2000 Rip-It

HISS 3 Drivers

Rip It is one of those figures that has been a non-factor for a long time. The figure is twenty years old, and even despite the fact it’s a more sensibly coloured version of a figure from one of the most highly thought of years in G.I. Joe, there’s barely any attention paid to it. Even when Army Building was at it’s apex, the figure wasn’t noteworthy. It’s kind of strange that in the days of people having armies of every retail released figure, lined up on shelves, you might see one or two Rip It’s, even though the HISS III was a popular vehicle, that people bought multiples of, maybe the HISS III was less popular than I recall, as it was a TRU exclusive.

Perhaps one of the things that caused Rip-It to never really be a popular army builder, was the fact he’s technically a character. Like most of the new characters of the time, it’s an awful character, consisting of a guy who learned his tank combat strategies from playing golf, and his codename is terrible. However there seemed to be some weird acceptance of a lot of the new characters from the A Real American Hero Collection. Even if they were amongst the worst in the entire G.I. Joe line, and often would’ve been better off being named “Roadblock” “The Baroness” or “HISS Driver”. I’m not really sure why that was, I think it might’ve been the beginnings of the “Guys, these figures aren’t perfect, but Hasbro’s really trying hard”, mindset that was used to shout down criticism of early 2000s retail offerings. Which thinking back is a hilarious form of mental gymnastics, since by looking at most figures released between 2000-2006, effort was not the defining characteristic.

That acceptance has gone by the wayside, 20 years later, and we’re now more likely to call Rip-It, HISS Driver, or refer to Double Blast as “Roadblock”. Progress was made, as sometimes you need to go backwards, before you can go forwards.

RipIt2000

While the intended character is pretty abysmal, as a figure it’s pretty decent. The colouring is an attempt at “COBRA Blue”, which Hasbro didn’t really peg down until 2004 or so. However the greyish blue, while not a perfect match, tends to be close enough for a lot of the late 80s Greyish blue COBRA vehicles. It gives the HISS Driver sculpt a little more of a utilitarian slant, and reduces the redundancy of numerous different vehicle operators. So because of that, this figure is just a basic HISS Driver, the colouring difference from v1 isn’t one I try too hard to justify, though I rarely place the figure in the original HISS, usually just the HISS II or III or DTC version.

Despite this figure being a vehicle driver, packaged with a vehicle only available at Toys R Us, in 2000, they have been fairly easy to acquire. That’s because at one point in the late end of the 2000s, and somewhat into the early 2010s, Rip It was one of the easily acquired figures from Chinese eBay sellers. He was one of the earlier figures to sell out, but that’s likely due to the fact that it was a classic army builder, in decent colours that could be used to fill in every available HISS Tank turret and cockpit.

When this figure was readily available from China I picked up quite a few of them, so like the 1983 HISS Driver, I tend to use the figure as just the generic COBRA vehicle operator, he might fly the FANG, or drive a HISS, but that’s about it. The idea of an overall HISS Tank commander, is a good one, but I’ll use the convention version of Rip It. However, the great differences between the 1983 and 2000 usages of this mold, could allow for either version to take the HISS Commander mantle, if you were so inclined.

Though there is something interesting I’ve noticed over the years, I know for sure two of my 2000 HISS Drivers were purchased in America, with HISS III’s, and they both have a lot of Paint Wipes on them. I know I also picked other ones up from China, that barely have any Paint Wipes on them. I don’t think it means anything, but it’s kind of an interesting oddity.

Overall, this figure is kind of an interesting example of the A Real American Hero Collection being summed up in a nutshell. It’s not a great figure, but it’s not bad either. It’s decidedly mediocre. Now a mediocre G.I. Joe, is still a good toy, but the entire 2000-2001 was an exercise of “So close, yet so far”. When they first came out, there was a freshness factor, and an excitement at G.I. Joe being back, in a big way, that the fact a lot of these figures had very few paint apps, and other glaring issues, were overlooked. Then looking back there’s been almost an overly harsh criticism of the figures, probably because they were more of a let-down when the newness wore off. Though in a way, I still kind of miss the days of an obviously cost conscious, pseudo-generic G.I. Joe line. It’s just a shame that the ARAHC was done by people with very little understanding of any of the nuances of what made G.I. Joe such a great toyline. (I probably write this same paragraph everytime I write anything about a figure from the ARAHC line.)

HISS 5-B

2000HISSDriver

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7 Responses to 2000 Rip-It

  1. Mike T. says:

    This is one of those figures that’s just sort of….there. He’s not noteworthy for being terrible or for being really good. The filecard is so laughably bad that the character deserves to be retconned into something better. It’s a damn shame that we never got another solid repaint at retail…especially with all the various Hiss Tanks that were released.

    I’ve grown to really like the ARAHC. But, that’s mostly a function of how bad the figures that came after it tended to be. Hasbro relied on the Steel Brigade Club guys to design most of them and the general sameness of the figures is a function of those guys having way too much influence and far too little diversity in their thought of what Joe could be.

    Collectors of the 2000’s were weird in that some would army build any and all figures. Yet, others would have a “rule” of just one of a figure like Rip It since he was a character. Some guys army built in groups of 5. Some in 12. But, they were super anal about those numbers and would discard extras.

    For the variant hunters out there, ARAHC is a nightmare. Technically, no two figures are the same for the paint wipes era figures. And, the figures that dropped in Dec 2000/Jan 2001 are especially noteworthy in that Hasbro made massive changes to the paint wipes in later runs where they were nearly eliminated due to collector backlash. The Asian figures were likely later runs who had the reduced apps.

  2. generalliederkranz says:

    I love the picture prepping the FANG for flight! I don’t think I have really thought aobut this figure since 2001, and now I feel bad about that. I am definitely guilty of pigenholing him as a character, and a character I didn’t find interesting. He does make a great army builder who fits with the early line and could be pressed into service as something a little different…maybe the blue HISS drivers man the guns while the red ones drive…

    • A-Man says:

      Well, the 25th Anniversary collection retconned a blue HISS Commander into being (the carded 25th HISS Driver had a rank of O-5!) with colors similar but not the same as Rip-It, believe it or not! The commander came with the 25th black hiss but the red driver was carded. Go figure.

  3. Josh Z says:

    Was this post prompted by Black Major’s announcement about doing HISS Driver customs? As much as I love the idea of HISS Driver repaints, his designs seem a little underwhelming to me this time. One of them appears so similar to Rip-It that I question the point of doing it at all. Maybe they’ll look better in physical form after production than the design sketches he posted this week? In any case, I’m much more excited about his upcoming W.O.R.M.S. assortment.

    • Haha, nah. This one was only posted because it was the only thing that had enough pictures!

      TBM’s HISS Drivers look okay, but I’m with you on thinking the W.O.R.M.S. are going to be more interesting. Of the future TBM releases my excitement is mainly for WORMS and CG’s. HISS Drivers and BATs are next, and the last is the Joe, but that depends on how those actually turn out.

  4. A-Man says:

    RIP-IT, a Cobra Character No One Cares about…sounds like a list idea…hmmm….
    HISS 3 had to have been somewhat popular, as it was the only good Cobra vehicle from ARACH. TRU got all the stock, but Wave Crusher and Man-o-War were wide releases.

    This is a better figure than vintage HISS Driver. It is? HOW? (Asked no one) The vintage HISS driver’s silver paint was absurdly easy to rub off. So much that fool died when his tank was hit back in the day. He was trapped in that cockpit forever, for his Cobra logo and visor’s safety.

    Going back to why he’s not popular. HISS Driver, despite being the third or fourth Cobra “trooper builder” in vintage ARAH was very very underused. The comic used them as FANG pilots and CG stand-ins more memorably than as HISS drivers (I recall a blue HISS driver in Special Missions…missed comic pack opportunity!). The toon had them in blink and you’ll miss them cameos. That explains the failure of Cobra’s armored forces in the toon, they had one qualified driver for every 200 HISS vehicles.

    Hasbro mistreated the HISS operators. Crimson Sentry was driverless. HISS 2 was giving to Track-Viper. Septic Tank, no driver. HISS IV TANKOSAURUS had a t-crotched Neo-Viper. Its repaint a Pit-Viper. The DTC HISS….a freaking Night Creeper, but his colors were close to vintage HISS Driver. The first 25th HISS included a Cobra Officer repainted as some Cobra Vehicle Driver.

  5. paint-wipes says:

    the worst of the swivel neck molds. they exist and serve a purpose and that’s about it, they look at home plioting the HISS and Fang and not much else. i’ve never been able to get over the boots that look like something a chick on the cover of a white zombie record would wear. RIP IT and the other 2000s repaint at the very least breath some life into the mold but still these guys are about as background character as a cobra can get but at the same time a collection is naked without them. the dialectic of underwhelming figures.

    I’ve always theorized that the reason why so many originals are available in decent shape is very rarely did they actually leave the HISS cockpit.

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