Tuesday, July 17, 2018

1992 Eco Warriors Deep Six

It's finally fashionable in the collecting world to like the Eco Warriors.  The neon colored darlings that attracted all the collector hate in the 2000's have finally come of age where a good portion of the collecting world appreciates them for what they were.  But, despite this newfound status, the 1991 figures remain worthless, even if the designs are cool.  In 1992, though, Hasbro continued the series.  This newer wave of Eco Warrior members were just as brightly colored and equally well designed as the first series.  In recent years, zombie-mania has afflicted popular culture.  With that, the Joe world has seen great interest in the 1992 Toxo Zombie figure: despite his bright colors.  But, in a case where it appears that a rising tide lifts all boats, the other 1992 Eco Warriors figures have found themselves both harder to find and more expensive in recent years.  The 1992 Eco Warriors Deep Six is a prime example.

Absent of any packaging or media to tell me otherwise, I could see this Deep Six as a Cobra.  He wears deep blue with highlights similar to the Toxo Zombie and his face is covered by a full mask.  In short, he fits Cobra's motif.  But, this is simply a new color scheme for a Joe.  The 1992 Eco Warriors featured bright highlights, but more muted base colors.  This leads to a much more subdued look for the team and helps make the 1992 characters more useful outside of their Eco Warrior motif.  This Deep Six is darker and more detailed than even the 1989 figure.  But, he does feature an odd array of colors in addition to the dark blue.  The lime green highlights are a different choice for a figure.  But, the color works in juxtaposition to the dark blue.  It's the final color that is the most problematic.  The figure also features bright pink/purple highlights.  I'll call them pink for descriptive purposes.  Though, the color is not quite pink and has some purplish hues.  Absent this color, Deep Six is a perfectly acceptable figure.  But, with it, he has been the source of collector ridicule for two and a half decades.

Deep Six has always been a deep sea diver.  The 1984 and 1989 versions both retained this specialty.  With the 1984 figure sucks, the 1989 is one of the best redesigns of an existing character that Hasbro ever pulled off.  This 1992 Eco Warriors figure, though, doesn't fit the character's original skill set.  I see this figure as more of a shallow water/landing type figure.  The sleek suit and less bulky survival gear suggest this is a way for Deep Six to take part in the action that takes place above 5,000 fathoms under the sea.  The fact that the figure lacks an air pack or sculpted air tanks also suggests that he's not destined to remain under water for long periods of time.  (The filecard states that Deep Six wears a liquid oxygen vest to supply his breathing air.  I suppose this works.  But, it leaves the figure still too self contained to see him a long term diver who spends hours under water at a time.)

Deep Six included terrible accessories.  He features bright pink flippers.  While they can work as a part of this figure, they are also ridiculous.  For a weapon, he only includes a repainted version of the 1989 Deep Six gun: now in black.  There is a battle stand, which was a welcome addition in 1992.  The final accessory is a huge, grey dolphin.  The gimmick is that it squirts water.  So, instead of the ubiquitous water firing packs that were staples of the other Eco Warriors figures, Deep Six gets a spitting dolphin.  For a figure and character like Deep Six, I guess the gear complement isn't terrible.  But, a pack and better gun could have gone a long way towards improving the figure overall.

Originally, Deep Six's dolphin was going to be black.  A few black dolphins were carded and leaked into the market.  These "Killer Whale Deep Six" figures can fetch a pretty penny: easily over $1,000.  Really, though, the black dolphin isn't a variant: it's a pre-production piece.  But, dealers hear "variant" and instantly jump to the conclusions that any version of this figure is rare and desirable.  That's not the case.  The standard figure was fully released and is very available.  But, in the extremely unlikely event you stumble across a carded Deep Six with a black dolphin, be aware that such an item exists and is highly desirable.

While the 1989 Deep Six figure mold saw a nice run of reuses, this 1992 version never reappeared.  The Eco Warriors are a mixed bag of reuse.  Ozone and BBQ both found themselves used multiple more times in the Star Brigade subset.  The rest of the figures, though, did not reappear.  And, while a couple of Eco Warrior molds did show up again in the 2000's repaint era, this Deep Six was not among them.  It's likely that Hasbro had the mold.  But, collector disdain for Eco Warriors and the fact that both Torpedo and Wet Suit were more popular diver molds that were available likely killed any chance of a Deep Six redux.  It's too bad since the mold has a lot of potential and could have been reused in Star Brigade or as a more appropriately colored combat diver.  We'll never get to see any takes on the mold, though, and we're left with this lone example of Deep Six.

Pricing on this figure is tough.  Dealers really try to play him like it's a rare figure and you'll see complete figures offered in the $50 - $60 range all the time.  But, very few of them sell.  It seems, the real value of the figure is the dolphin.  A mint with filecard figure that's only missing the dolphin will only sell in the $5-$7 range on the open market.  That's a far cry from the dealer price.  But, a complete figure will sell in the $25 - $30 range.  So, you're basically paying $20 for a stupid plastic dolphin.  (You should note that carded figures sell around $40 and they are surprisingly easy to find, too.)  The problem is that it might take a few months to find the figure on the open market.  If money's no object, then spending big from a dealer will get you the figure today.  I prefer to wait as patience usually yields much better deals.

Personally, I don't give two craps about the dolphin.  I find the value in the figure: neon pink highlights and all.  But, seeing as how this figure has so gaudy, non traditional colors, few collectors will join me in my sentiment.  For most, he's simply a box to check once a complete figure is acquired.  I see him as a product of his era.  And, I'm far more forgiving of bright colors on characters whose specialities are underwater, piloting aircraft or astronauts.  So, this version of Deep Six works for me.  He's a sleeker version of the character who is useful in different situations than the 1989 figure.  I actually like this Deep Six better as a crewman on the Whale than I do the earlier Deep Six releases.  But, I'm often alone in this sentiment.  If you can find a cheap Deep Six, though, I recommend picking him up.  It's a fun release that offers something different that's not often found in the vintage line.  So, that's worth the acquisition alone.

1992 Eco Warriors Deep Six, Cobra Eel, Star Brigade Duke, 1994, 1993 Shark 9000 DEF


  1. Pink is just a color, but I think his flippers are more magenta. I always thought the second wave of ECO Warriors was better than the first, even without removable helmets. I love that version of Barbecue and the Zombie is fun even if its current eBay prices are ridiculous.

  2. Definitely the most forgotten Eco-Warrior. Also Part of Hasbro's brief fancy for glued on transparent face plates that started with 1991 Cobra Commander.

    He had big clown feet, so the fins are the same style as Wet-Suit but bigger "shoe size".

    The colors. Yeah, pick some sides, Hasbro. Like you say neon green and pink like that's year's enemy Toxo-zombie. And then blue like 1992 Eel, but darker. Oh, and pink like Heli-Viper.

    They could've reused his upper body for Star Brigade.

    If they had done a sea themed six-pack in the early 2000's, this mold could've been used as Depth Charge or Wet Down V2, a "green shirt" frogman or perhaps a non-diver character in a wet suit. Deep Six could've been V2 in V1 colors.

  3. I remember getting him on Easter Sunday in 1992. My mom let me bring him to church and all I did was play with the Deep Six and Eco Flint battling Decimator and Toxo-Viper v2. It was the best mass ever!

  4. The only Eco-Warrior I've never acquired. For most of my collecting years he came off as too much of a downgrade from the 1989 version, so I've ignored him a lot when I probably shouldn't have. I've also always been pretty stubborn about trying to get a complete example, but that often pushes him out of what I'm willing to pay for the figure.

    The sculpt is really nice on this figure though. With a different head (or even the same head), he could've easily been a decent troop builder of some sort. I bet he'd look nice in Eel or Lamprey colors.

    The newfound popularity of 90's toys is pretty surprising. It's especially evident with Transformers and the amount of G2 repaints Hasbro's willing to produce through fairly open channels, when a decade prior those toys were subject to an equal amount of collector scorn.

  5. I’m certain he was supposed to be someone else entirely (new character maybe) but wound up as a strange new version of PO Malcolm Willoughby.