HISS Driver (1983)
There aren’t many GI Joe figures that made it through to this day from my original childhood collection. I was much more conscientious with Star Wars in that respect, maintaining all of my original toys. The Joes and Cobras unfortunately fell by the wayside, for the most part. I had thought that the only figures that survived the teenage-years purge were ’85 Snake Eyes and ’87 Cobra Commander. I kept those two because they were just too dang cool looking to part with. Much to my surprise I recently re-discovered this HISS Driver, who was in pieces. I guess his o-ring snapped and his component parts were mixed among several boxes of junk. As you can see, his chest logo is long gone (no surprise) and his chest apparently fell victim to the business end of a dart. Sadly, I do remember this bout of destructiveness. In fact, a worse fate befell all of my Masters of the Universe figures, as a friend and I took to a bit of batting practice with them in my folks’ basement. Yeah, not proud of that.
It’s interesting to take a look at the warts-and-all condition of playthings past, and to also reflect on well the figures stand the test of time. Aside from said damage and some other paint wear, this figure looks fairly decent. Kudos to Hasbro for making tough toys. The 80s and 90s Joes aren’t turning into sticky goo like some of Kenner’s Star Wars figures. It appears as if the Hasbro team beat Kenner in the future longevity of plastic, after wresting control of the boys toys aisle itself away from them in the 80s.
As the first Cobra driver figure, the HISS driver is a unique departure from the usual Cobra trooper. Clad primarily in red, he stands out from the ground forces. The helmet and boots, along with the chest plate gave me a stormtrooper vibe, particularly when compared to the utilitarian look of Cobra’s 1982-83 infantry. The HISS driver looms as high tech as his tank.