Friday, March 31, 2000

1989 Countdown

Love it or hate it, space exploration was a major part of the G. I. Joe toy line. Starting with the Defiant Space Shuttle complex, the second most ambitious toy ever created, in 1987, and continuing until the lines bitter end in 1994, space toys were an integral part of the Joe team. The first astronaut to be available carded was the 1988 Astro Viper. It was a cool figure, but largely ignored. In 1989, though, the Joes got tougher in the space ranks when the Crusader shuttle, a smaller, more affordable toy that was just the shuttle from the Defiant complex, and Countdown were released. In 1989, I was out of Joe collecting. I had picked up a few straggler figures in early 1988, but I had started high school that year, and Joes weren't cool anymore. I did pick up a Night Viper in 1990, but that was it until I went to college. In 1995, I discovered the 1993 Star Brigade figures. Roadblock, of course, was my favorite. Ozone and Countdown, though, were both very high up on my list. I used them as pilots in all sorts of aircraft. As soon as I realized there was an earlier, better version of Countdown available, though, I sought him out. Now, I have 5.
Every year, I make one big purchase that is a bit too expensive and something that I want, but won't use enough to justify the purchase price. In 1998, it was a vintage Star Wars POTF Amanaman and Barada. In 1999, it was my Battle Rangers Flint. This year, it will either be a USS Flagg aircraft carrier, or a Defiant Space Shuttle Complex. As I have recently been informed that the Flagg won't float, the tide is turning towards a Defiant. (Still, it would have been too cool to have the Flagg in my pool being attacked by a bunch of hydrofoils.) In order to properly man that Defiant, I have been stockpiling astronaut figures for several years. The 1989 version of Countdown will be among the primary crew. I've been adding '93 Star Brigade figures as well. The five 1993 green Payloads are also on the short list for the first flight.

This is not my favorite version of this figure. The 1993 version, with red, white, and blue, is the worst, but the 1994 version is far and away my favorite. Of course, I have never, ever seen him offered sale as a loose figure. He is tough to find carded, and never appears loose. Fortunately, this original 1989 version is very similar and is also very cool. I just like the look of this figure. Normally, all white figures that aren't Arctic specialists don't really enthrall me. With this figure, though, the look works. The colors blend and complement each other wonderfully. Countdown is just a figure that is fun to look at. When it comes time to use him, though, the possibilities are also endless. Of course, I use him as an astronaut, but I also use him as a deep sea diver. Countdown also pilots a few of my jets. I have also removed his helmet, and given him a 1984 Ripcord helmet and mask and turned him into a fighter jock. Again, the look is cool. There is no reason to limit this figure just because space exploration is not an arena where you like to use your Joes.

I love this guy's accessories. The helmet is just awesome. The space pack with the rope thingie, though, looks cooler than it really is. Still, I enjoy using it with figures other than Countdown. His pistol is a bit futuristic, but isn't outlandish like some of the weapons from the '90's were. I am after a couple more of his packs, though, as I want to take the grappling hook off and use it with some other figures. I am anxious to get a shuttle of some type as I want to man it with my many Countdowns and 1993 Payloads. Then, the rope and hook will come in much more handy. Space rescue missions will be a lot of fun and something that I haven't been able to do before. I've been thinking about picking up one of those CORPS! Space Force shuttles. The CORPS! Hummer is a very nice toy. If the shuttle is of even remotely similar quality, it could be a fun companion piece to a Defiant.

After his many releases in the US, Countdown was also released in India in colors very similar to those of the 1993 figure. As he was a late Funskool release, it is likely that the mold is now back in the control of Hasbro and they could use it for another figure at some point in the future. However, I don't think that's very likely anymore and we have probably seen the last of the Countdown mold.

Countdowns aren't too tough to find. Getting one complete can be a bit of a hassle. Collectors don't tend to be terribly fond of astronaut figures. As such, you can often get these guys pretty cheap. They appear in all sorts of lots and usually at least come with a helmet. As is the case, though, with all white figures, you do have to watch out for discoloring. The bright white color tends to darken, and is easily stained. The figure you see below looked fine in the dim morning light when I picked him out. When I got to work to scan him in, I realized just how miscolored he was. You can see how bright the helmet is compared to the figure. That is how white the figure should look. Still, slightly miscolored figures are fun to have. The 1993 version of this figure can still be had for about $2.00 carded. The 1994's, if you can find them, are also only about $6.00 or $7.00 carded. This version, goes for a bit more, but is more readily available loose than the superior 1994 version. You can usually find these guys in any lot that includes 1989 or 1990 figures. As long as you get the helmet, this figure is one that has found many uses in my collection.

I would really like a loose 1994 Countdown. If you can help, email me.

1989 Countdown, 2004 Unproduced Urban Assault Night Creeper

1989 Countdown, 1988 Night Force Crazylegs, Ghostrider, Vector

1990 Sky Patrol Airwave

In 1991, Hasbro took the subset idea to ludicrous extremes. They introduced all sorts of subgroups, some better than others. One of the lesser seen groups that was released the year before and ushered in this wave of subsets was the Sky Patrol. These guys were all reworks of existing molds, but with new heads. They all came with a silver parachute that really "worked". Needless to say, any one of these guys was pretty much indistinguishable from any other, especially for parents. As such, the group was not a rousing success and we are left with a difficult to find subset. It does help, though, that most of the figures in this group are not all that cool. The main exception, though, is Airwave. This guy is a great figure that just screams for all sorts of uses. From the first moment I got him, I have been coming up with new ways to use this guy. He has a great sculpt, cool accessories, and a good color scheme. What more can you ask for from a figure from a generic subset?

Airwave is a resculpt taken from the mold of the Motor Viper. The uniform actually works better in these colors. The hoses look like they would go to a paratrooper. The reappearance of the double leg holsters also makes this guy that much cooler. Airwave's head is nothing special, but he does come with one of the better helmets in the Sky Patrol line. The helmet fits tight to his head, but the visor covers his face. With it down, the figure looks like a futuristic security guard you always see in bad sci-fi movies. His heavy weapon, one of my favorites from my first version of it that came with the 1993 Leatherneck, is fantastic, though the silver color is a bit much. Replacing it with the aforementioned black version helps quite a bit. Airwave holding this gun, with his visor down has become my heavy duty security and riot troops. They come in when things get very hairy, be it a prison riot, jailbreak, or good old fashioned urban assault.

I avoided the Sky Patrol figures for quite a while. I didn't think they were cool enough to justify their price tag. If you've been to my Goals page, though, you will notice that I wanted to add two of these guys to my collection this year as part of my master plan of diversifying. I lowballed a bid for Airwave and ended up winning him. (It was still more than I like to pay for a loose figure, but we all know that I'm cheap.) I'm glad I got him, though, as this is a very cool figure. Needless to say, when my Joe moratorium wears off in May, I am going to go after a couple more Sky Patrol figures. I think Airwave is the class of the bunch, but there are a couple of others that look good as well. For a group of figures that are basically just retreads, I think Hasbro did well with the Sky Patrol. As an separate subset, though, is where I think their greatest failing came. One or two of these figures would have been perfect. A whole cadre of them starts to blend together. The beginning of the downfall of the line occurred when Joe lost its identity. Subsets like this should have been paired down and incorporated into the main line of figures. The parachute should have been used as a selling point for one figure, not an excuse to raise the retail price of several. I'm sure, though, that the subsets seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, well, the sentiment in the collecting community should be enough to tell you if they were successful or not.

Sky Patrol figures are tough to find and everyone knows it. It is no secret that they are among the harder non variation Joes to find. This, though, doesn't mean deals can't be had. Less than 2 months ago, I got this guy, mint and complete for about $9.00. That price also included his full backer card. If you are willing to look, these guys can be found, especially if you are willing to look through lots. Many people had one or two of the Sky Patrol figures, but not all. If you are willing to piecemeal a set together, you won't go overboard with spending. If you want them all at once, be prepared to shell out some bucks. Airwave, though, is well worth the money. I don't regret what I paid for him at any time. Though they are just primarily remolds, the Sky Patrol figures are still cool ones to add to any collection.

If you have any questions, comments, or not so constructive criticism, email me.

1990 Sky Patrol Airwave, Updraft, Freefall, 2000 Locust

Wednesday, March 29, 2000

1993 Cobra Commander

Normally, I only showcase obscure characters, or less known versions of popular characters here. However, I have finally had to break the tradition and showcase the character that I consider to be one of the ultimate villains of all time. Cobra Commander is such a presence in all facets of Joedom that there is no way I could not showcase at least one of his versions here. I have chosen the 1993 incarnation of the character because it is a remake of the uniform with which I always associated old Snake Face. The regal figure that appeared in G.I. Joe #1, with the mysterious hood, honorific cords, subtle weapons and commanding personality is the only way I could ever see Cobra Commander. While I love the original figure version, with the battle helmet, that is not how I wanted my commander to be. The Hooded version that came out in 1984 was good, but the figure is too small and makes the commander seem wimpy. I never liked the 1986 Battle Armor version. The 1991 version is a cool figure, but not one that I could associate with the leader of the world's greatest terrorist organization. The Sonic Fighter version had the right uniform, wrong color, and the terrible backpack. In 1993, though, they finally got it right.

This version is the ultimate Cobra Commander. He is a larger figure that fits with my vision of what the commander would be like. He has all the trappings of the original uniform. (Some of the later Cobras did an excellent job of recapturing their original uniforms. The 1992 Destro is, in my opinion, a far superior figure to the original.) This figure's one shortcoming is his arsenal. He comes with a lame weapons tree that doesn't have any single item befitting a man of his stature. However, this is a problem easily overcome. Some people don't like the black color. Me, I think it is far better. The blue they cast the original hooded Cobra Commander in was not dark enough. My memory of the commander's initial appearance is that he was in a uniform that was almost black. For that reason, I think the black is perfect. I also love the evil eyes. Those are what makes the figure. I always thought that if you were unlucky enough to actually see the commander, you would definitely see the hatred in his eyes.

The thing that's great about this figure is its subtlety. The figure doesn't overpower you with fancy trappings and extra weapons. He just has a basic uniform that showcases his importance while not impeding his ability to fight. If only they had released a Battle Helmet Cobra Commander head that was swappable for this body. Even better would have been a removable helmet that would have fit over his hood. They also could have used the head from the 1994 Star Brigade Cobra Commander (Itself a great figure!) and had both a hood and a helmet that would have snapped into place. Why they didn't think of something like this for the 1997 or 1998 lines is far beyond me. Still, this figure rocks. I had pretty much abandoned the notion of Cobra Commander. My hooded versions are all trashed and my Battle Helmet versions just don't look right when stood among the newer figures. Once I got this guy, though, all I could think about was G.I. Joe #100. The simple words, "I'm back." are enough to describe how this figure will fit into my new story lines.

The one lament I have about the Cobra Commander character is that he was never evil enough. In the first issue of the comic, he slaughtered an innocent fishing village. This should have set the tone for the evil Cobra would attempt. For the first few years, the comic kept things going. The cartoon, though, didn't keep this up. The type of violence necessary for this malevolent a character would never have passed network censors. This sanitizing spread to the comic. Cobra became so immersed in Cobra Island and international politics that they lost their flair for the simple evil deeds that they were built upon. Of course, there had to be a way to work the whole Serpentor character into the story lines. I think this was the primary reason the commander lost his edge. When he returned in issue 100, though, the evil came back as well. Unfortunately, it didn't keep up. The commander from issue 1 would have reveled in the fact that the SAW Viper killed those joes. His only lament would have been that he was not there to see it. By losing this edge, Cobra became boring. I think that was part of the reason the comic series lost its flair. The toy line had made it impossible for Cobra to continue its assault against America. (Something I hope to explore in my work in progress fan fiction.) The science fiction element had taken away from the basic terrorist organization whose goal was to destroy the American way of life, as long as they got rich in the process. (I wonder if anyone ever pointed that contradiction out to the commander?)

These guys are hard to find. Many people feel the same as I do and count this figure among the few 1993 or 1994 figures they have in their collections. Like most of the last two years of Joes, though, this guy can be found relatively easily on the card. Those are not usually too expensive and are worth opening if that's the only way you can get this figure. I remember the first time I saw there was a new Cobra Commander available. I searched everywhere for him, but couldn't find him. I then spent over a year looking for a loose sample. When I finally got one, I was not disappointed. This is a figure, though, that should start appearing with greater frequency in the next couple of years. When it does, I highly recommend taking advantage and adding him to your collection. You will be glad you did.

I actually first acquired a carded version of this figure. The only reason I didn't open it was because the card was so pristine. I then finally managed to get the loose sample you see here. Imagine my shock, though, when I went to scan in the carded image and found that it had been damaged in my recent move. The horror!

Whew! That's a long one. Still, the commander is the one character I think worthy of this type of analysis. If they ever do bring the Joe comic back, I hope it is from Cobra's point of view. Seeing the inner workings of the Commander's mind would be far more interesting than a bunch of carbon copy Snake Eyes' out to save the world.

If you have any questions, or comments, email me.

1992 Headhunter, 1993, Cobra Commander, DEF


1993 Cobra Commander, Carded, 1998 Viper, 1990 SAW Viper, 2001 Rock Viper

1993 Cobra Commander, Carded,

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

1986 Motor Viper

This guy has certainly taken a beating. Lately, he has been receiving all sorts of negative attention from a number of different outlets. I find it odd that people who swear up and down that the Viper is the best Cobra figure ever don't like this guy. The molds were obviously based on each other and this figure was meant as a companion to the basic infantry trooper. Hasbro was finally expanding the Cobra army and they were doing it in such a way that the basic troops could be distinguished from the higher echelons like the Crimson Guardsmen. It is actually a very smart strategy and only makes the line that much stronger. Of course, they couldn't include the same vehicle driver in all the Cobra vehicles, but they made sure this guy was available through other outlets so that people could easily build their armies.

The mold of this figure is awesome. He has the full head visor, but an open mouth to bark commands out to his crew. The hoses and armor on his chest seem a bit frivolous, but make him appear that his vehicle has all sorts of hidden features. The best part of this figure, though, is the double holsters he has on his legs. He has large holstered pistols on each leg. It's a cool feature that only enhances this figure's outlaw image. (Fortunately, this mold was reused later on the figure Airwave.) The file card for the Motor Vipers called them educated Dreadnoks. I liked that description and had my Motor Viper ranks full of recklessly brave individuals who were capable of reasoning out a situation and actually outsmarting the Joes. It was the only way for them to make up for their inferior hardware. (I had epic battles between my Stun and my Havoc. The Havoc was better equipped and more heavily armed, but the Stuns were faster and used superior numbers.)

This guy is my basic Cobra driver. He operates everything from Hiss Tanks, to Maggots, to Detonators, to his Stun, to this lame Cobra troop transport vehicle I found at a Kroger store a couple of years ago. I have an army of them so that all my vehicles have the same drivers. It doesn't make any sense to me to have different drivers for different vehicles, so I use the Motor Viper across all of them. I've always found the Hiss Driver to be a highly overrated figure. (Again, people who hate the later neon figures have no trouble with this guy who is cast in bright red and drives a black tank. You can tell how people are biased towards the earlier figures.) I could never find any use for him and pulled him from the Hiss as soon as I found a suitable replacement. The Motor Viper is the ultimate in Cobra vehicle drivers. The mold, the colors, and the availability make him a crucial part of my collection. Every time I get a new Cobra ground vehicle, I then have to go out and find a new Motor Viper to operate it. A legion of Hiss Tanks looks very good with these guys at the helm.

Motor Vipers are easy to find. Judging by the general collector animosity that exists towards this figure, I don't foresee becoming hard to find any time in the near future. Still, finding one with no wear on his visor can prove difficult, though that is an easily fixed problem. This guy was available for many years as a mail in. The infamous Hasbro Canada Find offered these guys and that is where the carded sample you see below came from. Motor Vipers can be had cheap and they are plentiful. If you are like me and enjoy consistency in your vehicle driver ranks, the Motor Vipers are an excellent way to outfit your Cobra motorcade with awesome, uniform troops without breaking your collecting budget.

Do you have any Motor Vipers for trade? If so, email me.

1986 Motor Viper, 1982 HAL, Dr. Mindbender, Serpentor

1986 Motor Viper, 1982 HAL, Dr. Mindbender, Serpentor


1986 Motor Viper, Dreadnok Cycle, 1997, Duke, Zap, Short Fuse

1986 Motor Viper, Dreadnok Cycle, 1997, Duke, Zap, Short Fuse

1986 Motor Viper, MIB

Hasbro Canada Find

If you frequent this site, you have undoubtedly seen me refer to the Hasbro Canada Find. In the spring of 1999, some people on the alt.toys.gi-joe.1980s newsgroup contacted Hasbro Canada to see if they had any surplus G. I. Joe product left over from the old mail in offers. Similar efforts had been conducted against Hasbro U.S., but the people were flatly told that there was no surplus product. Hasbro Canada, however, proved a different story.

Apparently, Hasbro Canada did have quite a haul of surplus Joe product left over, and they were only too happy to get rid of it at dirt cheap prices. They offered figures for $1.00 American. The vehicles they offered were also insanely similarly priced. There were no limits, except on the amount of stock they had. Certain figures were sold out in a matter of days. They were replaced with other figures they couldn't get rid of. (Like Thunder!) There were reports of people getting some odd figures that weren't offered on the list, but, for the most part, the orders came in as people had ordered them. The figures were all bagged or on the cardboard backers the old vehicle drivers came in.

I got my Nitro Viper, Motor Viper, Crankcase, 1992 Ace, 1984 Thunder, 1985 Keep Haul, and several other figures from them. Most of what they offered were vehicle drivers, but they did have some other figures available. I also scored 2 bright red mail away Firebats and 2 bright green mail away Sky Hawks. I love small planes and these two are among my favorites to play with. I had always wanted a Firebat. When I got them, I opened one and planned on keeping the other in the bag. After about a week, I couldn't stand it and opened the other one as well. I certainly do not regret that move. It's an awesome toy that just begs to be played with.


Did you cash in on this find? What did you get? I would like to know so I can create a master list of everything they offered. Please, email me.

Friday, March 24, 2000

1991 BAT (Battle Android Trooper)

Most collectors cringe at the prospect of a highly regarded figure being remolded with neon orange and green highlights. In 1991, Hasbro did just that with the new version of the Bat. I have always thought the original Bat a highly overrated figure. I hated the idea of robot troops. I used them as total jokes. I just couldn't justify robots being a highly effective fighting force. As such, my original Bat was never used. When I first saw this incarnation, I was interested, but not to the point of wanting one. I managed to pick up a carded sample and the figure started growing on me. By the time I finally added a loose specimen to my collection, I was salivating for the opportunity.

I love pilot figures. The thing about the Joe figures was that there were many, many figures who could be turned into a cool pilot by simply adding a gas mask or helmet. Cobra never had such luxury. The Strato Vipers are awesome and will probably see themselves featured here someday in the future. They Gyro Viper was also a great figure and everyone already knows my feelings about the Aero Viper. These guys, though, made for great fodder pilots. Wild Weasel never did much for me. As such, I was searching for a figure I could use as the ultimate pilot in the Cobra armies. When I got the Bat, that dilemma was solved. This guy makes a perfect pilot. The helmet is tight to his body and the armour looks like a flight suit. It also makes more sense for a pilot to wear neon colors than it does a battlefield unit. (I also explained the gaudy colors by saying that this guy is so good, he wants people to know who it was that shot them down. For that reason, he wears a uniform that is instantly recognizable.) Once I had this figure, my Firebat from Hasbro Canada finally had a worthy pilot.

The look of this figure is just awesome. I think the head looks regal, almost to the point of cockiness. That is the perfect trait for a pilot. Usually, figures that come with molded helmets don't look very good. The helmet is too big and makes the figure appear out of proportion. This figure is the opposite. If anything, the head is too small and narrow. Still, it is very cool to look at. When you attach his hand, rather than some laser thing, and use this figure as a human, he becomes an integral part of any collection. The figure is just too good to be relegated to some loser role as a robot that bursts into flame when hit from behind. (When I was a kid, the ultimate indignity was to lose a battle to Sgt. Slaughter. The Bats, along with terrible figures like Raptor and Big Boa, continually did this.) This figure is my ultimate pilot. The joes currently have a major bounty on his head. He's just too good, though, for them to shoot down. (The fact that he uses discretion as a better part of valor has also kept him from overextending himself.)

This is another figure that only sees any time in my collection because of what I made him. Had I been confined to the robot role, this figure would never see the light of day. (Much like my original Bats.) Since I had so much fun creating the character, though, this guy is one of only a handful of figures that is never put away. In fact, he spends most of his time at the helm of the Firebat. (I prefer to use smaller planes. They are much easier to play with than their larger counterparts. The large aircraft, though, do make for better display and diorama pieces.) As my collection has grown, I'm continually surprised by which figures seem to get the most action. Figures I really wanted often end up relegated to the storage bins while figures that were just throw ins in some lot, like this guy was, end up in a place of prominence. It just goes to show that imagination has far more play value than any toy could ever hope.

After this figure was done at retail, it did not appear again until 2003. At that time, Hasbro pulled out this mold, colored it more closely to the V1 BAT and offered 3 of them along with 2 additional '91 BATs in a translucent, red color scheme and a newly painted Overkill for $15 at online dealers. Collectors responded to these sets with a collective yawn and you can still buy the sets for retail three years later even though they figures were cheaply priced and were of very high quality. It was the second great collector failure in the line's relaunch and the one that was probably the best harbinger of things to come.

This is the space where I normally tell you how tough 1991 figures are to find. The Bat, along with Red Star, however, is an exception to the rule. For some reason, everyone has those two figures. As such, you can get them easily and cheaply. I don't know why it is, but these two figures are everywhere. Lots of all '80's figures will have those two as the sole representatives of the '90's. It makes no sense, but does give you the opportunity to build armies. I've picked up four Bat's in the past year and a half. I haven't been looking for them, they just seem to always come in whatever lot it is I'm purchasing. Still, you should take advantage of that availability now. There may come a time when you will wish you had seized the day and bought those plentiful Bats before they disappear into army builders' collections.

I use this guy far more than the original version. If you like this figure, let me know.

1991 BAT, Battle Android Trooper, 1986, Dr. Mindbender, Overkill, 1991

1994 Star Brigade Blackstar

1994 was not a year that is fondly remembered by many Joe collectors. The Star Brigade line is looked upon with such udder disdain, that those of us who actually like it are often ostracized and ridiculed. (Okay, I am exaggerating, but the line is usually not well received.) Actually, though, the 1994 Star Brigade line is full of awesome figures. Many of those '94 astronauts are among the best figures produced in the line. The colors make sense for space exploration. While I'll leave the debate as to whether space exploration should fall under the Joe line or should have been given its own to another space, the figures, when taken as themselves, are very, very good. The Blackstar is no exception. All of the figures in this line have their attributes. I still think the best head for a custom Cobra Commander or custom Cobra troops is the 1994 Cobra Commander head. It is just awesome. It is a pity that it isn't more readily available.

While this guy does suffer from "Big Shoulder Syndrome", the mold is very good. The colors are a bit much for many people, but he works for me as a pilot or diver. I also have a carded sample of him where you can also see this guy's card art. I feel most Joe figures look very good on the card. The time spent on the artwork makes for a nice display piece. Of all the figure lines, though, I think the 1994 Star Brigade figures display the best. The subtle colors blend nicely and make a very aesthetically pleasing diorama. I'm actually sorry the line didn't continue. Sure, I wasn't too keen on the Manimals, but some of the Lunartix aliens and other astronauts would have been very cool. Unfortunately, I'm in the vast minority when I make statements like that. Most collectors were ecstatic that the Star Brigade line was killed off. They are just unhappy that the rest of the line was killed with it.

The one problem I have with this figure is that he won't fit into many of the earlier vehicles. I would love this guy to fly one of my Cobra planes. Unfortunately, he won't fit into the cockpits of many of them. Still, this guy is a lot of fun to have. I use them as Cobra deep sea divers. Since I don't have a BUGG, I don't know if he will work in there. The bulky suit, though, makes him look like a diver or rescue trooper. Had his torso been a bit smaller, I think this figure would be much more popular. He looks a bit out of proportion. The head, though, is fantastic. At some point I will have more time to customize figures. When I do, the Blackstar will be one figure that will be experimented with. The head and legs are too cool to not go use for something. This mold, though, proved that Hasbro was still capable of making good figures. They didn't try too hard in 1994, but when they did, they could still deliver figures that were worthy of being held in high regard in comparison to the rest of the line.

The Blackstar saw just a short production run in 1994. After that, the mold disappeared until 2005 when Master Collector used it to make their exclusive Steel Brigade figures. In that capacity, the mold worked well. Though, I do feel that this mold really should have been used for another Cobra character. The detail and design are such that the mold deserves a more prominent re-use. But, now that the heads have been stolen into the Steel Brigade, it is doubtful that any future appearance of the Blackstar mold will have as much attention heaped upon it by collectors had it not been used on those Convention figures.

1994 Star Brigade figures are very easy to find carded. Loose is a different matter. The Blackstar, though, is among the easiest 1994 to find in that state. He was released in series 1 and more people purchased them. You can usually find this guy in lots, though getting him complete can be a challenge. Still, he is nowhere near as hard to find as the series 2 figures or even some series 1's like the 1994 Roadblock. You can get Blackstars carded for about $6 or $7. Loose, he runs much less. I think, though, that loose samples will start appearing more frequently and allow army builders to do so. The carded figures, though, are starting to appear less often than they did only a year ago. Now may be the time to snap these guys up. I know that I got both my carded and loose samples for nothing. You can still do that, but had better hurry before others start discovering the gems in the 1994 Star Brigade line.

1994 Star Brigade Blackstar, Reptil Do Ar, Brazil, Estrela, Crimson Guard Commander, 1987 Techno Viper, 1986 Strato Viper, Night Raven

1994 Star Brigade Blackstar, Roadblock

1994 Star Brigade Blackstar, Carded

1989 Python Patrol Viper

As part of the perfect foil to this figure's companion post Recoil I have decided to also showcase the 1989 Python Viper. Anyone who read my rantings about the original Viper knows that I'm not particularly fond of that figure. This Viper version, though, is among my favorites. The black and grey color scheme makes much more sense. My only lament is the lack of the silver visor, as the red is this figure's lamest attribute. The yellow highlights are also kind of bad, but do provide some stark contrast that make this figure stick out a bit more prominently.

The Python Patrol is a very forgotten subset that sees little press. Tiger Force is far and away the most popular subset of repaints, but I think Python Patrol has the best figures. Really, only the Crimson Guard is lame. (He's called a CRIMSON Guard. CRIMSON. Why would you cast him in grey and yellow?) I like Cobra blue, but these repaints in darker blacks and greys were very nice complements to the original figures. I tend to use the original Tele Vipers in my Cobra bases or in urban campaigns while the Python Tele Vipers are active in the field. As such, I also use this figure as my higher ranking field Vipers whose duty is to guard the central command vehicles. The 1998 Vipers are the cannon fodder. All of the Python versions still see use. I have retired my old blue Cobras and the Crimson Guards only come out on special occasions. The Python versions are a great way to enjoy the classic molds without having the problems many of my original figures have. (Loose joints, broken appendages.) Since these guys can be obtained more cheaply than the originals, it makes sense to put some effort into acquiring them. The fact that I think many of the Python figures are more usable than their original counterparts is just gravy.

The nice thing about this figure is his black gun. One of the Cobra accessory packs came with a dark grey version of the original Viper rifle. I used it for all sorts of figures. It finally ended up with my Motor Viper. I, though, really wanted a black one. When I finally picked up a couple of these guys, I was happy to find the black rifle. When these Vipers aren't in use, their guns usually find their way to some other lucky Cobra figure's hands. It's always amazed me how much stock we collectors put into accessories. Many of the later figures came with horrid neon weapons. Had many of those guns been black, though, I believe that many of the later figures would enjoy a higher place in the collecting echelon. When a figure with great accessories did appear, he was often far more popular than just the mold should have allowed. As I have said before, sometimes an accessory does a figure make. While that's not the case with this guy, his weapons only enhance his desirability.

Python Vipers are more difficult to find than the other 1989 Cobras. The repaints tended to be less popular and seem to appear much less frequently on the second hand market. Still, these guys won't cost you anywhere near what some of the other '89's will set you back. They are also substantially cheaper than the aforementioned '86 version. An army of these guys is very cool. I've been after them for a while, though, and have only picked up a couple of specimens. (Mainly due to my being cheap!) If you can get them en masse, though, they are well worth the purchase.

I would like a couple more of these guys. If you have some you want to trade, email me.

1989 Python Patrol Viper, Frag Viper, 2003 Python patrol Major Bludd

1989 Python Patrol Viper, Crazeblaze, Bronze Bombers, Olmec Toys

1989 Python Patrol Viper, Crazeblaze, Bronze Bombers, Olmec Toys

Thursday, March 16, 2000

1990 Salvo

One of the most oft asked questions about this site is, "Where do you get the time to write up all these long blurbs about action figures?" The simple answer is that I don't. I simply steal whatever time I can and write one up. I find this incredibly relaxing. It's rare to have enough time for me to do anything major. Instead, I take a few moments here and there, usually when I'm totally stressed, and do something like this to take my mind off of whatever is bothering me. It is also useful for times like right now where I am stumped by a work problem. After a few minutes of doing this, I can go back and attack it fresh again. (Just a note, starting a company is usually more trouble than it's worth. Still, the excitement makes coming in every fun. At first I never thought I would do it again, now, I can't see working for a company that doesn't have ambitious plans.)

I don't know where my first Salvo came from. He appeared in the early '90's. The figure was in good condition but only had his helmet. My brother doesn't remember ever getting him, and I never bought him. The only explanation I can come up with is that a neighbor kid was playing with him in our yard and someone found him and assumed he was ours. Either way, I had a cool figure with a great helmet. In fact, I think that Salvo's helmet is the best fitting helmet ever offered in the Joe line. It is so tight and actually looks like a real helmet. So many of the other helmeted figures had to have either small heads or or bulky helmets in order for them work. Salvo avoided all that. His helmet is enough to make the figure useful for many purposes. The green legs are cool, even though it would be painful to walk with all that ammo rubbing your legs. Still, the mold is good. The stupid slogan on the shirt is lame, but the brown does work well and keeps this figure basic enough to have many uses.

This guy is supposed to be a missile trooper of some sort. Instead, I use him as a basic infantry trooper. If you look at the scan below, the gun is from a Super Sonic Fighter Lamprey and the pack is from Tiger Force Flint. These accessories help make him my basic cannon fodder trooper. While Recoil is my special missions trooper, this guy is the basic grunt who spends most of his time getting wasted by superior Cobra units. I think of his "Might of Right" t-shirt as the ultimate double entendre. While the wearer thinks it a sign of personal strength, the brass thinks of them as a sheer numbers game where individuals die, but the collective group will succeed if only due to sheer numbers. Needless to say, I don't use these guys as rocket scientists. I usually take two of them into a battle and have both of them gruesomely butchered in the first few minutes. They work as a excellent foil to the more established characters and specialty troopers. Those guys live because these guys make the mistakes that flush out the enemy. It's not necessarily nice to use your allies as decoys to further your own personal success, but war is never pretty.

After his initial retail run was finished in 1991, Salvo also appeared again in Chinese packaging. Around 1995, Hasbro dusted the mold off and used it for the great Street Fighter Movie Edition Balrog figure. After that, the mold went MIA until early 2003 when Hasbro pulled it out for a new version of Big Brawler that was made available in the Tiger Force set. The mold was used again in 2004 for the VAMP Big Brawler and was also used as inspiration for the DTC new sculpt Salvo that was offered in 2006. The ARAH mold, though, has never been used in it's entirety since this original figure. Frankly, that's too bad as I think that many collectors would welcome a newly painted version of Salvo. His obscure mold, great accessories and under appreciated character would have made for a perfect repaint at some point in the line. At this point, that will probably not come to pass. But at least collectors can still track down this original mold to fill their Salvo needs.

Salvos aren't too tough to find. He comes with lots of little accessories, though, and can be problematic to find complete. Most of the 1990 Joes are readily available. While they don't exist in the sheer numbers of the '89's, they are still easily found at reasonable prices. I love this guy as an infantry army builder. Even now that I have a complete specimen, I never use his real gear. He always gets a big gun, field pack, and a transportable body bag. For that reason, this guy is in all my adventures. With a little imagination, he can become an integral part of anyone's collection.

I would like some Salvos, but there are many more figures I need first. If you like this guy, Email me.

1990 Salvo

1990 Salvo, Unproduced Night Force Tracker, 2004, 1994 Stalker, 1986 havoc

1983 Steeler

Steeler was the original rare figure. I mean that only in the sense that if there was one vehicle that you didn't have, it would usually be the Mobat. I only knew one person who had one. In fact, the figure you see below is from that person. He gave this figure, and most of my other existing '82 and '83's to me in the late '80's. I was putting together a special strike team that I wanted to all look the same. I took the original Joes as they were similar enough to look like a team, but different enough that I wouldn't have to use multiples of the same figure over and over again. Years later, this deal really worked out as I have been able to avoid spending my collecting dollar on many early figures that I now have.

I just don't use these early figures much. Stalker is about the only exception. I sometimes put Steeler into the second chair on the Mauler, but otherwise he, like most of my early figs, never leaves his drawer. Still, this guy is cool. Like Clutch this guy has the cool holster and was actually cast from an original mold. He was one of the more unique original figures and was very cool when the Joe line was only three or even four years old. Over time, though, his star has faded. Few of the original figures hold up when compared against the figures that came a decade or so later. Had it not been for these original guys, though, the line would never have taken off like it did. Many collectors remain fond of the original figures for this very reason. I, though, don't have any real attachment to them. I have most of the originals, though not in both straight and swivel arm formats. I just can't get jazzed on spending money for these guys. So many other figures are so much more fun to own and I would rather spend my money there.

I really don't have that much more to say about this figure. He really isn't all that high on my list anymore, but I wanted to add some early figures for variety. It is fun to see how the line progressed over the years. In time, I imagine that I will reacquaint myself with the original figures and pick up a complete set. Right now, though, there are too many other cool figures to add to my collection. Plus, I have armies to build. I can often buy three or four Cobra troops for what I would pay for one of these original figures. Until that inequity is ironed out, I think I'll shy away from these guys. Remember, these original figures were available for three years. While some people will try to lure you with "rare" because they are so old, the original figures probably exist in greater amounts than all other years except 1984 and 1985. Before you commit to a big bucks purchase, keep that in mind.

One thing of note about Steeler is his accessories and paint applications. Steeler included not only a uniquely colored helmet, but also his standard binocular headset and an uzi that is identical to the V1 Snake Eyes. The figure also features a small gold band of paint on his arms. This is almost always missing from aftermarket figures and is very hard to find intact. As such, when buying a "mint" Steeler, it is always good to ask about the condition of the gold arm band since they are often hard to photograph and are easily missed by many collectors.

the Steeler mold was not overly used. Aside from the 2 American figures, the mold was also used by Palitoy to create the Action Force Steeler. After that, the mold disappeared. There is a Funskool toy commercial in India that features the MOBAT and shows glimpses of a Steeler figure. However, it is not believed that this toy was ever released in India and it is likely that it was an American version of the MOBAT and Steeler that appeared. Hasbro has resurrected the character twice more: in the 2004 comic packs and for the 2007 convention figure. Both of these are adequate representations of the character, but the convention figure is the better offering. It is unknown if the original Steeler mold still exists, but since we have not seen it in the modern releases, it is likely that mold is no longer available and we are left with just the few versions of this figure that are out there.

Like most of the original figures, Steeler can be a bear to find. He is out there, but you will have to pay a little more for him. Keep in mind, though, that he was available as a mail in. However, check out Rampage to get a little insight into his mail order availability. This figure can be had, but you will have to pay more than I think he's worth. Also keep in mind that the original Steeler came not only with helmet, and the cool binoculars, he also came with an Uzi. Many people try to pawn this figure off as complete if he has his binocs. Don't fall for it and be prepared for a fight when you confront someone about it. Still, I think this guy is among the top three or four of the original Joes and can have uses in most collections.

The straight arm Steeler is one of the figures I am still looking for. I also need his original binocular headset and helmet. If you can help, let me know.

1982, 1983, Steeler, MOBAT

1982, 1983, Steeler, MOBAT, Mauler, Volga, 1998, Oktober Guard, Spirit, 1984, Ripcord

1982, 1983, Steeler, MOBAT, Short Fuse, Destro, Doc, Airborne, Gung Ho

1982, 1983, Steeler, MOBAT, Grunt, Clutch, Cover Girl, Quarrel, 2001 Desert Striker, European Exclusive

1982, 1983, Steeler, MOBAT, Grunt, Clutch, Thunder, APC, Flash

Monday, March 13, 2000

1989 Recoil

The Joe figures I like come in two camps; crazy neon figures that no one else could ever like and the basic military figures whose molds are very realistic. Of these two, Recoil falls into the latter. Of course, this group is also the group that most Joe collectors enjoy the most. (Aside from accumulating Cobras, that is.) This guy is a good, basic army figure. It's a shame he was given sky blue accessories. Those alone are enough to sink this guy off most collectors' radar. With a little creative outfitting from your weapon reserves, though, this figure becomes highly usable very fast. The gun you see with the figure below is from a Python Patrol Copperhead. This weapon works excellently with this figure. Also, the most common version of the Steel Brigade figure came with a black version of Recoil's gun. These can be somewhat of a problem to track down loose, but also work wonderfully with this figure.

In 1990 or 1991, I was babysitting for some kids down the street. I was out of toys at the time, but G.I. Joe was their favorite toy line. We had a great time playing with all their new figures. The two that stick out in my mind are Big Ben and Recoil. I thought they were both very cool, realistic figures. I almost broke out of the high school stigma and went looking for a Big Ben. With much regret, I now must admit that I never did. At least I have been able to get a couple of each of those figures in the last few years. Recoil was just a lot of fun to play with. He has an excellent color scheme, the cool pack with a antenna, and a awesome gun mold, if the color is terrible. Since we were out in their mother's flower gardens, we had a great time with the figures that were at least loosely based on military personnel. For this reason, when I had the opportunity to acquire a Recoil in my later years, I jumped at the chance.

My ultimate goal is to have about 6 of these guys. Three will be armed with the weapons you see below, one will have the recolored version of his original accessory from the Steel Brigade figure, one will have a grenade launcher and shotgun, and the leader will have Frostbite's gun. This will then act as my first response team. Unfortunately, I'm only about 1/3 of the way there. I've changed my collecting focus this year and am no longer after acquisition. Now, I'm trying to diversify my collection. As of today, I have 724 figures with only 377 being unique. That's about 52%. Once that ratio climbs back to around 60%-65%, then I will readjust and start building armies again. (Of course, I will still build Cobra armies now. My Joes of whom I want multiples will have to wait unless they are part of a big purchase that includes several figures I don't have.)

The Recoil mold didn't stop with Hasbro. After this figure was discontinued in 1990, the mold went down to Brazil. There, the chest, head and arms was released in the Force Fera subset as a figure named Tigor. Tigor is bright red, but actually works because of the way his colors are blended. He is a more popular Brazilian exclusive but isn't too hard to find since he's fairly common among American collectors. After that, there is no sign of the Recoil mold. It is likely that it died in Brazil. That's a shame as the figure could be well done in desert, night or another forest motif.

Recoils aren't too hard to find. He was released in 1989 when Hasbro was still pumping out figures. Since the Cobras from that year steal most of the thunder, the Joes have remained cheap. The problem is that you often get the terrible blue accessories. Still, this guy is good to have. If you get his pack, you can re-equip him with a more aptly colored weapon and have an awesome figure. I like him as an army builder. He also makes for good custom fodder. Like most of the late '80's and early '90's Joe figures, this guy is still very plentiful and inexpensive. If you are into army building, now is the best time to begin. Even if you only want one of each figure, Recoil is fun to have and looks good in many situations. Take advantage of his availability now, before people like me start scooping them up and they disappear from the second hand market.
I've got a couple of these guys. I use them as special forces soldiers. I'd like a few more, but they're something I want as a throw in, not a main trade. After I build up a few more unique figures, then I'll go back and buy up some duplicates.

What's your collecting strategy? Email me.

1989 Recoil, 1993 Gung Ho, 1991 Falcon

1989 Recoil, 1986 Leatherneck, 2003 Unproduced Wal Mark Sky Patrol Duke

1989 Recoil, 1988 Rolling Thunder, 2002 Big Ben

Thursday, March 9, 2000

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Falcon

In late 1986, I went to Toys R Us. I was amazed to find several 1987 Joes prematurely released. One of them, Falcon, irritated me to no end. I had already made a custom figure named Falcon. The Hasbro released figure, though, was so cool that I had to use him. Thus, I killed off my original Falcon and had the new Falcon come in and take his name as a way to pay homage. I figured that was a clever little out. Of course, when I wanted to use my custom figure again, I had him return from the dead. (They had never found a body and just assumed for several years that my Falcon had perished.) This made for some interesting dialogue, but I digress. My purpose here is to talk about the version of Falcon that came out in 1991 as part of the Super Sonic Fighters line. While the line was lame, this Falcon was actually very cool. He had a great color scheme and some cool weapons. While the original version remains in my collection, I now use this version much more often. The grey, black and green are just a great combination that makes this guy a vital part of any mission.

This figure looks like a soldier. I've used him as military police, a young officer, or an experienced combat veteran. Look for this figure to have a good presence in my upcoming fan fiction and dioramas. I've been planning some stuff and this guy is on the short list to get a major part. I'll post some more details soon. Basically, the whole thing is contingent on my house. If I get the one I want, then it is a go. If I don't, then back to the drawing board. I just need a pool and a mountain with a waterfall. If I can get that, then look out world.

I've often considered Falcon to be a cheap knock off of Flint, but with a better uniform and accessories. He certainly is difficult to discern from Flint, especially for a novice or a parent. I think the Flint figure and character were so popular, though, that Hasbro didn't want him off of the shelves. Since he had his two year retail run, though, they decided to come up with a knock off character that would fit the same characterizations as Flint. If they happened to look similar, well that would just be too bad. In this instance, though, the strategy worked. Falcon, in all of his versions, is a very cool figure. I used him in all sorts of places. His basic uniform was very realistic. Being a fan of The 'Nam comic, I was a sucker for realistic, green cammoed figures. There weren't too many of them in 1986 and 1987, but the few that were available were very good. I picked up an extra Falcon just to have a spare pack and shotgun.

The original version of Falcon is great. I do, though, like this version better. Of course, that could change in time. The Night Force version just doesn't do too much for me. It is also a cool figure (the black pack is just an awesome accessory!) but it is the least worthy of the three incarnations. This guy is just so different that I really like him. He still has all the realistic details, and his new cammo pattern is nice. The colors blend perfectly and aren't overbearing or outrageous. The weapons that come with this figure, while lacking in realism, also look very good. I personally like the gun you see in the scan below. There is another, larger rifle that also works well with this figure. I give this guy the Night Force Falcon's pack and he is ready for bear. Of course, the original Falcon's green pack also looks good. They are both usable on this figure. He is a perfect blend of the two previous color combos.

The Falcon mold was used by Hasbro in 1987, 1988 and 1991. His legs were used on the 1993 Leatherneck figure. The head was used on the Chinese exclusive Flint figure. From there, the legs disappeared and just the head, chest and arms were used in 2003 on the Convention Falcon. The mold has not been seen since and Falcon remains one of the glaring omissions of the modern retail line. One thing to note, though, is that this figure, technically, has a European exclusive variation. European Sonic Fighters Falcon figures feature date stamps from 1993. This is because they were produced after the Leatherneck figure was manufactured. American Sonic Fighter Falcons feature and earlier date stamp. So, that's a fun little variant to keep an eye out for.

1991 Falcons aren't too hard to find. The Super Sonic Fighters was not a popular subset and many specimens still exist in excellent shape today. When you do find these guys, they are certainly not expensive. While the other 1991's are starting to get somewhat pricey, the subset figures remain relatively obscure. Since they were not part of the standard line and there were so many subsets (Super Sonic Fighters, Sky Patrol, Eco Warriors), these figures kind of fall by the wayside. With this guy, and a few others, there are certainly, though, some great figures you can pick up and add to your collection for not too much money.

This is probably my favorite version of Falcon. If you disagree, let me know.

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Falcon, Chinese Flint, 1991 Snake Eyes, 1986 Tomahawk, 1990 Skydive, Sky Patrol, 2001 Desert Striker, 1994 Action Pilot, 30th Anniversary

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Falcon, 1993 Armor Tech Star Brigade Destro

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Falcon, 1989 Python Patrol Tele Viper, Viper, 2004 Unproduced Night Force Tracker

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Falcon, 1993 headhunter Stormtrooper

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Falcon

1988 Hit and Run

By 1988, my Joe days were ending. I was about to start high school and it just wouldn't be cool to collect Joes anymore. I only bought a handful of figures in 1988: Hardball, Tiger Force Roadblock, and Hit and Run. Hit and Run was the first of the figures I purchased. As soon as I saw him, I was hooked. He has a great camo pattern and some of the best accessories in the entire line. I had to have him. He was just the type of figure I was looking for at that time. He came with ropes, which is always a plus, and had the great knife that fit right into his duffel bag. His gun is also my all time favorite. Fortunately, Hasbro included this weapon with many, many figures in the '90's. Because of that, I now have tons of this gun. It is my standard, though, for all my custom figures. Only in special instances do they not get one. It just looks good with just about anyone.

Hit and Run has about the best camo pattern of any figure. How good is it? When I first got this figure, I took him to my grandparent's house in Dayton, Ohio. They had a limestone terrace in their backyard that had ivy growing over it. There were drainage pipes and such hidden behind the ivy so it was an ideal place to play, especially if you had some figures with ropes. I had had my original Hit and Run about a month or so when I took him there. During the course of the action, I hung him on the terrace among the ivy. When it was time to leave, I did a final glance and missed him. Hit and Run then hanged on that wall for the next six months. When we finally returned to my grandparent's house for Thanksgiving, I went out to wall and found him still there, though a little more weather beaten than he had been when I last saw him. I still have that figure. In fact, you are looking at him when you check out the scan down below.

Another cool feature of Hit and Run was that they actually painted the whites of his eyes. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only figure in the entire Joe line that has that characteristic. It helps make this figure very striking in appearance. It also makes his already unique face all the more amazing. He is one of the few, if not the only, figure to have his face totally painted. Some collectors find it rather hokey, but I think it just makes the figure that much better. He is truly camouflaged. I can't wait to get this guy out in my new yard. He should also appear in my upcoming fan fiction. Then you'll be able to appreciate this figure in his full glory. This figure also has a great mold. He is very minimalist, but does have the cool harness type features you would expect from someone who has a duffel bag full of rope. He also had a nook molded on his cod piece that allows you to pull a rope through. While it wasn't the greatest thing if you permanently attached his rope, this feature was a lot of fun. I always hated how my guys wouldn't hold onto the ropes like I wanted. With Hit and Run, I could either fasten the rope to his belt, or have him hang from his bag. Either way made the figure great fun to own.

Hit and Run was later available as a Target exclusive. That version came with all the accessories the original version had, plus it included one of the mail away "working" parachutes. The chute was lame. I never got it to work properly. (Folded up plastic just doesn't work as well as real cloth. I've mentioned it before, but a cloth Fisher Price parachute I had was one of the best toys I ever owned. It worked every time without flaw.) This figure is a bit tougher to find, but since the mold and coloring are the same, you can pick up a mail order parachute and have the same thing. My brother actually had this figure, though, and you can view the one difference, a re-colored file card at your leisure.

Along with his releases in the US, Hit and Run was also released in exclusive Tiger Force colors in Europe. This figure does not feature the painted face that is the hallmark of Hit and Run. From there, Hit and Run was also produced in Brazil as Alpinista in the early 90's. He was similar to his American release in color, though he also lacked the painted face. After that, Hit and Run's trail runs cold. He remains one of the most requested Joe figures among collectors to this day.

Hit and Run's aren't expensive. They are also fairly plentiful. He was released near the end of Joe's peak popularity run so Hasbro was still cranking out voluminous amounts of figures. A complete one might set you back $7 or $8, but that's not really too bad. If you want the Target exclusive Hit and Run, though, you should be prepared to spend a bit more. Still, this is an excellent figure, especially for the price. He can be used as a stand alone figure, or as part of an army. If you have a few spares, he also makes excellent custom fodder. 1988 wasn't that great of year for Joe fans, but gems like this guy were more than enough reason to keep me around.

I dig this figure, but have plenty of him. If you have a few of his guns you are wanting to part with, let me know.

1988 Hit and Run, 1997 Stalker, 2002 Mirage, Big Ben, Dial Tone

1988 Hit and Run, 1994 Viper, 1988 Shockwave

1988 Hit and Run, 1988 Night Force Crazylegs, 2004 Beach Head, 2005 Convention Exclusive Iron Anvil

1988 Hit and Run, 1986 Havoc, 2006 Viper Pit, 2004 Short Fuse Night Force

1988 Hit and Run, 1994 Shipwreck, 1984 Whale

1988 Hit and Run, Target Exclusive Filecard

1988 Hit and Run, Target Exclusive Filecard

Tuesday, March 7, 2000

1987 Worms

In 1987, Hasbro came out with an awesome mobile artillery weapon for Cobra named the Maggot. It was a fantastic toy that split into three parts that were all as much fun as the whole. The Maggot is my favorite Cobra vehicle, even outpacing the Hiss tank. Part of what made it great was the driver, Worms. This guy rocks. He was incredibly original figure that perfectly fit the genre of the Maggot. Like the Decimator, the Worms is a regal looking figure that does not deserve to be among the rank and file Cobra troops. I often had the Motor Viper drive the Maggot, a Techno Viper man the turret, and the Worms directing the whole show. He was an officer in my armies. His uniform is such that he really can't be anything less. The medals and decorations just scream for more respect than any other figure, except for the original Hooded Cobra Commander, that was available when the Worms was first released. His cool belt buckle also spoke of achievement beyond what his characterization would imply.

I thought the Worms awesome from the first moment I had him. I have always been a sucker for vehicle drivers, but it always seemed that they were superior to many of the regularly available carded figures. This is too bad, as we collectors are the ones now left scrambling to find multiples of many of these harder to find figures. I know I would have loved to have a Motor Viper driving all my Cobra vehicles. It is now easier to do so, but it would have been much easier had some of the cooler vehicle drivers been available someplace other than with their vehicle or by expensive mail order. (The primary reason I didn't take advantage of Hasbro Direct was that figures were terrible expensive. I remember having to send flag points, plus way more than one figure cost in the store. On top of that, you had shipping and handling charges to add to the price. It just wasn't a good deal. In retrospect, though, is a different story....) The Worms continued the trend of great drivers and quickly found himself often used because of it. I still seem to flock to vehicle drivers. You will notice that many of the figures I profile are such. They just don't get the attention of the regularly carded figures, deserving though they may be.

I didn't like the characterization from the Worms file card. I did like the background they gave about the Maggot. My figure, however, was much more exciting. I liked the officer idea but later made this guy the highest ranking enlisted man in the Cobra army. Since I couldn't have an army of Worms, I had to make him more important than the other rank and file Vipers that I used for the crew on his vehicle. As such, this guy still finds his way into many of my current adventures. While I don't have the Maggot here in Arizona, I still find ways for this guy to make an appearance. He's the type of character that is needed to keep my hordes of 1998 Vipers in line. I still use the Decimator as a equal ranked Cobra, but this guy was the first who laid the groundwork for many of my later incarnations of Cobra hierarchies.

Worms possess one of the tougher accessories to find. His antenna is almost universally missing except from the best kept pieces. I lost mine shortly after I got him. It blended perfectly with my mother's brown carpet. As such, this guy is very hard to find mint and complete. You can get him with his helmet (the pistol is an accessory I added and is not original) without too much trouble, but that damned antenna is a problem. If you don't mind that minor detail, though, this guy is cheap. Even with the antenna, he isn't too expensive. For some reason, this guy is totally forgotten and has no real hype about him. As such, they are quite a steal. Many of this guy's contemporaries cost way more than they are worth. This guy was only ever released with his vehicle. He gets no press. Hopefully, little diatribes like this can help raise this guy out of the collecting mire in which he is trapped.

I need the Worms antenna. If you can help, email me.

1987 Worms, 1994 action Soldier, Bootleg Crimson Guard, Blue, Black Major, CORPS Firefighter


1987 Worms, 2006 Viper Pit, Maggot, Cobra Commander


1987 Worms, 2006 Viper Pit, Maggot, Cobra Commander

1987 Worms, 2006 Viper Pit, Maggot, Cobra Commander

1987 Worms, 2006 Viper Pit, Maggot, Cobra Commander

1987 Worms, 2006 Viper Pit, Maggot, Cobra Commander












































1987 Worms, 2006 Viper Pit, Maggot, Cobra Commander