Friday, April 1, 2011

N.A. Action Figures Pt 1: The Not so Changing face of Spirit Iron-Knife

Think about Native American Action figures.  What is the first thing that comes to mind?  Spirit Iron-Knife, of course!  If you were a child of the '80s, like me, G.I. JOE was a big part of your childhood along with He-Man, Transformers and, oh yeah, Star Wars.  G.I. JOE had a Native guy, though.  Okay, so he was a walking stereo-type with bird.  What is up with the bird, anyway?  I've never met a Native American falconer, have you?

1984 Spirit  the Tracker

Spirit's file card from 1984

Spirit's pet Eagle "Freedom"  came with both 1984 & 1989 figures

There's that word again, Mystic, ugh.  Why can't he just be a guy who really likes mashed potatoes?
Wait, did you catch that? "He's not a healer or a priest or a witch doctor.  There is isn't any equivalent in our culture for what he is unless we had shrinks that could actually help people."  Well, somebody must have forgotten their Valium that day.

Spirit from 1989
Spirit's 1989 file card

So, this Spirit's special ability is that he's never late for dinner? Seriously?

Spirit 1992 (birdless)
 Spirit 1992 file card

Anyone else think this sculpt looks a  Why do his "sew-in knee protectors" make me giggle?  Ooo, "Authentic Navajo warrior boots", too, if  Navajos were pirates.

Spirit 1993 (birdless)
Spirit 1993 filecard
This Spirit was a mail-away, ah, remember those?  He's still kind of pale and would you look at those eyebrows!  I wonder if he can use them defensively?

2004  12"  Spirit Iron Knife

Spirit 2004 12" filecard
Admittedly, this is my favorite sculpt.  Plus, I have weakness for 12" figures since I can make clothes for them or swap outfit from other one.  Not that I do that.  Okay, so maybe this really is just a boy Barbie. Don't judge me!

Spirit Iron-Knife 2005

2005 Filecard
Wow, this one looks normal except the bear-claw necklace, oh, and that damned bird!  His special ability this time is whistle carving.

Spirit Iron-Knife's pet eagle, "Freedom" in 2005

Sigma Six 2005 Spirit Iron-Knife

So, this one, while sporting a dynamic sculpt, not only has an eagle, but a bow and tomahawks!  Lookie, he's even got face paint and tattoos because he's exotic and mystic like that.
Sigma six 2005 Freedom

Spirit Iron-Knife 2006 (birdless)

2006 Filecard
Same mold as the 2005 version, same file-card text, too.  However, the illustrations was new, too bad he looks like an Eastern European weight-lifting super-villain with a tan.   At least, he didn't come with a bird.

Spirit Iron Knife 2008

Spirit Iron Knife's 2008 file card

Doesn't he look a bit like a confused old guy?  This is a back-to-basics sculpt and the file card reflects that, too, except for the omitted opinions on modern psychology. 

"Freedom" in 2008
Nope, still looks confused.

Spirit Iron-Knife 2010 (birdless)

Honestly, this Spirit, a Toys R Us exclusive, seems pretty benign until we gear him up.

Great, another tomahawk, and they almost got it right, too.  What's up with the snakes?

Just because they're plastic stereo-types, doesn't mean we can't have fun with them.  Spirit 2008 and 2005 make an appearances in Ian Skorodin's Crazy Ind'n The Sequel  alongside the The Corp's Tracker Tom as leading man. Enjoy!

Blog goddesses note: For this post I do have to give credit to  and the collectors who submit their photos.  Yes, I do own action figures, more than I would like to admit to, perhaps.  Then, I married a Star Wars collector and my fate was sealed. 

1 comment:

  1. In my generation, we had Mortal Kombat. The third game gave us Nightwolf. Every one of Nightwolf's powers is a stereotype. And he's so cheap until you get to Motaro and Shao Kahn. (Probably should be Khan. Now I just think of crappy 4kids dubs.)

    Speaking of Indians in the military, Interior Secretary Harold Ickes one time said Indians were ideal for a number of military objectives, that preservation of Indians was therefore in American interest, and that these traits were heritable.

    Yes, this was during the early 1940s, when we were fighting another group of eugenists.