The TOP 13 Coolest BIG JIM Items Ever – RANKED

TOYHEM! Mego’s World’s Greatest Super-Heroes line isn’t the only toy range with a 50th anniversary this year…

Welcome to TOYHEM! For the fourth straight holiday season, we’re bringing you a series of features and columns celebrating the toys of our youth, which often made for the best memories this time of year. Click here to check out the complete index of stories — and have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays! — Dan


Without GI Joe before him, Big Jim may have never existed, but he did and it’s a testament to Mattel that they really tried to make the line its own thing, different from the Adventure Team and all other action figures of the era. GI Joe had the military at its core, but Jim launched from the early 1970s fascination with sports and sports figures, especially pro ballplayers like Joe Namath and Pete Rose, and Olympic athletes like Mark Spitz. Big Jim — who was in 10-inch scale — very much reflected his time, and it showed in every piece of equipment, outfit, vehicle and playset.

I had very few Big Jim items as a kid, being mostly a Joe-Head, but my eye always went to the stuff in the Christmas catalogs. In my heart, I would have liked to have had more of it. I mean, for one thing, we shared a name, right?

I’m so glad, though, to be here to celebrate this big 50th anniversary for the big lug. Have a great one, Jim—you were always very, very cool.


13. Big Jim Jungle Adventure. Every kid knows adding a gorilla to anything makes it even cooler. And listen: GI Joe only had a pygmy gorilla—Big Jim had the Real Big Deal.

12. Gold Medal Big Jim U.S. Olympic Boxing Match. Once you had the basic Big Jim figure, you looked for ways to level up from there. One of the coolest options was the two-figure Boxing Match set, because while one boxer was good, having another one right there to whale on was much, much cooler.

11. Gold Medal Big Jim U.S. Olympic Ski Run. This one wasn’t just cool, it was icy. And huge. At over 6 feet long, one of the biggest action-figure playsets ever made. Bonus points for adding a ski chalet (but a few points off for “figure and outfit not included”).

10. Big Jim Devil River Trip. It’s a toss-up over what was coolest in this set, the vehicle or the alligator. Let’s just call it a tie and revel in the combined coolness.

9. Big Jim Rescue Rig. Talking Communications Center and a big ol’ red vehicle for, y’know, firefighting and stuff? You would have been the coolest kid on the block with this Rig.

8. Big Jim Jungle Truck. Remember when you rode this into the jungle with Big Jim and encountered something GI Joe never had, a rhino? How cool was that?

7. Big Jim All-Star Set. Other kids might’ve had one of the uniforms, or maybe two, but you had the big set with basketball, baseball and football outfits. Thus, you were the Cool Kid.

6. Big Jim’s P.A.C.K. – The Whip. True Story: The only Big Jim P.A.C.K. figure I had was the Whip, and back then I kind of looked longingly at the other members of the group, thinking they were cooler. Today, I look at the Whip dressed all in black, bristling with weapons, and sporting that badass Jack Kirby artwork, and realize I had the coolest one all along.

5. Big Jim’s P.A.C.K. – The Beast. As cool as they were, the P.A.C.K. couldn’t just have any old vehicle—they had to have one beast of a ride. And they did.

4. Big Jim Motocross Honda. Every single TV show in the 1970s had at least one motocross/dirtbike episode — every single one of them, even Wonder Woman. Why? If you had to ask, you simply weren’t cool, like Big Jim.

3. Big Jim Terror Off Tahiti. I didn’t know about this set as a kid but discovered it more recently. Regardless, it rocketed up to #3 because, as we all know, only the very coolest action figures had underwater adventures.

2. Big Jim Sky Commander. The Sky Commander is so big, so boss, so ultra-cool it almost took the #1 spot, but those little reminders of it doubling as Barbie’s Friend Ship ensured its place at #2 — which ain’t bad at all.

1. Big Jim Kung Fu Studio. Here it is in all its glory — the coolest Big Jim playset of all, the one we all wanted and when we got it we knew our Coolest Kid on the Block crown was secure. Was everybody kung fu fighting? They were in this dojo, man. And with all those accessories they were also fast as lightning…


— The Complete TOYHEM INDEX of Stories and Features. Click here.

— The TOP 13 MEGO World’s Greatest Super-Heroes Head Sculpts. Click here.

JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.

Check out his latest releases: Rising Sun Reruns, about classic Japanese shows on American TV; a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting; his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding World; and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season OneBiff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.

He’s also published novels about a character very much like G.I. Joe (and Big Jim): DC Jones – Adventure Command International.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. To this day, I look at that Kirby ad for PACK and, thanks to the positioning of the characters and captions, read it as Jim hearing what his team can do and deciding they’re all gonna die.

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  2. My younger brother’s favorites, after he blew up my Joes….Argh

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  3. Love Big Jim. Those are some awesome toys ! I had the Mummy set. Fun stuff !

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  4. I was more into Big Jim than GI Joe. I had the Sky Commander and the Sports Camper and several of the other figures….Jack, Jeff, and Josh, I think. The only problem was that they weren’t quite as durable as Joe and so heads and limbs would come off. I did get all of the P.A.C.K. characters. That Kirby ad sold me. They were pretty cool.

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  5. The P.A.C.K. didn’t just stop crime, they KILLED it. LOL

    The only P.A.C.K. member (besides Jim) listed as compatible with the ski jump is Dr. Steel. Was the playset introduced before the rest of the team members, or was there something different about Warpath and The Whip that kept them off the slopes?

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  6. Thank you so much for bringing these memories back. Although I’m upset the Sports Ccamper (re-do of Baribie’s camper) didn’t make the list. The only remaining toy I have from my Big Jim collection is the campfire from that set. PS… I loved te WHIP action figure also!

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    • You are exceedingly welcome, George. I loved putting the list together, though I knew not everyone’s favorites would land on it.

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  7. I had a bunch of the Big Jim figures and vehicles — Devil River Trip, the Rescue Rig, the camper, and I may also have had the jungle truck. Unfortunately a lot of them got lost when my parents and I moved from Germany back to the US (Dad was in the Army).

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