David Kunitz, former Vice President of Design for Boys Toys at Hasbro, studied Industrial Design and Technical Illustration at Purdue University and started his toy career with Hasbro in 1984. The first toy project given to him was Transformers. Almost immediately after that, he was assigned to design and build G.I. Joe vehicles. Early toys included the Cobra Stun, L.C.V. Recon Sled, Triple 'T', and the Cobra Hydro-Sled. Although David worked on many vehicles for the G.I. Joe brand from 1984 to 1994, his favorite was the Defiant Space Shuttle.
When G.I. Joe moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, David started working in the Playskool division. In 1995, he left Hasbro to go to Tyco Toy Inc. as Director of Advanced Concepts. Following this, he transferred over to Mattel to be the Director of Matchbox. David returned to Hasbro in 2000 to lead the boys effort in design for Hasbro Direct. Hasbro Direct was responsible for the return of 3 ¾ GI*Joe as a Toys “R” Us exclusive. David then moved onto the main boys toys team at Hasbro to lead brands such as, Star Wars, Marvel, G.I. Joe, Transformers, etc.
David left Hasbro in 2012 and has opened his own consulting and freelance business for toy companies that are in need of support. In addition to playing with toys, David is enjoying his family, fishing, woodworking, keeping bees, blacksmithing and living in Rhode Island.
What were some of your favorite moments working on G.I. Joe?
"The comradely was the most fantastic thing about earlier days at Hasbro. I enjoyed working on several different toy lines. For G.I. Joe, some of the most interesting times were doing our field trips. Some of the great trips were to Washington DC for the, Association of the U.S. Army /AUSA show and Sony in air and space Museum, Natick labs up in Massachusetts, military bases, G.I. Joe collector shows in California, Florida for locally and of course Toy Fair in NYC. We would usually have a small contingent.
Of course the most amazing moment was at the end of Rhode Island's G.I. Joe run in 1994 when the Team went to Jekyll & Hyde Club an had the best sendoff party ever."
What is your greatest accomplishment with the G.I. Joe line?
"Not to sound like a broken record but getting the Space Shuttle Complex finished in an amazingly short period of time was quite a feat. There was also a team effort so that made it even more special."
Who is your favorite figure? Why?
"I started out as a big Dreadnok fan because of how unruly they were. I also really liked the Baroness, why, you know… Snake eyes became my favorite figure and I know that he was special to many children. It was clear to me that he was important when children of many races said, I can be him because we look the same. I heard this from several different sources. It is the same reason that Spider-Man and other masked figures become favorites."
In your opinion, what characteristics made the G.I. Joe brand team successful?
Who is your favorite vehicle/playset? Why?
"We are all smart asses… No really. Everyone seemed to take an interest in everybody's product with constructive critique but not criticism. We agreed to the direction in terms of design language and adhered to it. It's not like we didn't have disagreements, blowups and hurt feelings at times but we were always able to go out afterwards as friends."
"Space Shuttle of course. Talk about play value… The close 2nd was Bill Young's Star Brigade Armor Bot. It had so much detail and personality."