Cobra Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball (1987)
The final entry into this series of Field Reports of filling in collection holes is unique because this item was actually a part of my collection growing up. I loved the Cobra Pogo Ballistic Battle Ball, to use its full title. The concept of a bouncing, jumping, flying vehicle really appealed to me as a kid. I’m sure part of why I got it was because the armored Cobra Commander was shown piloting it in the box art and I had that version of Cobra Commander growing up and used him until the day I stopped playing with Joes. I’m also sure I used this vehicle almost exclusively with Cobra Commander as a parallel to my Iron Grenadier Destro with his personal vehicle of the Despoiler. I’ve always thought it was a little odd that other major players in the Cobra hierarchy—most notably Destro, Serpentor and to a lesser degree, Overlord—had their own vehicles (that were also relatively cheap) but the big snake himself never did. I liked that because of the box art Cobra Commander was so uniquely tied to the Pogo, so this made a nice stand in for Cobra Commander until he got his own unique ride. I also appreciated that Larry Hama used the Pogo in much the same way with the Fred VII Crimson Guard impersonating Cobra Commander when I finally had the pleasure of reading those issues thanks to IDW finally getting the entire 155 issue Marvel run out in collected form. I’m sure had I been reading comics at the time, seeing the Pogo how I used the Pogo would have really excited me—and honestly, even when I re-read them a few months ago, seeing the Pogo used that way made me smile.
Much like the Buzz Boar, the Pogo is a pretty odd-looking vehicle, however, its oddness definitely works in its favor. Its three large legs are nicely detailed and look like they can handle the job of absorbing the shock from each jump and help the rocket booster at the bottom propel it back into the sky. Its two missiles are also attached to the legs and are positioned in such a way that regardless of how the Pogo rebounds from its bounce, their targeting lines are still pretty decent. Mounted to the base are its other armament, an unidentified dual cannon (surprisingly, while all the other things are noted on the blueprints, the gun doesn’t really have any sort of identifier as to its caliber) and its pair of booster rockets to start the bouncing. I appreciate that the cannon is mounted on a base that can turn 360 degrees since I’ve always thought the Pogo’s trajectory after its first launch would always be somewhat variable, if not somewhat unpredictable, so being able to automatically reposition the guns to the best firing position would be a great asset. The main body is nicely detailed with hoses running to each leg plus a communications antenna. Like the Buzz Boar, my version is missing quite a few stickers, however, this time it doesn’t seem nearly as bland because there’s just quite a bit more going on with this vehicle than the Buzz Boar. And mercifully, the stickers that are present are the ones that are rather prominent and stick in my mind from childhood memories of playing with the Pogo, so it’s at least a bit closer to complete sticker-wise than the Buzz Boar was. After some comments from the Buzz Boar mentioning various places that make reproduction stickers for Joe vehicles, I’ve already checked to see if they’ve gotten to making reproductions for the Pogo and will give some serious thought to buying them—from what I’ve seen on the various sites, they all do quality work and I appreciate that a few groups in the fandom found this niche market to help collectors finish off some vehicles. Inside, the cockpit is nicely detailed and figures fit nicely in it.
The Pogo saw a lot of play in my collection. Part of the reason I felt the need to replace it is because it saw so much use. I know by the time I retired it, the latch on the clamshell bubble on top was pretty worn out and didn’t close that well, the communications antenna had long fallen off and was lost to the ages and at least one of the hoses was damaged. It still held up quite well, considering I always liked to pop off a leg to show battle damage when it got hit by Joe fire (and then of course crash it into the ground). The Pogo was a very well designed vehicle that could definitely stand up to the rigors of childhood play without much problem. It looked so unique, it even appealed to adults. One of the few Joe things my father ever had was a Pogo I got him for Christmas which I got him because he thought the Pogo was really cool when he helped me put mine together and put the stickers on since I was maybe five when I got my first Pogo. His still sits in relatively pristine condition in his office (save some discoloration from cigarette smoke) and I’m thrilled that I’ve finally been able to find myself a pristine Pogo that also currently sits on my desk.