1997 Destro

1997 Destro

At one point in life, I had two Destro toys I found superior to most others: ‘92 Destro and ‘97 Destro. With these, I didn’t feel like I needed any other o-ring Destros, until I changed my mind and decided ‘83 was the best. For the most part, I still like the ‘83 figure more, but the V3 sculpt has it’s charms, and the ‘97 repaint is a great representation of it.

I often forget that this figure is the retail-release version of the infamous Pimp Daddy Destro. It’s funny really, that that figure gets so much press, either just for it’s sheer absurdity or for the fact that it’s rare, while this one remains an obscurity like virtually every other repaint from the ‘97 – ‘98 line. That’s a gimmicky part of collecting I’ve never seen the appeal of, but then again, I’m glad that not everyone likes everything as much as I do, or GI Joes would be more expensive than they already are.

Destro V3, which this figure is a repaint of, features a very bulky sculpt. At a glance it looks quite a lot like Destro’s original design, but it’s fairly different in a few ways. He’s picked up some shoulder-pads, some bulky shin-guards, some leggings more reminiscent of the Iron Grenadiers figure. Still, most of the important details like his little medallion remain the same (well, it’s a different necklace now, but it’s there), which is interesting given that not so many ARAH redesigns kept much from figure to figure.

I quit liking ‘92 Destro quite as much once I realized how poorly his proportions match up with anything. His tiny head in particular tends to bother me, though the massive muscle-guy-90‘s shoulders limit him a bit too. At one point this bothered me an awful lot, but I realize that most of these issues just seem more apparent because of the transition in sculpting styles. Next to ‘84 Cobra Commander, he looks silly and rather out of place; next to ‘94 Major Bludd, he looks pretty decent. It’s a very exaggerated looking figure, but he has a home among his contemporaries.

Of course, this post is about the ‘97 repaint. He came in the “Cobra Command Team” set with Baroness and a blue battle-armor Cobra Commander. As the story goes, originally him and Cobra Commander were going to be the V1 molds, but like with so many others from this point, the molds were gone. From what I can see of the prototype, the V1 Destro repaint they were planning was a lot more boring than this one, so I guess I’m glad it never happened in that way.

This is a nice set of colors for Destro and the V3 mold with it’s added details does really well with it. The heavy use of burgundy with black, red and silver for details is eye-catching, and also a fairly inventive new color-scheme that manages to look appropriate for the character while also seeming totally new. For an added bonus, they chromed his head, which I think makes him look a lot more interesting overall than if it were just silver paint.

Like ‘92 Destro, he comes with a big, bulky pistol, a disk-launcher (with three disks) and a stand. Some of those disk-launchers are black, some are pink. As a kid I really liked his pistol, just for the way it looked. As far as looks go, it is fairly decent, but it’s hard to ignore how badly scaled it is when considering the fact that it’s a handgun. Of course, I can’t place what kind of gun it is exactly, and while I think it’s probably an original design, some of those 90‘s Joe guns were based on some very obscure firearms, so maybe it’s better than I think. The disk launcher is alright for a missile launcher, it’s fairly fun since it’s a stationary item. Oddly there’s no spring in this one, I think that’s universal on this release, but I’ve never been sure since no one says much about it.

Most of the ‘97 Destro’s I see loose are missing the launcher, which I’d guess is because most of the adults that bought these probably tossed that aside while contemplating the real and present danger of the Y2K bug. Without it, you can get a nice example for around $7, which is nice. Carded Cobra Command Team sets seem like they’re coming down in price, so with a little waiting you might get one of those for around $35.

gi joe 1997 pimp daddy destro viper tru toys r us
gi joe 1997 pimp daddy destro viper tru toys r us

1997 Destro Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

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One Response to 1997 Destro

  1. A-Man says:

    The problems with the 1992 Destro mold are what you mentioned plus height. He’s not a bit taller like previous Destros. This mixed with the small head makes him less imposing. Also, no wrist rockets, which people seem to prefer…and appeared on CG Commander the next year, leading folks to wonder.

    The file card listed him as “James McMullen Destro” (Not “McCullen”) leading to my fan retcon that he was Destro’s cousin who took over the business.

    I recall the launcher was spring loaded, but it’s been a lonnng time now since I’ve held it.

    Fans are fickle about repaints of some characters. Hasbro took a bold choice and made an official classified desert Snake-Eyes…moving away from fan expectations of black and grey. Destro is similar, if he doesn’t have a lot of black or the basic mask, some fan react negatively. The colors on 1997 Destro are different and that’s good, as just a do-over of 1992 Destro is…well 2001 Destro, isn’t it. But the colors still stick to Destro palette more or less.

    As with every figure 1997, it’s the quality that bugs me. The oversized rivets and plastic in the arms leads to cracks and even breakage. It stinks. But it’s Hasbro’s fault for giving GI JOE to Kenner, then going with factories that never made 3 3/4″ GI JOE before.

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