There was an awful lot of unnoticed and undocumented parts reuse and retools in the vintage G.I. Joe line. With figures it was easily identifiable, and made sense, and sometimes things like repurposing Dragonfly and Skystriker parts for the TTBP just made sense, even if it was often under the radar.
Hasbro really loved the 1983 Snow Job rifle, the XMLR-3A. In addition to it being the standard Sunbow Cartoon weapon for the majority of it’s run, it was also consistently modified for additional accessories in the toyline. It made sense as it was an excellent design and worked well with the figures.
The first modification of the Snow Job rifle was with the 1984 Ripper figure.
Ripper’s gun is a Snow Job rifle, with the addition of the scope, magazine and blade on the end. The changes to the weapon are good enough to change up the look, even though it’s still fairly recognizable as a modification. It does help that it was released in Silver, as opposed to charcoal or black.
Next the Snow Job rifle became the basis of the grappling hook gun, that Alpine came with. It’s like the Ripper weapon, in that it’s easily spotted, but also changes itself from the original base rifle that it’s okay. Since Alpine was quite popular in the cartoon, it’s a neat fact. It almost looks like an attachment to the Snowjob rifle.
The Crimson Guard Rifle uses some parts of the Snowjob rifle in it’s design. The butt of the rifle is from Snowjob, while part of the body is from the 1983 Airborne AR-15. It’s cool that Hasbro would do these kinds of modifications. It gave G.I. Joe it’s own internal continuity.
The last modification that I’m aware of came about in 1990. With the release of the Night Creeper, Hasbro upscaled the XMLR-3A and then added the crossbow and bolts atop it. It’s an interesting choice, especially considering how much later in the run it is. It doesn’t work as well here, not due to the design, but just because of how much they upsized it.
One other fun fact about the Snow Job rifle, is that Hasbro intended it to be a laser rifle from the beginning. The classification of XMLR-3A is very close to Flash’s XMLR-1A laser rifle.