The Combat Squad series purports to present a team of G.I. Joes that -- at least within the dictates of the admittedly rather stylized look of the figures -- has a reasonable air of military authenticity. You won't find any Cobras here. No bright colors. Nothing terribly implausible. Just ready-to-go military men, armed and outfitted for whatever mission and battle awaits them. The closest we have here to anything affiliated with the Real American Hero is that the individual characters do have code-names.
And the code-name of the NAVY SEAL in the line is, not surprisingly, LT. TORPEDO.
For a history on the character, we need to head all the way back to 1983. With G.I. Joe a decided hit in its introductory year of 1982, the decision was obviously made to continue the line, and to produce new characters, even more specialized in function and -- especially -- appearance, than those of the first year. The G.I. Joe figures from the first year of the line shared a lot of common body parts. Those from 1983 on tended to be a lot more individualistic.
Of course, among those greater specialties was a need for someone who could be a diver. There had been no underwater specialists in the 1982 line. So one was invented. Specifically designated as a SEAL, which stands for "Sea Air, and Land" and pretty much represents the toughest division within the entire United States Navy, the G.I. Joe Team welcomed Torpedo to their ranks.
The original Torpedo figure looked pretty much like what one would expect a standard diver to look like. He was molded in a skin-tight diver's suit, that was primarily black with some grey trim in the middle. His head was a molded diver's helmet with a mask. You could really only see his eyes. Still, for 1983, it was a very cool and distinctive figure.
Torpedo sort of got trumped in 1986 by the more colorful and more detailed Wet-Suit, but Torpedo with return in his original form, slightly recolored, in 1997, and the name would continue to be used for several years on a number of different figures. By this time, of course, the character had been well-established within the G.I. Joe concept as one of the Team's top divers, and an established name. He didn't need to be molded in a diving suit for G.I. Joe fans to know who Torpedo was.
Now, it would seem, for his entry in the 8" line of G.I. Joe figures, Torpedo has returned to his roots -- in reverse, sort of.
Where the original Torpedo wore a black diving suit with some grey trim mostly down the middle, the 8" Combat Squad Lt. Torpedo is molded in a grey diving suit with some black trim down the middle. Well, you've got to figure that after 24 years, the guy might want a new suit, anyway.
The mold design has certainly been seen before. It was first used on Sea Ops Duke, where it was mostly a black diving suit with some blue trim. Its next appearance was as Wet-Suit, with a different head, of course. That version, a popular and hard to find figure, featured the character in an orange diving suit with black trim. Most recently, right about the same time as Torpedo here, the body molds have turned up in the Toys "R" Us Exclusive "Sea, Air, and Land" three pack, used for a Deep Six figure. Deep Six is another well-known diver for the G.I. Joe Team. This version features a yellow-orange diving suit with black trim.
Of the four, I'd have to say that Torpedo is the most realistic. Not to malign the others. They're all good figures. But there's something just a little more impressive, a little more military, and maybe just a little meaner about the grey-and-black. Although the design is derived from the "Sigma Suit" days, it doeesn't look particularly Sigma-ish because of how the patterning has been painted. The Sigma suits tended to be black and have color patterning on the sides. Torpedo's mostly grey uniform has black trim down the front, and on the insides of the arms and legs.
The left wrist does still have the Sigma communicator device, but that was unavoidable. And honestly, I've always sort of liked the little gizmo. It has a flip-top lid and a couple of stickers with graphics on it, some of which look more than a little bit like the layout of a number pad on a cel phone. Really, for any diver, Sigma or no, a device like this could be a real lifesaver depending on its range.
Torpedo is also wearing a harness made from straps of elasticized fabric. The harness that the Torpedo I bought is wearing is a little loose in the fit department, but it's still an overall good design, and I can't fault the workmanship, right down to some quite small plastic buckles that actually snap and unsnap.
The current G.I. Joe logo used for 8" figures can be found imprinted in white on Torpedo's upper chest, accompanied by the white silhouette of a shark.
Articulation of the figure is, of course, excellent. Hasbro made sure that these 8" G.I. Joes would be highly poseable. Torpedo can mose at the head, arms, elbows, wrists, mid torso, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. Most of these articulation points include rotational swivels as well as back and forth movement.
Also as part of the articulation, Hasbro has brought back the popular KUNG-FU GRIP for many of its most recent 8" G.I. Joes. First introduced in the 12" "Adventure Team" G.I. Joes in the 1970's, at that time it consisted of molding the hands in a grasping position out of a flexible plastic -- a decided departure from the original hard plastic hands -- thus allowing the fingers to be moved outward, and enabling them to hold onto many of their own accessories, or even real world small objects such as a pencil.
The new Kung-Fu Grip has the same basic principle, but it's designed a little differently. Torpedo's right hand is molded out of the same relatively rigid plastic as the rest of the figure, but the fingers were molded separately, and mounted onto the hand with a hidden spring that allows them to spring back after they've been stretched out. This, Torpedo can get a good hold on most of his weaponry.
The most unusual aspect of Torpedo is the head. I honestly rather expected the Wet-Suit head to be used. It was a head mold that showed most of the face, but covered the rest of the head in a hood that matched the color of the uniform. While this would not have been entirely in keeping with Torpedo's original 1983 look, which covered everything but his eyes, I thought it would be the most logical choice. But I was mistaken. The head chosen for this Torpedo figure is actually that of Snake-Eyes! It's a reasonable choice if you think about it. The first Sigma Six Snake-Eyes had a removable visor, but even so, all you could see of the face were the eyes. There was some evidence of scarring around the eyes, a result of Snake-Eyes tragic accident years ago.
That scarring is here, and it sort of throws off the look of the figure as far as "being Torpedo" is concerned, but not all that badly. The scars are not painted, they're not that severe, and there's this look of grim determination in the expression -- as much of it as you can see -- that will make anyone thinking of facing off against Torpedo realize that they're up against a very determined Navy SEAL. So, if you can set aside the previous use of the head, it certainly works for Torpedo.
Torpedo's accessories include a nicely designed diver's mask with a slightly frosted clear visor. You can sort of see the eyes through it, but your attention is drawn more to the diver's mask as much as anything. It's an overall better look to keep the mask in place, really.
Among Torpedo's other accessories are a small oxygen tank which snaps to his back, and includes two air hoses which connect to his mask. He also has two large swim fins that attach to his feet.
Torpedo's weaponry includes a very authentic-looking submachine gun with a detachable ammunition clip, as well as what I would describe as an underwater jet sled that has two adjustable jets. Pay close attention to what appear to be a couple of handles for Torpedo to hang onto this speedy little vehicle. They're actually a pair of detachable pistols. Torpedo is one very well-armed SEAL.
This Combat Squad series doesn't feature much in the way of character file cards, but there is a small amount of basic data on the back of the package, which features a very nice photograph of Torpedo coming ashore on a grim and murky beach against an equally grim and murky sky. The details read as follows:
G.I. JOE NAVY SEAL
Code Name: Lt. Torpedo
Expertise: Sea, Land, and Air Missions
Weapons Proficiency: Rifle, Pistol, Underwater Pack
Tactics: Get in and get out fast
Background: Expert in Diving, Demolitions, and Combat
In other words -- not somebody you want to mess with.
This really is a cool figure. Some might complain that the body molds have been overused, but really, how many ways can you redesign a diving suit? If the design works, which in this case it certainly does, then stick with it. The end result is still going to be a cool diver figure, and of the entire lot in the 8" G.I. Joe line, I'd say Torpedo goes to the head of the class as far as looking like an effective, highly trained military diver and combatant!
LT. TORPEDO from the G.I. JOE 8" COMBAT SQUAD line definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation! Get him while you can, G.I. Joe fans!