Bill Culbertson originally started at Hasbro in 1981 as an Industrial Designer and was responsible for design and execution of toy prototypes and production patterns. In 1984, he was promoted from Senior Industrial Designer to Director of Sculpture and was responsible for managing projects, personnel, and corporate interactions with a staff of thirteen sculptors. As one of the sculptors who worked on the first series of Joe, he was initially responsible for sculpting many of the torsos, arms and legs on the figures released in 1982 and 1983. A form of Bill’s name can be found on the decal for the Dragonlfly, “M/SGT. W.C. CULBERT”, and his likeness can be seen in the original 1983 version of Wild Bill.
What were some of your favorite moments working on G.I. Joe?
“When the Far East sent a teletype message that the sculpture pattern had a problem, her left breast was misshapen. I sculpted a strap across her breast that was skin tight, so it made an indent across the surface. It was realistic. They hadn't seen something realistic in the sculpting.”
What is your greatest accomplishment with the G.I. Joe line?
Who is your favorite figure? Why?
“I started as a sculptor in June of 1981, half-way through the sculpting of the first-year figures. When I started, I began adding more realism and detail to the sculpts. If you look at the original line, you can see the process I worked on, the details are sculpted ‘intro’ the figures, not sculpted onto it. Kirk Bozigian noticed the difference immediately and asked for that type of detail to be on all the pieces after. Eventually I was sculpting the arms, legs and torsos.”
“I’d go with the Baroness and Destro. The torso sculpts pushed the limits of the armatures to the extreme. There were lots of meetings with engineers on whether or not they could be successfully molded”