The key to identifying your GI Joe figures is to check out their butts. That's where the unique identifying markings tell the tale. Having your Joe unsnap, unzip, and touch his toes, is the only way to get to the bottom of the identification mystery.
If you would rather investigate the other end of GI Joe variations, check out my Many Faces of GI Joe companion web site.
All the images presented here are of figures in ScottE's collection unless otherwise noted. You may use the images for non-commercial purposes, as long as the source of the image is displayed along with the picture.
|The first mass produced GI Joe figures appeared in 1964. Hasbro hadn't quite completed all the patents and registrations for the figures, which resulted in a transient product marking as shown here. The GI Joe name itself is TradeMarked and the figure is Patent Pending.|
|The product registration came through relatively quickly, so in 1965 the TradeMark was replaced with the R mark. The patent is still pending, and remained so into the 1966 production runs.|
|GI Joe's butt print stabilized by 1967 and remained fundamentally unchanged through the mid 70s. The date on all these butts is 1964. The patent number is now printed on Joe's right butt cheek. A 1970, hard handed, talking fuzzhead wasn't adverse to showing us his "buns of plastic" here. Also pictured is Hasbro's answer to the bionic man, with a 1975 Atomic Butt. This was one of the body parts that wasn't changed on the Mike Power figure.||
|The Hall of Fame, HOF, HeadSculpts had a lot of character, but their butts were pretty plain. At least they provided a smooth surface to put print on. The registration is embossed as 1992. Note that HOF figures also have a "tattoo" across their lower back. Here's a "Rock and Roll" figure baring with us for this page.|
|The Timeless Collection figures are about as much a clone of the original Butt as has been seen. Even the TradeMarked product name has returned, rather than the Registered mark. The likeness is so striking that what amounts to a warning label has been added to his left butt cheek. It states, in no uncertain terms, that this figure is a reproduction. Here's a General Lee figure providing full disclosure.|
|The Classic Collection figures are the next stop in the cheek review. The stamped date is now 1996. Here's a Saving The Tiger figure shooting the moon.|
|The CC figures aren't all manly bottomed. Some figures capture the
kinder, gentler nature of the female form.
Pictured here is a 1997 dated posterior of a figure marketed as GI
Jane. Hasbro didn't have the rights to such a moniker, and had to
recant in future female figure releases.
The name changed, but the butt remained the same. Pictured here is an ethnic version of the 1999 Vietnam Nurse.