Within the last week, I finished collecting the 1991 Cobra roster. I almost have the GI Joe side complete, too– I just need that pesky Cloudburst!
While not every figure I have is complete or perfect, 1991 is the only GI Joe year I’ve set out to complete so far. That’s because it’s easily my favorite GI Joe lineup. As a kid, I had a few figures from 1988 and 1989, and even one from 1987. I had a good amount of the 1990 roster, and those figures were excellent, but it was a year full of all new characters. As a kid, I wanted the characters from the Sunbow cartoon and the animated movie.
1991 fulfilled that desire. It gave us Cobra Commander, Hawk, Snake Eyes, Zap, Grunt, Falcon, Rock n Roll, Major Bludd, Flint, Low-Light, Dusty, Mercer, and Sci-Fi. It also gave us fantastic new characters like Heavy Duty, Cesspool, Interrogator, Big Ben, Red Star, and Ozone. The accessories were still good and still specifically made for each character.
To me, it’s the best Joe year of all time. I was only 6 or 7 when I got most of the 91 figures I had as a kid, but it was my first real chance to have versions of the characters I knew. And the accessories were a bit less confusing to a kid than the complicated setups from 1990.
But, in this quick feature, I want to talk about the 1991 Cobra roster. I’m more into the Joe side than the Cobra side, but this month it special– it’s Cobra Convergence 3!
YouTube toy reviewer Hooded Cobra Commander 788 spearheads Cobra Convergence every year, and this time he’s asked bloggers, photographers, and other creators to contribute.
So, this is my humble entry. Let’s take a look at why 1991 was just as much of a banner year for Cobra as it was for GI Joe.
1991 Cobra Roster Overview
In 1991, we got cool, new named Cobra agents like Cesspool, Sky Creeper, and Interrogator. We got great infantry troops (BATs), desert troopers, cold weather troopers, flamethrower troopers, glider commandos, Crimson Guards, and hostile environment troopers. We also got Road Pig.
So, here’s a look at each individual figure, and why each one is special. Some are better than others, but a few are all time classics. Regardless, I think they all have their merits– even Road Pig.
1991 Cobra B.A.T.
B.A.T.s (BATs from here on out, because fuck typing all those periods), are Cobra’s android troopers. Though they’ve been a big part of the Joe mythos since 1986, some older fans hate and resent them. But me? I love them.
As a kid, the 1991 BAT was my default enemy trooper. I’ve never been a huge fan of wanton violence and killing in my media or playtime (if you’ve noticed, very few of my photos depict much violence), so having my heroes take out soulless robot troopers was perfect for me as a kid.
I love the look of this figure. The head and body design are great, and I always love a T-shaped visor or faceplate. The 91 BAT appears robotic and dangerous. It’s different from the first BAT, but there are still enough similarities that you know what it is. I also love the color scheme– neon green and black is my favorite color combo, and that owes a lot to this figure.
The accessories are also tremendous. A regular hand, a grenade launcher hand (that’s actually a laser, because who would be dumb enough to give these stupid robots grenades), and a great spring-fired launcher arm attachment that can store the other hand attachments and be worn as a backpack.
There’s a lot of nostalgia talking here, but this is one of my all time favorite Cobra troops.
Cesspool is one of my favorite Cobra characters, period. He has a great look about him, but the character concept resonates with me, too. What could be more realistic than an amoral CEO who pollutes the planet to make money in the short term, and then blames his own mistakes on environmentalists and protestors?
New named Cobra operatives were in relatively short supply after 1987, but 1991 gave us two of the best we’d ever get in the form of Cesspool and Interrogator.
Cesspool’s costume is relatively subdued, and he can fit in with Cobra characters from the mid 1980s, as well as any figure from the 1990s. He’s one of the few Cobras with a removable helmet, and his chainsaw is an amazing accessory.
Plus, how cool is his head sculpt?
To me, Cesspool is one of the greats– and he’s also far more realistic than Raptor, Crystal Ball, Croc Master, Big Boa, or even Zartan. If you care about that sort of thing. I normally don’t, but it’s a point in Cesspool’s favor.
1991 Cobra Commander
My first Cobra Commander figure was the 1992 Talking Battle Commanders version. That version does a great job presenting his iconic look from the 80s cartoon and comics, so it was a perfect first Cobra Commander toy for any kid.
The 1991 Cobra Commander is nowhere near as iconic.
But, still, it’s a very nice figure. 91 CC features a battle helmet with a full face shield, a blue and black outfit, Cobra symbols, and regal gold accents. This is quite possibly something Cobra Commander would wear, and the figure looks commanding and battle ready. I would have loved it as a kid.
The accessories on this one aren’t amazing– his gun is cool (the black version here is from Mortal Kombat’s Sonya Blade), but the drone launcher isn’t a must-have.
Still, this is a unique and credible update to everyone’s favorite terrorist.
1991 Crimson Guard Immortal
Of all of the figures from 1991, the Crimson Guard Immortal might be the most expensive. This was the last figure I needed to complete my 91 Cobra collection, and it took me more than a year of constant searching to find a reasonable example for under $30. My CGI isn’t 100% complete, and he has some paint wear, but he’s nice enough for my purposes.
There’s a reason this figure is so expensive. It’s a great update to the original Crimson Guard that looks more combat-ready than ceremonial. The CGI is heavily armed, armored, and built like Big Boa’s stunt double. The helmet is wicked and intimidating, and the whole package just screams “a very regal menace.”
The CGI’s accessories are weird, and are almost immaterial to most collectors. This is a magnificent elite trooper, bodyguard, or field operative– no matter what you arm him with.
Plus, you already like this figure. You don’t need me to convince you.
1991 Desert Scorpion
Chances are you already like this figure, too. The 1991 Desert Scorpion is another one that commands high prices. Its admittedly strange accessories are also hard to find, which has given rise to fan reproductions. It’s not quite as pricey as the Crimson Guard Immortal, but it’s expensive enough.
The figure you see pictured above is my childhood Desert Scorpion. It has no accessories, its paint is worn, and its joints are very loose. That’s because it saw a lot of action. And who could blame me for using the figure all the time? It just looks awesome.
The facemask, goggles, cloth head covering, antenna, and bare arms just make for a classic bad guy. I’m not sure I ever used the figure’s accessories, but he was always on the front lines with my BATs and Incinerators. I tended to use the figure as the filecards suggested, as a disgraced Cobra Trooper who needed to prove himself and get out of desert duty. That made him extra dangerous.
And, can you believe this is Cobra’s first and only real desert trooper in the vintage GI Joe line? That alone makes this figure indispensable. He also came out during a year when he had an actual Joe desert trooper, Dusty, to fight. Hasbro didn’t achieve that kind of synergy often.
I begged my Mom for an Incinerator when I saw one on the pegs in 1991. I loved the look of the figure and, for a time, I took him everywhere with me. I took him to my Mom’s dog shows, over to my Grandparents’ house, to daycare, and to the mall. His helmet with face shield, prominent snake symbol, crazy weapon, and dangerous-looking color scheme fit into my ideal version of Cobra. I’m not sure I even really used him as a flamethrower trooper– he was just the tough Cobra soldier GI Joe had to defeat before they could complete their mission.
It’s weird to think that GI Joe had two soldiers who operated such an inhumane and possibly illegal weapon before Cobra even had a flamethrower trooper. Yet Blowtorch and Charbroil finally met their match in the 1991 Incinerators.
It makes sense for Cobra to have a legion of flamethrower specialists, and I don’t think Hasbro could have done any better than the Incinerator. His look is perfect, his flamethrower and backpack are exactly what Destro would design for Cobra, and he fits into any Cobra army.
If any Cobra army builder from 1991 is underrated, it’s Incinerator.
Along with Cesspool, 1991 also gave birth to Interrogator, another one of Cobra’s coolest named operatives. His look is classic Cobra, with the face-obscuring helmet, and a uniform that looks like something an Axis officer might have worn in WW2. His coloring is exceptional, and his signature weapon looks both weird and practical.
So, he’s basically all of Cobra in a nutshell.
Sure, the Battle Copters were pretty lackluster, but that doesn’t mean their pilots were. I think Interrogator can hold his own with any Cobra figure from any year. He was also the subject of one of my earliest reviews.
1991 Major Bludd
The 1991 Major Bludd was part of the Super Sonic Fighters assortment, which means he came with an absurd backpack that made pew-pew noises and had two tiny red lights. In his case, that noisemaker was a huge jetpack, which is kind of cool. His hand weapons, though, leave a lot to be desired.
Here, he’s pictured with a black version of his original rifle. What’s with the handle at the back? What does the gun do? It was released with the Joe Vs. Cobra Moray as a harpoon gun in later years, but here it’s some sort of fancy laser rifle.
Bunk accessories aside, this is a cool look for Major Bludd. The grenades might not make a ton of sense, but they look intimidating and give the figure a ton of visual interest. The head sculpt is also fantastic.
He was a prominent boss in the NES game GI Joe: The Atlantis Factor, so that also put him on a lot of kids’ wish lists. My friend had the figure, and we got a lot of use out of him. It was just nice to have such a cool version of the wacky mercenary poet from the Sunbow cartoon.
A worthy update to one of Cobra’s earliest named characters.
1991 Night Vulture
Night Vultures use hang gliders to perform their duties as scouts and commandos for Cobra. They also look the part– in a different color scheme, these guys could easily pass for a Snake Eyes figure.
Speaking of the colors, a lot of Joe fans really don’t like the 1991 Night Vulture’s bright orange highlights. I don’t mind them, of course, but I do think he would look a bit more stealthy if they replaced the orange with blue or grey.
Still, it’s a striking color scheme on an excellent sculpt. I love the concept of a covert insertion/long range recon specialist who uses a glider. Night Vultures seem sneaky and threatening, and are definitely not something GI Joe encounters on a regular basis. They’re an abnormal threat, and this cool-but-unusual figure fits that bill perfectly.
Now, I just need to find that damn crossbow for less than the cost of a weekend in Monaco.
1991 Road Pig
I’m just going to come out and say it– Road Pig is the weakest figure in the entire 1991 line up. Although I find his color scheme endearing, it’s objectively much worse than the 1988 original. And, without his trademark grenade crossbow and cinder block hammer, the character loses a lot of his charm.
But still, I like Road Pig as he was portrayed in the old Marvel Comics. I also like weird repaints. With his tanning bed skin tone, blue and neon green pants, and orange hair with green highlights, 1991 Road Pig certainly qualifies. It’s awful, but I love how he matches his hair to his clothes and his weapons. I love that he’s somehow even uglier than the original figure. I love his weird orange “flamethrower” and laser rifle.
I don’t think this is anyone’s favorite figure. It’s neither realistic nor useful. But, if anyone can pull off this bizarre neon look, it’s a Dreadnok. 1991 Road Pig is not an essential figure, but he is both wacky and interesting– two qualities that go a long way with me.
1991 Sky Creeper
Sky Creeper is an odd looking figure. He’s wearing bright yellow and greenish blue. His headgear looks like bicycle helmet, and he appears to have goalie pads on his legs. It all seems very ridiculous.
But then you read Sky Creeper’s filecard.
This is a dude who doesn’t love gliders, but he uses them to make money by completing missions for Cobra. He only cares about money, so of course he doesn’t care if his protective gear looks dorky. As long as it gets the job done, he gets the job done. And getting the job done means he makes money.
Could the 1991 Sky Creeper figure look better? Oh, absolutely. But at least his look is unique. And, as portrayed on the filecard, Sky Creeper is an extremely cool Cobra operative. The character makes the figure for me, and I see him as an underrated named Cobra agent who’s full of untapped potential.
1991 Sludge Viper
I’ve already mentioned how the 91 BAT and Incinerator were two of my main Cobra troops as a kid. My third main trooper was the 1991 Sludge Viper. Since I was such a fan of Eco Warriors as a kid, I used him in his intended capacity as a sludge-spewing assault trooper. Since that toxic sludge was so deadly, he was always a huge threat to the Joes– until Flint and Ozone could save their bacon, that is!
(The Eco Warriors are still my favorite GI Joe sub team, by the way. I watched a ton of Captain Planet as a kid, too.)
GI Joe fans take umbrage with Sludge Viper’s yellow and turquoise color scheme, but they generally love the Sub Viper repaint from 2001. It’s a great mold that’s generally appreciated, but a lot of people can’t get past the brighter colors. I can, though. These are hazardous environment troopers and assault troopers. They’re not stealth operatives– they need to be seen by their fellow Cobra soldiers, since no one wants to get covered in toxic sludge.
The Sludge Viper’s helmet design is very cool and gives off strong science fiction vibes, which is probably why I loved it so much as a kid. His armor is detailed and interesting, and he makes a very credible trooper who specializes in biological and chemical warfare. And, let’s be real, those are the most terrifying types of warfare.
1991 Snow Serpent
Since I’m all about being honest, I will say the 1985 Snow Serpent is a very striking and iconic figure. Its accessories are perfect, as is its color scheme. It has a haunting look that’s perfect for a Cobra arctic trooper. But, as a kid, I never knew that figure existed. In fact, the first time I saw its head sculpt was on the 1992 Heli-Viper.
But, I certainly knew about the 1991 Snow Serpent as a kid. Two of my friends owned them, and I was very jealous. And, how could I not be? They had a cool face mask, a missile launcher, a snowboard, and a backpack that held both the missile launcher and the snowboard.
As an adult, I still think they’re fantastic. Their accessories are second-to-none, with the rifle, pistol, and snowboard being highlights. The figure also looks very practical, in a white coat and snowpants trimmed with brown fur. The purple highlights and red goggles really make this Snow Serpent something special, too.
If you think this figure doesn’t come close to the 85 original, I don’t blame you. That’s an incredible figure. But, for me, this guy will always be what I think of when I see the words “Snow Serpent.”
Taken on his own, Snow Serpent v2 is a perfect cold weather operative for Cobra. His colors are realistic, his gear is astounding, and he looks both practical and menacing. This mold’s repaints are all pretty good, as well. This is one of my all-time favorite Cobra army builders.
When the 1991 Toxo-Viper came out, I don’t think I knew he existed. I definitely didn’t know about the original 1988 Toxo-Viper. After all, I already had a Sludge Viper… why would I think Cobra needed additional hazardous environment troopers?
So, does the Sludge Viper make Toxo-Viper v2 redundant? I don’t think so. Toxo-Vipers are hazmat specialists, and work in a support role. The Toxo-Viper designation is also (at least sometimes) given out as a punishment. The Sludge Viper, on the other hand, is a full-on assault trooper who wants to be just where he is.
As a figure, this is a fantastic update to the 1988 Toxo-Viper. The purple and green look great, and the more streamlined, intimidating armor and bodysuit bring Toxie into the 90s. The helmet design is also a personal favorite of mine.
The gear is also pretty good. He comes with the same purple laser pistol and air tanks as the Sludge Viper, and those work nicely for backup weapons. And, because he came out in the Eco Warriors subset, he also gets the same water-squirting tube as the Sludge Viper, albeit in green instead of purple.
My only real problem with the 1991 Toxo-Viper is I can never decide if I like it more than the 1988 Toxo-Viper or not. In my world, they coexist. Problem solved. .
Final Thoughts on the 1991 Cobra Roster
Phew! That was a long one. Thanks for sticking around.
I really wanted to do something special for HCC’s Cobra Convergence 3, and I hope this qualifies. I love everything about the GI Joe figures from 1991, so I figured this was a good first step to professing that love to the world.
The 1991 vehicles, on the other hand? Yeesh.
Anyway, what’s your favorite year for GI Joe figures? Let me know in the comments!
35 thoughts on “1991: The Year Cobra Broke (a Tribute) – Cobra Convergence 3”
1991 is my favorite year of the Real American Hero line.
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You have good taste!
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It’s a stellar lineup of figures on both sides of the conflict. The updates of old characters were mostly all home runs and the new characters were nearly all excellent.
I grew up with the ’80’s Joes but became a collector with the 90’s Joes. So, both have massive relevance for me. At its core, the 1991 series isn’t that much brighter than 1986. And, you have some much cooler characters in 1991 along with the subsets and more diverse army builders.
Fortunately, it seems the rising tide of ’90’s figure prices from earlier in this year has started to recede and the figures are getting affordable again.
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Good point about 86 and 91. I hadn’t thought to compare them in that way, but you’re absolutely right. I grew up with the 90s stuff, but discovering all of these 80s classics that I thought were “out of my reach” has been a great experience. As you’ve said many times, the prices on 90s stuff is absurd right now, and I’ve been surprised at how attainable the 80s stuff is by comparison.
I hope you’re right and they continue to get more affordable. I certainly don’t want to pay over $30 for Cloudburst!
Thanks for leaving a comment, as always.
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Never realised I had so many 91 Cobras! I have the Funskool version of the Desert Scorpion, who is even odder than the Hasbro one. For a start, and most alarmingly his facemask is flesh coloured instead of yellow, implying Cobra took away his mouth and nose and gave him 6 nostrils.
Totally agree about Interrogator and Cesspool, both seem like classic characters. Cesspool seems like a odd unmasked version of Cobra Commander.
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The Funskool Desert Scorpion is so weird and amusing. I’d really like to get one, but man oh man they are way more expensive than they should be. Your comment about the mask made me laugh out loud! Flesh-colored hardware (collars, watches, etc) on GI Joe figures is always disturbing.
I could see Cesspool as a Cobra Commander now that you mention it, but when I think “unmasked Cobra Commander” I always think of his John Lennon look from the comics, or his “facemask under the helmet/hood” look from the Hall of Fame and Star Brigade versions. Also the Cobra-La nobleman look, I guess. Haha.
Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!
My tastes regarding “best year” change – I guess I don’t really have a favorite, though original RAH is currently my favorite era at this point.
By ’91, I’d stopped buying Joes, focusing more on High School shenanigans, Def Leppard, and Comics. I’ve been going back to fill in collection holes, and a few of these guys I still don’t have but want – Night Vulture and Interrogator being at the top of that short list.
That Major Bludd is probably my favorite Bludd sculpt, but I prefer the brown and black from the 2-pack released shortly after. That weapon has got to go, however.
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The original ARAH era is my favorite too, followed by the o-ring repaint/ARAHC era. Though I love every era for different reasons, including Sigma 6.
Night Vulture and Interrogator are both so good! I’m lucky that I’ve always been a dork and my interest in this stuff has never waned. I was buying CDs, guitars, band shirts, and new GI Joes all at the same time. I only had a brief period of embarrassment.
I also prefer the brown and black Bludd repaint! Good call. I usually give him a version of the original Bludd’s rocket pistol, since I seem to have a bunch of them. And I think the Sonic Fighters weapon works infinitely better as a harpoon gun. That was a rare burst of good judgment on Hasbro’s part.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!
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Ah, 1991. Some gems there, some oddities, too. I first saw part of the line-up on the backs of Sonic Fighter figure cards, which is why I consider the Sonic fighters as early 1990 releases, but everyone disagrees with me.
BAT was a surprise. Not on early cardbacks and not in the catalog. I was disappointed by the lack of variety in arm attachments.
Cesspool had an awful name but was a good figure. He cannot hold that chainsaw, I never risked his thumbs on that or his squirter.
CC 1991, I’ve tried to like this one more, but the bulky body is annoying. The face plate sounds cool on paper but is distracting. I wish I’d gotten the funskool version, though.
CGI were cool, I wanted more but they only shipped in 1991 in the USA.
Desert Scorpion, the same applies. I was disappointed by the funskool version and that Hasbro didn’t revisit the mold in the early 2000’s.
Incinerator. Why didn’t I get the funskool release? They looked chunky, but that’s i insulated suit, I guess.
Interrogator was nice. With Mindbender and Crystal Ball, was he needed? I dunno.
Bludd was a welcome new version, but you had to pay twice regular figure because of SUPER SONIC pack. Odd weapons.
Night Vulture…nice figure, gliders were tacky. I used him with a small air vehicle instead.
Roadpig, waited for clearance on him since he was an overpriced repaint. Lot of camp value for that figure.
Sky Creeper wasn’t too bad. A lower-level named unit leader was unusual for Cobra. He’s harder to find, as I’m pretty sure he wasn’t shipped in 1992, despite what the cardbacks showed.
Sludge Viper, I recall he was hard to find at first. But later was easily found. Two versions, leg “damage stains” and chest/head damage. You have two chest/head stain versions, but I think it’s less common.
Snow Serpent, can’t compare to original, but I needed snow guys and they shipped into 1992, so I did get a squad (Unlike desert scorpions)
Toxo Viper, I like the ugliness of the original’s helmet, but these aren’t as awkward and have better colors. I am also torn. Sludge Vipers use toxic waste as a corrosive weapon, Toxic Vipers operate in hostile environments (the original used gas weapons). I’d guess Sludges get the better suits, as there’s now Sludge-Zombies.
Favorite year…1985, that’s probably a common belief, but everything released that year looked worth owning.
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I meant “…which is why I consider the Sonic fighters as early 1991 releases, but everyone disagrees with me.”
See I’ve subconsciously bought into it.
The 1992 Battle Commanders were out in fall of 1991 but are considered 1992 items (makes sense since they show 1992 figure art on the backside of their cards).
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I always appreciate your info on stuff like exact release dates. Especially re: Talking Battle Commanders. I want to say I had TBC Stalker, Hawk, and CC before I had 92 Duke, Ninja Force, etc. And I think I got them for Christmas! So that makes sense.
I also appreciate you weighing in on every figure, and I agree with most everything you said there.
A few points:
BAT – I get it, but 3 arms were more than enough for me as a kid! I ended up losing all of them but the laser (grenade launcher I guess, ughhhh) arm. So there is that.
Cesspool – Mine holds his chainsaw just fine. No stress marks on the thumbs. The water cannon is tough for him, though.
Desert Scorpion/Incinerator – I imagine those molds never made it back from India, which is unfortunate. I’d like both of their Funskool versions someday.
Interrogator – By that point, Mindbender was off wrangling the BATs and Serpentors, so I think Interrogator was a decent fit. A bit more professional than Crystal Ball– not sure why they made him a battle copter pilot, though.
Night Vulture – I just got his glider (and Sky Creeper’s) recently. The patterns are beautiful, and they do work as advertised. Also much sturdier than the Falcon and Viper gliders. I didn’t use them a ton as a kid, though, and can’t say I do now, either. I use Spy Troops Barrel Roll’s glider with Night Vulture, primarily.
Sludge Viper – Good to know!
Toxo-Viper – It would have been cool if they just gave these guys the 88’s pack and whatever-thing in that dark purple, and let the Sludge Vipers have the laser pistol and airtanks.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
I don’t like military realism. That side of GI Joe never appealed to me. And I didn’t get into the toy line until after the 1987 movie. But even as a kid the 1991 toys felt different, as much a transition as 1986/87 must have felt for older fans. The figures were bigger, brighter and more detailed. The vehicles… didn’t even seem like the same line as the year before. It was a strange line-up, but the quality of the figures alone makes it one of my favorite years.
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I’m with you there. I actually like a few aspects of military realism in my GI Joe (the characters themselves can be realistic soldiers), but my first Joe media was the Sunbow cartoon and then the 87 movie. I mean, they’re sci-fi as hell. They’re also pretty brilliant in a lot of spots.
I imagine you’re likely right that 91 felt like the big departure. 90 is close enough to 87-89, even if the accessories were more numerous and complex. I’d argue the sculpting was maybe better that year, too. But 91 was when it first really embraced the “weird stuff” through the whole line, even if that weirdness was just the Eco Warriors and some other assorted characters. So I love that aspect, and I love that it had quite a few pretty realistic military guys too, even with a bit more of a sci-fi slant. It’s hard to argue that 91 Zap, Hawk, Falcon, Heavy Duty, Big Ben, and Dusty were too different than what came before. But then you get the Eco Warriors, Air Commandos, and some crazy and amazing Cobras. It’s the perfect balance for me.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Matt!
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Couple things here:
1. Love the article title, obviously.
2. I think 1991 was the year I really came into G.I. Joe fandom, myself. I was always AWARE of G.I. Joes, and had a fair number of 89/90 ones, but they were always kind of “cool toys that maybe a parent would let me grab at CVS.” The 91 line was when the Impel cards came out, and probably also around when it clicked that, y’know, holy shit, Toys R Us had a whole AISLE of these little guys. I think from 91-93 was definitely when I cared more about having the ‘name characters’ as opposed to ‘a G.I. Joe is a G.I. Joe.’
3. Never disrespect the Septic Tank ever again. Also, I never had the Ice Sabre, but I always thought it looked cooler than the WOLF.
4. Of the 91 Cobra boys, I had Cesspool (cut the hose off of his cannon because I thought it looked cooler that way; another commenter is right in that it was impossible to get him to hold the fucking thing), Desert Scorpion (accidentally broke the peg off of his head somehow and used a nail file to smooth the broken spot down as much as I could), Incinerator (hell yeah dude), Interrogator, POSSIBLY Road Pig (I had A Road Pig, but I’m not sure if it was THIS Road Pig), and Snow Serpent.
4A. Snow Serpent’s white guns were weird and singular among my G.I. Joe accessories, because the plastic seemed to degrade in a way I don’t think I ever saw in any other Joe guns. The plastic almost seemed to become “threadbare” in a way. I don’t have the toys anymore, so I can’t take a photo, but putting the guns in and out of figures’ hands and even handling the guns as much as I did seemed to give the plastic this quality almost kind of like it was coming apart thread by thread. It was almost kinda like a gun made of ivory-white shredded wheat after a year. I don’t know if this is anything anyone else ever experienced.
5. The best ones were Incinerator, who looked so cool that I modeled a robot superhero in my childhood handmade superhero comics explicitly after Incinerator’s entire look, and Desert Scorpion, because they like to party.
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1. Thank you!
2. I think my story is almost exactly the same as yours in this regard. I did remember characters from the cartoon when I played with my 89/90 Joes, but I remember really wanting Flint, etc, and then I got him in 91. This was the same with Transformers, where you and I probably didn’t have a Starscream, Soundwave, Ironhide, Ratchet, etc even though we saw them on the cartoon every week. 91-93 were definitely my biggest Joe fan years as a kid, too. 92 was probably my biggest year.
3. I’ve never seen an Ice Sabre in person, but it does look cool. Recently, I became a Wolf owner and I have to say it’s pretty dang awesome. I also had the Ice Snake as a kid, and it was pretty fantastic. I got the 91 Brawler the same time as my Wolf, and I do really like it. But then you have shit like the Patriot, Attack Cruiser, Badger, Paralyzer, and Battle Copters. They have their charms, but they are pretty cheap-looking and wacky compared to what came before.
4. You had a good assortment! I think I lost track of all of Desert Scorpion’s accessories except his dumb hook backpack within a week of owning him. Haha.
4A. You are absolutely NOT alone. I didn’t have 91 Snow Serpent as a kid, but I did have 93 Iceberg. His snow uzi’s handle shredded in the exact way you described. It looked like it had been chewed up or blended, just from taking it in and out of the character’s hand. I found my Sonic Fighters Viper’s guns did the same thing. I guess the plastic was just a bit softer, and peeled like an apple.
5. Desert Scorpions like to party so much because they’re not allowed to party.
I actually also had the CGI, too, I forgot to include him because I was busy reliving cutting off the hose from Cesspool’s giant gun in my memory vault.
I definitely had more of the 91 Cobras than 91 Joes in general, though, solely because of aesthetics! When I had my pick at the store, I’d gravitate towards guys with cool masks. I don’t know if the masked/faceless/one-amongst-many nature of most of the Cobra toys let my dumb kid mind identify with them more (as much as one wants to identify with cartoon terrorists) than the guy who was very specifically Joe Braxton-Burt from Cologne, South Dakota, but either way, the masked guys were the ones I wanted.
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Hah! I thought you only had a Python CG, but now I know the truth. But it is telling you remember the lemony boi more.
I ALWAYS gravitated toward the masked guys, or guys with removable helmets, too. So Incinerators and BATs and Sludge Vipers were perfect. That’s also why I liked Flint, Ozone, and Freefall from the previous year so much. I still go for the masked or helmeted characters, too. I think it’s partially due to how cool full armored knights looked to me as a kid, and how much I liked Optimus Prime. And ninjas probably had something to do with it, too.
I posted a link to this in the brand new Cobra Convergence group on Facebook
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Thank you so much! I’m not on Facebook anymore, so I really appreciate that.
If I recall correctly, Major Bludd was originally to be an Eco Warrior, but was cancelled and moved into the SF line. It’s kind of weird to imagine him as an Eco Warrior without any face protection, though.
The CGI is such a nice figure, but personally I’m sticking with the Funskool version. One thing that drives the price up on the Hasbro version is that his crotch is very brittle, and breaks a lot more often than usual.
Also, I know he’s terrible, but I’m really oddly fond of Road Pig. Like you said, the original’s accessories were way better, but the orange LMG’s are unique and quite nice in their own right; if you can get past the color. I also think his bizarre, spray tan skin color adds something to him.
The Incinerator is really weird to me. As an adult, I don’t have much appreciation for the figure and find a number of faults with it. But reading your post reminded me of how much I liked the figure as a kid, when I saw him as being more of a robot. I think he works better as a BAT variant.
Great post man!
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Thanks for the kind words! and thanks for reading this big long thing and leaving a comment.
I’ve never heard that about Bludd being an Eco Warrior. I wonder if he was supposed to have some sort of air mask like Lifeline, Ripcord, Blowtorch, or Mutt. The intended 93 Eco Warriors seemed to be pretty uncovered, too…
I also have a Funskool CGI. I might grab one more of those and then just call it good for Immortals. I really only need the one American version. Because of your comments elsewhere, I am being especially careful with his waistpiece.
I’m totally fine with Road Pig because he is weird and so am I, haha.
I wouldn’t trust anyone who didn’t like Incinerator as a kid, at least!
B.A.T.s – YES, everything you said. High fives for you, and an open mouthed kiss with tongue. I know it’s uncomfortable, but it’s the manly thing to do.
Cesspool – one of many that my friend had. Loved this figure, but still do not own it to this day. We used him a lot, because nobody else had an awesome face scar that we could attribute to someone else as their fault, so Cesspool could have an arch nemesis. It was my Eco Warriors Flint.
Cobra Commander – I had no idea that was Cobra Commander for the longest time. It wasn’t until I saw him on a trading card that I figured it out, and then became obsessed with it. Why the weird look? Was there some story reason? My little brain always thought there were reasons beyond “we designed a toy, I dunno” so he was a focus for a long time. Still don’t have one. Still kinda want one.
Crimson Guard Immortal – man, who didn’t want that figure? That was one my friend didn’t have, but it had a very hard circle drawn around it on the package backing that I kept.
Desert Scorpion – never ran into this, when I was a kid, and didn’t find out about it’s existence until the internet came around. Very cool looking figure!
Incinerators – didn’t get one of these until waaay later, but I wish I had had one when I was a kid! This sucker would have been a cyborg menace, no question. It just looks unstoppable.
Interrogator – another one I was unaware of, when I was a kid! If I had run into him out of the package, I probably would have assumed he was another version of Cobra Commander. Friggin’ love the look of him, and I still love the DTC one from the mid 2000s.
Major Bludd – I remember him from the backs of packages, but that was it. He never stood out to me, but then, I never really cared about him until the Python Patrol version from the 6 pack.
Night Vulture – LOVE HIM. Still want one. My friend had him, and he did a lot of nighttime drops from his glider on to rooftops to infiltrate bases. He was so mysterious that he made one final drop on a particularly dark night – and never returned. Seriously, we lost him. No idea where he went.
Road Pig – another one I was only aware of from the backs of packages. Never interested me, and at the time, I was unaware of the original.
Sky Creeper – what? Ha! Haha! Look at that doofus! He looks like a bicycle delivery man, but in the air. I really want him to deliver my food. I would pay him extra just to be himself.
Sludge Viper – Oh my baby! Love this figure. Never had him, but whenever I was at my friend’s house, this figure (or the BAT) was in my hands. Always messing with him. The sculpt is just freakin’ dynamite. I used him for all manner of important things; I can’t even remember all the roles he played. I still want some version of that mold.
Snow Serpent – another one my friend had, but since I was always Cobra, I always used him. We would set up a white blanket to have him snowboard on, and I remember I asked to borrow him so I could take him home and continue to mess with him – the accessories are just that cool. I still want one, but he needs the accessories to really be complete. This guy was the whole package: looks, accessories, and radical.
Toxo-Viper – wanted that one pretty bad, but all I got was the Toxo-Zombie (not a bad one to have, anyway). At the time, I was unaware of the original Toxo-Viper. I think my desire for him has diminished, but he’s still a damn awesome design.
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Hahahaha thanks man!
Ok, LET’S DO THIS
Cesspool – if I’d had him as a kid, I would have done the same thing. though I’m not sure who his rival would have been! Maybe it would have been a boomerang scar from Skymate.
CC – you should get one. I’d love to see what you’d do with him.
Desert Scorpion – he had a TATTOO, of course he was tough!!
Interrogator – that DTC one was the best version of him after the ARAH era, no question. the con one’s helmet fits weird and the modern one is, uh…
Night Vulture – lost like many air commandos figures and accessories before and after him. though after this story, I won’t hear any more about how Night Vultures are “too bright to be stealthy.”
Sky Creeper – he’s gonna steal your wallet, just for that comment.
Sludge Viper – yes, his design is amazing. and Sub Vipers still pop up in lots from China from time to time…
Snow Serpent – I’ve been seeing these guys for reasonable prices lately. let me know if you pick one up, I have an extra snowboard at the moment. the white blanket was a genius idea, btw!
Toxo-Viper – dude, same boat! I had the Toxo-Zombie as a kid and was never aware that he was based on any kind of Toxo-Viper. That zombie was one of my all time favorite figures. I quite like this Toxo-Viper now, though. And if it’s an Eco Warriors or hostile environment type of character, I basically HAVE to own it.
Cobra Commander’s only major media appearance in his 1991 uniform (aside from trading card) is in a 3 part GI JOE comic book story. He’s just won a desert war (by deceit, not military power) and is out to get Destro. There’s no in story reason for the uniform change (the arc featured a different artist than the previous issues), but I’d like to think it was his Victory Uniform or something. The art work doesn’t quite match the figure, mainly the helmet. Part over the eyes is gold, but red (translucent) on the toy.
I think that story arc is the only time Hawk wears his 1991 uniform, too.
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I don’t remember that arc at all. I’m in the process of re-reading it, but I’m not there yet. Now I know I have something weird to look forward to.
Thanks man; that’s really interesting!
Before the 1991 Cobra line-up made the scene back in the day, the 1990 Cobra troopers were THE coolest and most original characters created by Hasbro I’ve seen up to at that point. And as much as I like the Rock-Viper, Undertow, Vapor, Saw-Viper, and the Decimator, they just don’t have the personality, charisma, and and overall eye-catching designs like Cess Pool, Snow Serpent v.2, Desert Scorpion, Night-Vultures, Crimson Guard Immortal, Toxo-Viper v.2…all of them were, and are, more appealing, especially for an 11 year me back in 1991.
And it also helped that the commercials for the 1991 GI JOE toy line helped increase my love for the franchise. The jingle for them at the time brings back good memories all-round. Oh, and the Ice-Saber, Paralyzer, and even the Septic Tank are awesome and memorable designs, too.
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Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, James!
1990 is my second favorite Joe year, and the troopers that year were largely excellent. Range Viper, Undertow, and Rock Viper are all particularly great! But yeah, I thin you’re right– 1991 outdid them in every way. Did you notice a big shift between 90 and 91, being 11 then? Matt mentioned that above. I was still pretty young in 91, so I’m not sure I noticed. I also had no concept of time then (not unlike now), so I had no idea what came out when.
I LOVE the 1991 commercials. The live action stuff is killer. I also love that amazing JoeCon panel that 3DJoes put together on those commercials. It makes them even more incredible. They even make Battle Copters look cool!
I had the Sonic Boom Tank repaint of the Paralyzer. My mom got it for me when I had the chicken pox in 93. It was one of my most-used small vehicles. I still think I like that color scheme for it a bit more…
Rock Viper was my favorite for the 90’s cobra troopers. My second favorite would have to be S.A.W-Viper because of his super huge machine gun and ammo belt w/backpack. And third would have to be Metal-Head because he was a singular trooper, and not just another nameless Cobra (sorry, I never saw him as a Iron Grenadier, lol) troop. That and the fact that his rival was obviously Salvo.
I did notice a shift. Hasbro was going back with updating some classic characters again ( I didn’t have a problem with that at the time and I still don’t.), the colors of the uniforms was not as muted as the previous years Cobras, and the spring-loaded weapons gimmick.
The live-action segment from those commercials absolutely blew my young mind away, lol. It made me want to buy the toys even more, haha. Yeah, I saw what 3DJoes submitted on their facebook with that remastered commercials from the early 1990’s. The quality is absolutely amazing and brings back fond memories for me.
I need to check out the sonic boom tank. by 1993 i was pretty much done with GI Joe. Lol I definitely will never forget about the Paralyzer though.
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No one ever says SAW Viper is a favorite! I think you’re the first. Though I got one recently, and I like him more than I thought I would. I never saw Metal Head as an Iron Grenadier either, to tell you the truth.
So the spring loaded launchers must have been a big difference then! I didn’t notice the big change there until 93, where EVERYONE came with a ridiculous launcher no matter who they were. At least in 91 they kept the launchers pretty classy. Red Star, Sci-Fi, and the BAT all had really cool missile launchers that made sense. Mercer’s was pretty good, too. Even the 92 launchers were good for the most part. But in 93 it did get a bit out of hand, even if I like most of those figures still.
91-93 were probably my biggest Joe years, with some amount of 90 (and earlier) and 94 thrown in.
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For better or for worse the summer of 1991 found me as a 14 year old who had fallen into the “too old for toys” nonsense. As such, my Joes sat in boxes in my parents’ basement while I was watching Scottie Pippen lock down Magic Johnson in the NBA finals. I would revisit my little plastic friends a mere 6 years later (& have rarely put them down since), but unfortunately I missed out on all these guys in “real time”…. I think had I not, Interrogator would’ve been #1 on my hit list, although my adult sensibilities would choose Cesspool 1st.
Great read man! You weave the product knowledge & personal retrospection very fluidly – and of course that special brand of humor is the icing on the cake.
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Great blog! I found out about this site yesterday with the HCC788 review of the Paralyzer/Sonic Boom tank. I am one of those who was as much of a 90s Joe fan and an 80s fan. GI Joes were my favorite toys – having a big brother gave me exposure to some of the earlier years of the line. I have vague memories going back to 87/88 about GI Joes but most of the memories I can really remember start in 89 and go right on up through the end of the line in 94 (and beyond).
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So sorry for the super late reply. I really appreciate you stopping by, reading, and leaving a comment. Also thanks for watching the video I did with HCC! My earliest figures were from the late 80s as well, so I also appreciate the entire vintage GI Joe line. Most of what I had growing up was from the 1990s, so that’s usually what I showcase, but I love the 1980s stuff as well. Hope you’ll drop by again!