Muskrat (1993)

For me, if there’s a posterboy for goofball Joes, it’s this version of Muskrat. Yeah, I know there’s the cult of Crystal Ball, and even the Esoteric Order of Big Brawler, but those guys are also fringe weirdos for other reasons. Musky here is an everyman’s fool. The poor guy just looks damn goofy, and it’s not purely due to the color scheme either.

My only assumption is that Hasbro was in the midst of designing a Joe-scale futuristic sports line, and they reused the sculpt for this guy. No? Okay, maybe there was a mix-up in the factory in Hong Kong and arm and leg A got placed with torso and head B, and it was the start of a three day weekend, so nobody bothered to fix it. Still no good? Okay, I got it: they brought in a monumentally stupid bunch of children as a test group, and they loved the concept of a figure with a missile launcher attached to a helmet. The marketing department liked the idea so much, they were debating between two names for the gimmick as a sub-line: either the CIF (Cervical Injury Force) or  the Whiplash Warriors.

The true story of course is that the man who was once a swamp fighter became a heavy fire specialist (who knows why?) and was also slated to be a part of the second series of DEF figures. Even considering that, the look still doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. All of the Battle Corps figures that were intended for the DEF remind me of the designs from Hasbro’s COPS line, with its futuristic takes on law enforcement themes. In this way, I can see Muskrat as a next-generation heavy ordnance operative who’s brought in along with the armored SWAT vehicle.

What about the helmet thing, you ask? What is its significance to the figure and to the overall Joe mythos? Well, as Freud said; sometimes a helmet mounted missile launcher is just a helmet mounted missile launcher.

15 comments

  • I can see why some fans feel the head is the only salvageable piece here.

    And only the arms were reused once–for the first Mortal Kombat Johnny Cage figure.

  • Yes, the helmet launcher is insanely absurd, but it’s also stupidly awesome in its own weird way.

  • I found this guy on the back wall of a KMart in December of 1995. At that time, he was one of the few Joes still left. So, I bought him and Mace. The head launchers made for some good laughs with my friends at the time. Just a terrible figure all around.

  • Ah, yes, Crazy Helmet-Gun Muskrat…I liked the character Muskrat so much as a kid, but this was the only version of him I ever had because I wasn’t old enough to play with Joes when the original released. I loved the head sculpt enough to look past that crazy helmet (Okay, moment of honesty–my eight-year-old brain thought that helmet gun was the coolest friggin thing in the world). But looking back on it, yeah, holy buckets, this Muskrat was awful. The armor was kinda cool (and fit with Battle Corps–though how it would have worked in the DEF I don’t know) but man, everything on this guy was kind of a mess.

  • Nice face sculpt. The rest is garbage…

  • That head sculpt is one of Hasbro’s most inspired efforts. Freakin’ Willem Dafoe as Muskrat? Hell, yeah! The body is reminiscent of the Mega Marines’ “Aliens” style armor. Helmet aside, it would make for a nice repaint if placed in the proper perspective.

  • Now that I’m looking at it, the straps on the waist don’t match those coming down from the torso or up from the leg holsters. The torso looks Star Brigade and the arms Ninja Force. Your idea of the 3 day weekend with figure mold roulette is sounding more and more plausible.

  • This is one of the weirdest Joes I’ve ever seen.With a couple of exceptions, the 90’s era really sucked.

  • Two observations.
    1. I grew up in this era, and I remember looking at the card backs and seeing Muskrat’s artwork, but never finding the figure. I thought he looked really cool. Same for some of those others from the same year, like Law, Gristle, etc.

    2. I looked at his file card on YoJoe, and his chest armor apparently contains a “computer-controlled micro lab.” Yup. This here Muskrat’s a scientist too.

  • I actually like this guy despite the problems. He’s not Muskrat of course in my Joeverse as the v1 is too well established but I use him as Colt, a member of DEF.

    I can deal with the blue weapons (not as bad as Recoil’s) and the strange sculpt but that helmet launcher had to go! I don’t know about Rob’s CIF, I think DEF was still right – Decapitated with Extreme Force!

  • Based on the position of his shoulders, Muskrat must have a really long neck. He’s like Headhunter Stormtrooper in that regard. Someone forgot that shoulders aren’t at nipple level on most humans.

  • Looking at this Joe makes my head hurt.

  • I liked him when i was seven WHEN I WAS SEVEN

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    As a fan of Muskrat, I can say this ain’t his best. And seriously, why did they release a couple Joe figures with the weird launcher/helmets? Even when engaging in the fantastic, this makes no sense.

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