1993 Detonator

1993 Detonator

Gi Joe 1993 Detonator Battle Corps Hasbro vehicle Cobra ICBM90‘s vehicles are a weird lot, because you guys probably know by now that I don’t have the best opinion of things made after 1990. ‘91 was probably the bottom of the barrel as far as vehicles go, though the quality seemed to be recovering somewhat in the line’s twilight years, big emphasis on “somewhat”. The Detonator is a pretty good example of what I mean, as it’s a cool and unique vehicle with a lot going on for it, but also fails pretty hard on execution.

The Detonator is basically a huge-ass Cobra ICBM-launcher, equipped with what looks like some nasty biological warheads judging by the stickers. It’s really the perfect vehicle for Cobra’s identity, as the threat of getting poisoned or incinerated by a missile at any given time seems like the epitome of Cold War fears (and modern ones too). From the perspective of a military fantasy, it seems really weird they never made another vehicle like this, especially given the popularity of some similar ideas tried by Chap Mei and some other no name companies years later.

Of course, the thing most are quick to notice and deride is that the ICBM’s are made of foam, so you can launch them from the giant plunger in the back. Hasbro was trying to work in more gimmicks with vehicles like this, and I can’t blame them for that given I always wanted to launch a nuke at the Joes as a kid. Which I never did because of this thing’s biggest problem: it doesn’t work! The missiles fit way too tight on the launcher to ever fly off, and the pump doesn’t really push air through it at all either. From an objective point of view, it’s pretty hard to overlook a gimmick-oriented vehicle where the gimmick doesn’t really work at all.

Spare missiles are held in place by some silver clips. Unfortunately those clips are really fragile now, so don’t be surprised if they shatter from the slightest touch. They have a slight sparkle to them, so I assume these parts suffer from something akin to GPS. Unfortunately, they work by pinching the missiles a little bit, so the plastic parts are always under a little stress as long as the missiles are attached.

It’s second biggest problem is that this vehicle is fudgin’ huge, despite that it doesn’t really do that much. This isn’t too bad because the size is admittedly part of it’s appeal, it’s just frustrating that the back half of the vehicle is entirely occupied with the pump and launcher mechanism. As a kid the Detonator was almost more of a Cobra playset, where whole battles would center around stopping the missile launch. As an adult, I still like how well it does to fill up the frame of a photo, but it should be said the thing takes up a lot of space (it’s roughly the same size as the Night Raven).

Gi Joe 1993 Detonator Battle Corps Hasbro vehicle Cobra ICBMIt has seats for five guys up front, one for the rear gun, and foot-pegs for a guy on each side and a few on the front and rear bumpers. It’s a reasonable crew for what it is, as this vehicle really shouldn’t need that many crew members. With that said though, another minor gripe is that the seats are awkwardly arranged. I mildly dislike how the two guys riding in the back have rear-facing seats, I can’t really see the point of what they do back there.

Oddly I really don’t feel like I have much good to say about the Detonator at all, which is weird to me. I say that because in a general sense it’s a favorite vehicle of mine and I have tons of good memories of playing with it. To this day, I daydream enough events that it’s been involved with to say it’s a major part of my Cobra armory. Partly, I think some of that is just because the appeal of Cobra’s big missile is enough to outweigh the vehicle’s failings. Despite that the failings are rather severe and the things it’s good at aren’t so much… So looking at it objectively, I can’t say I think it’s the best toy.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot there’s a Funskool Detonator. It’s a little different, as the orange has been swapped for slightly more reddish plastic, and the missiles are now short, green ones with a totally different design. It’s an interesting novelty, but good luck finding one now.

Detonators have gotten tougher to find. Mind you, they are not so rare or precious, as examples with enough parts to count as a starter barely go for a few bucks, less than the price of shipping. A complete one with the foam missiles is really tough to find though, way harder to find loose than ones that are still MISB. Though, you can get a sealed one on the low-end for around $100, which isn’t much when you consider that you’re getting the Nitro-Viper with it too.

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1993 Detonator

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4 Responses to 1993 Detonator

  1. Mike T. says:

    It was only upon a re-read of the later comics that I did in the 2000’s that I realized how pervasive the Detonator was. It replaced the Hiss Tank and Paralyzer as Cobra’s attack vehicle of choice. It’s weird seeing the missiles launched like they’re just guns shooting in some comic panels.

    I love this thing. But, the 5 seat cockpit does it for me. I always wanted a control space with lots of crew. I agree about the back, though. I recall seeing someone who mounted the troop carrier part from the Parasite and mounting it onto the back of the Detonator. But, I might have imagined it. I know there was a custom one with an ASP mounted on the back that looked awesome. It was all over JoeDios. But, they might be lost, now.

    I’m half tempted to pick up some cheap shells and see if I can customize one into something interesting. All vehicle shells got a bit pricey. So, if they’re coming down, vehicle customizing is something that I think is underrepresented in the community.

    $100 for a sealed one is a pretty steep drop. I went looking two years ago and they were $250. You could get an opened box but still sealed one, sans Nitro Viper, for cheaper. I would love a mint one, though.

  2. HitandRun says:

    Appreciate the write-up of the Detonator. It’s one of those vehicles I honestly cannot remember having a clear recollection of despite it being released in 1993 when GI Joe was still front and center as my favorite toy. I am sure I saw it in one of the brochures included with vehicles I did purchase from that time frame but maybe the nerf arrow gimmick did not appeal to me as much as a kid. The childhood impressions I had of this vehicle is something I wish I could unlock.

    When I re-discovered the vehicle as an adult I certainly have had a more favorable opinion of it and it has become one of those late ARAH run vehicles I have gone back and forth on acquiring. Per your write-up it’s nice to hear the prices have come down a little on MISB versions as I would go that route if I ever decided to purchase one.

    The stark contrast between 90s vehicles and their predecessors from the 80s is also very prevalent. My comparison to the Devastator has always been the Rolling Thunder and it is totally unfair. I suppose it is due to the large ICBM missiles both are supposed to have. The Rolling Thunder’s attention to detail, countless play features, accessories and design compared to the singular large plastic shell, single play gimmick (it’s quintessential 90s) and very basic accessory layout of the Devastator just makes the two toys seem like they existed in different lines.

    With all that said the Devastator as a vehicle is just cool 90s Cobra to me. I love the fact Hasbro in it’s final years still decided to release large vehicles capturing some of the magic from the line’s heyday. The Cobra blue just hearkens back to this thing being a super sized Cobra Adder. Certainly a vehicle I still ponder acquiring for myself.

  3. A-Man says:

    Nice use of BM Alley-Vipers. We don’t praise your photos enough.

    I had this new back in the day. I ruined mine my pushing the handle down to make it less conspicuous and messing up the airbag whatever inside after awhile.

    The spiked bumper always amusing me. Road Warrior junk on an ICBM launcher. Off there’s just one front machine gun. And in the back you have an AA turret. And while we know it’s an ICBM launcher, missiles aside, it seems undergunned compared to the big GI JOE land cruisers, Rolling Thunder, General, even the MCC. We never got the Cobra land juggernaut, just this and some wheeled submarines. There was a COBRA REVENGE that was never made, I guess it would’ve been larger. I’ve only seen bad photos of it.

    The Funskool Detanator box uses a photo, but an OLD photo with figures Funskool never offered.

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