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GI Joe Generation 3
by yo go re

Generation 3 of the Real American Hero toys has a lot less vehicles than G1 did, but Hasbro is doing a good job of finding ways to get the drivers out to the fans.

Cutter badgered his congressional representative for two years to get an appointment to Annapolis then decided to opt for the Coast Guard Academy instead. He wanted a life at sea even though hometown is as far away from either ocean as you can get (exactly 1,561 miles from San Francisco and New York City). His iron will and contrary nature, laced with a truly bizarre sense of humor, might explain why. When he found out the G.I. Joe team didn't have anyone from the U.S. Coast Guard, he raised such a stink that the top brass in the Coast Guard pulled every string necessary to fix it. It also gave them a way to get him out of their hair.

Cutter was the guy who drove the WHALE, the Joe's hovercraft. Of course, before that, he was the captain of the GI Jane, the Joes' little-known freighter. Yes, long before their budget grew large enough to warrant their own aircraft carrier, the team puttered around in a junky old ship - at least, until Cobra sunk her, and Cutter was left in charge of the smaller boat.

Like Starduster, Cutter is only available in an exclusive three-pack: in his case, the "Sea Command" set, packaged with new versions of Deep Six and Torpedo. Since I already had both those guys (better versions, too), I was really reluctant to buy them again just to get Cutter - always a big problem with these three-packs. However, when a reader told me the set was available on a huge markdown, I gave in.

Following the unofficial G3 mandate of "reuse, reuse, reuse," Cutter is made entirely from pre-existing parts. The head is from Gung-Ho's, the arms are Flint's, and the body proves that what we said about Shipwreck only being used for his own repaints was a load of horsebull - Cutter's got the same bellbottoms and open shirt, though he does use the version of the mold without any detail on the belt buckle.

Cutter follows that great GI Joe tradition of sporting a joke name. In real life, he's Skip A. Stone. Really. The 2001 release claimed that "Skip" was just a nickname for Ronald, but that's just silly. His hometown of Kinsley, Kansas, is a real place, and it really is famous for being the same distance from both NY and LA. That doesn't explain why he wears a Boston Red Sox cap: at least, he used to; this one is still using the same mold as Gung-Ho's military hat, but it'll do in a pinch. The filecard art makes him look like Magnum, PI.

While Cutter's accessories don't include a full-sized, floating WHALE, he does get a few things to call his own. There's a pistol holstered on his right leg, and a hook on a string. His life vest is a separate piece, re-used from the comic pack Shipwreck; hey, at least you know it'll fit! Besides, better to have it as an accessory than a molded piece of the torso, right?

Like we said, Cutter is only available in the Toys Я Us-exclusive GI Joe Sea Command set, so if he's the only figure you want, you're paying three times as much for him. But if you can find the set on a really good sale (hint: check the little toy areas at discount closeout merchants), it's like you're not paying for those other two chumps at all.

-- 06/12/09

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