1987 Sea Slug

1987 Sea Slug

1987 was a weird year for GI Joe. I imagine it was hectic at Hasbro following the relative failure of the ‘86 Transformers movie, the cancellation of Sunbow season 3, and the fact that ARAH was on it’s fifth straight year, with the initial batch of fans getting out of toys. Reflecting this, you saw a real shift in the line’s style compared to the prior years, and some strange figures such as the Sea Slug are potentially a result of that.

The Sea Slug is a figure I have a hard time arguing a need for. There are so many naval Cobras that are vastly more fun and interesting than him, not to mention visually pleasing. I think the only reason I even own the figure is because I bought him during a depressed phase in my life where literally any vintage figure I could get my mitts on was a vice to help me through the week. The bright side of toy collecting as a vice, is that unlike other stress outlets such as substance abuse, I suffer no long-term repercussions other than having this terrible figure to gripe about.

A lot of 87‘s have remarkably good sculpts and character designs. Just of the Cobras, I can find a lot to like about the Techno Viper, Cobra Commander, Gyro Viper, and even the Royal Guard. The amount of interesting detail you see on the Sea Slug is far less than any of those figures. His torso is almost devoid of anything to make it remarkable or interesting. The rest of his look, like his head or the sculpt on his boots is just weird and tacky looking. The vague shapes and details make him look more like a Flash Gordon reject.

Sea Slugs, like too many other Cobra’s have a prominent chest decoration that’s made from delicate silver paint. It’s strange, given that other figures from this point aren’t as often worn as earlier figures like the Cobra Officer. It’s actually quite easy to find perfectly mint Techno-Vipers, compared to Sea Slugs. Not trying to make it sound like they’re rare or precious or anything, but anecdotally, they seem more prone to wear.

Amusingly, he comes with a small pistol. Much like the figure, it’s neither necessary nor very good, but as a small bonus it’s definitely something that adds more value to a vehicle driver. I could’ve swore I had one, but upon further investigation, it seems I don’t. Must have never bothered with it because it’s pretty mediocre looking, but maybe when I get around to getting a Sea Ray, I’ll get a pistol for this guy too.

I always feel like a lousy groupthinker whenever I dismiss a figure like this, that seemingly no one else likes either. Complete Sea Slugs can be had for as little as $5, which is astounding given how much other figures go for on the market these days. Though, the Sea Slug is a terrible and almost useless figure, so it makes sense to me. As a notorious cheapskate and army-builder hedonist, I’m tempted to get another, though frankly I doubt I will.

Sea Slug Sea Ray GI Joe arah cobra vintage o-ring hasbro

1987 Sea Slug Links:

Yo Joe

Action Force.DK


3D Joes

Forgotten Figures

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3 Responses to 1987 Sea Slug

  1. R.T.G. says:

    Sea Slug is a funny figure to me, as I don’t really think he’s all that bad, I just seemingly associate him with Mike T’s profile of the figure. Not even the character Mike T describes in the profile, but rather “That’s a figure Mike T. wrote a very famous profile on”.

    The figure itself is kind of strange, with the lavender colourscheme and 1950s Sci-Fi get up, but a mediocre G.I. Joe, is still a pretty solid action figure.

    When times get tough, I feel G.I. Joe is an excellent escape. It’s so vast you can always find something that will allow you to seek out collectible wise (Sometimes you can get the instant gratification or you can dedicate an incredible amount of time hunting for something, either works for me!). But there is also lots of other things you can use to keep your mind off what’s troubling you, writing these profiles, taking pictures etc.

    I know G.I. Joe’s a thing that’s kept me from self destructive behaviour before.

  2. A-Man says:

    Sea Slug possibly the most underused vintage Cobra vehicle operator. The one with an even more embarrassing name than WORMS. Yeah, how’d we WORMS and Sea Slug in the same year? I guess he’s the driver equivalent of Crystal Ball, Raptor and Big Boa (Wait I like those guys!)

    Still if he’d been an individual character, some goofus would’ve decided he was head of Cobra’s navy or some nonsense.

    He wears that shirt with the really short sleeves, like it was made for a woman. But it has those shoulder fins like it’s from Futurama. It was a nice touch that his pistol matches the one on his holster, except in color. This guy was designed before full face helmets became standard on all Cobra drivers. Though, I guess Sky Creeper and Air Devil defy that idea, too.

    There could’ve been some interesting repaints of him, but even if they had,…the base uniform would still be goofy.

    Part of the reason you don’t see him is because no one cares about the Sea Ray. It’s the COBRA’s SHARC but with no media presence (But a better toy than the SHARC).

  3. Mike T. says:

    This fig was hugely important to me…when I was a kid. He was THE bad guy who was replacing Cobra Commander. Really, it was the way I justified his odd appearance. (Thanks for remembering him, RTG!)

    But, I haven’t really cared for the figure in a long time. And, now, the ghosts of that character are really all that remain. I did pop this guy out and gave him Rapid Fire’s gun, which kind of worked. But, I also had a bunch of spare Techno Viper gear and I slapped that on a pair of Sea Slugs. I thought that gave him some new life. He’s the aquatic technician for the Cobra forces.

    For the price, I’d actually buy a few if I were in the market right now. But, like you, I used Joes to get through some tough times and I need a break…especially in today’s market. I find that Joes can be the same addiction as anything else. And, for me, I’m all in or all out. I find it tough to have a slow, steady pace anymore.

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