Gung-Ho (1993 Mega-Marine)

If there’s one quality that Hasbro possessed with their approach to the Joe line in the 90’s–right or wrong–it was a willingness to try anything. “Throw it at the wall and see what sticks” is a good way to describe it. Although it didn’t stick at retail, the Mega-Marines sub-line was a memorable venture in to Day-Glo and Play-Doh that still manages to bring a smile to my face.

As a part of the many sub-lines of the time, the Mega-Marines stand out as a great toy concept that I’m surprised hadn’t been used before. When Hasbro purchased Tonka in 1991, along with it came Play-Doh, the legendary colorful modeling compound. You remember it, right? Most kids in America have eaten at least two cans of it in their lifetime. Anyway, what’s the one thing you couldn’t do with your GI Joes without destroying them? Simulating battle damage of course. With the included “moldable bio-armor” AKA Play-Doh and snap-on armor mold, you could give your Joes body armor that could be damaged, torn off, removed and then replaced again and again. Cool concept.

The mission of the Mega-Marines was to fight Cobra’s mutated Mega-Monster troops; former Eels and Range Vipers which had been genetically altered by Dr. Mindbender. Cobra also deployed bio-armored troops to act as handlers to command and control these monsters. To further counter the threat of Cobra’s monsters, the Joe team was given the Monster Blaster APC, a missile-firing personnel carrier that was somewhat reminiscent of the carrier seen in Aliens. In fact, a lot of the design for this figure borrows from the marines in that film, particularly Gung-Ho’s helmet and layered armor.

There was so much going on with the play pattern on this sub-line, it surely must have made for some fun times for little ones in 1993. Sadly, it burned bright, but too briefly. The Mega-Marines didn’t make an appearance again, but nevertheless stand out as a fun neon side trip at the end of the RAH line.


  • Gawd, you could blind a kid with all that neon! Such a great concept laid waste due to lousy marketing techniques. The Mega-Marines were clearly homaging Ripley’s posse in Aliens, which was also competing with the Joes for shelf space at the time through Kenner. Imagine if they’d gone with realistic colors? I mean, Gung-Ho’s helmet is cool enough, but that bright orange kills it. This sub-team gave us our second version ever of Clutch only to be marred by the same palette of death. Sad. I gotta add that Gung-Ho looks rather gaunt here, looking more like a bald headed Skydive in that head shot. I’ve never owned this figure so I hadn’t noticed it until now but the resemblance is uncanny. It’s almost like both heads shared the same mold, which wouldn’t surprise me. Another Charbroil/Knockdown scenario, perhaps?

  • I always thought the Mega Marines and the Monster Blaster would benefit greatly from repaints. However, the convention Gung Ho and the BAT Transport really disproved my hypothesis. I think there’s a quality figurein there somewhere, but it’s deeper than I thought I’d have to look.

    I always thought this helmet, though, would have been a perfect fit for an updated Barbeque.

  • In the winter of my original Joe collecting days, I had tons of fun pitting this Gung Ho and Clutch against Cyber Viper and Monstro Viper. The three normal sized figures armor suits and the Monstro Vipers gut bombs made for tons of fun.

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