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10 Best GI Joe Toys and Action Figures to Buy in 2019

last updated Jul 25, 2019

Making its debut in 1964 with Hasbro, the GI Joe franchise is a time-tested staple of pop culture. There are four main action figures meant to represent each branch of the military. Some years after its launch, Hasbro also created an Action Nurse to honor and represent military medics.

GI Joe figures are fun, classic collectibles that are great for any age. We know it can be hard to track down items from the actual GI Joe line (instead of one of the off-brand competitors) so we’ve collected ten of our favorite authentic GI Joe toys for you below!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

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Retaliation Kim Arashikage
94.7/100 our score
Accessories
95
Materials
95
Value
94
Retaliation Kim Arashikage
Why is it better?

Complete action figure set

Included is an action figure measuring in at 3.75 inches tall

Features Zipline for land for extra action

Posable joints for recreating exciting adventures

Promotes fine motor skill development

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Retaliation Kim Arashikage
Test Winner: Retaliation Kim Arashikage
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Researched Sources
21
Researched Sources
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
17
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Jessica Mentzer
By Jessica Mentzer:

G. I. Joes are a popular action figure series that has been around for many decades. This classic toy is great to give as a gift or even start a collection of your own. Because these characters are such a timeless toy we have created a list of the best. The list was recently reviewed and updated. Two of the items were replaced. The replacement items received reviews and new photos.

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Name
Rating
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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.7
Accessories
95 %
Materials
95 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$12.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.7
Accessories
92 %
Materials
95 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Accessories
95 %
Materials
94 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$39.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Accessories
94 %
Materials
90 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$59.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Accessories
92 %
Materials
93 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$13.97
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Accessories
90 %
Materials
93 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$24.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Accessories
88 %
Materials
94 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$69.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Accessories
88 %
Materials
94 %
Value
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$54.60
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Accessories
90 %
Materials
93 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$13.98
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Accessories
90 %
Materials
92 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (13.12.19)
Amazon Link
$14.19

10 Best GI Joe Toys Reviewed

1. Retaliation Kim Arashikage

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.7
Retaliation Kim Arashikage Toy
Amazon Link
Accessories
95
Materials
95
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$12.99

Complete action figure set

Included is an action figure measuring in at 3.75 inches tall

Features Zipline for land for extra action

Posable joints for recreating exciting adventures

Promotes fine motor skill development

Small pieces included in the set, best suited for children under the age of three years old

Paint scheme is different than the production character

Straight from the classic of the line of the movies, G. I. Joe, this hit produced many awesome action figures. The movie features the Cobra villains and the G. I. Joe Heroes and this awesome action figure comes from the hero series. Measuring in at 3.75 inches with joints that are posable this action figure makes it easy to recreate any scene from the movie. The set of gi joe action figures includes the action figure and accessories.

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Accessories

Ramp up all the action-packed scenes with this action figure set. Included with the set is a working zip line for the character. Placing the line and securing on the other end the kids can send the action figure zipping on their way. It also features a few character fighting accessories.

Materials

Best constructed for children that are over three years these set included many small pieces. Each of the pieces is created from kid-safe plastic that has been molded. The action figure and the accessories have all been made from this same type of material and constructed in a solid mold. It is 3.75 inches tall and is a full-scale figure with all the details of the character.

Value

Straight from the 2013 movie series this G. I. Joe action figure looks exactly like the character from the movie. All it needs is action from your kids and it will be ready to join the gang. From the details in the accessories to the action figure its self it is a great addition to the G. I. Joe collection.

2. Retaliation Alley Viper

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.7
Retaliation Alley Viper action figure
Amazon Link
Accessories
92
Materials
95
Value
94
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Removable helmet

Zipline included

Attachable shield

Comes with multiple weapons

No stand included

Defenders of freedom will have their hands full with this fierce terrorist agent. Adept at metropolitan warfare, this killer lurks in the darkness of city streets, waiting for the perfect moment to take his enemies by surprise.

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Accessories

The figure’s striking red color scheme is dazzling and gives the character an almost electrifying appearance. This model’s combination of exciting features makes it a very popular choice among parents.

Materials

This soldier comes prepared with his weapons that include an assault rifle and a pair of nunchucks. He is more than capable of defending himself thanks to his large shield that can be attached to his arm in preparations for battle. This figure also comes with its own zip line that can be extended up to seven feet for a rip-roaring time.

Watch him race down the zip line as he hangs onto his pulley, closing in on his unsuspecting targets. Kids will love the fact that they can choose to remove the helmet whenever they want, and this model’s excellent joint flexibility means they can enjoy creating all kinds of intriguing action scenarios to conquer.

Value

This figurine has a bit of history behind it; the same character model was released way back in 2009 in honor of the toy empire’s 25th anniversary, but with a slightly different appearance and color pattern. This one is a nod to the original, but with new and improved abilities.

3. Hasbro Fiftieth Anniversary Arctic Ambush

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Hasbro Fiftieth Anniversary Arctic Ambush action figures
Amazon Link
Accessories
95
Materials
94
Value
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.99

Well-articulated toys

Set includes two action figures

Durable; will hold up under rough play

Classic GI Joe characters

Lots of great accessories

Snow Job isn’t especially wow-worthy, but the BAT features a new color scheme and both toys look great on their skis

Small pieces; not for children under 3

These GI Joe action figures are wonderfully articulated and come with tons of accessories. The set includes Snow Job and an Arctic B.A.T. squaring off for the 50th anniversary of the franchise.

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Accessories

A variety of survival gear and guns accompany them. You can even make a tent out of Snow Job’s skis and blanket, though instructions for that are not included. These little action figures hold up well against rough play and celebrate GI Joe with quality and in style.

Materials

These are great little additions to any GI Joe collection. Their cool gear and accessories are what set them apart, giving kids lots of inspiration during play.

Value

Imaginative play helps children to empathize and express themselves creatively. These new gi joe toys set them up for all kinds of fun Arctic adventures as the two duke it out in the great Arctic wilderness.

4. Fiftieth Anniversary Two-Pack Night Marksmen

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Two-Pack Night Marksmen toys
Amazon Link
Accessories
94
Materials
90
Value
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$59.99

Two original character figurines

Fully articulated

Lots of accessories

Includes display stands

Rare, exclusive figures with low production run

They’re made entirely of plastic, even the hinged parts

Creative play can help children to develop social skills, empathy, advanced communication, and confidence. These gi joe toys are a perfect gift for kids or adults alike who are enthusiastic fans of the original franchise and its many offshoots.

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Accessories

This special 50th Anniversary Pack contains both Light Light and Night Viper. They both come with multiple accessories fitted to them, including weapons, a walkie talkie, additional armor, and more.

Materials

These gi joe figures are small but they’re well-armed with tons of accessories and they work well as display pieces and actual action figures. They’re from a pretty limited edition run of toys, so grab them while you still can!

Value

With a low production run, this set is a valuable collector’s item. It comes fully packaged and unopened, with all pieces intact. These figurines feature typical articulation and both come with their own stand for display.

5. Retaliation Firefly

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Retaliation Firefly toy
Amazon Link
Accessories
92
Materials
93
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.97

Batteries included

Extra head for two different looks

Lights up

Canister ejects for added effect

Figure’s feet lack jointed movement

The munitions expert of the Cobra team, this enemy soldier is a formidable opponent that should not be underestimated. Our heroes must beware of his unique battle tactics that include a rapid board launcher and explosive weaponry.

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Accessories

With the extra attachable head included, you can quickly change this gi joe doll into his mysterious ninja disguise to hide his identity. Stand back and get ready for take off, because this one is ready to charge!

Materials

No need to manually maneuver this figure in and out of battle positions, because his mobile launching board is fully powered by batteries, which are luckily already included! When you’re ready to fire, just eject the deadly explosive canister from the front of the launching board, and you’ll have unleashed a devastating enemy attack. For added dramatic effect, the launch board can even light up with the simple push of a button. The GI Joe team better brush up on their defense tactics if they want to survive the deadly attack of this soldier and his explosive weaponry!

Value

This gi joe action figure is different in that it doesn’t include a bunch of exotic weaponry. We like that it presents a character more focused on a particular specialization, which is more realistic and ups the suspense in an imaginary war situation.

6. Retaliation Night Viper

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Retaliation Night Viper toy
Amazon Link
Accessories
90
Materials
93
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.99

Full scale action figure from the G. I. Joe series Retaliation

Action figure and accessories included in the set

Posable joints make recreating action scenes fun

Standard size measures 3.75 inches tall

Encourages social interaction developmental skills

Airbrushed details are poorly done

Peg holes in the bottom of the feet are not deep enough for action figure stands

Action figures are a part of childhood that everyone remembers and this character is no different. From the details in the clothing to the accessory package that is included this G. I. Joe action figure really adds to the set. He is super detailed and looks like he walked right out of the movie and into the box.

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Accessories

These gi joe action figures set comes with several accessories that make it one of the coolest characters from the collection. It features; a backpack, flashlight, helmet with scope, desert eagle, a stand, and even so much more. There are so many accessories that the character is not able to wear or hold them all at one time. It is a ton of accessories that are all created and only come with this character from the series.

Materials

Created from the same quality materials that each of the characters from this series is this one is not an exemption from the mold. It is created from molded, durable, high quality plastic that is proven to last through the action figure stage of childhood and well into their adulthood. G. I. Joes are a timeless classic action figure that everyone remembers from their childhood.

Value

The posable joints, awesome accessory package, and working details of this character give it the nostalgia feel that everyone is looking to give to their children. As you remember playing with the characters from your childhood you remember the scenes and acting them out on the floor of your room. This makes you want to bring the same feeling to your child. This is a perfect character from the series to give them to bring them right to the movie that you just watched with them.

7. Twenty-Fifth Anniversary: Storm Shadow (Cobra Ninja)

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Storm Shadow gi joe action figures
Amazon Link
Accessories
88
Materials
94
Value
94
best offer for today
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$69.95

25th Anniversary Edition

Comes with a few weapons

Includes character card

Popular cartoon character

3.75 inches and compatible with other Anniversary Edition toys

Not many accessories and no display stand

This Ninja’s codename is Storm Shadow and it’s no wonder: given his mastery of martial arts and his sleek white costume, he could slip through the snow unnoticed, scarcely leaving a footprint behind.

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Accessories

He comes with a bow and arrow, knife, and samurai sword. Storm Shadow has a rich backstory involving betrayal, secrecy, loyalty to one’s roots, and the eventual epiphany that vengeance brings little joy to anyone. This gi joe doll is the perfect toy for kids who love Storm Shadow and can’t wait to make their own adventures with him.

Materials

This is a great little model for fans of the cartoon. The costuming is a little different but the figurine is well made and a solid collectible for fans of the Joe franchise or Storm Shadow as a standalone character.

Value

Originally, he served with Snake Eyes in Southeast Asia and eventually infiltrated Cobra’s ranks to avenge the death of his uncle. Realizing that there was no joy in that, he retired but will still come out to help the Joes if Snake Eyes asks politely enough.

8. Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Night Specter with Grand Slam

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Night Specter with Grand Slam gi joe toys
Amazon Link
Accessories
88
Materials
94
Value
93
best offer for today
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$54.60

Functional pivoting rudders

Elevating cannons

Operational gull-wing canopy

Removable engine cover

Fits and includes standard 3.75” figure

Small, removable pieces pose choking hazard to children aged 3 and younger

A new take on the Joes’ original GI Joe SHARC, this vehicle comes in a dark matte black which makes it perfect for night ops.

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Accessories

These gi joe dolls feature gull-wing canopies, which users can open, as well as a removable engine covers. Pivoting rudders add flare to this tank, and removable torpedoes make it a force to be reckoned with. Side levers elevate the cannons, giving Joes a vantage point. This toy is best suited for ages 5 and up, and is compatible with most modern GI Joe toys, specifically any 3.75” action figures. The kit includes its own standard Joe from the 25th Anniversary series.

Materials

This vehicle has lots of little moving parts that kids will love. Using the various levers, wheels, and rudders will help improve their motor skills. The vehicle can fit the standard 3.75” GI Joe figurines, making it a great accessory for creative play.

Value

This vehicle has lots of fun operational bits and moving pieces. It includes a standard action figure, which is nice, but also is compatible with basically any contemporary GI Joe, since they all are the standard 3.75” size.

9. Retaliation Storm Shadow

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Retaliation Storm Shadow gi joe toys
Amazon Link
Accessories
90
Materials
93
Value
92
best offer for today
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$13.98

More than five feet of zip line

Clips attach zipline to different anchors

Figuring has movable joints

Based on the same movie character

The string may fray over time

The characters from the hit movie of the same name come to life in this fearsome line of gi joe action figures.

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Accessories

Featuring an attachable zip line with the length being more than five feet, this enemy ninja can have the edge over his opponents by engaging in surprise attacks from above. Send him flying across the rigged up zip line with weapons in hand, and he is almost unstoppable! Your child can now act out a variety of battle simulations based on the actual movie plot, and owning an action figure like this one is a must!

Materials

One of the Cobra Command’s most deadly assassins, this figure is ready to use his expert ninja fighting skills to take down the heroes. With fully bendable joints, this highly trained enemy agent is able to kick, punch, and twist while he fights off the good guys. If your child has never seen the movie, make it more exciting by getting them these essential gi joe action figures so they can play with it while watching the film!

Value

The sleek white, black, and grey color scheme is eye-catching to say the least, and gives this figure a commanding appearance. Because this one has minimal accessories besides the zipline, that means there are less small parts to worry about, making playtime easier on you.

10. Retaliation Joe Colton

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.3
Retaliation Joe Colton gi joe action figure
Amazon Link
Accessories
90
Materials
92
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.19

3.75” durable action figure

Good articulation

Likeness to 2013 Bruce Willis character

Compatible with other figurines and vehciles from the Retaliation line

Comes with a few weapons

Not a lot of accessories and no stand

Cobra is out there and ready to cause mayhem. Only GI Joe and his team of specially trained fighters can stop them!

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Accessories

This GI Joe retaliation figurine stands at 3.75” and is fully articulated, meaning he is ready for battle! He fits in the fun sea, land, and air vehicles made for the Retaliation line and can use the accessories and fight alongside other Retaliation figurines as well. In the stylings of the 2013 movie, this action Joe looks just like Bruce Willis.

Materials

If you saw the 2013 blockbuster, your family may be a fan of thrilling action movies. This figurine is the perfect accessory for kids to reenact their favorite scenes or make new adventures of their own! Fully packaged and in excellent condition, this is a great buy for fans of the movie and the classic Joe franchise alike.

Value

He’s not an original Joe but he does look like the 2013 reiteration and he moves well, which is a bonus given that some toy companies (Hasbro among them) have cut back on the articulation of their products. Not a bad Joe, and especially if you’re not keen on paying the high price on many of the original gi joe toys.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Accessories

When one thinks of GI Joe figures, the first thing that usually comes to mind are all the amazing weapons and accessories that come with the figures, because let’s face it; without all the cool gadgets and doodads, the figures probably wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining!

We looked for the ones that came with more than just one or two weapons, and you’ll notice that several of the action figures on our list come with jumbo-sized extra ammunition that enhances the character’s standard weaponry, creating an even more intense showdown!

From missiles to rifles, to rockets to swords, these toys have it all and more, giving your child endless hours of thrills.

Materials

The very definition of gi joe action figures is that it must be able to move, and these toys are highly regarded for their ball joints that allow them to be manipulated in ways that most other figures aren’t capable of. With these toys, it’s not just their head and hands that can be moved; elbow joints, knees, wrists, and torsos can all be bent or twisted into the desired attack position.

The gi joe toys that come with a zip line are always a hit with the kids because the figure is able to grasp and hold onto the pulley as it zips across, creating a realistic and entertaining experience for your child.

Value

There are many strong opinions on what makes something a collector’s item, including how old a toy is, its packaging, and popularity. However, knowing the immense adoration of this particular toy franchise across the world, we felt it was important to highlight the toys within the franchise that were already considered collectible, as well as the ones that have the potential to be considered a future collector’s item.

GI joe figures like Storm Shadow are usually always in demand because of his central role in the various storylines, and anniversary sets are sure to become collector’s items, which is why you will see them included on our list. It’s always a good idea to take good care of your GI Joe figures and make sure your child does not break them due to extremely rough play.

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Parents, Did You Know?

GI joe dolls feature characters to represent each branch of the US military. They eventually even introduced an Action Nurse.

Parents, Did You Know?

GI joe action figures first arrived on the scene on February 2, 1964 thanks to Hasbro. The original line featured twelve-inch figures.

Other Factors to Consider

Entertainment Value

Most fans of the franchise are familiar with almost every character ever created and can recite their rank as well as individual fighting tactics. But for those who aren’t as knowledgeable about the many different personalities within the storylines, we thought it was important to include a wide assortment of characters on our list that were not just the most popular or most famous.

While we did include several mainstay characters like Storm Shadow that many recognize from the movie adaptions and comic books, some new fans may not be familiar with Firefly, for example. By presenting a wide range of characters from different storylines, we hope to give your child more options and opportunities to learn about the immense and captivating world of GI Joe figures.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Why don’t all of the figurines come with a stand?

a:

This is a common question among both parents and collectors alike; if some of the figures come with a stand, many think this means there’s been a mistake when their figure doesn’t come with a stand of some kind.

However, there is an explanation that has to do with the intentional design of the toy itself. Some of the box sets on our list come with stands because they include multiple figures with limited accessories, which makes these sets attractive displays when they are not in use. The figures that come with a vehicle, for example, do not usually include a stand because they are meant to be primarily more mobile than the box sets.

q: What are some of the different series or versions that the GI Joe franchise has released?

a:

Due to the gi joe figures the rapid rise in popularity, there have been several new releases and special collector’s editions released through the years. The various movie adaptations also instigated several reboots and improvements in the action figures themselves. Some of these series include the Real American Hero, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, GI Joe: Retaliation, and the 25th and 50th special anniversary editions. Your family will have so much fun exploring and comparing the different series and their matching toys!

q: Are the small accessories included with the action figures safe for my 4-year-old to play with?

a:

This is an understandable question that many parents have when they are thinking of purchasing action figures for their child. Because all of these toys on our list are recommended for ages 4 and above, it is expected that there will be reliable adult supervision at hand while the child is playing with the toy. Since the figures themselves are quite small, the weapons and accessories are also going to be very miniature in size, so it is important to supervise your child carefully when they are playing with these small parts.

q: My child is new to GI Joe, which toy would be the best introduction to the series?

a:

That’s the great thing about this particular franchise; there’s so much to choose from! There are different opinions on what makes a good first toy to the child new to GI Joe. Some parents say their child has more fun with the larger sets that include moving accessories or parts, and that have multiple figures for more variety. Others, however, prefer to introduce their child to the franchise more slowly by purchasing them a single figure, like the Storm Shadow one on our list. This gives the child the chance to become familiar with all the different characters and storylines at their own pace.

q: Why are some of them more expensive than the others?

a:

If you scroll through these options on Amazon, you will notice there are some significant price differences. At first glance, this may seem unnecessary because the figures are all relatively the same size.

However, there are some very significant differences in these action figures on our list that greatly impact its final retail price. The special anniversary editions are considered to be a limited edition item, and for this reason, their price will be higher than a single action figure. Also, figures that come with moving accessories such as zip lines or vehicles tend to be priced higher as well, especially if they require batteries. The single-action figure with just a couple of weapons will usually be priced the lowest unless it is a special edition.

q: How do GI Joe toys teach kids about the importance of our military?

a:

These figures are not just fun to play with or interesting to look at; they are also representations of courage, valor, and sacrifice. The very first Joe action figure ever created was intended to be a symbol of thanks and respect for war veterans returning home.

Given the toy’s somewhat emotional origins, it is easy to see how it quickly became an international symbol, reminding us to stand up for what’s right and defend those we love. When your child becomes familiar with the long history of the characters and how they fight to protect freedom from evil villains, the metaphorical connections to real-life will become clearer over time.

Sources

  1. Chris Carola , GI Joe, the World's First Action Figure, Turns 50 , Online News Article
  2. Reis O'Brien , What Defines an Action Figure?, Informative Article
  3. Nolen Gertz , Our Action Figures, Ourselves, Informative Article
  4. Joe Kanooga, 10 Learning Toys That Stimulate Child Development, Online Article
  5. Vincent , A Few Moments with a Real G.I. Joe, Q&A Article