Manta-Ray (1994)

Talk about going out with a bang! Can you believe that the best GI Joe water vehicle (well, actually only second to the WHALE) was released in the last year of the Real American Hero series?

What more could you want in a sea-going vessel than a real inflatable feature? The Manta-Ray actually floats on water, provided you can manage to close the plug within a picosecond of blowing the teensiest bit of air into its vinyl hull. Then you’ve got a chance to man it with a couple figures and hope that their weight doesn’t cause it to take on water. Actually, the time I tried it, that’s what happened. It didn’t sink, but it did take on a bit of a list, sadly. The design of the boat is pretty ingenious, and this is one vehicle that didn’t suffer as badly from the cost-cutting molds from the later 90s releases. After all, you’d want the plastic bits of your boat to be as light and hollow as possible.

Manta-Ray (1994)

Kidding aside, I like the idea here. It’s certainly feature-laden, and I appreciate the fact that Hasbro were willing to not only make the Manta-Ray a real inflatable, but to give it a rubber band powered propeller. Now where was this thing in 1984? It would have been right there in the pool, getting a serious chlorine bleach along with my Water Mocassin and SHARC. There’s one other feature missing from the example in my photo, and that’s the side-mounted torpedo racks. These clips actually serve to make the boat a bit more substantial, as well as holding the two extra missiles. If you really need to see what they look like, I’ve included a shot of the package back.




  • It’s actually a pretty cool looking toy. It’s just too bad they used such cheap looking plastic the last few years. The RAT and the Septic Tank both felt kind of chintzy to me, even as a kid.

  • I’ve been eyeing one of these for a while. Just haven’t pulled the trigger. I remember them clogging the shelves of Big Lots in ’95 and ’96. But, with no figure, I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Wish I had now.

    Also, if you know you have kids when you make Man Ray jokes. 🙂

  • I remember the toyworld in my town having dozens of those and the Cobra 4×4 vehicle that came out at the same time. The town I grew up in was a dumping ground for unsold stock no others shops seemed to want.

  • The UK Action Force line had several vehicles in it’s earlier years with a rubbery plastic air filled ring that floated.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    It’s not that bad, but it always felt kinda cheap to me. I would’ve rather had a Night Landing instead.

  • I’m surprised “Razor-sharp Wind-up Speed Prop” made it on the box! It’s a silly looking toy (almost knock-off bad), but outside-the-box thinking like the ’83 Falcon glider. Cheap enough, it’d be fun in the pool for sure.

  • Notice how on the package back the inflatable raft is actually a foam piece but branded as being inflatable. Funny, but I still would have liked it better if the actual toy would have had the foam piece.

    I bought this vehicle when there was nothing else left on the pegs when the original ARAH line ended here in Europe (must have been around 1995), just for the sake of being able to buy something GI Joe related for what seemed then the last time.
    The boat actually has nice molded details I think. Had it been released in somewhat better colors (more muted, or at least less monochromatic) it would have been more successful among collectors I’d bet.

  • Now that Whalemuseum mentions it, I think I would have liked that all foam hull instead.

    Like Rob, I never got the hull inflated solid enough to feel right in play, and I being a very careful collector in those years, would not dare to over-inflate for risk of blow out.

    Between the rather nice rigid “frame” piece, despite the coloring, the inflatable part just flopped around too much to really feel fun.

    I don’t think your are missing too much without the side torpedo mounts, I just remember those twisting around a little and coming off.

    A whole new color and new front weapon, replace the inflatable with that foam, and I think it would have been a winner.

    One of the few times my Manta Ray got some action, sometime in 1994 to 1996:

    • I should add, I think this is the first inflatable action figure toy I’ve played with since I played with a Six Million Dollar Man Mission Control Center.

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