Sea Sled & Frogman
The Sea Sled and Frogman (8050) was GI Joe's first underwater vehicle. Possibly inspired by the underwater action in the James Bond film Thunderball, the sled was powered by three heavy D cell batteries. It was great fun in the pool! Note the shorts on the figure in the spin above. These were allegedly added to the set after some parents complained that GI Joe was shipped nude in the box. Those above are unusual in that they have an orange stripe on the side, most were solid blue.
The initial release of the sled had "G.I Joe" stenciled on one side of the bow in the same font as the classic ammo box. This detail was discarded fairly early in the production run, possibly to save time and reduce cost, or perhaps because of damage to the stencil. About a quarter of the sleds found today seem to have this detail. Image to the left courtesy of ebay seller wheeljr47. See his eBay auctions here!
The Sea Sled box above and contents with insert below.
Sears Exclusive Sea Sled
Above, Joe pilots his sled toward the underwater cave supplied in the Sears exclusive version of the set (5969).
Sears partnered with Hasbro to make a special version of the set that added a vacuum formed cave and a special silver marker buoy. This is usually found in a box with a one-color screened design on it. At a few Sears retail outlets it came with a color litho cover like the standard version of the sled. This added an image of the cave and buoy, boldly painted over the original art.
The silver marker buoy shown right was simply two top halves from the standard buoy molded in metallic plastic and glued together with the addition of a thin white nylon cord.
The Sears box art. The screen used for the back (below) is the only art on most of these boxes. Sears also sold the just the sled by itself in a simple brown box with a description on the end flap of the box.
The Sea Sled set wins the award for both largest instruction sheet and most instructions.