Salvo (1990)

1990. If you haven’t checked out that particular year of GI Joe figures, I highly recommend (again) that you give it a go. The year is unique for a few reasons. First off, the character selection is all new. That’s right, there’s not a single pre-existing Joe of Cobra among the regular lineup. The year’s Sonic Fighters sub-team was the only appearance of older characters, and repaints at that. So how can a year devoid of Duke, Flint, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander and the like manage to be memorable? I’d say the assortment is a nice break from the usual cast of characters. Of course, nobody from the year broke out to become the next Flint or Duke, but we did get a few new and interesting specialists. It’s almost as if GI Joe was sort of rebooted for a year. Cobra even had a new guy bucking to become its top dog. The DIC cartoon series, during its first full season, often starred many of the 1990 Joes. Were most of the old Joes just on holiday?

1990 is also notable for accessories, both in number and originality. Salvo, who eschews modern computer controlled weaponry for good old fashioned heavy ordnance, carries not just one, but two unique weapons. There’s the ambitious missile launcher, which is an incredible accessory, in terms of size and audacity. Is it ridiculously huge? Of course, but this is GI Joe, and I don’t really care. The man who wields it looks plenty big to heft it without assistance. The other is the mine launcher, an interesting idea for a weapon, and one that I’m surprised hadn’t been done before. Yeah, it’s ridiculous too. I think it may also have a shotgun attached to the top of it. I suppose that would explain all the shells on Salvo’s legs. It may be the single nuttiest GI Joe weapon ever. Maybe Tripwire would have had more cool cred if he’d carried something like it.

The figure itself is full of character, from head to toe. Under the helmet, Mr. Hasle is sporting the Mr. Clean look, and it suits him well. Along with his large build and “The Right of Might” t-shirt, he’s got a look that begs Cobras to just try to mess with him. I wouldn’t want to go up against him even without his heavy armaments. The mold is such a perfect tough guy rendition that none other than Big Brawler himself borrowed it for one of his later versions. How many GI Joes are tough enough to strap bandoliers around their legs? For me, he ranks right up with Steam Roller as one of the surliest looking Joes.


  • Salvo was always really cool. My brother had him and I loved that giant missile launcher. The mine gun never did much for me (or my brother for that matter), but geared up, standing on top of the 1992 Headquarters and he just looked like a force to be reckoned with. The only real flaw I think he had was the lack of protective gear. The helmet is nice, but he’s a guy toting around a lot of high explosives in nothing but a T-shirt. However, maybe the Joe team used their armor budget on Fast Draw from a couple years before and couldn’t afford to give Mr. Salvo something more than a helmet. 😉

    His colors are great and his head sculpt is like a lot of 1990 Joes, simple but packed full of character.

  • I never cared for this figure as a kid. He came off like a Cobra misbranded as a Joe. He looked like a thug without the helmet and the shirt always struck me as a motto Cobra would embrace (“The Right of Might”, AKA “Might makes right”). I can now see it’s a decently sculpted figure but I still can’t shake the villain view of Salvo. It’s funny. Mercer seemed fine because he originally came off as sort of a turncoat mercenary, someone that would always be kept at arms length because they couldn’t be fully trusted but Salvo came off as someone who seemed to be classified as a regular Joe, trusted, even though they seemed like they shouldn’t be trusted.

    Also notice his colors seem like a reconfiguration of Hawk’s from 1986 (only minus the camo pattern).

  • Salvo was the first 1990 Joe that I got when I first got into GI Joe (this was 2005), and he was one of the first Joes I bought at the comic convention I regularly attend. Going off of kansasbrawler’s comment, I once saw a custom where the guy gave him a repainted Backblast torso because of that same nitpick.

    In addition to the three Big Brawler figures, the mold turned up as the 1994 Street Fighter Movie Edition Balrog, and the arms were used for the 2010 convention version of Action Force’s Dolphin.

  • It’s surprising that no single character introduced in 1990 ever broke out the way previous ones had done. Even so, Salvo is my second favorite from this year next to Ambush, mostly due to the figure rather than its cumbersome accessories. Much like Backblast, I could never get such a huge launcher to hold up properly, so I usually outfitted Salvo with something lighter. Red Star’s missile launcher is always a good fit for any heavy ordnance specialist. The removable helmet is cool, but I wish it had actually matched the one on his card art.

    Salvo was the first bald headed Caucasian in the line and looked tough enough to give Cobra a run for their money using his fists alone. Like Backblast and Outback, he’s got the t-shirt motto going for him. We got to briefly see him in action near the end of the comic’s crucial Trucial Abysmia story arc as well as the DIC cartoon and he fared nicely in both venues. Although poor Tripwire was given a bad rep as the team’s answer to Chevy Chase, he’s still enjoyed far greater exposure than Salvo or any of his mates from that gloriously refreshing year of 1990. It’s still perplexing to me but I suppose the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had the market cornered by then.

  • My one is missing all his gear

    I find it hard to like Salvo. He seems like an okay replacement for Bazooka but the bald head and slogan make him look like a thug. But i guess thats just down to some things not translating well in foreign markets.

    He did appear in the DIC series but like all the characters in it, he had a generic heroic personality. The only two characters who stand out in the DIC series were Capt Gridiron because he spoke in football metaphors and Metel head. God i hate Metal head. I’d rather watch something staring G1 Wheelie and Scooter [Gobots] than anything with Metal head.

  • Skymate, that comment about all the DiC characters getting the shaft bar two is a bit hard to swallow. What about Ambush? Or Night Creeper Leader? Or Crimson Guard No.1? Or even Pathfinder, Rampart, and Captain Krimov if we’re going to extremes.

  • @ Paul Angew Its just the way i felt after watching the series. Though they established some ground work with Ambush they didnt really follow it up which i thought was a big letdown.
    Its just what i personally think.

  • I totally dug 1990, and Salvo has great style. For me, Salvo didn’t stay in my personal line up as there were other anti-armor characters to compete for that role. (For me, one anti-armor guy will do. For now.)

    Something I never thought about before now is that Salvo makes for a great one-on-one nemesis to Metal Head (1990).

  • @Skymate: Don’t forget about Orko, Snarf, and T-Bob. We could call it “When 80’s TV Mascots Go Wild.”

    @Scott: It was cool when Salvo went up against Metal Head in the comic, although Rock & Roll and Dusty also wanted a piece of the dude.

    It did bother me how MH went from sounding like a Dreadnok in that story to speaking in proper royal Scottish when under Destro’s employ a mere couple of issues later.

  • Salvo…one of the best G.I.JOEs I have! Pure artillery!

  • I bought Salvo back in the Day at a point where I reflexively bought every character. His “uniform” such as it was seemed like a missed opportunity. I always imagined that each GI Joe, when he made the team, was given the liberty of choosing whatever he or she wanted as a uniform. That’s why guys like Quick kick have such strange getups. But here’s a guy who thinks “I’ll just go with this old t-shirt and some pants.” For OUTBACK, that approach worked fine and made a kind of sense, but unless he is still in basic training, I’d much rather see a military themed outfit. This outfit does seem kind of Dreadnokkish and the slogan does smack of authoritarianism.

    Having a removable cool helmet was a redeeming aspect, however. And a good head sculpt.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I never had Salvo, so this is the first time I’ve seen his full head. I never knew he was bald, but I like the sculpt. I can see the Dreadnok aspect, but I think he fits in well with the Joe roster of the early ’90s.

  • Salvo is pretty unique in that he has two “gimmick” weapons instead of the usual one. I always liked him, though, thug or not.

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