Today we’re looking at another vehicle. I’ve wanted to write about the 1993 GI Joe Ice Snake for quite a while, since it was an important childhood vehicle for me. It’s also a really nice piece, especially for a late-line vehicle. The design is good, the colors are appropriate, the features are fun, and it’s a really nice addition to the Cobra snow fleet. I think most GI Joe fans would be pretty on board with this one.
We’ll take a look at the vehicle from every possible angle, see how it works with various figures, and go over all of its features and gimmicks.
This particular Ice Snake was given to me by my friend Barry. I’m still very grateful he sent it my way, as I find it’s one of my most-used Cobra vehicles. I love taking photos of it, posing different figures on and around it, and even playing with it. Thanks, Barry!
Let’s start with the basics and a couple little photo galleries.
1993 GI Joe Ice Snake Gallery
The Cobra Ice Snake was released in 1993 in the GI Joe Battle Corps line, which was the main figure/vehicle line for the last two years of the vintage ARAH GI Joe run. It shares some parts with the 1993 GI Joe Mudbuster, including the tires, roll cage, launcher, launcher mount, and missiles. They’re even done up in the same blue color.
The Ice Snake is a pretty classic medium sized GI Joe vehicle with room for two figures in the cockpit and an additional two footpegs on the back at the gunner’s station. It’s not too cramped in either the cockpit or on the back runners. Granted, holding four figures is not a huge milestone for a Joe vehicle, but it’s a good amount for a vehicle this size.
I didn’t include any comparison photos, but it’s just a tiny bit smaller than the Cobra Wolf, which means it’s a pretty imposing size for a Cobra snow vehicle. I think it’s right around where it needs to be.
The vehicle’s main body is molded in white, which is a bit prone to some yellowing and grime accumulation, as you can see here. I think it’s just the kind of plastic Hasbro used. Despite those little nits, I find this copy still looks pretty good after nearly 30 years unless you’re really searching for minor imperfections.
The vehicle’s hardware including the skis, launcher, and roll cage, is cast in a nice dark blue plastic. This plastic is a bit prone to stress marks, but I’ve never had anything break on me. I’m not too worried about it. Its large rear tires are cast in black plastic. They may look a bit cheaper than the tires on older GI Joe vehicles, but I find they get the job done pretty nicely.
The 1993 GI Joe Ice Snake uses foil stickers instead of the paper stickers Joe vehicles usually used in the mid 90s. On the one hand, they’re not as nice as 80s vehicle stickers. On the other hand, they actually look really cool on the vehicle. The foil Ice Snake logos on the vehicle’s sides and the one reading ‘ICE SNAKE’ in front of the driver’s compartment look particularly good. When they catch the light just right it’s a real treat. They seem to hold up pretty well, too.
The Ice Snake’s cockpit area is roomy and well detailed. The driver gets a steering apparatus and a gearshift, which is more than even a lot of more “classic,” highly-revered GI Joe vehicles get.
The roll cage swings forward on a simple peg system and closes neatly over anyone in the driver’s compartment. You can actually attach a rubber band to it so it will spring forward to attack Joe soldiers or whatever, but I find the feature is kind of annoying and not worth the effort, so I don’t bother with it. It doesn’t hurt anything to leave the rubber band out, though.
There’s some pretty cool engine detailing in between the driver area and the gunner’s station, too. It’s not picked out in paint, but it’s nice that the designers put some extra detail in there.
The gunner’s station features two footpegs and a cannon that swivels 360 degrees and can angle up and down. The mounting hinge does weaken over time, meaning the weapon can be a bit floppy, but that’s true for a ton of GI Joe vehicles. The weapon itself is a spring-loaded launcher that can shoot any of the vehicle’s included three missiles. The two missiles you’re not using store under the Ice Snake’s nose, points which the box art shows as individual missile launchers, too. I also like that the rear missile launcher has a double-barreled machine gun mounted on it, meaning the Ice Snake has more than just missiles.
Aside from these two missiles, the Ice Snake also included a grappling hook missile, which you can attach to the launcher with a string. You can check that missile out here. I don’t have that missile but I don’t feel like I’m missing out. A grappling hook isn’t a bad idea for a high speed snow vehicle but, unlike the Mudbuster, there’s really nowhere smart to store it when you’re not using it and the string is still attached.
As mentioned previously, you can easily crew the vehicle with four figures. Here are the three figures I generally use for the vehicle. We’ll talk more about which figures look good with it in the review section, but here’s a look at the Ice Snake with a dedicated crew.
I find that just about any ARAH-style figure fits comfortable in any of the Ice Snake’s 4 crew positions. Everything scales well and no one looks squished, oversized, or undersized. This is a good vehicle that works well with the action figures it was sold alongside.
Now that we’ve gone over the concrete details, let’s have some fun and get into the review.
1993 GI Joe Ice Snake Quick Review
I got the Ice Snake in 1993 and it was one of my favorite Cobra vehicles. That’s kind of weird since I didn’t have a 1991 Snow Serpent as a kid and there really weren’t any other snow-themed Cobra troops from 92-94 (if you don’t count the 93 Snow Serpent mail-away). I did have both the 1993 Iceberg and Frostbite, though, so at least Cobra had someone to fight in the snow. In a pinch, both Big Bear and Big Ben made for good snow troops, too.
And, really, when you’re a kid who’s watched enough of the Sunbow cartoon series, any GI Joe or Cobra in any outfit can function in a snowy environment.
I picked out the 1993 GI Joe Ice Snake just because it could seat two figures side by side, like a real car. That was almost unheard of with GI Joe vehicles, particularly in the 1990s. From the art and photos on the box, I thought maybe there was a seat in between the driver’s compartment and the missile launcher, too.
That didn’t turn out to be the case, of course, but you could cram another figure in front of the missile launcher. I often used this space for Joes Cobra had taken prisoner– and by “Joes” I mean poor Frostbite. It was almost always him and Iceberg would almost always have to bail him out.
I liked the Ice Snake enough that I had a ton of snow-themed adventures centered around it, despite the lack of cold weather troops. The vehicle was often manned by a Crimson Guard Commander, Headhunter Stormtrooper, Slice, Dice, or a 93 HEAT Viper.
This was a great vehicle for a kid. It’s sturdy and fairly substantial, the play features are good without getting in the way, and it carries the right amount of figures.
It’s also a good vehicle for collectors. The detailing is great all over and the colors are perfect for a snow vehicle. It looks fantastic on display.
I’ll show the vehicle off with various Cobra snow troops here in a bit, but first I want to talk about the crew I generally use for the vehicle. I like to use the Flaming MOTH Ice Viper as a driver, since he matches it almost perfectly and my Wolf is manned by two regular Ice Vipers. In the passenger seat, I place a Black Major Snow Serpent-themed Invasor (Snake Eyes), who is a figure I never cared about but got in a “mystery box” from the Major. He’s good at filling the seat and it means I don’t have to worry about another use for the figure. Which is good, since I can’t think of any.
To man the missile turret, I use a white Neo-Viper. The figure doesn’t have an o-ring, so his use is a little bit limited. But it is a good-looking, well-proportioned figure who fits perfectly on the rear footpegs and can grab the launcher’s handles without fear of breaking a thumb. I really don’t want to waste figures like Snow Serpents on manning a vehicle (I like them too much), so finding a nice crew I can display the vehicle with required me looking elsewhere. And this is one of the few GI Joe pieces I display in my home, just because I like it so much.
I do find the vehicle looks good with almost any snow-themed Cobra figure, though. And it also looks good alongside the Cobra Wolf. Despite the difference in eras, they’re good companion pieces.
Here’s a look at the vehicle with an 85 Snow Serpent, 91 Snow Serpent, 98 Snow Serpent, a Flaming MOTH Snow Serpent, 98 Night Creeper, Black Major Snow Invasor, the white Neo-Viper, and the MOTH Ice Viper:
As you can see, it matches almost all of them pretty well. This is a real workhorse vehicle for Cobra’s polar forces– which is good, because Cobra was super outmatched when it came to snow vehicles.
GI Joe has the Polar Battle Bear, the Snow Cat, the Dominator Snow Tank, the Arctic Blast, the Avalanche, and the Blockbuster. Cobra pretty much just had the Wolf, the Ice Sabre, and the Ice Snake.
Not Pictured: Black Major Snow Serpents
I don’t own an Ice Sabre yet, so my Cobra snow forces are pretty much confined to the Wolf and Ice Snake. I also own a 2003 Polar Blast snowmobile, which evens things out a tiny bit, but I’m glad the Ice Snake is there to add some back up for all of these guys. I’m a big fan of cold weather-themed GI Joe figures, and it would be a shame if the Ice Snake wasn’t around to bolster my Cobra snow troops.
The Ice Snake is fantastic, but it’s not without a few little problems.
I already mentioned the blue plastic’s predisposal to stress marks and the white plastic’s propensity to discolor and collect grime, but there is one other problem with the vehicle.
The roll cage looks cool, but it also doesn’t really protect the vehicle’s occupants from the elements. It’s not a glass canopy like you see on the Wolf or the Snow Cat. Granted, the Polar Battle Bear, Ice Sabre, and Arctic Blast have that problem, too. But the Ice Snake is big enough that it’s not just a glorified snow mobile, so you might expect the drivers to be fully protected from snowdrifts and falling snow.
To me, that’s not really a big deal. I don’t have much trouble suspending my disbelief. For some of the more jaded collectors in our community, though, it could be a practicality problem.
In the end, I have very few gripes about this vehicle. Even the cheap 90s stickers on it are pretty good in my eyes. It’s a vehicle I use all the time and that I’m happy to have. I might even call it an important part of my collection.
Overall: The 1993 GI Joe Ice Snake is an essential Cobra snow vehicle. It’s a great companion to the Wolf and probably a good companion to the Ice Sabre, as well. Since there are so few Cobra snow vehicles, the Ice Snake is a crucial part of Cobra’s snow fleet. Luckily it’s a great, sturdy little vehicle with a cool design and fun features. The fact that it matches most Cobra winter-themed figures makes it even better. Despite the open-air design and a few little flaws, it is Recommended.
Closing Thoughts on the 1993 GI Joe Ice Snake
Thanks for joining me!
I’ve slowed down just a little bit, but I’m still trying to get out at least one review per week. Life is tough and hectic right now, so I appreciate you all sticking with me. I’ll try to make it worth your while.
What do your Cobra snow forces look like? What’s your favorite Cobra winter-themed vehicle and figure? Let me know in the comments!