Astronaut `Buzz' Aldrin New to G.I. Joe Lineup

Article excerpt

Thanks to the proliferation of film, comic-book and cartoon characters, companies are bombarding consumers with an incredible selection of action figures. With tongue in cheek, let's take a peek at some of the specimens worthy of a place in Zad's Toy Vault.

COL. "BUZZ" ALDRIN

Thirty-five years ago, G.I. Joe first walked on the planet Earth. Thirty years ago, humans walked on the moon. Hasbro commemorates these two momentous events with a new 12-inch action figure in its G.I. Joe Classic Collection series celebrating one man's quest to reach the stars.

Figure profile: Soon after graduating from West Point, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin received his wings and became a war hero during the Korean conflict. Soon thereafter, Col. Aldrin returned to school and earned a doctorate in astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology . In October 1963, he was selected by NASA as one of the early astronauts, and in 1966, he established a new record for "extravehicle activity" in space on the Gemini 12 mission. However, his greatest achievement occurred four days into the Apollo 11 mission when, on July 20, 1969, he joined Neil Armstrong for their historic moonwalk.

Favorite accessory: Col. Aldrin is clothed in an authentic re-creation of the Apollo 11 spacesuit and comes with a king-size astronaut helmet, moon boots and oxygen tank with lifelines. I was particularly impressed with the little skullcap and headphones of the type he used to communicate with President Nixon.

Price: $29.99

Expert's opinion (provided by Howard Welsch, owner of Phoenix Comics and Toys in Herndon): G.I. Joe collectors must be feeling a little light in the wallet as Hasbro continues to release all of its 35th-anniversary products. As the latest personality to be portrayed as a "Joe," the Buzz Aldrin figure doesn't disappoint. All the hallmarks of the G.I. Joe line are in evidence here, from the head sculpt's dead-on likeness to the helmet with its mirrored faceplate. Collectors also will want to be on the lookout for the recently released Ted Williams as a Korean War fighter pilot, Teddy Roosevelt and the 35-year "Then and Now" two-doll set.

Read all about it: Around 1969, the G.I. Joe line offered minicomic giveaways featuring some of his most exciting adventures, including Space Walk Mystery and Flying Space Adventure. Good luck finding any of these gems. I suggest checking out the graphic novel "Moonshot," drawn by legendary artist Alfredo (Conan and Star Wars) Alcala, which chronicles the events of Apollo 12 through the eyes of late astronaut Pete Conrad.

Words to buy by: The figure is as inspirational as it is detailed. If anyone would like to meet the real "Buzz" Aldrin, stop by the annual G.I. Joe Collectors' Club convention taking place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington next Saturday (10 a. …