|Code Name: WET SUIT|
Following in the time-honoured tradition of Joe replacement, Wet-Suit was the lines new diver guy in 1986, replacing 1983s Torpedo. The SEAL character had an hilarious bickering rivalry with new marine Leatherneck for the second season of Sunbows G.I. Joe cartoon which rendered any episode the pair of them were in basically unwatchable. He would go on to be the go-to diver guy for later series of Joe figures, to the extent that there were nine different versions of Wet-Suit before the 25th Anniversary line.
For the 25th Anniversary series, Wet Suit was realised in the 'Assault on Cobra Island' boxed set. This was a pack of seven mainly minor-league Joes (Recondo, Chuckles, Outback, Hit & Run, Ripcord, Zap and Wet Suit) with an emphasis heavily on reusing extant moulds. This has caused a bit of conflict for me On the one hand some of the parts reuse is a bit lazy, and both it and the corresponding 'Defence of Cobra Island' sets contain some of the more disappointing 25th Anniversary figures; on the other, its a fair chance that this is the only way we were going to get 25th Anniversary versions of some characters.
Wet Suits something of a case in point. Hes basically a recolour of Torpedo, the main changes being the addition of some webbing (which might be off an extant figure, but might be new), a new backpack heavily based on the original figures example, and the inclusion of his orange motor sled thing. He does also come with the same harpoon gun as Torpedo, but Ive switched this for a silver Major Bludd-style pistol for a bit of variance. The overall result isnt bad in its own right, especially if you dont have the excellent Torpedo. However, the problem is that the original Wet Suit actually looked quite distinct from his predeccessor beyond just the colour scheme. The most obvious problem is the head Wet Suit had a full, boxy helmet instead of just a, well, wetsuit. The shame is the Cobra Eels removable helmet repainted accordingly would have been, if not perfect, a lot closer to the original figures look, and would also have made the guy look a bit more visually distinct from Torpedo. Id also have loved it if theyd kept the rolled-up sleeves of the original, who had the look of an amphibious assault trooper than a full-time diver anyway. With this Wet Suit, its difficult to picture him pitching in much out of water.
This is my real problem with some of the 'Cobra Island' figures Ive no issue with them involving relatively little new tooling; I dont live in a fantasy world and realise that probably the only reason we got a 25th Anniversary version of Wet Suit was because he could be largely made from other figures. Its just a shame that in some places better parts were available and not used. I suppose the answer is that both Wet-Suit and the Eel are easy enough to find loose so you can do it yourself, but that misses the point a little. All that said, Wet Suits based on a pretty good figure, and if you cant find Torpedo (whos getting rarer and more expensive) he makes a respectable backup option. However, if you already have Torpedo or have solid plans to do so, Wet-Suit really does feel like youre doubling up.