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.
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.