Which dive belt goes with which set? It all depends on whether the belt was made in Hong Kong or Japan, the number of actual lead weights (not plastic stand-ins), and finally, whether it has a crotch strap.
Weights: GI Joe started with eight lead weights and trickled down to two in the later versions as budgetary constraints took precedence. In order of release, they are:
- A diver’s belt with eight lead weights and a Hasbro Japan stamp was issued in 1965 with the first Deep Sea Diver set in 1965
- A diver’s belt with four lead weights and Hasbro Hong Kong stamp was issued with the 1969 Adventures Of GI Joe Eight Ropes of Danger and the 1970 Adventure Team Eight Ropes of Danger.
- A diver’s belt with two lead weights and a Hasbro Hong Kong stamp was issued with the 1973 Adventure Team Eight Ropes of Danger and the Sears Exclusive: Mystery of the Boiling Lagoon sets.
Country of manufacture
- GI Joe’s first Deep Sea Diver’s set issued in 1965 was the only belt that was stamped Hasbro Japan.
- Adventure of GI Joe and Adventure Team dive belts are Hasbro Hong Kong stamped.
- All Action Man dive belts were either stamped Hasbro Hong Kong or unstamped.
- Crotch strap: The only GI Joe dive belt with a crotch strap came with the 1964-68 Deep Sea Diver (early Japan) sets. Action Man, on the other hand, had two dive belts with crotch straps.
ACTION MAN VERSIONS
Action Man issued just the Deep Sea Diver set with a few variations. The sets started with eight lead weight belts. Less weights were included with each new release, until they trickled down to none.
1st issue: A diver’s belt with eight lead weights and a crotch strap was issued with the first version. It was pretty much the same as GI Joe early Japan stamped version, except the Action Man belt was stamped Hasbro Hong Kong.
The 2nd Deep Sea diver’s belt was issued with four lead weights and a crotch strap. It was stamped Hasbro Hong Kong.
Now it starts to get interesting. The 3rd set has two lead weights. Pay particular attention to the distinctively narrow, molded shoulder straps. This belt has no manufacturer’s stamp.
There was a 4th and rather funky last issue, in my opinion. We’re clearly entering the era where someone is under the gun to find uses for the spare bits hanging around. If you guessed this was a fireman’s belt, you’re correct. It’s the same old vinyl belt with simple brass clasp. No weights, no shoulder straps, and no country stamp. Instead, they loaded the pocket compartments with a green torch/flashlight, pliers and wrench. Ingenious way to get rid of bits, cheap, and maybe a bit odd. Just saying.