#1315: Audie Murphy

AUDIE MURPHY — MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT

G.I. JOE: CLASSIC COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Born in Texas on June 20, 1924, Audie Murphy joined the United States Army in 1942 and went on to become the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II.  It was on January 26, 1945 that Second Lieutenant Murphy, 15th Infantry, performed one of the most extraordinary acts of selfless heroism ever recorded.”

Generally speaking, when it comes to G.I. Joe, I tend to stick with the ‘80s A Real American Hero incarnation of the line (though I’m also partial to the ‘70s Adventure Team incarnation as well).  That being said, I was introduced to the brand via my dad and uncle’s old vintage Joes from the ‘60s.  Anti-war sentiment following Vietnam led to the end of the original Joe concept, but opinions gradually calmed over the years, allowing for that original concept to make a gradual return in the ‘90s.  In addition to the generic soldiers that originally populated the line, Hasbro also peppered in some prominent historic members of the U.S. military.  Today’s focus is one of those figures, Audie Murphy, who might be as close as WW2 got to having an actual Captain America.  He was prominent not just as a soldier, but also as movie star in the ‘50s and ‘60s.  And he got a G.I. Joe, so that’s pretty cool, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Audie Murphy was released in 2001’s Echo Series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Classic Collection.  He was an entry in the then-ongoing “Medal of Honor Recipient” sub-series of the line.  The figure stands about 12 inches tall and has 42 points of articulation.  The figure is obviously meant to evoke Murphy during the events of January 26, 1945.  It’s worth noting that he seems to actually be more pattered on Murphy’s appearance in the 1955 film To Hell and Back, which retells that battles events, and stars Murphy as himself.  Obviously, there’s a lot more reference available from the movie, and it’s how most people are gonna think of Murphy, so it’s hardly the worst choice. 

The head sculpt is a respectable recreation of Murphy’s likeness.  Obviously, it’s not Hot Toys quality or anything, but that’s hardly expected, given the time period and price point of this figure’s release.  Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty solid sculpt, with some pretty impressive detailing.  It’s perhaps a little on the small side in comparison to the body, but Hasbro was at the time still trying to shake off the really large, chunky heads of the early ‘90s, and I think this looks a little less silly than the alternative.  The paint work is pretty clean, and there’s even a little bit of accent work on the hair.  You’re not going to mistake him for a real person, but you can see who it’s supposed to be.

Murphy is based on the at the time standard body for the line.  It’s a body that definitely shows its age; the arms in particular are a touch on the long side, though this is really to aid with posing.  As far as playability, it’s actually pretty great.  It’s super posable, and can hold a lot of intense poses.  He sports the “Gung Ho Grip,” meaning he had the individually articulated fingers, which are a lot of fun when it comes to posing.

His uniform is made up of a field jacket, shirt, pants, two belts, a scarf, a helmet, and a pair of rubber boots.  Like the head sculpt, they’re not comparable to anything from the higher end, but they fit well with the style of the line at the time.  The tailoring is a little loose, mostly to help preserve his articulation.  Due to the thickness of the fabric, when he’s wearing everything, he can look a little puffy, but that’s really the style of the time, and he won’t look super out of place.  The helmet, second belt, and boots are all quite nicely sculpted; the helmet sits securely on his head, which is always a plus.

The figure included a pretty impressive selection of accessories:

  • M-1 Carbine
  • Canteen
  • .45 caliber pistol
  • .45 ammo pouches
  • Holster
  • Browning .50 caliber machine gun (w/ ammo belt)
  • Dog tags

He’s armed with an M-1 Carbine, a .45, and a Browning machine gun.   All three are quite nicely sculpted pieces.  The Carbine’s my favorite of the three, and I think he looks the best holding it.  Its got a removable magazine and a strap, which is cool.  The .45 is also a pretty nice piece, though it looks a touch small in his hands.  There’s a working slide and a removable clip, which are both pretty awesome touches.  The Browning is supposed to replicate the one Murphy used during his standoff against the German forces.  The main gun is pretty accurate, but the real thing was mounted to a tank, which obviously wasn’t feasible here.  He’s been given a little tripod to stand it on, which is a little awkward to use.  Nevertheless, it’s a cool piece.  The ammo pouches, canteen, and holster are all designed to be attached to his second belt.  It can be a little tricky to get them placed, but they stay on pretty tight once they’re on there. Lastly, there’s the dog tags, which predate G.I. Joe’s move to slightly more realistically scaled ones, and as such look super, super goofy on the figure.  One thing that might have been nice to get is some sort of display stand, but they weren’t really common at this point.

THE ME HALF OF THE  EQUATION

This Audie Murphy figure belonged to my Granddad.  My family and I gave him to Granddad as a birthday present back in 2001, when the figure was still brand new.  Remember how I mentioned that my Granddad moved at his own pace?  Yeah, well he took this figure, unopened,  and set it under a table in their dining room for several years.  Then he finally removed it from under that table….to use it to prop up the TV antenna to get better reception.  It would be hyperbolic to say this caused me actual, physical pain, but it did come quite close.  In the last few weeks since Granddad’s passing, we’ve been doing a lot of work around the house, and I found this guy, still in his now horribly sun-stained packaging.  With my Grandmother’s permission, I finally opened him, 16 years after he made his way into the house.  It was a nice, somewhat cathartic moment.  The figure shows his age, but I found myself genuinely enjoying taking him out and playing with him.  He makes me nostalgic for my days of when I was super into this style of G.I. Joe, and I’m really just happy he’s finally been opened!

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