1991 GI Joe Septic Tank Gallery and Quick Review

Hello there. Today I’ve prepared something small for you. It’s mostly a photo gallery, but I’ll also be sharing some brief thoughts on the toy with you.

The toy in question is the 1991 GI Joe Septic Tank, part of the Eco Warriors sub line. It’s not a toy I owned as a kid (though I did own the Eco Striker), but it is a toy I have an affinity for. It’s certainly not a popular toy– it’s probably one of the most hated items in the vintage ARAH GI Joe run. Most hated by people I generally don’t care to associate with, anyway.

Basically, the 1991 GI Joe Septic Tank is a remold of the venerable 1983 HISS Tank. It takes this HISS’ body and treads, and also adds a new weapons system and a new canopy cover. More importantly, it changes the classic HISS colors into radiant orange and highlighter yellow. Even with the crummy paper stickers in the mix, it looks incredible. It’s a true neon nightmare.

Here it is from every angle you could ever want.

1991 GI Joe Septic Tank Photo Gallery

Like all Eco Warriors products, it features a functional water cannon and “color change battle damage,” which is supposed to appear or disappear when it’s exposed to warm or cold water. The battle damage on my Septic Tank has long since given up the ghost– it’s there permanently.

I also quite like the stickers, even though they are made from crappy materials. Paper stickers aren’t great in the first place, but they really don’t hold up when your entire play pattern is “a water fight to save the world from pollution and climate change.”

The previous owner of this Septic Tank treated it pretty kindly. I say that because the stickers mostly still exist.

Those are all the basics. Now for some more eye-searing photos and a quick review.

1991 GI Joe Septic Tank Quick Review

Despite consisting of only 9 figures, 2 vehicles, and 1 playset, Eco Warriors might be the most widely reviled sub-line in all of GI Joe. That’s because many GI Joe fans hate bright colors and fun in equal measure. They also probably believe climate change is a Chinese hoax. Ask them to dig a little deeper, and they’ll say they’ve known climate change is a hoax since they were either children or since “GI Joe got bad,” which always directly coincides with the date when they bought their first Mr. Big or Def Leppard t-shirt.

1991 GI Joe Septic Tank

Personally, I love Eco Warriors. As a kid, I loved the bright colors, removeable helmets, and cool figure designs. Environmentalism was “in” at the time, too, with Captain Planet and a “pick up your trash and pollute less” campaign on Nickelodeon also delivering the goods.

If I had to pick a favorite GI Joe sub-line, it would probably be Eco Warriors. It holds a huge amount of nostalgia for me and I think the figure designs are brilliant. I never really used the water cannons as intended when I was a kid, but I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of the figures and their other accessories.

Anyway, the 1991 GI Joe Septic Tank itself is a pretty nice piece, even if it is unpopular. It takes the gonzo-sleek retro-future design of the original HISS and bolts some additional nastiness onto it.

991 GI Joe Septic Tank

I love the new canopy cover. It provides more protection for the driver than just a pane of glass, and it looks like an industrial Mad Max horrorshow. The cannon itself is also pretty intimidating. Not only does it provide more protection for the gunner than the regular HISS dual cannons, but the concept of a tank rolling around spraying some chemical and/or biological warfare agents is horrifying.

Much like the original HISS, the cannon does get droopy over time. Mine will only hold about two positions– completely limp or angled to the sky. I can sometimes get it to sit in a more natural position, but I can never count on it.

As mentioned, the battle damage is now permanent and the stickers are shoddy, too. But those are really the only negatives.

It retains all of the functionality of the original HISS, but changes up the colors and some of the hardware. And the best part of it all? Hasbro did it just to make you (yes, you, specifically) mad. They ruined a classic on purpose. They demolished the entire GI Joe brand with this one toy and they have not since recovered from this monumental folly.

As for me, I love the aggressively bright colors and weirdo weapon. I’m glad I finally own this vehicle. I would have loved it as a kid and I love it now.

If it doesn’t suit you, you can ignore it and buy your 400th 83 HISS to put in a boring, sterile line in an expensive glass cabinet. But if you can’t just enjoy the toys you love and ignore the the toys you dislike, then you’ll greatly appreciate this next little photo gallery.

I did it all for you.

1991 GI Joe Septic Tank – Closing Thoughts

1991 GI Joe Septic Tank

Thanks for joining me for this little gallery and review! If anything I wrote offended you personally, I suggest you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and count to Original 13. You’ll be fine.

Also, thanks to all of you friends and regular readers for bearing with me. I needed a week off. I feel like I’m still a little burned out and my head is not entirely in the game, but I’m hoping to push through it– that’s why I did something quick and easy.

So, let’s keep things light and fun. What’s your least favorite version of the HISS Tank? Which GI Joe vehicles do you hate irrationally? Let me know in the comments!

22 thoughts on “1991 GI Joe Septic Tank Gallery and Quick Review

    1. Thanks for reading the post and leaving a comment!

      And that’s very cool. My favorite part of the old Hall of Fame line were all of those branch logos they showed in the included booklets. I always thought the BAT specific logo would make a very cool tattoo. The Eco Warriors logo itself is awesome, too, of course.

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  1. One of my great laments is downsizing my Eco Warriors figures and vehicles in the late 2000’s. I managed to rebuild just a handful of the army builders before they went wacky in pricing. Sadly, I could only give away the Septic Tank if I sold it with a group of figures. I probably got 4 or 5 bucks per Toxo Viper, Zombie or Sludge Viper. I’d love to have it back for new photos. I should look for one. But, I’m sure current prices will only further enrage me.

    The Septic Tank canopy is something Hasbro should have used on the Hiss III and the Wal Mart retro tanks. It would have updated the old Hiss’s look and given us something a little different. If the 2021 collector base existed in 2001, this would have happened. But, the doofus’s of that era were so terrified of bright colors (except for the Hiss Driver, Flash, Copperhead, Blowtorch, Airtight, Shipwreck, Cutter, Sci Fi, the BAT….) that even re-thinking ’90’s vehicles in classic colors was considered sacrilege. Cost us great toys since Hasbro probably had all of the ’90’s molds available. But, hey, 6 Snow Cats, 2 Rattlers missing the canopy and 11 AWE Strikers were really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Mike!

      Eric from Toys and Tomfoolery was just telling me how expensive the Septic Tank has gotten. I remember when absolutely everyone hated it, which was true even a couple years ago. I think I got this one in 2018 or so for a pittance. It wasn’t even on my radar (I don’t buy a lot of vehicles) until I saw how cheap it was. I’m sorry you had to let some great figures go to sell yours.

      I think the Septic Tank canopy is brilliant, and it would look good on a HISS of any color. I’m sure a Modern Era HISS with this canopy and some different guns would have been very popular, and it would have been popular in the repaint era, too. But you’re right, we got an entire fleet of AWE Strikers instead.

      I actually wonder what a full-blown o-ring repaint line like what we had from 97-03 or so would look like now. I’m not sure if it would be more adventurous because of where the fanbase is now, or even more boring because the general “fan zeitgeist” demands even more slavish 80s recreations these days. It’s hard to say.

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      1. “I actually wonder what a full-blown o-ring repaint line like what we had from 97-03 or so would look like now.”

        I do, too. Without the club guys influencing Hasbro like they did in 2000-2004, the line would have been very different. Collectors are more accepting of Star Brigade, Eco Warriors, etc. So, we probably would have seen a couple of them in the line. But, at the same time, the “success” of the retro line also says we’d have seen a lot more straight re-releases, maybe like the ’97 figures.

        I wouldn’t have minded something like a Gung Ho that meshed with the original 13. But, 15 releases like that would have been horribly boring.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was one of our (me and my friend) mainstay vehicles, since most of my friend’s other vehicles were large. You don’t bring out the big guns to every battle, so the Septic Tank was our main small tank. That and my HISS II were the usual Cobra vehicles besides the Parasite (never turn down a troop-carrier). Ya know, before the Earthquake came out and tore through everyone.

    As for how I feel about it now: Nostalgia, obviously, but also I REALLY appreciate the name now that I’m older! I don’t think I even knew what a septic tank was when I was a kid, but now that I do, it’s SUCH a perfect name! Like, I bet the person who came up with it was super proud – and they SHOULD be! It’s brilliant.

    As for Eco Warriors as a whole, I appreciate it now more than back then; mostly because Star Brigade rolled around soon after and stole my attention (though I loved Eco Warriors at the time). Looking back, I think Eco Warriors had more work put into it, and I think Star Brigade could have benefited from that, though I’m sure the people working on it knew that G.I. Joe was on the decline. One way or another, Eco Warriors was certainly my top favorite, if I had to list my fave “Save the Planet” toylines.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Eric!

      I never saw this vehicle as a kid, but would have loved it, too. We also tended to use the medium sized vehicles more. Most of which my friend owned. He had the Parasite and I LOVED IT (I still need to get one) and it was one of our most used vehicles. I’ve still never seen an Earthquake in person, but it looks like something I would be really into.

      I think the name falls somewhere on the scale of clever-to-brilliant depending on the mood I’m in at the time. I’ve heard some fans say the name is terrible and makes a bad toy even worse, but I think it’s great. They could have just called it the Cobra Sludge Shooter or something and no one would have given a shit, but they went the extra mile. It’s a perfect name for the vehicle.

      I think Eco Warriors had a lot more work put into it than Star Brigade, which is why Star Brigade used several Eco Warriors molds. I think Hasbro was just more into releasing a huge amount of figures than focusing on quality by 93, but I’m not sure they knew they only had a couple years left. Still, some amazing stuff came out in 93 and 94 corrected course with a lot of new molds and new accessories.

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  3. animatedtako

    I desperately wanted this thing, there’s probably no item I stared at in the catalog harder than the Septic Tank, aside from the regular old Hiss Tank from one of the flag point mail away booklets. I echo what everyone thinks about the canopy sorely needing to be reused. I love HISS variants, it may be “lazy” but Cobra modifying a stable existing platform for a new unproven, niche purpose turns the Septic Tank from a franchise destroyer to one of the most “realistic” Cobra vehicles from a logistical viewpoint!

    I think a lot about what I’d want out of a new “premium” HISS. I think it’s about time for a new mold that follows the form factor of the HISS 1 but improves the interior and turret, and maybe retro fits the HISS2 troop carrying capacity into the shell, even if that just means an opening back and benches inside. I probably have enough glass and dual cannon HISSes, but revisit it with more modular thinking and pump out more variants and I’ll be all over them. In fact, since the Sonic Fighters Viper review and the discussion about how much they match Overlord, I’ve been kinda salivating over a brown and gold HISS…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, my friend! I apologize for the slow reply.

      I definitely don’t mind HISS variants, either. It makes more sense for Cobra to glue new parts onto their workhorse vehicle than to design something totally new for every occasion. Most of the HISS variants have luckily been pretty cool, too.

      I think a brand new HISS would need to be something like you described– an iconic looking tank that interacts better with a greater amount of figures. Something like the HISS II or the DTC HISS, but with a bit more of the traditional flavor.

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  4. Sam

    The Septic Tank is not for me. But major props for the quality of your photos. You managed to make that thing look cool af. 😎 Every photo is saturated in vibrant color. Wow.

    Nooowwwwww….the only other thing a boy could ask for is a few photos of that thing dripped in Techno Vipers, (esp one w a tank for legs). 👀🙏

    What the shit! Make it happen, Alexx/Eric.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. generalliederkranz

    This is great–an insightful review, excellent pictures, and some pointed digs at the right people! I have never had a complete Septic Tank. I liked the Eco Warriors but I don’t think I ever saw the Septic Tank in stores. I eventually got one at a flea market, but it was missing the treads, and I never figured out how to take the treads off an ordinary HISS Tank to switch them without breaking them. (I also had a little bit of completist OCD about whether the treads were *really* identical, even if they were both black and from the same mold.)

    So I still have a treadless Septic Tank. I think I might’ve pretended it was a flight pod once or twice but that was it. I should bite the bullet, swap some tracks onto it, and get some pictures. You’ve really shown its potential! The pictures are great, and your lighting perfectly brings out the bold colors of the Eco Warriors. Pairing it with your Letal custom is brilliant.

    The thing about the Eco Warriors (and Captain Planet) that always bugged me was the idea of super villains who pollute just to be evil. I remember as a kid thinking that was dumb, people polluted because it made them money, not because it was just a fun thing to do and they enjoyed shooting out toxic sludge! What saved the Eco Warriors, to me, was the Toxo-Viper and the Sludge-Viper–they clearly used toxic chemicals as weapons, not just to pollute for the heck of it. And that was plausible. (Then Larry Hama also made Cesspool an awesome, all-too-believable villain.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, GL! And sorry for the delay. I also appreciate your kind words.

      I could see myself using a treadless Septic Tank as a flight pod or spaceship as a kid, too. I wonder if any of the newer HISS reissues’ treads are compatible with ARAH era tanks. I actually have a vintage HISS missing a turret and I’m tempted to buy one of the newer ones to see if it will fit.

      I agree with your last point. Cesspool is a great villain in that he’s doing it for money. And it makes more sense for Cobra to just heedlessly use bio and chemical weapons in their battle against world powers. And to endorse or support logging/oil drilling operations when it’s convenient for them, or to oppose them when it’s convenient. Captain Planet DID have some villains who polluted to make money (and many episodes were focused on that), but it also had villains who were exactly like you described– polluting for the sake of polluting. Those villains and episodes were much less believable and enjoyable to me as a kid.

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  6. “That’s because many GI Joe fans hate bright colors and fun in equal measure. They also probably believe climate change is a Chinese hoax.”

    DF, this got me to thinking, I wonder if you could make a political compass represented by HISS Tank repaints? Because the Septic Tank is both neon and an Eco-Warriors toy, we could put it on the libertarian left. We could also put the V1 HISS on the authoritarian right. This just leaves the question: What HISS’s would go on the libertarian right and authoritarian left? The SMS is both traditional and kinda bright, so that could go for libertarian right. Still drawing a blank on an authoritarian left HISS: it needs to be both both dull looking and disregard tradition in some way…

    Anyway, jokes aside, the Septic Tank is a good toy. I would call it a wonderful toy, but I do have issues with the turret. To me, it’s just cumbersome and doesn’t interact well with figures. I think the water-shooting gimmick would’ve worked better if it were designed more like the gun/backpack combos that the Joes came with. Plus, I think the tank would look cooler with hoses on it, that connect to another part of the vehicle.

    I really like the colors, though one time Scarrviper did a custom, where he swapped the orange out for purple and it looked really good. I think it’s a shame Hasbro never did a repaint that looked like that, especially since the canopy sculpt is so nice.

    Ever since I was a kid, I always imagined the Eco-Cobras mainly used sarin gas in their weapons, which made the Toxo-Vipers and Septic Tank hard to deal with, besides being extremely deadly. It also worked well with my imagination, because sarin gas is totally invisible, which meant I needed nothing to represent it while playing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment, Nekoman, and sorry for the delayed reply!

      Maybe authoritarian left would be the Arctic HISS? Fits with a Siberian winter at least.

      You’re right that the turret is probably the weakest point and it could have been tightened up. I still like the design of the weapon, though, and it looks good on the vehicle. But they could have tested it more or gone back for a second or third draft.

      Purple and highlighter yellow are a great combo and also work perfectly for post-86 Cobra. I’m going to look that custom up.

      When I was a kid I imagined the Eco Cobras mostly using the sludge the Sludge Viper’s file card describes, though they used gas sometimes, too. I don’t think I was as knowledgeable about toxic gas as you were!

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    1. Thanks so much, Alex! I guess the only time they crossed over with Ninja Force was in that 2014 convention set. But I’d love it if they crossed over in a comic book or an o-ring type figure line, too. I would be in heaven.

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      1. Alex

        I had forgotten about that set. But I need like, a ninja, in an Eco Warriors suit with color change. And just to really piss a certain demographic off… action features!

        Also, just to mark off all my childhood check boxes if this figure could also come with some sort of animal companion and some sort of jet pack or jet sled or jet canoe then it would be my perfect figure.

        Liked by 1 person

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