As a child, the 1970s GI Joe Adventure Team were some of my favorite toys. For a while, Hasbro made some very nice equipment for Joe that could be broken down and slipped on his back to carry. Some of the gear was practical rescue gear, but some were vehicles.
There was a motor tricycle called the Drag Bike:
Even a full four-wheeled car-type vehicle, the Escape Car:
Also there was an Underwater Explorer:
But my absolute favorite, (and I’m not alone) was the GI Joe Turbo Copter.
When the GI Joe View Master reels were released, several of these were seen in use:
In the past decade, Hasbro re-introduced the Turbo Copter in black for a set called Black Spider Rendezvous.
And the GI Joe Collector’s Club re-introduced the Underwater Explorer for the Terror on the Sea Floor Convention set.
They also made it available in white for individual sale:
The 1970s Adventure Team tradition continued into the re-launch of GI Joe in the late 1980s when the 12″ Hall of Fame GI Joes appeared, and they gave a backpack helicopter to GI Joe’s enemies: Cobra. And the theme continued into the 3.75″ Real American Heroes line.
A couple of years ago I bought one of the coolest toys ever made – the GI Joe Sigma Six Dragonhawk. It was a large, jet-prop aircraft designed to carry a payload and drop it on the fly, and pick it up later. Rather than use helicopter blades, it used ducted fans, later popularized in the Avatar movie.
I never finished the project for a couple of reasons, but here’s how far I got:
What’s missing? A pad for the back, or some kind of seating ledge or seat to support the weight of the pilot, and some kind of harness, as well as support arms. There is also nothing to cover the opening where I cut the cockpit off the body.
And now here I am with a 3D color printer. Now I can fairly easily design and print the back-pad, or seat, or harness, or control arms, and the top bit that’s missing. And I probably will, later this year.
But I thought: Now that I have my very own 3D printer, why not just design one from scratch.
So this page is introducing my new project – the GI Joe Adventure Team Action Pack Jetpack!
I began by drawing some basic designs, which included a thumbwheel which would allow the person using this toy to rotate the ducted fan engines. I originally thought of putting a convenient handle on the backpack so a kid could hold it like a gun, using the thumb to rotate the engines, but so far I could not see a way to do that that would just make it look like an add-on that just doesn’t belong. So I figured that, like the Turbo Copter, you could just hold it normally and perhaps use your pointer finger to rotate the engines.
So here’s the first released image of the concept. This has no detail yet, and is just a rough body shape now, which may change completely before I’m done. For now my aim was to make a body that would hold the support arms for the engines, attached to a central thumbwheel to rotate them. This design will be printed in several parts, attached by screws, and should be solid, and support a 12″ GI Joe figure in a harness.
I will update this page, or make new pages, as I progress.
Right now my printer has gone to its home for a repair. When I get it back, I will likely test-print some part of this. By then I hope to have the basic axle and thumbwheel mechanism fully modeled and fitted into the body correctly so that when the printer gets back, I can print a fully working prototype, even if the detail won’t yet be there.