Getting figures from the first wave is not that easy. They are more fragile than the average figure, and are often found with broken thumbs, and include extremely small accesories (lots of transparent visors in their helmets, or like in the Rock´N Roll case, a small bipod that are easily lost.
I got Breaker a long time ago in an exchange with a fellow collector, and Rock ‘N Roll was recently bought to an eBay seller from Greece. With these two, I can already make one entry dealing with the first wave of G.I.Joe.
As in most action figure toylines, the first wave is rather small, toy companies do not want to make a great investment, if they do not know for sure that the toyline will sell well. Sometimes they use simplified designs to reduce costs, or even change some parts or make them with different cheaper materials.
In the case of G.I.Joe: ARAH, the first wave consisted of 9 figures, later expanded to 11, plus a few vehicles (with 4 drivers) and a mail-in figure. The way to save costs here was to re-use body parts from one figure to the next, and so, almost every figure has the same waist, there are only a few chest parts, and even some heads are used more than once.
Moreover, almost all figures are camo green and, still, it is possible to recognise all figures because of their distinctive features. At the beginning, G.I.Joe wanted to keep the spirit of the original G.I.Joes from the 60s and the 70s: they are all quite military, although with some news: Beside size, figure type and the obvious stuff, the most important is probably that now, there would be a group of bad guys belonging to a terrorist organisation trying to rule the world, and this opens the chance to introduce much fictional characters, plots and weapons. At the begininng it was maybe not intended, but as the waves were released, the characters and their bios were each time more and more fantastic.
Of course there´s the straight arms (and the not-yet-improved shoulders)... I guess Hasbro was thinking in saving some money here, since the swivel arm articulation was already used in some toylines before. The swivel arms requires a greater number of parts in the arms of the figure but it is more stable and has a better durability.
When the toyline proved itself to be profitable, Hasbro released all figures again with improved swivel arms and shoulders (the whole arms were new designed, and the crotch was made less bulky). That was in 1983, all swivel arm versions of the figures in wave 1 are known within collectors as v1.5, that is more or less a variation of the v1s.
FACTS and FIGURES:
- Name: BREAKER v1 and ROCK ‘N ROLL v1
- Toy Line: G.I. Joe (Wave 1)
- Year: 1982
- Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
- Size of the figures: 9,5 cm (3 3/4'')