Monday, January 22, 2024

1993 Wet Suit

There were a few 1993 figures that I never found at retail.  Mostly, they were Cobra army builders.  But, a few other subsets were notable for their retail scarcity, too.  I found none of the 1993 repaints of 1992 figures at retail.  Even now, 31 years later, the 1992 repaints released in 1993 do not appear with the same frequency as the new figures released that year.  Ostensibly, this seems normal as the repaints could be profitable with fewer units made.  But, it created a consternation for my young self as I vainly searched for figures that I simply could no longer find.

This Wet Suit wasn't one of my most wanted figures that haunted me from the 1992 and 1993 cardbacks that I kept from my sparse retail purchases.  It was the missing Cobras that most interested me.  And, figures like Barricade captured my attention.  Wet Suit looked interesting.  However, by that time, I had found the 1994 Shipwreck figure.  That figure sated any desires for diver figures since he was perfect.  So, I didn't have the burning desire to find this Wet Suit like I did for guys  like the Flak Viper or Cobra Commander.

But, my first real foray into buying collections was heavily focused on figures from the 1990's.  As I acquired a few of them, this Wet Suit made his way into my collection.  Once in hand, I found the removable helmet to be exactly the type of thing I'd have loved as a kid.  But, I was more enamored with the multitudes of other figures in the various lots.  So, this Wet Suit was relegated to his drawer.  By the time I had a swimming pool in which to photograph figures, the 1998 repaint of this mold had come out and it found itself manning the turrets of the Whale on its maiden voyage.  In fact, this figure never got a photo in the early days of my collecting adventure.  

Which isn't to say that he's a bad figure.  Quite the opposite.  The wetsuit that Wet Suit wears is nicely detailed.  He features an array of dials and instruments on his chest.  And, there's even a sculpted hose  to denote that the figure does have an underwater air supply available to him.  The figure's helmet is well done.  But, like the figure itself, it does suffer from lack of color.  The orange works great.  But, having some other colors to denote the light and slits on the mask would have made a world of difference.  The head that is underneath the helmet is a weird combo of nice sculpting and odd design choices.  Wet Suit looks like he has a mullet.  And, being a 1992 sculpt, it wouldn't be an ironic mullet.  But, aside from that, the face is nicely done and the head fits underneath the helmet nicely without too much concern for paint wear.

Wet Suit features some solid gear that is both new and an homage to his original 1986 gear.  First, he includes an orange helmet.  It fits tightly.  That makes it work very well, though.  His orange rifle is large.  It works well with  the figure and does fit with his aesthetic.  The rifle was going to be included with the unproduced 1995 Dr. Mindbender.  And, there's a blue release that I still can't place.  The centerpiece of Wet Suit's gear is his underwater sled.  In 1986, Wet Suit included a small, hand held sled type thing.  So, getting one that the figure could ride is much more useful.  You'll probably snap the figure's thumbs trying to affix both hands.  But, its still a neat piece of gear.  The three missiles on it also give Wet Suit far more firepower.  He ends with the orange flippers.  The only thing that you could want would be some air tanks.  But, that might make the whole package for the figure too bulky.

Some times, less is more.  With this Wet Suit, there are just two colors on the body: the black base plastic and the orange painted details.  The paint masks are the same as the yellow figure from 1992.  But, there are no painted details or accents in any color other than black and orange.  Normally, this would be a detriment.  But, on a diver wearing a wetsuit, they work.  The simplicity of the figure makes him pop.  You don't really notice the lack of secondary colors.  The 1998 figure did prove that the mold could be made spectacular with more paint details.  But, this 1993 coloring remains strong and is a pretty perfect look for a diver.  (In fact, Hasbro recycled the colors on the 30th Anniversary Action Sailor figure just a year later.)

This Wet Suit mold was used almost too many times.  There is the yellow version from 1992.  Then, this orange version was released.  Hasbro then used the body for the Navy Seal Guile in the Street Fighter Movie figure line.  There are two variations of this figure, too.  In 1998, Hasbro repainted the mold in black, grey and aqua blue.  It's my personal favorite coloring of the mold.  That was 5 uses in 6 years.  But, then, the mold disappeared aside from a use of the head on the 2004 Wet Suit figure that came with the VAMP.  The 1986 Wetsuit mold, the 1994 Shipwreck mold and the 1983 Torpedo mold became Hasbro's go to for Joe diver figures.  This probably isn't bad, though.  Hasbro got a lot of life out of the mold.  And, you'd have to go with something really specific (like a white, arctic diver motif) to extract much more collector value from the colorings.  

During the pandemic fueled market mania of 2020 and 2021, this figure got expensive.  Now, you'll find dealers offering mint and complete figures anywhere from $15 to $30.  You'll see some sell in the $22 range.  But, left to the open market, this Wet Suit still seems to command $15.  So, if you find one from a dealer for that price, it's not terrible.  But, this Wet Suit is also the type of figure whose floor is lower than the current pricing should you want to wait out the free fall.  I find the orange and black to be superior to the yellow and black.  But, that's likely just personal preference and others will have their favorites reversed.  Regardless, this figure is a worthwhile pickup just because he's fun to have around.

1993 Wet-Suit, Battle Corps, DEF, Law


  1. This version of Wet-Suit really displays the strengths of the 90s Battle Corps era. Fantastic mold and design based in realism. The bright color used actually works well with his specialty as well. Adding a third color to the figure's color palette would have brought out some of the detail better but that's not a deal breaker. The removeable helmet which seemed like somewhat of a rarity in the last few years of the run is very cool and adds to the playability of the figure. The missile launcher/submersible is probably one of the coolest spring fired accessory of the line as well. I think this figure fits in well with any year post 1984 in the line.

    In my adult collecting I am pretty sure I came across this version of the figure in 2017. The price was not too bad and at the time I was going in on trying to find as many carded Battle Corps figures as I could find since prices were still pretty reasonable. This version of Wet-Suit serves as the Devil Fish pilot and I feel is a near perfect fit.

    As a kid my little brother got the yellow version of Wet-Suit and I remember being very enamored with him. The yellow works just as good as the orange in my opinion. For my adventures as a kid Wet-Suit was a navy seal/rescue diver and spent a lot of time rescuing Joes by hanging on the hook of the Retaliator. Those were fun times!

  2. You're right! I don't remember seeing most of the repaints in TRU and KB back in the day. Especially those first few "orange" ones - Wet Suit, Barracade, and Flak Viper. Also, I had trouble finding Iceberg, the yellow Alley Viper and HEAT Viper for a while. I remember finding the HEAT Viper late in '93 and Iceberg and the Alley Viper in the late summer of 1994. The later repaints were easy to find (although I didn't buy most until very recently).