1983 Torpedo

1983 Torpedo

While I don’t have a mint example of many of the figures from this year, I’ve occasionally contemplated that ‘83 might be my favorite line-up of GI Joe figures: at least from a minimalist point of view. A lot of the figures from this year were pretty plain and seem less remembered compared to the cast of the next two years, but in ways, that’s also their charm. Very ordinary and down to earth renditions of various military specialties, similar to the ‘82 guys, but with more personality and a lot less green. Torpedo very much falls into that.

With that said, Torpedo is by far probably the most no-frills, plain-jane diver you’ll find in this toy line, but I like that about him. This theme was done several times over between the Eels, Wetsuit, Hydro Viper and later the Battle Corps renditions of both Wetsuit and Shipwreck; with all of those figures you see a nice progression of play features and complexity that make them a tad more exciting than V1 Torpedo. At the same time, all of them are more fiddly, and definitely more busy looking than this figure, which I think is what gives him some staying power in my eyes.

As suggested, Torpedo’s sculpt is very basic with not a lot going on, he’s a guy in a wetsuit and that’s about it. Like with most early Joe divers, his diving mask is sculpted on, although unlike with later attempts, he has no hoses or anything to connect his respirator to his backpack. It makes him a little less interesting for a guy with a limited role, but it’s not a deal breaker. All of the other divers with their respirators look a tad more sophisticated, though that comes at the cost of a small and easily lost piece of rubber to complete their look. I’m not sure if this is a case of less is more, but it does make him a little easier to handle.

Torpedo features some pretty tiny feet, which I suppose represents his form-fitting wetsuit and lack of big bulky boots that most Joes wear. It’s sort of nice in some ways, though in today’s world it’s translated into a lot of figures with broken heels. There simply isn’t enough plastic there to last over time, especially with the suction caused by inserting and removing his flippers (look out for that). Foot pegs are something collectors are having to avoid more with time, though you don’t really hear about such a thing with the Snow Serpent’s snow shoes, so I think Torpedo’s just a little more worse off than usual.

Gi Joe Torpedo 1983 action figure action force hasbro vintage

For parts, you get a backpack, harpoon gun, and two flippers, in line with the simple kits seen in these early Joe releases. He has everything he needs, which includes some kind of weapon at the very least. GI Joe seems to interpret that most divers have a standard issue spear or harpoon gun for underwater combat, though to my understanding, no SEAL uses a weapon like this. As for his backpack, I’d like to point out that this is one of the first and rare examples of a figure with a painted part. The oxygen tanks have a nice splash or orange-red on them, which is a very eye-catching detail.

This mold has a lot of repaint potential that never really got tapped into. Funskool released the mold in three different colors, gray, blueish-gray and yellow. He was then repainted with the Cobra Night Landing as a ‘97 release, and came out again in similar colors to the original as Wet-Down in ‘01. The GI Joe club floated the idea of using this mold for Cobra Divers IIRC, though that never manifested and they promptly dumped the classic sculpts. Bootleggers like Red Laser Army got some good usage of his head for various figures, though I don’t think the entire mold was ever used. Guess if I want some repaints of him, I’ll have to do it myself.

A complete ‘83 Torpedo is worth around $15, and is not very hard to find at all. Truth is, that’s a little more than I expected him to go for, but it seems like a reasonable amount for an early Joe. Although mint ones are pretty plentiful, he does seem like a figure that’s prone to damage in a variety of ways. He’s also horribly boring and pretty useless without his parts, so that likely has an effect on his value too.

Gi Joe Torpedo 1983 action figure action force hasbro vintageGi Joe Torpedo 1983 action figure action force hasbro vintage

1983 Torpedo Links:

Forgotten Figures

Attica Gazette


Half the Battle

Joe A Day

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One Response to 1983 Torpedo

  1. A-Man says:

    Those rocket/torpedo things on his pack are often bent or broken.

    Yeah, Navy SEALS don’t use spear guns, but GI JOE is fantasy and believes in THUNDERBALL concepts of frogmen battles.

    The other thing about ‘Peedo is he’s a under-the-radar non-white Joe, being native Hawaiian. Thus of the 6 new carded 1983 Joes, half were non-white (Torpedo, Doc and Airborne). There’d never be a higher ratio than that.

    I have no great memories of the figure, brother had one and I didn’t (until the 90’s, collecting years).

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