Motto: “Well, with all due respect, nobody told me that was a BBC documentary crew submarine, SIR!”
WET-SUIT has been characterized as being “two Ikea shelving units worth of mean on the hoof” and “twice as frustrating to deal with.” He is definitely not big on social graces, and was recently 86’d from the Oasis. He is not the type who goes over very well as the Chaplain Assistants’ Social Tea, as he only drinks tall cans of Twisted Tea (always shotgunned, always two at a time) and Monster Energy Java. Despite being an elite underwater operator, no one has ever seen him drink a single glass of H2O. Even so, he is exactly the dude you want behind you when you run into a gaggle of Cobra EELS in a shallow mine field or in a kiddie pool filled with Green Jello. Amazing how much damage he can do with a Ka-Bar knife and a Breitbart comments account. Wet-Suit is the head-honcho in charge of piloting the GI Joe Barracuda, which is an unnecessary title he just made up because he needs to feel like he retains some control over his life.
- Totally-real, totally-not-a-movie prop undersea spear rifle
- Air-tight, underwater helmet with 360° unscrambled Cinemax
- High-impact, delayed detonation torpedo (hunter orange for safety reasons)
- Low drag, nautical jet sled with heads-up display and neck pillow
- Pulse-powered, battlefield wrist viewer with scrambled Showtime
- Portable beeper/female body inspector
- Official V8 Survival Juice Drink
- Select-a-charge war crime devices
- Snug fit, deep water flippers (always worn with socks)
The Undersea Life with 1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit
When I was a kid, the 1992 GI Joe Wet-Suit was ubiquitous (the subject of this review was not, but there’s a point to this so bear with me). All of my GI Joe-loving friends had that black and yellow Wet-Suit figure. He was also a prominent character in the GI Joe: The Atlantis Factor video game, and was featured in many marketing materials of the day. So, even if I never had the figure, he was always around. And he was the Wet-Suit for me and every kid I knew.
We knew he didn’t look much like the Wet-Suit we saw in the Sunbow cartoon reruns, but that didn’t matter. He was thoroughly modern, and he was everywhere else– including the DIC cartoon. As I’d later come to find out, the original 1986 Wet-Suit figure didn’t exactly resemble his Sunbow cartoon counterpart, either. So we’ll call that a wash on all fronts.
But the figure was more important to me than the cartoon character. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved everything to do with underwater operations and undersea life. As a kid, I saw a scuba diver “wrestle” with a Giant Pacific Octopus at The Pacific Undersea Gardens in Victoria, BC– that was the moment it clicked. After that, I was obsessed with The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau reruns and videotape rentals. I watched every episode of Seaquest: DSV, and Aquazone was my favorite Lego theme. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is my favorite Wes Anderson movie. You see where I’m going with this. Even if I’m not a strong swimmer and a day at the beach is Hell on Earth to me, I love anything having to do with undersea life and underwater adventures. Hell, maybe there’s even some correlation there. Feel free to Freud/Jung me in the comments.
With that being said, the underwater GI Joe operatives are easily my favorite of the “environment specific” toys. As kids, the 1992 Wet-Suit and the Barracuda submarine, along with 1989 Deep Six and the 1992 Cobra Eels, factored prominently into all of our GI Joe adventures. Complete with rubber sharks and French accents, of course. There always had to be a French accent, as I was Mr. Cousteau’s devoted disciple.
As a young teenager who was too old to be buying toys in the early 00s (don’t tell me how to live, society!), most of my GI Joe adventures centered around the BJ’s 8-pack Wet-Suit, the Joe vs Cobra Wet-Suit and Moray, the Mantis submarine, and whichever other underwater figures I could find.
Speaking of that BJ’s 8-pack Wet-Suit, having that toy in hand caused me to look at YoJoe.com to see what the first version of Wet-Suit looked like. With the abundant neon 90s hate that prevailed in the early 00s Joe community, I was baffled at why that original 1986 Wet-Suit was a beloved figure but the 1992 version was derided. As I looked at various Wet-Suit figures and worried over the opinions of elderly Joe collectors, I stumbled upon my favorite version– the 1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit, an orange Battle Corps repaint of the previous year’s offering.
Your honor, here’s my defense.
Why 1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit is Easily the Best Version
Let’s get this out of the way first– I really like the 1986 Wet-Suit mold. The helmet is cool, the oxygen tube and backpack combo is unique and somewhat futuristic looking, and the whole figure has the quasi-science fiction aesthetic the GI Joe line always pulled off so well. But then we get into the colors and the rest of his accessories.
Your battle-hardened Navy SEAL is wearing bright blue, white, and yellow? He has short sleeves, which prevent any cold water missions? He has no weapons? Just a sea sled and a flashlight? His helmet covers his entire face but doesn’t come off?
Sure, the ‘Mission Brazil’ Wet-Suit toned down the colors a bit, and you could always equip him with whatever extra gun you had lying around from a battle gear accessory pack (my Wet-Suit v1 is perched precariously kneeling on the side of my Devilfish, an AP Grunt M16 in hand), but that would require buying an entirely new figure (in a multi-pack!) and having extra accessories. And even then, you’d never see his face. He’d never look like he did in the Sunbow cartoon.
I’ll say it one more time– I am pretty into the original Wet-Suit figure and all of his various repaints. I own every version except for the aforementioned ‘Mission Brazil’ figure. I don’t mind the brighter colors on v1. It’s a cool-looking figure, it just doesn’t scream “super mean, hardened Navy SEAL.” It more politely says “jaunty undersea adventurer.”
The 1993 Wet-Suit, on the other hand, is just about perfect for a science fiction, Joe-aesthetic Navy SEAL. He’s wearing mostly black, and even his orange highlights aren’t particularly bright. If you’re starting to break a sweat and your brain is starting to yell “B-B-BUT ORANGE,” please remember that orange is one of the hardest colors to see underwater.
His helmet is removable, and it’s a cool looking helmet. Underneath, you’ll see a great head sculpt, complete with what many Joe fans like to call a “mullet.” I like to think of it as his somewhat poofy hair from the cartoon, matted down and slicked back because he’s been underwater and wearing an intense helmet and breathing system. But, even if his hair is slightly mullety, it’s a VERY tame and serene mullet for the early 90s. Watch any Brooks and Dunn or Alan Jackson video, take another look at Wet-Suit, and then get back to me.
And, best of all, the 1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit actually comes with weapons! He has a cool, futuristic speargun (that some people don’t like because Nothing Good Ever Happened After 1987), and a larger sea sled, complete with three torpedoes. If you needed to get in, wreck a Moray Hydrofoil, and get out, what would you rather have– a flashlight and a little undersea propulsion device, or a speargun and a powerful sea sled armed with torpedoes?
The figure still isn’t ideal in “dry land” scenarios, but his removable helmet makes him work better than Torpedo, any Deep Six, or Wet-Suit v1 ever will.
Overall, I think this is easily the Best Wet-Suit figure. Heck, if you’re almost convinced but still can’t get past the Horror Of Orange, then all you need is a simple head swap– put the 92/93 Wet-Suit head on Navy SEAL Guile from the Street Fighter movie line, place Guile’s black helmet on the figure’s head, and you’re good to go. Now you have the perfect “realistic” Wet-Suit without any of those bothersome fun colors. See below:
Now, let’s actually review the figure.
1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit Review
1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit was released under the line’s main carded figure subset, known as Battle Corps. It’s a straight-up repaint of the 1992 Wet-Suit, and replaces all instances of fresh, lemony yellow with a subdued orange hue. And that’s really the only change from the previous year’s figure.
The 1992 version is a strong figure, but I like this one just a bit more. The orange just looks fitting for a diver, and doesn’t seem too out of place for military application (at least according to the history of GI Joe). I think the orange, in this subtle shade, is a really nice pop of color for the figure. The yellow looked good, too, but the orange is more of an “all business” look.
The figure isn’t big on paint. Later versions used a larger variety of paint apps (see below), but this one mostly just keeps it two-tone. I think a bit more paint would be nice, like possibly some dark grey or silver for some of the gear. Speaking of gear, he has a knife, some explosive charges, a dive watch/depth gauge, and some tubing that probably represents his breathing apparatus.
His actual accessories are great. I LOVE the look of his helmet– it’s sleek, futuristic, and fits the figure very nicely. He also comes with a futuristic looking speargun, complete with a scope (sure, okay), and a big fin for a stock. Maybe he uses the stock as a rudder to help more easily navigate the sea sled? We’ll go with that. Why not. He also has a pair of orange flippers that work quite well and stay in place as you move the figure around, making soggy burbling noises with your mouth.
The sea sled is a very nice piece. It’s bulky enough that the figure can rest on it comfortably, and it still looks fast and streamlined. I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best spring-loaded missile launchers in the line, as it also serves a practical dual purpose. How many other single-carded figures came with their own personal vehicles? Not many. The sled holds three torpedos, and the launcher fires one at a time. For a GI Joe launcher, this one is downright elegant. I am sort of surprised the sea sed doesn’t have a backpack peg, though.
Now, for all of my bluster about how this is the Best Wet-Suit (it is!), it has a few problems. First off, the exposed neck is kind of a bummer. It’s not as egregious as v1’s exposed lower arms, but it’s still there. Second, he really should have come with some sort of air tanks. I can sort of suspend disbelief that the suit and helmet include a self-contained breathing apparatus in there somewhere, but air tanks would have really elevated the figure to another level.
The other problem– the grips on the sea sled are a bit big for the figure’s hands. As you can see in a few of my photos, the sea sled has stressed his thumbs a bit. I don’t feel like they’re going to break, but it is something to watch out for.
If you think this mold makes a pretty good Wet-Suit (it does!), but still aren’t sold on the colors, you have a few options. The mold was released with a Jean Claude Van Damme head in the Street Fighter movie line, and was released in a striking black and teal color scheme in 1998 as Torpedo. Even though I don’t think the head sculpt works as Torpedo, it’s a great figure.
So you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to this Wet-Suit mold. You have the 1992 original, this fantastic repaint, two (or more?) variants of the Navy SEAL Guile release, and the 1998 Torpedo figure. Even if you don’t love orange or yellow, there’s a great version of this toy out there somewhere looking for its forever home.
So, yeah. I personally think this is the Best Wet-Suit figure. He’s a great underwater operative with good sculpting and cool accessories. His colors make sense, and he works much better on land than any other frogman/diver type in the vintage GI Joe line. For me, this is the figure I use as, and think of as, Wet-Suit. The v1 mold and its repaints are usually army builders or generic SEALs to me, and the repaints of this mold work in much the same way.
This is Wet-Suit, and he shall never be dethroned.
Verdict: Wet-Suit is a classic character, and I can’t see this being anything but the definitive version. With this release, he finally combined a removable helmet and combat-ready accessories with a somewhat real world color scheme. I like every version of both the Wet-Suit v1 and v3 molds, but this is my pick for the best. Highly recommended.
Closing Thoughts on 1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit
It’s been a while, eh? If you read this, thank you. Let’s chat in the comments like we did in the old days.
I asked a few of my friends what they thought of this figure. The consensus seems to be that if you’re around our age (born around the mid-80s), then this figure (or, more accurately, its 1992 predecessor) WAS ubiquitous among you and your friends. I can’t find anyone around my age that doesn’t like this guy– anyone who’s still into GI Joe, anyway. I think it’s safe to say he’s a bonafide classic from the 1990s.
My friends all seem to think he has one of the best missile launchers in the line, too– and I of course have to agree.
Also, check out this killer drawing of The Best Wet-Suit from HoodedCobraCommander788:
I got this amazing piece of artwork just for pledging a small amount of money to his Patreon. If you love his work as much as I do, I urge you to consider doing so as well.
But I’ll leave the last word to my friend Pat, who said:
“I tried to come up with something funny [to say about Wet-Suit v4] but really I just started musing about how it’s amazing the entire figure wasn’t re-released with no changes in Star Brigade
also i’m not sure why his gun has a flipper
If he fired his sled in space it would push him backwards into the sun :(“
Who’s your favorite GI Joe diver? Do you also think Wet-Suit would be perfect for Star Brigade? Let me know in the comments!