1986 Wet-Suit

1986 Wet-Suit

In many ways, 1986 represented a restart for ARAH. Popular characters return with new toys, such as Roadblock and General Hawk, while older specialist are somewhat replaced by newer characters that have overlapping specialties (Viper, Leatherneck, Lifeline, ect.). Wetsuit is one of the later, filling the same role as Torpedo from 1983. I’m a fan of both figures, though objectively I think Wet-Suit’s of better quality.

‘86 figures were early priorities for me when I started filling the gaps of my ARAH collection around 2009. Unlike ‘85 figures, ‘86 guys tended to be plentiful and cheaper, while maintaining the same amount of appeal for me. Wet-Suit was one of the first figures I acquired, which meant he got to see a little more action back then as one of my few non-Cobra acquisitions. I also had a real obsession with Lampreys then, which gave Wet-suit more to fight than he might have otherwise.

The truth is, it’s a really high-quality figure. Compared to Torpedo, Wet-Suit has a rich sculpt full of details. Belts and pouches adorn the majority of the figure, with a nice amount of sharpness that makes these details pop. Like the ‘85 Eel, the helmet isn’t removable, but instead features a nice, form-fitting shape that more than makes up for it.

There’s also a lot of painted details, even if some will have issues with the colors. Straps, his helmet, the majority of the suit, he has a lot of painted details and different colors to see too, even a very nice tampograph on his chest. Of course, if the teal and orange aren’t your thing, the 2000‘s provided us with this mold in multiple great and more muted color schemes. I like bright stuff though, and this version seems the most detailed, so for me this one’s the best.

The gear is both one of the greatest things and one of the worst things about this figure. He comes with a lot of nice parts, including a rubber breathing piece, a backpack it connects to, flippers, a large flashlight, and a sea sled. The parts are fun and immerse the figure in his specialty, though the downside is that he doesn’t come with any weapons. It’s really part of the figure’s charm, as with many early ARAH figures, the parts showed what the character does and how he’s unique. Yet still, it feels a little weird he has no gun or knife.

From the looks of it, newbie collectors are paying stupid prices for this guy from time to time. I say newbies, because you can still find complete and nice Wet-Suits for around $5. It’s just sometimes that they’re going for $20+, which is what the rare Mission Brazil repaint used to go for. It’s a cheap figure and a great addition to a vintage collection, but don’t follow the crowd and pay stupid prices.

1986 Wet-Suit Links:

Half the Battle

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

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3 Responses to 1986 Wet-Suit

  1. R.T.G. says:

    Wet Suit is definitely a solid figure. I really like this sculpt, and think this version is probably the best, but none of them are bad. The lack of a good weapon is a fairly disappointing thing, but at the same time it would’ve just been another speargun!

    Of all the 1986 Updates, he’s far and a way the best, and the only one who’s existence isn’t really adverse to the figure he’s replacing. A figure like Leatherneck is just Gung Ho with less personality, Wet Suit is different enough from Torpedo to make them able to co-exist.

  2. Mike T. says:

    Wet Suit was pretty much the diver figure I always wanted as a kid. He had all the trappings of the Eel and was a much better foe for the Cobras than Torpedo. I always figured he had a gun on his little sled and that was his underwater weapon. Though, he got Torpedo’s gun or the AP Torpedo’s gun quite a bit.

    I think this figure still holds up fairly well. I like the colors because they are something different for G.I. Joe and bring some visual diversity to the line. 1986 was good that way.

    Hasbro got all they could out of this mold and I don’t really think there’s anything left to do with it. That was rare.

  3. A-Man says:

    I didn’t like him at the time. My brother had him but I declined to get my own. I had the Brazil version which I liked better. Maybe it was the orange head? I dunno. Kids are fickle.

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