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Female G.I. Joe Fetches Thousands

October 6, 1997

FORT WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) _ The scar on G.I. Joe’s right cheek has shown every kid who’s held one of the 11 1/2-inch action figures that the soldier has battlefield experience.

Kurt Groen, who designed the first female full-size figure for the G.I. Joe line since the nurse of 1967, had a tough choice: Scar or no scar?

He eventually put the question to collectors who kept the large figures ``alive″ after the Hasbro Toy Group stopped producing them in 1978 and when the company substituted a 3 3/4-inch version in 1982.

``By a slight margin, the majority of collectors say no scar,″ Groen said as he showed off the scar-less figure at the Fourth Annual International G.I. Joe Collectors Convention over the weekend.

Hasbro has brought back the large dolls and targeted them at collectors, largely in response to the soaring value of America’s movable fighting man, first introduced in 1964. The G.I. nurse that didn’t do well in the stores back in the ’60s now fetches several thousand dollars among collectors.

Groen’s creation is part of the 1998 G.I. Joe Classic Collection. The action figure is an 82nd Airborne Division helicopter pilot, complete with French-braided hair and rifle. There are black and white versions of the $24.99 doll.

It represents the new Joe _ faithful enough to the originals to gain the respect of collectors, but reflecting the politically correct atmosphere of the 1990s.

``A realistic portrayal of today’s military is that females have an important role,″ said Karen Lehman, a marketing manager for Hasbro.

Also among the 1998 Joes is a Japanese-American soldier from the 442nd regiment, a nod to the World War II soldiers who fought as their families waited out the war in detention camps.

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