of squeezes the shape a bit. I’m curious as to why the goggles are covered in this way, I think it’s something done in the military, I just don’t know why. Let me know in the comments if you do. It does have the effect of matching the one-colored helmet with goggles look from the original toy.

He also comes with goggles that will fit over his eyes. These are too short to go over the helmet, but when he’s wearing both, the helmet stays on best. You can do the trick from Dusty and put these goggles on backwards to have the helmet stay on more securely but look like he’s not wearing them, however you can see them peeking out from the bottom of the helmet behind if you do so. As with all goggles, I do wish they were translucent on the lenses so I could see the eyes beneath.

Finally there is a tiny night vision goggle piece that attaches to the socket in his helmet in one of two positions. This is something the Valaverse figures have had for a while, so it’s good to see the Joe team add it here. It definitely gives him a more modern military feel.

I like the sculpting a lot here. The portrait is square-jawed and handsome and he sort of reminds me of the Clones from the Clone Wars, but I think the portrait works to convey his Native American heritage. The body has some nice subtle cloth texture and realistic folds. I especially like all the strap detail on his overlay and the sharp lines on the helmet ear coverings.

I can’t identify if the legs are re-use as they look new to me, but the arms appear to be from Scrap-Iron and the the torso overlay is new. I was a little concerned that since the torso overlay is one piece with the belt and leg straps there would not be much torso movement, but it doesn’t hinder that too badly as he still gets some crunch and waist and full leg movement. He has standard Classified articulation and it all moves well aside from the insanely tight knee detents I mentioned earlier.

Paint is good, but pretty minimal and the face print is nice and flawless. The body is cast in that very light tan color that I could use some matte spray or a light wash because it’s a little plain. There are some nice detail hits on the torso overlay, but there are some strap and buttons and buckles that could use a little detail paint. The vest is interesting because in the Hasbro fanstreams they mentioned how they toned it down so much from the vintage, but it still feels super bright to me. Not in a bad way, I like that pop of blue a hole lot, but he almost feels like they took the warm tan and aqua of the original figure and dialed them to cooler colors.

Overall Airborne is a great military figure and while I have some nitpicks I like him quite a bit. The Classified line has a way of making me love characters that I was never all that invested in before buying the toy. The most annoying thing is that backpack not staying on and this might be the worst example of that I’ve experienced in this line. Since he’s an airborne infantry-man it would be cool to get a parachute accessory to use with him some day, but I’m heavily influenced by the card art in my G.I. Joe collecting so he’ll probably go with my Dragonfly Helicopter when that arrives.

11 thoughts on “Hasbro: G.I. Joe Classified Airborne Review

  1. Sure, Im just saying the reason he doesnt have a parachute is because he isnt a designated Paratrooper with the Joes like Ripcord or Crazylegs.

  2. I loved those times as a kid. We’d usually hit up the local drug store on the way home from my Grandparents so I’d be in the toy aisle while mom did her shopping. I’d love those rare times when she’d come to collect me and say “Find anything you like.” Of course I did! Joes were always a buy, a Transformer was usually pushing our budget. Still have fond “flashbulb” memories of getting the Crimson Guard.

  3. I’m a staunch acrophobe so I was a proud “leg” in the service and eventually gravitated towards mechanized infantry in ensure I stayed on the ground. Still most of the airborne people I knew were also air assault qualified. I imagine Airborne probably falls, no pun intended, into the category of leaping into battle by air no matter the method.

  4. While it said “HELICOPTER ASSAULT TROOPER” at the top of the file cards for most of the 3 3/4″ Airborne figures , those file cards also listed “Airborne Infantry/Airborne Infantryman” as his primary military specialty.

  5. Airborne was one of the first figures I got as a child. He always rode the gunner’s seat in my Dragonfly, but I also had a parachute from a Fisher Price Adventure People toy set that fit him perfectly so I would sometimes take him outside and throw him as high as I could so he could ‘chute down onto enemy positions in the yard. I was very much looking forward to this figure, but given the fact that the backpack just. won’t. stay. on. and that he doesn’t come with his original rifle, that means I’m only lukewarm on him. It’s also frustrating when another figure came with the appropriate rifle and that figure, in turn, didn’t come with THEIR correct rifle.

    The cynic in me says that Hasbro is releasing these figures that are slightly askew from being perfect (like with Quick Kick coming with a red backpack) so they can double-dip on a retro carded release with them later.

  6. Airborne is a Joe I remember getting on some random day at a store. Not sure if it was for a good report card, or my mother was just feeling nice that day but I asked and I received. As far as classified is concerned, he is one of my original top 10 wants from the line. I ordered mine full price from Amazon and he certainly does not disappoint.

  7. I think that bio card confuses me because they call him an airborne infantryman and talks about him parachuting.

  8. Some things since u asked/Mentioned:
    *The goggle covers are usually to keep them clean and resistant to scratches, and are generally used by troops on a longer hike or in sandier regions to keep from getting scratched.
    *Airborne is a Helicopter trooper, not (ironically) an airborne infantry trooper. He doesnt parachute in, his job is to rope down from helicopters and then work on extracting targets/comrades. Its why he was often seen on the helicopter boxes (Though how he was supposed to get out of Dragonfly midflight is anyones guess.
    *I find a lot of the Joe legs (And sometimes elbows) very tight, and have taken to running a thin knife around the edges of the joints very carefully, which seems to help. I do it on the front and back of the hinges, very shallow, less cutting and more making space. Helps a lot.

  9. I love that the air assault trooper is called airborne. Two very different skill identifiers in the military. I would imagine that the cover on the goggles is either to reduce glare/reflection or to protect the lenses while not in use. The loose pack issue is something I wish Hasbro could lock down. It’s been my biggest gripe since day one. Still this figure surprised me and I like him a lot. Now let’s get the airborne trooper Ripcord.

  10. Man, these are looking better and better.
    I am so glad I didn’t start collecting these, I would have NO ROOM.
    I sold off my original Joe collection this year because I didn’t have the display space, I can’t imagine collecting the 6″ scale.

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