1985 Lampreys

1985 Lampreys

For most people, I think the Lamprey is a very forgettable figure from the ever popular 1985 line-up. I can understand why, since he really doesn’t show up in the cartoon or the comics, and the figure doesn’t lend itself to too many roles. In my collection though, the Lamprey is a really important figure, and one that stimulates my imagination on some deeper level.

This figure was among the first four vintage acquisitions I made back in 2008, with the other three figures being ‘83 Major Bludd, ‘87 Techno Viper, and a mint Stinger Driver, all of which I acquired for less than $20 (boy do I miss those days…). At the time, I was only 14, so getting vintage figures with kid money was a little hard to do, and these first four figures I acquired were really special to me for that.

Photo from Forgotten Figures

The Lamprey was a particular figure I sought out, after becoming interested in him from a Forgotten Figures post I read earlier that year. Particularly, I saw this picture of an army of Lampreys, using the ARAHC repaint as an officer, as they receive some sort of briefing by Flying Scorpion with Major Bludd in tow. It made an impression on me, because I hadn’t seen diorama pictures of o-ring army-builders like this before. I’ve always wanted to recreate a similar scene, though I still lack the Flying Scorpion, and it appears that may remain the case until I make a custom of him, or find a Brazilian guy with a bunch of old toys and no clue what they’re worth.

The Lamprey does a nice job of portraying a simple, interesting design. The baggy suit looks nice without having too much going on, and comes across to me as a much more plausible design than something like the Sea Slug from just a few years later. The little blue lifejacket is another eye-catching detail, and somewhat cements them in my mind as the Cobra equivalent to Cutter. Interestingly, the figure is cast in a metallic, silver plastic, and I believe is the first figure to use a plastic color like this.

His only part is some kind of Sten Gun. I say “some kind” because there’s a million variants of the Sten, and I believe the Lamprey’s is based on one of the more obscure ones, possibly the Sten MK V. The Lamprey’s Sten is distinct, because it features both a pistol grip, and a foregrip, but lacks a stock. Supposedly, some British paratroopers were issued Sten MK V’s with a similar configuration, although the Lamprey’s gun has a barrel shroud similar to earlier versions of the Sten; leading me to believe it’s an amalgam.

I know I’ve said a lot more about Sten guns than I have about the toy part itself, but it’s a good example of how much attention to detail went into a few GI Joe guns. Putting that aside, the gun has a functioning strap which adds a lot more play value to an otherwise forgettable vehicle driver. The only real problem I have is that the grip’s a little thick on it, so it’s not always a joy to pose a figure with.

You can still get a mint, complete Lamprey for between $6 to $10. Many times, they go for more, but I expect prices to normalize on the lower end… Soon. Maybe. Or not. Either way, it’s a figure you get cheap sometimes, and it’s fun to collect an army of them for that much. The only thing that tends to wear on them is the silver paint on his helmet, which can be easily restored, if you don’t mind that sort of thing.

1985 Lampreys Links:

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

Half the Battle


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3 Responses to 1985 Lampreys

  1. A-Man says:

    In my top five Cobra vehicle drivers, along with WORMS, Strato-Viper and whomever the other two are. Getting the hydrofoil (rarely called it moray) back in the day was a treat, it was the biggest GI Joe thing I had at the time.

    There was easy comic pack repaint potential for their comic debut. Hey, with new o-rings that could happen. Of course, comic packs would be like $40 now. See, I cannot stay positive for long. It looks like we going to be paying per figure was the cost of a TRU 6-pack. I just hope something worthwhile comes out of it.

  2. Mike T. says:

    Don’t know if I should be flattered or apologetic for the Lamprey photo. 🙂

    This is a great army builder. They work on the Moray. But, I also like them as Cobra generic maritime troopers. The weapon is perfect. I’m glad they remain relatively available and cheap. I got a bunch of mail away versions from Hasbro Canada and even have a couple still in the bags.

    I have to get my Hydrofoil out this spring and get it down to the creek.

  3. Sam says:

    I have to agree: These guys make excellent army builders. Even though their filecards say they are have the rank equivalent of captain, I still view them as generic naval troops. And yeah, they’re still weirdly cheap, even complete with the gun and strap. Last week, I turned down the chance to buy one at my local hobby shop for $12 just because the strap was missing from his gun. Maybe I’ll go back and snag him (which would be my 6th or 7th ’85 Lamprey) as I’ve been inspired by this blog post!

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