1985 Ripper

1985 Ripper

I’ve always been fine with Dreadnoks, but something that surprises me about my own interest in recent years, is how much the appeal of the Dreadnoks have grown on me. There’s a limit to that, and a few good reasons my interests have taken me there. Because of that, I’m sometimes prone to think that Ripper might (Might!) be my favorite figure from 1985, the same year with classics like the Snow Serpent, Flint and the Crimson Guard. He’s not perfect, but he’s also a lot of fun for reasons, so here’s my best attempt at articulating that.

Gi joe ripper ferret quick kick dreadnok 1985 arah hasbro figure version 1

One thing Joe blogging has really made apparent to me, is just how far and few between Cobras are in GI Joe. It’s a standard toy marketing kind of thing, because good-guys always sell a little better than bad-guys. Still, it means that if I spend every other week looking at a Joe, then a Cobra, I’ll run out of unique Cobras to write about way faster than Joes. Troop-builders and the umpteenth bootleg Latrine Viper in Tiger Force colors gets pretty repetitive to talk about too, so unique Cobras become even more valuable in my collection. So just by virtue of not being a faceless Cobra, this is the first thing that highlights the appeal of a figure like Ripper.

Another thing I like about Ripper, is that he’s a perfectly disposable thug. A lot of the Cobras like Firefly or Wild Weasel are just too cool and competent to have stumbling around and losing all the time, otherwise how could you take them seriously? Dreadnoks like Ripper are kind of like a Viper who just has a face. The human element of the character makes him more of a fun lens to explore Cobra through, and he’s not owned by the organization so much that he always has to follow orders like a good little robot. It gives him a life of his own, yet he’s very far from a Marry-Sue kind of character.

Ripper has a really good sculpt: simple and to the point like his contemporaries. His head is a little large and caricatured looking, but it’s still sharply detailed and expressive. Buzzer and Torch might have slightly better proportions, but the wrinkles in Ripper’s face and the texture on his hair make him seem more detailed than the other two. The paint applications also do a good job of making him more distinct and interesting. Bright blue and green aren’t a common color combo, and the added camouflage on his shirt makes the figure seem even more detailed. Then you have some of that wonderfully fragile Hasbro gold to highlight his necklace, armband, brass knuckles and knife.

For parts, you get a rifle, jaws of life, his backpack and a hose. The jaws are his distinctive Dreadnok weapon, and if it was his only weapon it’d certainly knock him down a peg, but the added bonus of a rifle is probably one of the best elements of the figure. Having a gun lets him fight in battles like a normal figure, which you can’t say for Buzzer or Torch. His rifle is a modified version of Snow Job’s, which also gives it the added benefit of being easy to hold and scaled quite nicely. The jaws of life is a mildly fun contraption too, mainly for the fact that it stores on his back when he’s not using it. When in use, it’s pretty unwieldy, but it’s possible for him to get a two-handed pose with it.

A big shame about V1 Ripper, is that we never got a cartoon accurate repaint despite the potential for that to be an unique and attractive figure. After Hasbro’s release, he went to Funskool where they made a normal one and the uber-rare purple-shirt version. Then there was a crappy Joecon repaint based on the purple-shirt one, and finally a comic-pack release, that was bland and uninteresting besides the nice black accessories it came with. Admittedly, there’s not much you could do with Ripper’s sculpt besides making different looking Rippers, but it’s always a little vexing to contemplate some cool recolors that will never be a thing now.

Ripper is still a really cheap figure, on a good day you can get one for around $13 complete with mint gold paint. I think I’m mostly alone in liking him a lot, as he’s always been a cheap acquisition and he’s only marginally more expensive now than he might’ve been ten years ago, despite my dollar only being worth half as much. In some ways, I think that’s somewhat of a testament to the fact that Dreadnok fans are relatively a vocal minority, as I still have to get into a knife fight for a broken V1 Dusty or Iron Grenadier to paint, but nice Ripper’s continue to run cheap despite being prominent in both the comics and cartoon, and a figure from Joe’s zenith year.


Gi joe ripper ferret quick kick dreadnok 1985 arah hasbro figure version 1Gi joe ripper ferret quick kick dreadnok 1985 arah hasbro figure version 1

1985 Ripper Links:

Forgotten Figures

Attica Gazette

3D Joes

Joe A Day

Half the Battle

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3 Responses to 1985 Ripper

  1. Mike T. says:

    Ripper is one of those figures that, were he debuted today, I’d have zero interest. But, I’m glad he exists and I found uses for him and his gear back when I was a kid. I didn’t really see him as a character. But, instead, a nameless goon who get killed with aplomb at any point in time. The Joes would often use his gear to pry his lifeless body out of the burned out husk of the A-Team van.

    The one that does continue to amaze me about the Joe line, though, was the level of thought and details that went into every character. Ripper should be a throw away. But, his sculpt is incredibly detailed and he’s full of small, intricate paint masks. He was designed with professionalism and attention to detail that was far beyond his stature in the line. But, that’s probably why we still collect them more than 40 years later.

  2. A-Man says:

    I liked the original 3 Dreadnoks. They were the Seekers of Cobra. Buzzer was the Starscream in the comics to Zartan’s Megatron.

    After them the concept got diluted. With Zartan’s sibling around, how can the Dreadnoks go off mission? Worse in the comics, with Roadpig being Zarana’s enforcer. They took the uber-masculine bikers and had them bossed around by the absentee boss’s little sister and her unrequited simp. Bah!

    Yeah, the figure was good. They left the grenades the green of the tank top and his pistol hand is baby blue. But worse unpainted things would be done than that.

  3. HitandRun says:

    As a kid and even an adult collector I always liked the Dreadknoks as characters from the cartoon but they never played too much into my joeverse. When the comic book packs came out in the mid 2000s I did end up getting all of the Comic Book packs and had all the Dreadknoks. A couple years ago I went through alot of those comic book figures and sold them all – deciding to go back and collect the original ARAH versions of the available figures instead.

    In 2023 I finally got the original versions of the three original dreadknoks and they have been a cool addition. All three are certainly dated in their designs, looking straight out of the mid-80s but their unique sculpts and weapons make them very cool figures. Not sure Ripper is my favorite of the three but I do like his design, the ripped camo shirt, mohawk, jeans and glasses capture the biker gang aesthetic. His weapon/gun was always my favorite of all the dreadknoks too.

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