Monday, February 25, 2013

An Airtight Gap in the Collection...

“It takes a mighty weird person to walk into a cloud of toxic gas strong enough to fell a mutant weight-lifter cockroach wearing a protective suit built under contract for the government by the lowest bidder. “

In the summer of 1985, I found myself in the US, standing in the middle of a toy aisle in Toys R’Us staring at a display taller than me, full of brand new G.I.Joes characters that I had never heard of. To say I was overwhelmed would be quite the understatement and it didn’t make things easier for me when my mom impatiently told me to pick ONLY one. Under so much pressure my eyes scanned through all the joes and almost immedeately focused on what I thought was the coolest looking figure of the bunch.

I had no idea what “Airtight” or “Hostile Environment” meant, all I knew was of all the new figures I saw, he looked the coolest with his bright yellow and green uniform with masked helmet . He almost looked more like someone from Star Wars rather than G.I.Joe but I guess that’s what won him over for me, the best of both worlds.

When I finally learned more about Airtight and what his specific role on the team was he became even cooler. As his filecard stated that he was the joe’s hostile environment operative who’s primary specialty was chemical, biological & radiological warfare, in other words stuff you couldn’t take out with a bullet and what normal joes would rather not have to deal with. His bio also stated that he was a nerd who as a kid had a large plastic dinosaur collection, another plus for me since I loved (still do) dinosaurs myself. All that almost automatically made Airtight one of my favorite joes even up to this day. So you can imagine my disappointment when the 25th anniversary of G.I.Joe came and went and modern version of Airtight was nowhere to be found.

Custom & Airtight
When it became clear that we wouldn’t be seeing an update of this guy any time soon, I took it upon myself to make my own modern Airtight, ironically using a Star Wars X-Wing pilot helmet as a base for his helmet. I know my version didn’t look exacty like the original as I added my own embelishments, but he was good enough for me to fill out the “Airtight gap” in my collection.

Luckily, when the 30th anniversary finally came along, Hasbro finally released a modern Airtight, and just like many of the Joes who were skipped in the 25th line, Hasbro seemed intent on making up for the missed opportunity by pulling off all the stops to create the ultimate Airtight figure.

The original Airtight figure was fairly simple, he had a helmeted head, his backpack, a funny rifle with what looked like a vacuum nozel at the end of it along with a few hoses to connect the helmet and weapon to his backpack. This new version had all that and then some. He now sported a removable helmet & vest, which is always a great along with some additional accessories like a second oxygen tank backpack, a gas chromatograph and a shotgun! Because you know EVERY hostile environment specialist NEEDS a shotgun ☺

image name image name image name image name

Now all Airtight needs is a suitable enemy…

to be continued...