Washington Leads Army Again

By Szadkowski, Joseph | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 18, 1998 | Go to article overview

Washington Leads Army Again


Szadkowski, Joseph, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


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.

GEN. GEORGE WASHINGTON

In 1964, Hasbro created the ultimate Barbie for boys. G.I. Joe was a tough soldier who came with unlimited firepower and authentic outfits. Thirty-four years later, Hasbro's G.I. Joe Classic Collection expands the role of the Joe universe to include dignitaries such as Gen. George Patton, Gen. Omar Bradley and our first president.

Figure profile: Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, George Washington stands as a colossus in American history. Rejected as a British officer at age 24, the once-loyal British subject by age 42 had become Britain's No. 1 enemy. A dedicated man in possession of a unique combination of principles, he became a founding father of the United States and one of the greatest men of his time.

Favorite accessory: The scale, folding table and map make nice additions to the general's strategic tools. However, the U.S. flag with 13 stars brought a tear to my patriotic peepers.

Price: $46.99

Expert's opinion (provided by Howard Welsch, owner of Phoenix Comics and Toys in Herndon): The George Washington doll has everything for the toy enthusiast. The highly detailed battle map and historical clothing make this a great doll. The packaging itself, with its foldout painting of Washington addressing his army, almost warrants leaving this toy in the box, but to do so would be a disservice to the figure.

Read all about it: Slim pickings on the George Washington sequential-art front. I suggest going to the Charlton Classic Library for a 1973 book based on the musical "1776" ($4 in mint condition) or check out Classics Illustrated for reprints of Benjamin Franklin and the Story of America (both within the $5 range).

Words to buy by: 11 1/2 inches of quality greet buyers of this classy action figure.

GENE SIMMONS WITH RINGMASTER

The rock band Kiss is a musical force that has produced 30 albums in 25 years. Its McFarlane Comics-created book, Kiss: Psycho Circus, became a sensation last year with its portrayal of band members in a violent world of vengeance and redemption. The new toy line features two figures per blister pack and includes Ace Frehley with the Stiltman, Peter Criss with the Animal Wrangler, Paul Stanley with the Jester and the fire-breathing lunatic, Gene Simmons, with someone only Cirque du Soleil would admire.

Figure profile: Born Gene Klein on Aug. 25, 1949, Mr. Simmons is a pop-culture icon. As part of the year-old comic book Psycho Circus, his avatar, the Demon, helps a roving band of entertainers right the wrongs of a society out of control. The Demon exists within the alter ego of Jonathan Blackwell, the Ringmaster.

Favorite accessory: I liked the lifelike Simmons coif, dug the mountable wings, enjoyed the Ringmaster's minimegaphone, but was captivated by the dragon launcher. …

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