SHIPWRECK v.17 (2013)
The first Shipwreck figure was released in 1985, which is regarded by many to be the best year ever for G.I. JOE. The comics and cartoons were both very popular, the toys filled entire aisles at the toy stores, and great new product was continually being added to the brand. In 1985 we were introduced to such diverse new characters as Alpine, Bazooka, Flint, Lady Jaye, the Crimson Twins, Barbecue, Dusty, The Dreadnoks, Snake Eyes’ new ninja look, and the Snow Serpents, just to name a few. I liked Shipwreck right away. Voice actor, Neil Ross, infused Shipwreck with a ton of personality by doing his best Jack Nicholson impression. Shipwreck was one of those characters, like Quick Kick (another ’85er), who joined the team through very unorthodox means in the cartoon. In the second animated mini series “The Revenge of Cobra” a couple of Joes on the lam from Cobra are given a ride to safety by Shipwreck on his sand sailboat and so they let him join the team. Shipwreck remained a lead character on the series until it was cancelled. His parrot Polly was alway on his shoulder providing some comic relief.
Doug owned the 1985 Shipwreck and another version wasn’t released until 1994. The second version was wearing a wet suit which was appropriate because the Joe brand was pretty dead in the water by that time. I never owned my first Shipwreck figure until the New Sculpt era kicked off in 2002. By this time though Shipwreck had ditched both his sailor’s uniform and wetsuit in favor of a sweater and knit cap. That design was based on how the character looked in the relaunched Joe comic book by Devil’s Due. I guess they felt the little white cap wasn’t badass enough anymore. I liked the new look, it felt more multi-purpose than his classic design, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the classic white cap and blue shirt. Shipwreck was released multiple times during the New Sculpt years but never returned to his iconic look until 2007 when the 25th anniversary series kicked off.
I really liked the 25th anniversary Shipwreck but not everyone agreed with me. He had cartoonishly big biceps which I think was done as some sort of silly nod to Popeye. The arms didn’t bother me that much and I thought the face sculpt suited the easy going personna he had in the cartoons. Not only was it my first “sailor” Shipwreck but it was also my first Polly figure, as Shippy’s sidekick was absent through most of the 2000s.
In 2012, during the lull in figure releases caused by G.I. JOE: Retaliation being delayed 9 months, Dollar General stores put out an exclusive line of 6 Joe figures. I think the figures were produced by Hasbro to throw fans a bone during the 9 month wait. The DG figures were much cheaper than other recent Joe releases but they lacked some of the frills of those other figures. Most of the DG releases only had 1 or 2 accessories and they didn’t have any card art, just generic packaging. The 6 figures included in the exclusive wave were Cobra Commander, Cobra Trooper, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Duke, and Shipwreck. All were well known characters who had been released plenty of times before but the Dollar General figures managed to effectively fill some holes in the modern era collection. Shipwreck, for example, was released in his Devil’s Due sweater and cap look for the first time in the modern era. It was a figure a lot of fans were happy to see, myself included.
Unfortunately we don’t have Dollar Generals in Canada so I had to shop for my figures online which negated the lower price point. Online retailers were charging between 12 and 20 bucks plus shipping for most of these figures. I decided to bide my time until I could score all six figures for a good deal. Months after their initial release at Dollar General, BigBadToyStore finally got the figures in for a very reasonable price. I ordered the lot of them and waited for them to arrive in the mail.
I was a little disappointed to discover that the 6 figures I ordered were actually repaints of the original Dollar General figures. I was expecting a black Cobra Commander and Trooper but instead I got cartoony blue and yellow ones. The changes made to Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow left me disappointed as well. The repainted Shipwreck was probably the one that made the least amount of difference to me. I would have rather gotten the blue sweater, blue cap, gray pants version but this green version is fine too. This looks like a Shipwreck ready to emerge from a Cobra Swamp, quietly slit some Swamp Viper throats, and then infiltrate a Terrordrome. While I like my sailor Shipwreck, I don’t think you can deny that this one looks more badass. For a figure that’s supposed to be light on accessories, I’m impressed by his removable scuba mask, backpack and pistol (but sadly no Polly). This figure has a great sculpt and a decent paint job but I think I may still seek out the blue sweatered one too. 7 out of 10.