1994 Payload (Version 4), Star Brigade

1994 Payload (Version 4), Star Brigade

One sad flaw of the Star Brigade line, is that ultimately most of the figures are repaints. 1994 brought more new sculpts here than the previous year, but the line remained saturated with older sculpts. Some of the repaints are of superb quality no doubt, and while that may not describe this Payload figure, he certainly looks decent.

Payload is a recolor of Eco Warriors Barbecue, and this figure is one of three repaints of that figure in the Star Brigade line. It’s really astounding they recolored this mold that many times over the course of a few years, and in a way it diminishes the significance of a few of the figures. Of them, this black and blue variation is the one I find the most appealing.

The colors are quite strong on this version. It reuses most of the paint-masks from the previous green Star Brigade Payload, but loses one paint application on the chest. Of the two, they’re pretty similar and it’s quite subjective which one is better, but for whatever reason I think the blue and gold looks more interesting than the green and silver.

I’ve never commented on this sculpt before, but I feel it works much better as an Eco-Warrior than an Astronaut. Star Brigade Roadblock for example was a perfect mold reuse for this line, while Payload here feels a tad forced. Something about the shape and folds of the suit just don’t strike me as a space-suit in the slightest. The head sculpt is probably the coolest part of the mold regardless, with the translucent visor and painted face underneath.

As a kid, this guy and all of his repaints were consistent villains in my scenarios. For whatever reason Eco-Warriors Barbecue struck me as an unfriendly looking character, so I turned him into a more Overkill-like cyborg character who worked with all of his repaints for Vapor. His face under his visor was all that was left of his humanity, and was being preserved in fluid, hence the need for the suit. I think their minds might’ve been linked through the Internet too.

One thing this figure has over his green counterpart, is vastly superior accessories. He comes with ‘92 Shockwave’s XM-15, Ambush’s EM-2, Updraft’s pistol, and ‘91 Low-Light’s knife, all in a nice shade of light gray. It’s a huge upgrade over fluorescent red, and for some spare parts these were some decent weapons at the time. Most of the sculpts are good, and light gray is a workable color.

Payload 1994 1993 Star Brigade GI Joe vintage Hasbro ARAH 90's Gears Roadblock Space Shot

So in the end the figure provides a nice alternative to an already pretty decent sculpt, with some decent parts as an added bonus. The downside is that he’s a pretty rare figure, and on top of that you usually find them carded more often than not. This puts the figure around $25 typically, and requires some hunting at that. It’s not more than the figure’s worth, but the green ‘93 version provides most of the same entertainment value for a lot less.

Payload 1994 1993 Star Brigade GI Joe vintage Hasbro ARAH 90's Gears Roadblock Space Shot

1994 Payload Links:

Forgotten Figures

Yo Joe

3D Joes

Joe A Day

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3 Responses to 1994 Payload (Version 4), Star Brigade

  1. A-Man says:

    Hasbro lost/misplaced the Payload mold. 1993 Star Brigade cardbacks show a repainted Payload V1, but they were later updated to show the Barbecue recolor. The card art showing Payload V1 remained.

    I don’t know what was up with Hasbro’s color choices both this Barbecue and mail-offer Major Altitude have very Cobra-like color schemes.

  2. Mike T. says:

    This figure’s existence makes no sense. It doesn’t match the card art and the 1993 figure appeared right from the get go. So, how did something so odd occur?

    We know that the Mexican Lunartix were due to a color mix up at the factory and Hasbro rejected them for not matching the card art. Maybe these guys were a mix up from 1993 and Hasbro decided to use them rather than let them go to waste? Hasbro carded 1992 overstock Roadblocks on 1993 cards that had updated art to cut their losses on the “recalled” accessories. So, there’s precedent for both cases. This one of the mysteries I’d love to see answered.

  3. Until today, I always thought that the white and red Star Brigade Payload was the 1993 figure, and that the two black ones were 94. So things make far less sense now!

    I had the green and black version, which is similar but I honestly think the clear face shield on this version is a far better look. The accessories that came with this one are A LOT better, too.

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