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Torpedo

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

According to Larry Hama, Edward "Torpedo" Leialoha was named after comic artist Steve Leialoha, but I'm not sure about that; I mean, the names "Edward" and "Steve" sound nothing alike! Maybe it's his middle name or something.

Native Hawaiian and strict vegetarian Torpedo was SCUBA instructor prior to joining the Joes. Spending so much time alone underwater makes him come across as aloof, but hes a consummate professional.

The Joe team's first Navy SEAL, Torpedo was less flashy - and thus less memorable - than later addition Wet-Suit, and the description provided by the Peer Profile on his filecard didn't do him any favor, either: it said he had no sense of humor and his teammates thought he was a psycho because all he ever did in his off-time was work on his marksmanship and fighting skills. The joke was that he was practicing Shorinji Kempo, aka zen Shaolin boxing, meaning he was really more calm and centered than any of the rest of them. That Larry - always with a twist!

There were eight Torpedos in the various 3¾"/4" lines between 1983 and 2015, but somehow this is the first one that's ever actually looked like his was born in Aiea, right by Pearl Harbor. Every single one of the previous figures was showing skin, and every single one of them was pale enough to stand in for his Action Force equivalent, who was from the Netherlands.

Torpedo was sculpted by Paul Harding, the first figure he's done for the Classified line. It was 2003 before Torpedo wore anything other than a wetsuit, so this figure sticks with the classic. While we prefer updated looks, this is a case like Outback, where there really isn't anything to update: a wetsuit today isn't really any different from a wetsuit 40 years ago, especially since Torps just wore a plain hood, not a fancy helmet or anything. The body has very small wrinkles sculpted on, to suggest the look of neoprene, and things that were originally just sculpted on in the '80s (like the sheath strapped to his right leg, the little packets on his left) are now separate molds. There's a harness across his chest, and some sort of device strapped to the right wrist. This is basically the pinnacle of what you can expect from a guy in a wetsuit.

The colors are taken straight from the 1983 figure. The sides of the suit are black, with a light gray stripe covering the entire center of the body. The gray moves out to the sides just above the ankles, and there's more black on the belt than there used to be, to help break up the blocks of color. The bits of red on his chest harness were never a feature of any Torpedo until Generation 3, but it's matched here on the wrist computer and some of the accessories.

Articulation is the same as the rest of the figures in this line: balljointead head, hinged and balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, balljointed waist, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. The straps around the shoulders don't impede the pec hinges at all, so you'll be able to get lots of great swimming poses out of him.

The original Torpedo had his breath mask sculpted on, but now that making smaller accessories is easier, the style is to give him a separate mask. Classified follows suit, giving in a mask and rebreather in one, with hoses that stretch back to plug into thw sides of his sleek air tank backpack. As a frogman, it makes sense that he'd come with a big pair of flippers, but it's surprising exactly how large they are. He's armed with a knife, to go in the sheath on his leg, and has a harpoon gun like the vintage figure. There's also a submachine gun with a removable clip, which is new, but seems like something a SEAL would carry, sure. The harpoon gun can be stored under the back of the scuba tank, but the way the gun is molded, with string coiled on one side, makes the toy want to bend to the side noticably.

As "just" a diver in a plain wetsuit, Torpedo should be a fully boring figure you don't pay attention to. He should slide out of your brain the moment you look at a different character. But there's really something about this toy that makes it manage to stand out more than you'd expect. As simple as the design is, the sculpt is great, the little adjustments to the color make him more visually interesting, and the accessories are modernized rather than just being what we got in the past. What could have been forgettable is instead unexpected fun.

-- 11/24/23


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