Tag Archives: Eco-Warriors

Cesspool by Groen

Cesspool turnaround TEASE

Cesspool started out pitched as a similarly eco-themed “Oil Baron.” I’m not sure if that was a codename (probably not) or a title, but the figure and his ilk evolved and we got Cesspool. Along the way, Cesspool dropped his earlier name, “The CEO,” and Eco-Warriors dropped its earlier monicker, “Eco-Force.” We met the Oil Baron here several years ago at A Real American Book!, in fact, another Kurt Groen drawing.

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Eco-Warriors Pirate Oil Baron

Unproduced Eco-Warriors Pirate Oil Baron detail by Kurt Groen

Before Cesspool became the lead villain for Cobra’s half of the 1991 Eco-Warriors subset, Kurt Groen pitched this unnamed character, a pirate oil baron.

Unproduced Eco-Warriors Pirate Oil Baron pencil art by Kurt Groen

I’m not sure what he’s dropping, something with a Joe logo — a pouch?  Spirit’s ponytail?  Later, when Groen colored this, he added a backpack with an oil-shooting weapon, looking ahead to the water-squirting weapons that each Eco-Warrior came packaged with.


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Toxo-Viper v2 presentation sketch and comp

Detail of Kurt Groen 1991 Toxo-Viper v2 color comp

In 1986 Hasbro revised the generic Cobra Soldier, the anonymous man in a dark blue cloth uniform, as the Cobra Viper.  The basic Viper is far from basic.  He has knee-high books, a beefy backpack, body armor, a bigger machine gun, and a silvery face mask that resembles Cobra Commander’s.  In every way the Viper is more aggressive and cooler than the 1982 Cobra Soldier.  A brilliant idea that followed a year later was to use the name “Viper” as a base, and connect it to a variety of prefixes that denote specific types of Cobra troopers — Strato-Vipers are pilots, Frag-Vipers are grenade-lobbing specialists, Astro-Vipers are, um, astronauts.  And on.

1988 saw a strange debut:  Toxo-Viper.  (Click that link for a photo in a new window.)  The garish color scheme and alien-looking helmet were seemingly not a good fit for G.I. Joe, but the concept, a soldier suited for hostile environments (fuel spills, chemical weapons) was sound.  And the Toxo-Viper had a counterpart on G.I. Joe, the 1985 figure Airtight.  In 1991, with environmental awareness on the rise, Hasbro introduced an entire sub-line of toxic waste spreaders and fighters, the extra garish Eco-Warriors.  Toxo-Viper got a redesign:

Kurt Groen 1991 Toxo-Viper v2 pencil artKurt Groen 1991 Toxo-Viper v2 color sketch

The above pencil art and marker art are by figure designer Kurt Groen.  Here’s a detail, color added in marker to a photocopy of the pencil art:

Kurt Groen 1991 Toxo-Viper v2 color sketch detail

The next step would have been a larger, slightly more polished marker drawing.

I’ve always found the Toxo-Viper version 2 to be oddly restrained compared to version 1.  Waist-down it’s underdetailed and undersculpted, and the helmet is much less interesting, (although at least it doesn’t look like an alien).  I suppose time and money were diverted to version 2’s water-shooting canon and color-change feature.  I’ve never owned this figure, so I don’t have one to photograph, but here’s a picture at yojoe.

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