Gristle (1993)

1993 saw the continuation of the previous year’s DEF, albeit in a less obvious manner. Each of the second year Joe drug fighters and Cobra criminals were folded into the regular Battle Corps assortment, and given normal accessories in place of the previous Battle Flash weaponry.

Gristle comes to us as either a lieutenant or successor to the drug kingpin Headman. He’s always seemed to me as more of a high ranking thug than someone who would take over a criminal empire. Maybe that’s due to his more battle ready look in comparison to the previous year’s Headhunter honcho. His file card points out his specialty as Urban Crime Commander, so one could take that in several ways.

He’s another 1990s figure with great sculpted details yet odd color choices. While I’m generally not too harsh on most of the brightly colored later RAH Cobras, Gristle’s colors have bothered me. Clashing colors sometimes work in the context of a goofy toy, but any menace this guy has is undercut by yellow.

Finally, the Battle Corps figures can be lacking due to the absence of indiviualized weapons. The multi-weapon trees included in the line’s waning days did make for the appearance of better value, with several rifles, guns and knives included along with firing missile launchers. Then again, having a specific weapon to associate with a single character made for a more interesting figure presentation. Can you imagine a Snow Serpent without its trusty AK-47, or a Tele-Viper brandishing a common rifle instead of his familiar scanner? Gristle could have been a bit more memorable with a wicked gun to call his own. According to the file card, he is however, equipped with a phone message beeper on his left arm. That should count for something.wait, what’s a beeper?


  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I’ve always liked this figure. Very few of my Joe adventures had the Joes going up against drug dealers, so more often, I’d put Gristle with my version of the Dreadnoks. The only two Dreadnoks I actually had were Ninja Force Zartan and Super Sonic Road Pig, so I had to improvise my own Dreadnoks.

  • Down here he was put on a D.E.F card.
    I have him but i never thought too much of him. I had no idea that thing on his wrist was a beeper! How hitech. What next? A CD player you can carry?

  • I really don’t mind the colors at all. The fact that he’s a genuine scumbag gives him an excuse.

  • What’s up with his girly hairdo?

  • Great head sculpt, bad choice of colors. Typical 90’s figure. I could see the writing on the wall when Hasbro began recycling the weapons in spruces along with those damned launchers. The line was dead once the design team lost interest in giving each character at least one individual weapon or accessory.

    Hadn’t noticed the beeper up to now. My dad carried one when on call back in the day. It terribly dates Gristle much as a sculpted smart phone will probably do someday if there are still figures around by then.

  • I almost wonder if he didn’t start out as Buzzer V2. Dic’s two part episode from 1991-1992 had Gristle in in, but with bit of a different look. The card art for Gristle shows exposed skin on his arms, but the toy ignored that.

    It was good to have another new enemy character, though.

  • Solid sculpt that was salvaged by the 2008 Convention version. I keep thinking an arm swap between this Gristle & Crimson Guard Commander would yield interesting results. And “Beeper” is a Muppet, I think.

  • @Anon-Viper
    Gristle was in “The Greatest Evil”! I dont remeber seeing him. Guess that means i’ll have to watch it again….sigh

  • @ Clutch
    Yeah, 1993 really went overboard with recycling accessories and everyone having their own cookie cutter launcher. 1992 at least had variety.

  • First Cesspool and then Gristle? What is this, all my favourite Cobras in one place?

    Seriously, though. Here’s another awesome figure full of untapped potential. It’s got buckets of personality and charisma, and pretty much begs for more use (which is why IDW won’t touch him, because he’s after 1987). He’s definitely a character I want to see more of, wheater as a Cobra goon or Headman’s right hand or whatever else

    Gristle’s sole media appearance, as commented, is in the DiC series a year before his toy debut. That version of him looks completely different, being in essence a helmetless Headhunter with a head that looks nothing like the toy

  • I think his hair is Liefeldian. Shatterstar, maybe? A figure for his time…

  • This guy is huge in my department for being a part of another (not Cobra) group (more or less).

    With both this figure and the convention figure, I made the decision to only keep one. I chose the convention figure. The convention figure does away with the bright yellow and crimson, however, I do NOT think the convention figure out did the 1993 figure.

    I very much prefer the 1993 Gristle head over the convention figures head. And the convention figure “darkened” Gristles suit, but some amount of details are lost, almost making it seem plain.

    I agree with the non-unique accessories taking away from the figure, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.