From 1981 to about 1987, Ron Rudat was Hasbro’s G.I. Joe figure designer. This drawing likely dates to 1984 or 1985. As with the last two we’ve examined here at A Real American Book!, it’s Rudat figuring out the look of Cobra’s Battle Android Trooper. Here’s a production B.A.T. that I purchased in 1986:
Here’s another Rudat concept, which for my own sense of organization I’m calling B.A.T. Concept #3.
In its plastic, finished form, the B.A.T.’s color scheme and robot-head make for a compelling villain. The interchangeable parts and the lenticular chest label add a dash of innovation that makes this one of the most fun-to-play with G.I. Joe action figures. My brother and I would have our B.A.T.S walk in a stilted, halting gait, and we’d make a clicking sound to mimic the mechanical march we’d heard in “Arise, Serpentor, Arise!,” a quintet of cartoon episodes that aired in the fall of ’86.
What about the B.A.T. strikes you?
While Ron Rudat is best known for designing the G.I. Joe figure line (and a few vehicles) from 1981 to about 1987 (for the ’82 to about-the-’88 lines), what’s less well known is that he continued to contribute after that. Case in point, Star Bridgade Cobra Commander. Remember when Cobra Commander was an astronaut? You don’t? Oh, that’s because you perhaps stopped paying attention to the Real American Hero line before its end in 1994. Well, to catch you up, those final two years had a bunch of favorites (Duke, Roadblock, Destro) in astro-gear. And some aliens. (A topic for another day). Anyhoo, full disclosure, I added the color above. Today’s art is a black and white photocopy. Continue reading
As previously mentioned here, in the mid-’80s freelance artist Dave Dorman painted fully rendered presentation pieces of characters already sketched out by figure designer Ron Rudat. These were internal-only to Hasbro, and not intended as package art or for public consumption. Even at this stage, a Joe or Cobra could still get nixed. From 1986, here is an idea for a Dreadnok that didn’t make it further. Note the misspelled name. Continue reading
For every figure that made it into the line, dozens were proposed as concepts and sketches. Here’s a color marker comp (ink on a photocopy of pencil art) by Kurt Groen of an unproduced Cobra soldier — likely some kind of Viper — from spring of 1990. I’m not sure if this character made it into three dimensions, but I doubt it. Click for a slightly larger image:
Subtly refining the art and adding a touch of detail, Groen redrew this as a finished color presentation “painting,” but by the time he was involved with the brand the toy development process dictated the internal presentation paintings no longer be painted. The final art, not pictured, looks just about the same as the rough, above.
Presumably this character was initially pitched for the 1992 product line.