Voltar (1988)

I’m a bit sorry that I missed out on the Iron Grenadiers concept in my younger days. Destro’s splinter group was introduced the year after I stopped buying GI Joes, and I think as a kid I would have been very interested in the toys. With an ornate, armored style  being so prominent, I would have been drawn to them in much the same way I was with Hasbro’s slightly earlier Visionaries toys. Who wouldn’t want an army dressed like evil knights to challenge their Joes?

Destro’s general is outfitted in the most lovely shade of hot pink. But I can’t be down on this figure, as it’s just too crazy cool. Say what you will about the color, but Voltar has personality. It would have been nice to get a few more paint apps to pick out some of the wonderful detail, but sometimes we take what we can get. Having another named Cobra character in a year full of troop builders is always nice, and as a bonus, he’s got an animal companion. Someday I’ll write a treatise about the significance of the animal companion concept in the 80s GI Joe line. I think the condor is a little disappointing as a partner in this case, because it didn’t get a proper name. No worries; I’ve got a few ideas of my own: Talon, Blackfeather, Carrion-Eater, Conndorr, and my favorite, Cathartidave.

But I certainly can’t have all the fun. Let’s put it to you, the readers. Any ideas to use as a name for Voltar’s condor?


  • At this time I’m still looking for an uncracked, non-loose, decent paint left arm for this guy. Yeesh! As for the bird’s name, how does Sky Terror sound?

  • Voltar – love the hot pink, by the way – allways struck me as being surprisingly like Major Bludd. Mercenary, facial hair, one eye covered… but that’s just me. He’s certainly a colourful character and one that has a lot of potential.

    So naturally, his media presence consists of ‘people killed in the Freighter because Larry Hama doesn’t like them’. Unless he’s turned up in the IDW comics, in which case he was probably killed off for not being 1982 enough for them.

    Still, pink and gold. Takes a real man to wear that.

    As for the bird… maybe it’s called Rod. Or Natalie. Or Slrpnls.

  • I found Voltars backpack in a bin of broken toys i found at a garage sale. I scored a Marbles from Rock lords [missing his whole left leg] the purple repaint of the Zantradi power armour from Robotech [yes, thats what i called it] which was missing both arms and legs and some sort of knockoff voltron thing which was also broken.

    I only had his backpack for a day or to. It broke pretty easily so i’m guessing he suffers from gold plastic syndrome.

    He also appeared on a puzzle. Does that count as a media appearance?

  • I’ve always liked Voltar. One of the very few figures I bought while in High School.

  • My love of Destro and the Iron Grenadiers definitely extended to Voltar. I thought he was so cool. I know he was always the second-in-command to whoever was being the big baddie that time. I’ll also second the backpack. I remember very few Joe accessories wearing down, but I definitely remember his backpack was pretty dinged up by the time I was done with him.

  • I love Destro and the Iron Grenadiers too, so I always felt that Voltar had great potential. But I would have gone with black or red instead of hot pink or fuchsia, as one comic letter page reader described it.

    Voltar never made the big time due to being an ’88 release (thus caught cartoon-less in the dark void between Sunbow and DIC) and having had little exposure in the comic. (Being one of Destro’s men, he should have been back in Scotland, not on Cobra Island when the freighter purge occurred.)

  • @Rob – If you put his backpack on with that large ‘aerial’ horizontal, it functions as a perch for the condor – whatever you call it…

  • Interesting character that was under utilized. Had Voltar been molded in a normal color, he’d be considered one of the all time classics. I think the Funskool version is not as bright. I think his condor should be called….Eric!

  • He was just a master thief in Brazil.

    I never had the backpack right. I thought that was a thick antenna. I think I had Battle Armor Cobra Commander’s pack on upside down for years, Blowtorch’s too.

  • When I saw his card art on the backs of the figures that year, I thought for sure the uniform would be red rather than pink. That would have looked much cooler.

  • Voltar looks like a more technological version of Major Bludd- replace eyepatch with a scope, upgrade moustache to a full beard. He definately did have personality. And later on, whenever I saw Voltaire’s name, I pictured him as Voltar, at a desk, writing his various works. The ‘condor’ was cool. He’s a general and his pet is a vulture (condors & vultures are in the same family though from what I read, New World & Old World vultures are not closely related, but condors & New World vultures). He feeds his pet with the spoils of victory. That gives him a ghoulish veneer.

    The color looks more like fuchsia or magenta to me.

    And for the animal companion treatise, it might be worthwhile to look at the other big toylines of the 80s (i.e. He-Man for Battlecat & I-forget-the-name of Skeletor’s purple panther, TF Soundwave and his cassettes) to have a sense of context (though GI Joe did seem to do it more than anyone else). The video game equivalent seemed to not be around til later (Shadow Dancer in the Shinobi series and Final Fantasy VI with ninja Shadow and his attack dog Interceptor come to mind. Yoshi is more a steed. He-Man’s pets seemed to be steeds).

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Never had this figure as a kid, but I always wanted one. Voltar’s a very unusual looking figure, but I’ve always thought this one was underrated and has a great deal of charm, much like Crystal Ball. Being with Destro and the Iron Grenadiers just adds to the coolness.

  • Just finished reading the Special missions issue in whife he had El Jaffe captured and the Oktober guard made their final stand. I noticed in that issue, Voltar was coloured in red. Wonder if his figure would look better in red rather than purple but then again that might make people think he was a C.G.

  • Survived the replacement attempt by Mayhem in these parts….

  • You’ve got the backpack on wrong – that pole is for the Condor to perch on, so it should stick out horizontally. I had this figure as a kid. My Dad returned Avalanche for him shortly after Xmas 1989 when my Mum bought him and forgot to give him to me for Christmas along with my other Action Force presents. Dad felt Avalanche was pretty bland, lacking gear and always did have an eye for the more eccentric looking figures in any toyline…and thus Voltar came into my then collection. I agree, he always reminded me of Major Bludd but his filecard made him out to be a brilliantly accomplished Officer…its a pity the comics didn’t use him prominently. I wish they’d do a more easier to obtain modern sculpt of him, with removable helmet. The Collectors Club versions good but I want a modern version of THIS figure.

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