“The more complicated the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.” Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott uttered this phrase in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as Kirk and crew stole their beloved starship from a space dock all in an attempt to save the lives of two of their number. It’s a wonderfully simple analogy and yet one that is appropriate in so many aspects of everyday life. Technology offers many wonderful tools to facilitate many tasks but more often than not those same tasks could be accomplished using far more simple means. Laser-guided targeting systems and heat-seeking munitions are not nearly as reliable as a simple “point and shoot” dumb fire weapons system—at least according to specialist David K. Hasle. Espousing mass firepower over “fancier” systems, Salvo lives up to his code-name—and he carries the firepower to prove it.
Aside from Outback, few Joes are dressed as simply as Salvo. Wearing a brown t-shirt and green pants, Salvo’s uniform is as simple as his philosophy on firepower. Unlike many of his contemporaries, his uniform is devoid of “extraneous” molded details such as grenades, knives, holsters, field radios, and other elements. Aside from finger-less gloves and a black belt, Salvo’s figure is almost too simple, as if the design team hadn’t quite finished with him before he went into production. Yet, there is some sculpted detail to the figure—although I question how appropriate it actually is. Salvo’s legs are wrapped in what appear to be molded ammunition belts—both above and below each knee. This helps to add some much-needed detail to an otherwise almost blank figure—except that he carries no weapon that utilizes this ammunition. The belts seem to be comprised of grenades—would might have been appropriate for figures like Hardball or even an update of Gung-Ho who came equipped with grenade launchers. Salvo, an anti-armor trooper, carries no weapon that fires grenades (at least at first glance) and so I have to question the decision that led to this molded detailing. Was the figure original intended as an anti-armor trooper or does Salvo represent the final form of an earlier abandoned character concept? Either way, it’s a puzzling detail that hints that this particular’s path from concept to final product might not be so linear.
There is one signature aspect of Salvo that must be discussed in order to do justice to the character and that is Salvo’s signature t-shirt logo. Seemingly scrawled on by hand (as opposed to the professionally printed version found on the DTC Salvo figure), his t-shirt is emblazoned with the phrase “the right of might”. A twist on the original expression, this simple phrase says volumes about the character of David K Hasle and his belief that superior firepower will overcome all obstacles. He’s the kind of person who would rather skip a precision laser-guided strike on a Cobra facility in favor of series of standard missile strikes. It’s almost a “kill them all, let God sort them out” attitude although I hardly see Salvo as the blood-thirsty type. Instead I see him as a man who has absolute faith in two things: his gear and his orders. Espousing less complicated weapons systems for their reliability and trusting that his immediate superiors have carefully considered all of their options, Salvo is man who goes out on a mission with complete faith that he is “doing the right thing”. Some might say that this makes him a simple man or a dupe of the political machine but I see it more in an immediate sense. Salvo trusts in his commanding officers (in this case, the hierarchy of the GIJoe team) and knows that General Hawk would never send him on a job that he isn’t prepared to do himself. Salvo’s “right of might” attitude means that he believes that he’s performing a task for the benefit of all that he’s got the right tools for the job. He’s direct, he’s deliberate, and he’s the type of trooper that the Joes are glad is on their side.
Salvo’s head sculpt appears to be as simple as his character design, further indicating a “no nonsense” personality. His shaven head and lined brow indicate a more seasoned soldier as opposed to a fresh recruit while the set of his jaw indicated a very determined personality. I can almost see Salvo as the kind of personality who shaves his own head only because it’s “one less thing to have to deal with”. Unlike many of the other members of GIJoe team whose file cards mention outside interests and/or hobbies, everything about Salvo indicates a very direct personality. He’s the kind of soldier who stays utterly focused on the mission, regardless of how dire the circumstances may seem. He’s also equipped with the gear to handle the "biggest and baddest" of COBRA’s armored units. Specialist David K Hasle carries a five round box missile launcher and a “mine layer’ into battle. The sheer bulk of the launcher would give even the most muscular of the Joes pause; Salvo rests this launcher on his right shoulder and fires it like a conventional RPG. The “pill box” utilizes five removable projectiles which can be “snap fired” from the back. (The missiles protrude from back of the box and can be “launched” by a finger snap.) It’s a straight forward albeit physically impractical weapon—yet it further adds to the “brute force” character of Salvo. His second weapon, however, isn’t nearly so easy to explain. What initially appears to be some sort of land mine deployment system is actually a bit puzzling. Located on the top of the weapon (or the bottom in the case of the picture) is what appears to be a row of four small rounded cylinders. These cylinders would appear to feed into a barrel located just above the track that holds the land mines. Does this weapon actually serve two purposes—land mine deployment and grenade launcher? If so, then this actually explains the ammunition belts that wrap around Salvo’s legs as discussed earlier. It also makes for an extremely impractical weapon as I doubt many Joe are going to want to lug around a batch of land mines with their weapon. I’ll be blunt- this is a weapon that will see little use in my “Joe-verse” and most likely Salvo will be displayed with just his box launcher. It’s a nicely detailed piece of gear but one that is ultimately impractical. Salvo also comes equipped with a small helmet and a briefcase with what appears to be a keypad locking mechanism.
I’m not certain why but there is just something very appealing about Salvo. Maybe it’s the fact that I had to hunt for quite a while to find this figure in anything resembling complete condition. Perhaps it’s the fact that his comic appearances are limited to three and that he was only briefly seen in the DiC animated series. Regardless, Salvo has always been one of those characters that I find essential to my Joe collection—even if I can’t entirely explain why. His function as an additional anti-armor specialist compliments figures like Zap and Bazooka nicely and his specialty as a TOW repair technician means that he’ll always find work in the armory. However, Salvo’s simple design and file card description just exudes character in a way that few Joe figure do and therefore he leaves a much stronger impression than he has any right to. In the end, I can whole-heartedly recommend Salvo as a worthy addition to any GIJoe collection. Just take care when searching for a complete figure to count the number of missiles and mines—five of each. If you’re looking for only one version of this character, skip the DTC version and just snag this 1990 version knowing that you’ll be completely happy with your purchase!