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!
9 thoughts on “1993 GI Joe Ice Snake Gallery and Quick Review”
I too loved this vehicle as a kid. Originally got it from a magic mart and played with it many snow days. Was eventually mostly lost to time but I did find most the parts a few years ago and purchased the base of the vehicle that had just the right missing parts to match up. Unfortunately the ebay seller shippied it in a plastic bad mailer and it got the front skids bent inwards. A little time to decompress and they mostly lined out. Then I passed it off to you since there is never any snow here and you had some attachment from your childhood as well.
As for the playability of this vehicle, it is not practical but it is awesome. Yeah Destro thinks windshields and heaters are pretty useless in arctic vehicles, waste of resources. He did put a roll cage that rolls and smashes some unlucky joes. Also doubles as a b.a.t. launcher if your into that. I always felt the missile was meant to be like a harpoon or tow cable from empire strikes back. Except there are no joe snow walkers and it doesnt fly.
Oh, this poor vehicle! You’d think it would have survived, since it’s most common use was only one time of the year, but constant snow use actually takes it’s toll on vehicles. The foil stickers helped protect them in the snow (when it melted, because why would we clean the snow off?), but they still ended up falling off.
I didn’t actually own this one – it was my friend’s – but when you got one snow vehicle between you and your friend, it goes HARD when winter comes around. You got snow days for those winter GIJoe stories, and that’s it. Gotta make ’em count (unless you don’t mind playing in the mud on the slushier days). The problem with this one was the same as the rest: sometimes you forget them outside. Sadly, things are far brighter in the snow, so this thing was yellow for most of it’s existence. Then, of course, one winter it was snowed on and forgotten for the rest of winter.
Like I said…this poor vehicle. But at least we made the most of it!
My number #1 problem with the Ice Snake, it was an arctic only vehicle really. As Cobra had 2 previous such oversized ski-mobile, it was hard not to compare to them and the WOLF always wins that contest in all or most categories: weapons, crew comfort, colors, labels. It’s still contest of best least used Cobra land vehicle, though.
The guns on the launcher never looked enough like guns to me. That applies to the Mud Buster, too. The front missile storage is too tempting to launch them from there. Maybe…that’s the point? Maybe the back launcher is only for the grappling hook?
I found the attack canopy amusing, but not having a rubber band might be best, given rubber can melt plastic over time.
It was pretty decent for its time. Yes, a steering wheel is a nice thing to have. Details get lost in the blank white plastic.
Tow hook…not complaining but the last towed item in the line was the Python ASP.
Great stuff as always, my friend. The Ice Snake is such an underrated vehicle. I enjoyed this little piece of fun hand kibble 10x more than the Ice Sabre.
This vehicle actually went pretty unappreciated by me for a good while! I think I just didn’t know how to use it outside of snow battles with the skis, and I got the Crimson Cruiser and Mudbuster pretty soon after which totally dominated my mid-sized vehicle battling. They were both workhorse vehicles that took part in every adventure no matter what, and the Ice Snake was kinda just hanging out guarding the toxo lab, even though crew-wise it has a lot more going for it than the Crimson Cruiser. It doesn’t help that I didn’t have many snow figures either aside from Iceberg, then later Windchill and Arctic Guile. At the time I didn’t really think of the Blockbuster as an arctic vehicle despite how bundled up Windchill was! So, I never really thought to have them battle, not that it would have been much of one.
I finally came to love the Ice Snake in 97/98, when the 3 packs suddenly gave me an abundance of cold weather figures. Night Creeper, Firefly and that Snow Serpent instantly became the full crew of the Ice Snake and it was really nice rediscovering a toy that I just didn’t connect with at first. Around this time, I also rediscovered Lincoln logs and so I set out making all kinds of log cabins that were a perfect fit for the winter settings I was increasingly preferring. The Ice Snake finally had it’s day, even the grappling hook function got some love as it was perfect for wedging in lincoln log cabin windows and pulling the structure apart.
Maybe if there had been a more obvious snow cobra on the pegs in 93 I’d have attached to the Ice Snake sooner, but I don’t really mind that it played the long game!
I think this is a pretty cool vehicle. I enjoyed the look at it!
I need to make some Cobra crew guys. Y’all look like you have a lot of fun with them.
Great pictures! I had this as a kid and only just got it out of storage–like I said on Twitter, I took a picture of it just before you posted your review. That was the first time it had seen snow (or any sort of handling) in 20+years. It’s yellowed on one side unfortunately.
I had a similar thought you did, that it’s surprisingly roomy. And yet, it has always seemed like a small vehicle to me–because my first Cobra arctic vehicle was the Ice Sabre. Compared to that, the Ice Snake was always “the little arctic vehicle.”
The open cockpit didn’t bother me much because I could imagine plexiglass. The Ice Saber bothered me more because there’s no clear way that the big rotating cockpit could be covered over. Wouldn’t it fill with snow?
These are clever figure choices to man the vehicle, and they make for good pics. I like that you mentioned using it with Slice and Dice–that’s a nostalgic flashback. As an adult I normally think of manning vehicles like this with army builders, or with certain named Cobras who seem like mainline military leaders (Bludd, Metal Head, Firefly, etc). But as a kid I also used to use ninjas and others who don’t have any obvious business driving an arctic assault vehicle. I should do that more, it’s fun.
I’m glad A-Man mentioned the tow hook. That struck me too when I got the Ice Snake out earlier today. It’s an anachronism, but on the other hand it shows Hasbro’s dedication to continuity across the line. Perhaps they were thinking kids could pull some mail-order items.
I’ve always seen those two tubes next to the missile launcher as some sort of telescopic sights, rather than machine guns. Whatever works though, the flexibility is part of the charm!
The Ice Snake is incredible, and probably one of the best vehicles from around the end of the line. I agree with A-man that it’s a bit weaker than the WOLF, but then again, it’s also superior to the Ice Sabre, which is probably one of the worst GI Joe vehicles besides the Attack Cruiser.
In my head-cannon, the Ice Snake is an incredibly cheap, ramshackle design used by a more financially strained Cobra as opposed to the WOLF, which cost more to produce. They’re mainly dumped off at Cobra strongholds in cold regions that are no longer important, and are only manned by skeleton crews, hence the cheap and dangerous vehicles they’re given to operate.
The Cobra Ice Snake and G.I. Joe’s Mudbuster are two vehicles I remember from back in the day but because my 9yr old cousin had them. I was 13 and was fully entrenched in Ninja Turtles up until 1994. Last time I had gotten any new Joe’s was in 1990, so I was pretty much out of the line at that point.
But my cousin was still into them, and one summer over his house he’d just gotten these two new vehicles. Oddly we ended up playing with them in his parents inground pool by driving them off the diving board over and over again. Oddly enough they kinda floated and we’d wait for the filter to bring them back around to do it again LoL.
Aside from that, the Ice Snake is definitely a diamond in the rough amongst vehicle releases in the late 90’s. I missed that most vehicles didn’t come with unique drivers anymore as that was always part of the desire to get the vehicles. I think 1990 or 1991 was the last time they came with them as a standard thing.