HELICOPTER ASSAULT TROOPER  
  Code Name: AIRBORNE  
 

Airborne has remained a fairly popular second-tier Joe despite never really doing much. Apart from backing Spirit up on a recon mission to Snake Eyes' mountain cabin he didn't do much in the comic, while his focus episode of the cartoon was focused on his ESP-possessing brother as much as anything else. On the plus side, in the latter he was voiced by Peter Cullen, who simply did his Optimus Prime voice. So Airborne sounds like Optimus Prime, which is enough for me to like him.

Still, I'm not entirely sure why I went for Airborne - maybe completism, maybe because he was cheap at the time. But I'm glad I did. Firstly the design walks the tightrope nicely between realism and being visually interesting. The tan fatigues gel perfectly with the powder-blue flak jacket and green helmet, while all the little buckles and pads add to the figure too.

They've even thought to give Airborne's visible skin a slightly native American tinge in line with the character's filecard, which is a nice little touch. Even the helmet, rifle and backpack fit nicely with the character. The former, however, does provide the figure's only real failing - the post for the backpack seems to be much thicker than the hole in Airborne's back, and needs cutting down to be a clean fit.

When an easily-fixed manufacturing error is the worst thing you can bring up about a figure, the toy can't be that bad. Airborne does maybe lack the 'wow' factor of some of the more extravagant G.I. Joe toys, but he's another excellent piece of work in his own right. While I like the more colourful characters which began appearing in the mid-1980s, there's nothing wrong with the minimalist style of Airborne, and there's a lot of individuality to the toy.

G.I. Joe Airborne
G.I. Joe Airborne
G.I. Joe Airborne
G.I. Joe Airborne