2009 Surveillance Port

2009 Surveillance Port

As a brief Walmart exclusive during the Rise of Cobra line, Hasbro unexpectedly released a series of Battle Station sets, most of which were previously thought to be “lost” forever. It was a rare example of fans asking for something over and over, finally getting it, and being happy enough for it to sell out in most areas before Christmas. Well, at least it sold out in my nerd-heavy town, there’s always that one guy who got a pile on clearance for a dollar in some state where nobody lives, but whatever.

GI Joe surveillance port cobra 1986 2009 roc walmart

Of course, there was a lot of bittersweetness in all of that: like the fact that the Battle Stations that were “gone forever” for years on end, were suddenly “found” just in time for the big movie push! It’s almost like no one was really trying to get the molds back whenever these were asked about before. I’m always really dubious of the “lost molds” excuse because of things like this, as to me it seems more like the revolving door of nobodies just can’t get invested enough (or stay on Joe for long enough) to bother finding them, but like with these sets, they’re out there. We were also going to get a Mauler release in ROC before the whole line was killed, makes ya’ think doesn’t it?

For the most part, the 2009 Surveillance Port is the exact same toy as the 1986 version. Some new colors might’ve been fun, but releasing it without many changes was also a welcome sight. The foot-pegs were altered to fit the smaller, 25th-style feet, and some new stickers were added. For the most part though, the two toys are practically interchangeable. Of course, the new one seems to be made of some insanely cheap plastic, as there’s odd stress marks all over various parts of the toy. I have two copies of the thing I bought new when they were released and both are like this, which is pretty lame. The decal sheet is probably the only source of any major changes, with new monitor stickers for the inside, and a standard Cobra marking replacing the unique design on the front. The new monitors are okay, but don’t contrast as well since the stickers are too dark now. I also don’t understand why they ditched the “snake binding a globe” decal, as it looks a lot more generic without it. Oh well.

The Surveillance Port itself is a very odd little toy, I’ve never been entirely sure what it does, besides surveil people. It seems a little excessive just for spy equipment, and with the guns it feels a little more like an improvised bunker or fortification of some sort. I somewhat speculate that it was really just meant to be a new Cobra Bunker with more play-value, but at the same time there’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t know enough to make light of it. Some of the dumbest looking GI Joe items like V2 Mercer’s gun or the RPV were mostly based on real-world equipment, so you really never know.

Random bit of trivia: the smaller machine gun for the Surveillance Port is reused from the Slugger. So if you only have the gun from the Surveillance Port, you can use it as a substitute for the Slugger’s. It stands out a little bit more on the green ones, but it’s a decent match for the grey plastic of the ’97 release.

Like the other Battle Stations, the strength of the Surveillance Port was that it gave you a play environment at a very low price, about at much as a single-card in ‘86. For that much, it’s a very fun piece that interacts with figures nicely and has a solid amount of value for play or just to display. The 2009 release kept this appeal, as it retailed for a mere $14.99 and included two Anniversary-style figures, and a fold-out cardboard display. Since figures retailed for about $8 back then, it was a surprisingly generous offering.

Fair pricing for a 2009 Surveillance Port is similar to a 1986 one, probably because the toys themselves look fairly identical. So with a little hunting you can get one for around $20, even sealed. The Hobby Mafia will charge upwards of $75 for a BiN on this one, but that’s grossly overpriced if you compare it to what an auction tends to run. With that said, this set really doesn’t provide anything that the original doesn’t besides newer plastic, so it’s only worth considering as an alternative.

GI Joe surveillance port cobra 1986 2009 roc walmartGI Joe surveillance port cobra 1986 2009 roc walmart

2009 Surveillance Port Links:



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4 Responses to 2009 Surveillance Port

  1. Mike T. says:

    The Battle Stations are a big lament of mine. I pretty much withdrew from the community during this time and didn’t really know what was or was not available. I had tons of those discount retailers in my area who were wont to acquire these in the post movie Joe retail apocalypse. But, I never went hunting and missed out on them.

    I loved this thing when I was a kid. It gave Joe something to attack that wasn’t that crappy battle bunker that fell apart when you bumped it. But, I snapped one leg off the thing and it was instantly useless. I’ve never reacquired one due to that disappointment, even though I have otherwise fond memories of it.

    I looked at some anniversary era items like this during the nonsense of 2021. At that time, the newer versions were double the vintage pricing. And, the vintage pricing was too high. For $20, though, it might be worth tracking down.

  2. A-Man says:

    Walmarts ’round these parts never stocked any of those exclusives. We are talking like 4 stores within reasonable driving distance. That crap happens with so many of their exclusives that I stopped bothering to look for them. I don’t think scalpers had any part, since Rise of Cobra stuff overall was well stocked and largely ignored. (Unlike Retaliation’s “raid Five Below” for our ebay fodder.) As such never saw this in person. And the only one of those sets I got off ebay, sans figures and packaging was the Heat Seek MMS.

    The original Port was too fragile in my experience. The radar dish’s connector tab broke not long after I got mine and I wasn’t rough with toys. I’ve seen ones with leg tabs broken, too. Did they play test this thing at all?

  3. Sam says:

    Oh gosh…my Walmarts never had these in stock either. Same for the 09 Outpost Defender. To this day, I’ve seen the 09 Surveillance Port. I have an 86 one but would love to compare it to the 09 one. The 86 and 09 Outpost Defenders are molded in slightly different colors. If you say the 09 one is interchangeable with the 86 one, then maybe I don’t need to hunt it down.

  4. HitandRun says:

    I was heavily invested in the Modern Era revival of GI Joe from 2007-2012 but for whatever reason I never acquired any of the Wal-Mart exclusives at retail and canntot recall every coming across them at retail. It’s hard to believe that this set was released 15 years ago and I was in my mid-20s enjoying that era of collecting with disposable income. One phenomenon of collecting is the constant nostalgic reminders that can be unlocked when associated with a specific toy or era of collecting. I supposed that can be applied to anything but for me a lot of memories get unlocked as it applies to Joe collecting.

    This past fall I actually was able to get all 4 Wal-Mart exclusives still in box for a decent price when compared to Ebay. I like the Surveillance Port. The classic Cobra blue color really works and it has enough military hardware and communication devices to be a robust enough outpost/ancillary base to a Terror drome or any other Cobra base that can be imagined.

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