Ripper (1985)


The Dreadnoks were an impressive addition to the Cobra ranks to a kid in the 80s. With an edgy design amalgam of punk and the Road Warrior, they were a threatening force of destruction. Ripper is one of the original Dreadnoks, and as such, is equipped with an amazing melee weapon along with an unexpected implement of destruction — the jaws of life! Is that not one of the coolest accessories of any 80s villain? Okay, maybe the tool isn’t useful in the heat of a battle, but it sure could do some damage in a sabotage raid. The Dreadnoks famously used the tools of their trade in just such a fashion when they demolished an air base in the pages of the Marvel comic.

Ripper’s bayonet was used to incredible effect in both the Sunbow cartoon and the Marvel comic. It functioned like a super powered can opener, ripping into planes, tanks and other structures. I was amazed as a kid to see the blade slice through an electrical tower in the intro to the Revenge of Cobra mini-series. Either the thing was made of adamantium, or Ripper was one strong dude.

Ripper sported the largest cranium of all the original ‘noks, which is ironic considering his generally less than intelligent portrayal in the Sunbow ‘toon. If you don’t care for Ripper’s prodigiously sized noggin, there is a comic pack that featured a newly sculpted and smaller head.



  • Eh, the head doesn’t look that big.

    Ripper was the second original Joe figure I ever got, at a flea market in 2005. It was also the first figure I ever replaced an o-ring for.

  • I’m not too fussed on the Dreadnoks but on the plus side they do add a bot of variety to cobras otherwise millitary look. My major complaint about them [other then Australians being portayed as villains] is that they were too effective in the comics; they were all semi- invincible. The Thundermachine looks like a rejected and or failed Topgear experiment there is no way it should be capable of ploughing through a powerplant and outrunning a train.

    That said, Ripper is a decent figure. I’m just not too fussed on him.

  • Ripper is my household fav ‘Nok, even with that melon. He’s got a pretty effective interpretation of biker-gone-paramilitary, and his accessories are fun. I’d rather have jaws of life over a nunchuka axe any day!

  • The Dreadnoks felt like one of the earliest sub-teams/groups to appear (as opposed to factions, though He-Man beat GI Joe to creating a 3rd faction. He-Man ended up with 3 different sets of villains: Skeletor’s band, the Horde, and the Snake Men). Granted, also for 1985, in Transformers, Dinobots, Constructicons (and Insecticons) appeared. It was cool how each had their own unusual weapon (blowtorch, chainsaw, cutting tool & jaws of life and… uh, trident gun). It also was one of the earlier departures from the conventional military vs. evil organization dynamic, though Storm Shadow as a badass ninja also plugged into that.

    It’s interesting how the Dreadnoks evolved. They started out as a bunch of biker punks, with Zartan (who looked like a rock star freak) retconned in. Then they added another punk with a Mad Max vehicle, another biker-esque dude (what exactly is Monkeywrench’s weapon even supposed to be?) and then it started getting more outlandish with a pirate, a bulky brute who stepped out of Mad Max (now with even more old school weapons, a crossbow, cinder block hammer, and improvised arm-shield), and a poacher, expanding to include other variants of modern day rogues who stick to themselves or small groups of criminals to some historical ones. Zarana fit the punk motif but not sure what silent Zandar was supposed to be.

  • I never had Ripper, an extra Buzzer with painted hair was my stand-in.

  • I find it interesting that his rifle is obviously based on Snow Job’s laser rifle mold, but with extra pieces added on. I believe that same year Alpine’s grappling hook gun was also based on the XMLR3 mold.

  • Ripper and Torch were both bought on the same day when I was a kid! I loved the Dreadnoks as a kid and still do as an adult. I picked up Buzzer a week later. I was the happiest 6 year old ever.

  • The bad guys don’t have to be elite soldiers, to be dangerous. Many bikers are vets, and lots of criminals are ruthless. Their anger and hatred can be just as dangerous

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