Chief Torpedo (2003)

Here’s a character for whom fans demanded a land based version for years. Spy Troops series answered the call in a fashion, although not to most fans’ total satisfaction. That would have to wait until the next year’s Toys R Us exclusive VAMP release.

Previous versions of Torpedo depicted him in a wet suit, naturally. After all, he’s a Navy diver, right. Well, he’s a Navy SEAL–and I guess Hasbro missed what the L stood for all those years. This version doesn’t really give us the battle-ready version of the Joe team’s first Navy man. In fact, it looks like work gear, as he appears to wear just a simple set of coveralls. This combined with the removable SCUBA vest give it an old-timey feel that seems out of place in the “ten minutes in the future” world of GI Joe.

Going into the animated series, Torpedo’s first appearance in the MASS Device always left me confused. When the Joe team needs to go underwater to retrieve heavy water samples, a submarine pulls up to the dock, and a wet-suited gentleman pops his head out of a hatch. The Joes on the dock, to a man, all greet him vociferously with a chorus of “Hey, Torpedo!” to which he responds with a wink and nod, as if to say, “yeah kids, I’m Torpedo, I rock. Buy my new toy.” It just struck me as an odd moment, where everybody knows this guy but us.

To make it even stranger, the file card has always painted the character as an all-business guy with no sense of humor. A far cry from the happy-go-lucky Torpedo of the cartoon.


  • One of the worst eyes paint ever: why he lookd up!? 🙂

  • Another one of those Joes with a distinct ethnic background whose action figure looks like an average young white guy.

    It’s just as well they made him likable in the cartoon, since Deep Six would fill the humourless diver role. Seemed to be some repetition to Hama’s characters at times, anyway…more noticable when the characters have similar duties.

  • Larry Hama had written his file card and worked Torpedo’s Hawaiian roots into the comic. The Sunbow cartoon had no input from Larry, so they just winged it. Torpedo’s and Snow Job’s intros also stood out because each guy was point man for whichever specific weather environment the Joes would be working in during the MASS Device operation. Unlike Snow Job, I couldn’t understand why Torpedo didn’t look more like his plastic self, but it was close enough.

    Regarding the figure, I wasn’t too fond of it as a land-based version of Torpedo when it was first released so I passed on him. That was a tough choice, because Torpedo is one of my favorite Joes but that head sculpt does nothing for me to this very day.

  • I’m glad they didn’t go for the file card personality… I think the cartoon version was much better!
    I love his “mean Idea” in the second five parter where he fires torpedos from the SHARC at the base of a vortex…
    I also love how he takes out a Cobra base in “Cobra Stops the World”. He fires a well placed shot from his spear gun into the torpedo tube of the Cobra base, causing a chain reaction that destroys the whole thing.
    Pluss he has GREAT one liners… I think those appearances were awesome ways of showing the skill and effectiveness of a SEAL Commando!

  • As for this figure i think it makes a decent land based version. Not perfect, but not terrible. It would be nice if he looked a little my Hawiian…
    If you read his skill set on the file card, he’s one of the most formidable JOEs on the team!

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