Saturday, September 22, 2018

1985 Lamprey - Around the Web

I opened my Moray for my birthday in 1985.  While the vehicle was amazing, it was the driver that grabbed my attention.  The Lamprey was just an amazing figure with a great weapon.  One of my great laments as a kid was that I only had one of them.  As such, I took tremendous care of the figure.  Fortunately, the Lamprey is now fairly easy to find and can be army built.  He remains one of my favorite Cobras to this day.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

1985 Lamprey Profile

Lamprey Dio 01

Lamprey Pre Production at YoJoe.com

Moray and Lamprey Video Review

Lamprey Variants

Lamprey at Brave Fortress

Lamprey By Outrider


1985 Lamprey, Moray, Hydrofoil

Thursday, September 20, 2018

2006 Gas Mask Trooper

2006 was not a good time to be a Joe fan.  In a lot of ways, it was like 1995.  A great run of toys had pitifully ended at retail while the product that comprised the late years was actually quite good.  There was little hope on the horizon for the line and the interest in the property was quickly fading away.  The thing is, the few releases that are actually considered 2006 items are quite good.  In many cases, they are step above the insufficient 2005 retail toys and bring some nice additions to a collection.  In a few cases, Hasbro trotted out some tired, recently used molds.  But, with minor adjustments, they created a solid update to something that could have been bland.  A perfect example is the 2006 Gas Mask Trooper.

Hasbro made a lot of weird decisions in the 2000's.  They would not remake a highly requested figure like the 1985 Snake Eyes or 1983 Cobra Commander.  Yet, they had the budget to make Mutt and recast parts for Scrap Iron.  They also, somehow, had budget to make a new Lady Jaye mold, even though the original had been proved useful as recently as 2003.  But, mostly, Hasbro liked to make new heads.  They were cheaper than other parts.  But, most of Hasbro's attempts at new heads left much to be desired.  Finally, in 2006, a new head appeared on an army builder.  With no face to sculpt, the result was pretty decent.  And, this Gas Mask Trooper can now easily integrate into many Cobra armies.

The origin of this figure is just a single panel in issue #44 of the Marvel Comic.  It seems disingenuous that the issue that introduced Airtight, the Mauler, Dr. Mindbender and the BATs would pick a character from one panel to become a figure.  But, this was all about cost.  And, the figure's body was available, had already been recently released in the base color and was going to be packed two per pack to further reduce the overall expense in making the pack.  Plus, the other molds were long gone and Hasbro didn't spend any money or time looking for molds when the line was at its peak.  So, there was no chance of any of the newly introduced characters joining Lady Jaye in the pack.  

Collectors began demanding a new Cobra Trooper in 2000.  It seemed an obvious choice for a fledgling line.  The chorus grew louder in 2001 as Hasbro ignored the whims of army builders.  It was not until 2004 that a Cobra Trooper and Officer based on the original look finally appeared.  Collectors assumed Hasbro would repaint the molds ad naseum.  But, that didn't happen.  A few months after the release of the 2004 Infantry Pack, the Cobra Trooper (now sporting his original head and crappy arms) appeared in a comic pack.  The Officer appeared in the next wave.  The molds would only appear once again, in the Night Watch set.  I never liked the Comic Pack Cobra Trooper.  His poor gear and flesh colored hands never did anything for me.  However, I really liked the 2004 Comic Pack Cobra Officer.  While he's basically the same color as the Trooper, the included Red Star AK-47 and gloved hands made all the difference.  I picked up a few of them on clearance and had them as a backup army when I wanted something different for a photo.  When these Gas Mask Troopers were released, I found they were exact matches for the Comic Pack Officer in color.  And, they also included the AK-47.  So, I quickly supplemented my Officers with Gas Mask Troopers and had a formidable force with relatively little effort.  While the Gas Mask Trooper lacks the painted gloves of the Officer, he does not have flesh colored hands and that makes all the difference to me with this mold.  

While the Gas Mask Trooper was never repainted, his legacy was continued.  In 2007, Hasbro released an anniversary figure named the Cobra Air Trooper.  At his core, this was a repainted Cobra Trooper.  But, he included a jet pack blatantly ripped off from the JUMP.  The additional headgear given to this figure to protect his brain was a dead ringer for the Gas Mask Trooper.  In the early 2010's, a design based on this head began to appear on Black Major factory custom figures.  Sadly, this head was mostly used on straight arm Grand Slam bodies to make armies for the Cobra De Aco.  The designs are great and the figures look amazing.  But, without swivel arms, the figures are very limited.  While these figures have dried up from their release, you can still find many of them for about their original price since they have not proven as desirable as the early Cobra Trooper and Crimson Guard repaints from the same timeframe.  A few of the heads have appeared on later factory customs.  So, the head being out there means there are options for you and you can get it an variety of colors, now, for customizing needs.

The Gas Mask Trooper's accessories were good and bad.  The bad was yet another Baroness rifle at a time when collectors had, literally, hundreds of them lying around.  The good, though, was the inclusion of the Red Star AK-47.  This weapon hearkened back to the original Cobra Officer and is a weapon I associate with Cobra.  With the figure's helmet, though, I also like to outfit him with various other gear that was included with other releases of that time.  My favorite combo is the black version of the 1991 Sci Fi's weapons that were first included with the 2001 Laser Viper.  Those accessories look good with the Gas Mask Trooper.  The bulkier head is really accented well when the figure wears a pack.  So, I go out of my way to find decent looking ones for my extra Gas Mask Troopers.

At the time, this pack was a dud.  You wonder how a set with a new Lady Jaye (the first hatless version!) and two classically inspired army builders could collect dust.  But, Joe fans pretty much abandoned the brand in 2005.  A series of bad decisions by Hasbro and the club left the small fan base fractured and beaten down.  And, with that, most of the new collectors who onboarded in 2000 through 2002 were gone.  So, the little product that got to retail sat and sat.  Eventually, this comic pack was heavily discounted.  I picked up a few for $5 or $6 each after shipping.  A lot of collectors bought some clearance packs to get extra Lady Jayes for parts.  And, they were then able to sell off the Gas Mask Troopers for a couple bucks each to cover their costs.  If that weren't enough, overstock Gas Mask Troopers were available in large lots from Asian Joe sellers.  All this added up to surplus figures that not even massive army builders could absorb.  

Today, the figure remains relatively unloved and you can get mint and complete versions for about $6.  Dealers will sell the figures for $15...which is ridiculous since you can get a MOC pack with two Troopers and Lady Jaye for around $20.  But, like most of the 2000's era army builders, this guy is not nearly as ubiquitous as he used to be and it might take you a year or more to finally build a large army.  I still find him one of the better figures just because he was something slightly different.  I'm glad I was able to build up an army of them as they are a great supplement to 2000's era Cobra forces.  They are not perfect figures.  But, few releases from their era are.  In this day and age where there, again, is no prospect of retail Joe figures on the horizon, I'm reminded of 12 years prior, as the line died again in front of collectors' eyes, with nothing they could do to stop it.  Those memories that are associated with this figure keep him more prominent than many of his contemporaries for me.  The fact that he's a good design is just icing on the cake.

2006 Gas Mask Trooper, Air Trooper, Comic Pack, Skeres, Alternate Asian, Cobra Officer, Midnight Chinese

Saturday, September 15, 2018

1990 Stretcher - Around the Web

I've always liked the Stretcher figure.  My first one was a beat up copy I found in a $1 bin at a flea market when I was in college.  As I acquired better and more complete samples, I realized that he was even better than my initial impressions.  Oddly, though, despite my fondness for the figure, I hadn't photographed him in almost 15 years.  It was fun to dig him out and appreciate his design another time.

Stretcher is probably more popular than his release year and unique specialty would imply.  But, he's still relatively low profile in the grand scheme of things.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

1990 Stretcher Profile

Unproduced Dark Blue Anti Venom Stretcher

Stretcher at JoeADay.com

Stretcher Dio 01

Stretcher at JoePedia

Stretcher Video Review


1990 Stretcher, 1986 Mission to Brazil Leatherneck, Retaliator, 1993 Ace

1990 Stretcher, 1986 Mission to Brazil Leatherneck, Retaliator, 1993 Ace

Thursday, September 13, 2018

1982 JUMP Jet Pack

My Joe experience in 1982 began in October.  In that time, my brother and I managed to acquire pretty much all of the Joe toys released with few exceptions.  The MOBAT was the most glaring since it was the flagship vehicle of the time and included an exclusive figure.  One of the other missing items, though, was the JUMP Jet Pack.  I'm not sure why this playset was absent.  We had multiple FLAKs, VAMPs and duplicate figures from birthday and Christmas gifts.  But, for some reason, the JUMP never showed up.  But, since it didn't include a figure and Cobra didn't have any airborne vehicles, the missing jet pack never really crossed my mind.

If you flash forward to 1984, the JUMP was still somewhat out of mind.  There were enough new items in 1983 and 1984 to completely occupy me.  But, at a local Service Merchandise store, I found something of which I wasn't aware: a JUMP with an exclusive Grand Slam figure, only colored in silver instead of red.  It was this figure that got me interested in that version of the JUMP.  Not, necessarily, for the playset, but for the Grand Slam.  Even then, I had an interest in obscure Joes that were not part of the collections belonging to any of my friends.  I looked over this JUMP and Grand Slam combo for several months.  There were times when I had the money to buy it, but just didn't pull the trigger as I was saving for something else.  My parents, though, must have seen me staring at the toy.  And, for my birthday in 1984, I received the JUMP and Grand Slam.

That 1984 birthday was probably my favorite from childhood.  It was unseasonably warm that day and my friends and I were able to play outside well into the evening.  Once it was dark, we moved inside where we had an epic battle using my new JUMP, WHALE, Scarlett and Stormshadow figures.  This was my introduction to the JUMP and instantly locked the playset into one of those associative memories where looking at the toy simply brought back feelings of happiness and joy that were imprinted during that first day of ownership.

For me, the JUMP playset features two main components.  The first is the launchpad.  It's just a platform, but works very well for its purpose.  The second component is the one that mattered to me: the actual jetpack.  The jetpack plugs into a figure like a normal figure backpack and is interchangable with any vintage Joe.  This little piece, though, was the crux of the toy.  With it, any Joe could not "plausibly" fly.  That was a huge play element.  I had adventures where the JUMP was used to spot the enemy from miles away, as an escape for a desperate messenger who had to relay Cobra operations and as an attack mechanism which Cobra was hard pressed to repel.  In short, it brought a new dimension to every figure and didn't require flight to be confined in an expensive and bulky vehicle.

The jetpack was a key accessory for me.  For a while, the jetpack served as an emergency escape device for top Joe commanders.  It would be on a vehicle or in a base and strapped to Hawk should Cobra over run the base so that he could escape to fight another day.  Over the years, I developed a nameless, faceless legion of jetpack troopers.  It was represented by various figures through my childhood.  Most famously, though, the jetpack became the domain of Maverick and he then represented these crazy jetpack jockeys until I stopped collecting. 

While most of the 1982 vehicles would make their way around the world, the JUMP did not.  This is odd as it's the only 1982 vehicle that did not have a non-Hasbro made international release.  The jet pack did appear as an accessory in the European Action Force line.  This red colored pack is fairly obscure and a cool find.  But, the red doesn't really match any Cobra colors.  But, it can work with the Action Force Joe repaints of the time.  The JUMP was available as a mail in until around 1985.  And, we all know the jet pack would appear around 1987 with the mail away Starduster figure and would continue to be released with that character until at least 1993.  This could explain why the playset never appeared anywhere else since Hasbro never really took the actual jet pack out of production.

What's more odd, though, is that Hasbro didn't re-use the mold in the 2000's.  Despite the jet pack being a collector favorite and Hasbro having the mold, they never bothered with including it with any figures from that era of toys.  It's a shame as even one or two jet packs could have turned mediocre releases into something awesome.  In 2007, the jet pack, blaster and cord made their final appearance as accessories to a convention release of Starduster and Grand Slam.  The club tried to release the entire JUMP set.  But, the mold was damaged.  A few "feet" from the set were available at the 2007 convention as leftover pieces, reminding collectors of what could have been.  In the anniversary era, though, the jet pack was redone and has appeared many times, proving what a solid accessory it is.  In 2017, factory custom makers introduced the jet pack, blaster and hose in various colors as part of their Starduster repaints.  You can now find the jet pack in blue, red, white, chrome and other colors to augment your armies.

JUMPs are weird to price.  Because the set included a "rare" Grand Slam figure, there are people who believe the whole set is rare.  So, you'll see mint and complete with blueprints sets sell in the $50 range with an alarming frequency.  At the same time, you can get a perfect pad, pack, computer and gun for about $10 far more easily.  Even if you want a complete with blueprints set, you can find them regularly in the $20 range.  So, for such a popular item, you can still get the JUMP for decent prices and even pick up a few spares to have sitting around.  This is a great thing since the JUMP is a cool toy that works well in dioramas and individual scenes.  It's a rare piece that allows you to display a couple of figures in a small footprint and always looks cool doing so.

JUMP, Jet Pack, Grand Slam, Action Force, Steel Brigade, Mail Away, Steeler, Stalker, Snake Eyes


JUMP, Jet Pack, Grand Slam, Sightline, Red Lasers Army, General Hawk, 1986, Cobra Viper

JUMP, Jet Pack, Grand Slam, Maverick, Battle Force 2000, 2004, Hardtop, Biomassa, Forca Eco, Eco Warriors

JUMP, Jet Pack, Grand Slam, Outlaw, Red Lasers Army, Bootleg, Black Major, Steel Brigade, Factory Custom

1984 Silver Pads Grand Slam, JUMP Jet Pack, Funskool General Hawk

Thursday, September 6, 2018

1993 Mace - Around The Web

There's really no way to get around the fact that Mace is a terrible figure.  Bad colors, big proportions and a ridiculous helmet mounted spring loaded launcher all up to an awful package.  But, the figure's head is excellently sculpted and the body could have potential.  Surprisingly, there's a bit of content on this figure out there.  So, that gives him a leg up on several of his contemporaries.  Here's the best of Mace from around the web.

Mace Profile

Mace at JoeADay.com

Mace By Nekoman

Mace at Toys From the Past

Mace at 3DJoes.com

Mace by Slipstream80

1993 Mace, DEF, Battle Corps, Headhunter Stormtrooper, Monster Blaster APC, Mega Marines

1993 Mace, DEF, Battle Corps, Star Brigade, TARGAT, Mudbuster



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Funskool Tunnel Rat

Tunnel Rat is easily one of the most popular figures in the Joe line.  He was released in the key Joe year of 1987, is an amazing sculpt, has excellent accessories, if colored near perfectly and has a likeness based on the father of the G.I. Joe mythos: Larry Hama.  Through the years, many other Tunnel Rat figures were released: pretty much all of them excellent in their own right.  Tunnel Rat was even given two international releases.  The Funskool figure, our subject today, features a paint scheme that is based on the 1990 Super Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat, but is much brighter and more vibrant.  It's hard to see this as anything other than the worst Tunnel Rat figure.  But, the bright colors and excellent highlights give him a Funskool-chic that makes this figure a fun release to own.

Colorwise, Tunnel Rat is Funskool at its finest.  You get a powerful red shirt that announces the figure straight away.  It's offset by brown pants and darker red shoes.  The figure sports a odd brown bandana and gloves.  The chest, though, pops with a neon green grenade and offsetting silver and grey accouterments.  The figure is Funskool through and though.  (There is even an extra blob of yellow paint on Tunnel Rat's exposed chest/neck.  I don't know why, but it's there.)  However, the quality of the paint, the vibrant details and the appearance of a few useful colors all add up to a figure that should be terrible: but isn't.  Tunnel Rat is bright.  But, he fits in with other Joes from the 1980's since he features all of the painted details.  Funskool didn't try too hard (like Hasbro did with their 2000's era Tunnel Rat figures) but also was true to the spirit of the figure and produced something that's visually striking without being too over the top.

Funskool Tunnel Rat's gear is OK.  He includes a black version of the classic 1987 Tunnel Rat rifle.  This is great as it's the only weapon I associate with Tunnel Rat and helps to distinguish him from other versions that are missing his signature accessory.  He also includes a brown version of the Night Viper backpack.  It makes more sense for a tunnel specialist than the huge honkin' backpack from the original figure.  I'm not a huge fan of Cobra gear being re-purposed for Joe.  But, I give leeway for foreign releases.  Though, the technical look of the pack doesn't match Tunnel Rat, even if the color o the back is a nice match.  That's the extent of the gear, though.

For me, Tunnel Rat has always been the Joe team's light machine gunner.  As the 1987 figure was acquired during the height of my late childhood, he is both a sentimental and realistic favorite.  I've never had a burning desire to acquire more Tunnel Rat figures because the original version fulfilled my needs for the character and was useful in all situations where Tunnel Rat might be needed.  The Funskool version, though, is a useful addition to a vehicle crew or as a splash of color when I want a different look for a classic character.  I like the idea of the Super Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat.  But, his muted, darker colors don't always translate to a photo or scene.  In that capacity, this Funskool Tunnel Rat excels and is able to be visually appealing and interesting without distracting like some of the brighter Funskool figures are wont to do.

Tunnel Rat got a lot of use.  In the vintage line, there was the 1987 original figure, a 1988 Night Force release and then a 1990 Super Sonic Fighters version.  All three of these figures are very well done and there isn't really a bad version of Tunnel Rat.  Hasbro then produced a Tiger Force Tunnel Rat that was exclusive to Europe.  Funskool acquired the mold and started releasing Tunnel Rat in the late 1990's or so.  They made him for years before returning the mold to Hasbro.  Hasbro then released a Night Force Tunnel Rat in 2004, a desert Tunnel Rat in late 2004 and a comic pack version with a new head in 2005.  There's plenty for a Tunnel Rat fan to collect and he exists in most of the major sub sets.  Tunnel Rat is a figure who Hasbro used well and left us wanting for little.

So, when I decided to profile this figure, I figured he was just like all the other Funskool figures of his era when it came to availability.  While he was likely no longer a $4 figure, I assumed a carded version would run around $20 or so.  Then, I went to look him up and found something shocking.  Aside from the fact that there were very few of them that sold, the prices were insane!  A carded version sold for over $200 at open sale.  There was another carded figure that sold for a buy it now for $100.  What happened?!?  Tunnel Rat was no more rare than any of the other Funskool figures of the early 2000's that were imported to the U.S. by the thousands.  Why does he now fetch stupid money while other, better repaints are available for $20?  It makes no sense to me.  But, there are simply tons of new collectors who were not around in the early 2000's when these guys sat unsold at every online dealer who could drop a few hundreds bucks on their Amex card with a reseller in India.  So, there is very much a false sense of rarity with many of the Funskool figures of this era.

Along with all the carded Tunnel Rats that were brought over, there was also a huge amount of bagged vehicle driver Tunnel Rat figures that were sold by some dealers for $1 each in 2003 and 2004.  Funskool returned the mold to Hasbro in the original batch of 18 molds in 2003.  Before they sent it back, Funskool ran a huge quantity of bagged figures.  As these were 2003 releases, they are the best quality figures and may be a cheap option for the highest quality figure...if you can find one.  I, personally, like this figure for his oddity.  It's a high quality Funskool release and gives Tunnel Rat something a little different than his darker and more drab releases from Hasbro.  But, there's no way in hell I'd pay more than $6 or $7 bucks for one....

2001 Funskool Desert Scorpion, 2000 Tunnel Rat, 2008 AWE Striker



































Funskool Tunnel Rat, Blaster, Flint, Cutter, Monster Blaster APC, Mega Marines

Funskool Tunnel Rat, Blaster, Flint, Cutter, Monster Blaster APC, Mega Marines

Thursday, August 30, 2018

1990 Updraft - Around the Web

I've long considered Updraft an undiscovered gem in the Joe line.  He's a perfect pilot for the Tomahawk.  Though, his Retaliator is a darn nice toy, too.  For a figure that's generally unknown, there's a decent amount of content on him out there.  Here's the best of the 1990 Updraft from around the web.

1990 Updraft Profile

Updraft Variants by Hit and Run

Updraft at JoeADay.com

Updraft at JoePedia

Updraft by neapolitanjoe

Updraft at 3DJoes.com

1990 Updraft, Retaliator, 1994 Viper, Battle Corps


1990 Updraft, Retaliator, 1994 Viper, Battle Corps, Freefall, Bullhorn

1990 Updraft, Retaliator, 1994 Viper, Battle Corps, Freefall, Bullhorn

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2017 General - Red Laser Army Factory Custom

Factory custom figures exist in many flavors.  Prior to 2017, though, those flavors were almost exclusively army builders.  The few characters (Mortals, Invasors and De Acos, mostly) were Cobra themed and based on rare and expensive figures that most collectors would never own.  In 2017, though, this started to shift.  First, Starduster figures appeared.  An exclusive Bombadier figure also showed up.  At the 2017 G.I. Joe Convention, though, Red Laser's Army released a massive set of figures that was a mix of new army builders as well as some brand new characters that were loosely based on early Joe concept or comic artwork.  In general, collectors took to these releases and you began to see the figures show up in various photo forums.  There were many top notch figures.  But, one I found the most interesting was the character of the General.

This figure is Hawk.  We all know it's Hawk and really don't hold any pretext that this figure is anyone other than Hawk.  He's got the blonde hair and vintage style head mold.  The distinguishing feature are the figure's base colors.  Gone is the drab, monotone of the 1982/1983 figure.  Instead, collectors are offered an panoply of colors that make this figure stand apart.  For the first time, I have a representation of Hawk that fits his role as leader of the G.I. Joe team.  One of my great laments of the 2000's era repaints was that Hasbro never gave us a first appearance 1986 Hawk figure with a black jacket and blonde hair.  It was such a simple repaint.  Instead, we got 2 uninspired repaints of the '86 Hawk figure and two equally uninspired General Tomahawk figures.  The General fills that void and puts him in the style of the early Joe figures.

The figure is based on an early comic appearance of Hawk.  The black upper body positioned against the bright green with brown highlights is a great color combo.  (It was later used to great effect on Outlaw, too.)  To me, this looks like a 1983 or 1984 repaint of the Hawk character.  It's something that would have made the vintage line that much more spectacular.  Getting it 35 years later is a treat.  I like the brighter colors against the classic 1982-1985 Joe vehicles.  They help the figure stand apart from the vehicles, but also still fit in with the overall aesthetic of the classics.  It's a tough line to walk, but this figure pulls it off with aplomb. 

In terms of gear, the General is sparse.  He includes a knife and pistol.  The pistol is a thick handled number of which I'm not overly fond.  In my opinion, the figure needs a helmet.  To me, none of the '82 head molds look right without a helmet.  I've found that the helmet and visor from the Tiger Force Starduster factory custom figure is an excellent fit for the General.  And, you'll see it on the figure's head in photos below.  Others have found some different takes on the vintage helmet that work equally well.  But, this figure needs a helmet.  At least it's a little easier to find some alternatives for one, now.

The single greatest question in regards to the factory custom figures is always centered around the quality.  Through the years, some figures have been ok, some have been good and some have been terrible.  The General, though, comes in on the good scale.  Mine has vibrant colors, excellent paint and tight joints.  The hands are a bit tight.  So, I'm leery of placing most accessories into his grip.  But, others have done so with no issues.  These are not quite vintage Joe quality.  But, they are not vintage Joe brittle, either.  That's a tradeoff that I find to be worth it since I can take these figures out for photos and not worry about the plastic shattering when I move a leg joint.

This figure is now over a year old.  While 2017 brought us nearly 100 factory custom releases in just over half a year, we have yet to see any 2018 offerings.  Supposedly, there is an issue with factory paint in China that is delaying any new figures.  The Red Laser Army 2018 offerings look to have many figures that continue in the vein of this General figure.  With a few of them, a collection of pre-1985 swivel headed figures will be diverse enough to stand as a line unto itself.  I like that.  But, some of the parts are also reaching the end of practical paint application.  You can only repaint a limited number of parts so many times before things start to run together.  There are already reports that collector interest in some of the factory custom repaints is starting to dwindle...perhaps the point where some figures are not sustainable as offerings.  Regardless of what the future holds, though, I enjoy being able to take advantage of figures like this General that bring much to my collection.

Red Laser figures are $12.  They have been $12 since their release and continue to be priced as such.  The General has been readily available for nearly a year.  Lots of people have him.  But, there's no telling what kind of supply is left.  We have seen a couple of Red Laser figures pretty much disappear from sales forums.  In time, pretty much all of the factory custom figures dry up.  Whether they will appreciate or depreciate remains to be seen.  For a figure like this General, it can go either way.  He's an awesome figure that perfectly updates a classic collection.  So, there's a ton of demand for the figure.  But, he's also not an army builder and everyone can pretty much be content with one version of the figure.  So, that also tempers demand.  For $12, though, you can't really go wrong.  It's a fair price for a high quality figure that updates a classic Joe run in the way that most collectors dreamed of until the release of the 1986 Hawk figure.

2017 General, Red Laser Army, Factory Custom, Bootleg, Commando, Snake Eyes, 1982 MMS, 1983



































2017 General, Red Laser Army, General Hawk, Funskool, Big Brawler, India, Sky Patrol, Steel Brigade, Odin, Black Major, Dreadnok Thunder Machine


2017 General, Red Laser Army, General Hawk, Bombadier, 1985 Mauler


2017 Red Laser Army General, General Hawk, FActory Custom, Bootleg, Auriken, Mexico, Mexican Exclusive, Mutt, Flash, Stalker, Comic Pack, 2006, 1984 Recondo, Breaker































2017 Red Laser Army General, General Hawk, FActory Custom, Bootleg, Star Duster, Tiger Force, Black Major, Steel Brigade, AWE STriker, 2008, Mail Away

Thursday, August 23, 2018

1992 General Flagg - Around the Web

This General Flagg figure was one of the first retail purchases I made as a "collector" back in 1992.  It's a great mold with solid colors and an awesome weapon.  I was surprised at how much I found on this guy out there.  But, it really is a good figure.  Here's the best of General Flagg from around the web.

General Flagg Profile

General Flagg at JoeADay.com

General Flagg at the G.I. Joe Comics Homepage

General Flagg by Jonah

General Flagg at Half the Battle

General Flagg by GIJoeCollector

General Flagg Pre-Production at YoJoe.com

General Flagg by yihad77

General Flagg by GI_JoeisThere

General Flagg at 3DJoes.com

1992 General Flagg, 1993 Payload, Headhunter Stormtrooper, Headhunter, DEF, Star Brigade, Battle Corps

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

2004 Cobra Infantry Trooper

Hasbro never released a perfect army building set for collectors.  They came within a hair of it in 1998 with the Cobra Infantry Team.  A three pack of classically colored Cobra Vipers complete with a full complement of gear for $10 at retail was as close to nirvana as army builders could get.  While I still hold this set as the best Cobra army building set of all time, the figures were missing Cobra logos and lost that little something from their absence.  It would be 5 years before Hasbro went down the army building rabbit hole again.  The 2003 BAT Pack had three good figures, two mediocre figures and one terrible figure.  For $15 or so, it was a deal.  But, it wasn't perfect.  The next big chance came in early 2004.  Hasbro released a 6 figure set of classically colored Cobra Troopers and Officers through Toys R Us.  For $20, you got an army in a box.  The figures used enough of the classic molds to be relevant and were perfectly colored.  There was, though, a fatal flaw.  The figures included terrible gear and the set loses some validity for that mistake.  In retrospect, that bad choice of weapons has shaped the figures from the set.  But, at the end of the day, the classic Cobra Troopers in the release remain an excellent example of Hasbro getting a simple idea just about right.

There are two main types of Joe collectors: those who view Vipers as the backbone of the Cobra army and those who view Cobra Troopers as the pillar of Cobra's strength.  Neither are wrong.  And, most collectors who were kids in the early to mid 1980's were fortunate in that their collecting years overlapped both iconic figures.  The Cobra Trooper was the bad guy who started it all.  The nazi-esque imagery, covered face and Soviet weapons encompassed every 1980's villain cliche into one package.  But, while Vipers had seen several repaints in the Joe resurrection, the Cobra Trooper was ignored.  Ostensibly, this was due to a missing mold.  (Though, that later proved problematic.)  But, Hasbro had enough molds to keep collectors at bay for a few years.  Eventually, though, the weight of the army building contingent of collectors forced Hasbro's hand and the Cobra Trooper returned to the line.

This Cobra Trooper is a kitbash of new and existing parts.  While the new head is the most famous new part for the figure, Hasbro actually resculpted the torso, too.  Hasbro could not find the vintage molds for the Trooper and Officer (oddly, they would find them later in the year for the Comic Pack figures....) and recast a new torso based on the vintage design.  The arms were from the 1984 Thunder figure.  While they do work with the mold and give it far more depth that was noticeably absent on the later uses of this mold, they also cost the Trooper some of his most iconic details like the garrote and bullets that are sculpted on to the arms of the vintage figure.  Personally, I'm OK with both this variation of the character and his original incarnation.  They're both something nice to have.  Though, I am loathe to mix them.  I prefer my troops to be uniform and having two figures of the same character but with radically different heads is something I tend to avoid.

In looking back at this set, it seems Hasbro didn't like money.  While the Infantry set was relatively available at brick and mortar stores from January through April of 2004 (and online several times during that span, too!) it was easily the best selling set of the Toys R Us era.  You would think that Hasbro would have returned to the classic enemy well a few more times.  Crimson or Stinger repaints of the figures would have sold just as well.  Even desert or Arctic examples would have moved well.  But, Hasbro never saw fit to release this version of the classic enemies again.  They did find the original head molds and released one comic pack version of the Trooper and Officer in 2004 and then released them again in the 2005 Night Watch set.  The club never even entertained the idea of classic enemy repaints and collectors were left wanting for just basic repaints of the molds.

Fortunately, in the past decade, factory custom figure makers have filled Hasbro's void on Cobra Troopers.  You can now get all the colors of that mold that Hasbro should have made.  But, that doesn't take away from the fact that Hasbro could never really figure out army building.  They kind of got it.  But, they simply couldn't get the products that collectors really wanted into their hands in an efficient manner.  While I didn't want to see an army builder only line at the time, many of the releases we did get, especially in 2005, really seem like wasted slots.  And, with Hasbro going through the expense of almost entirely resculpting this figure, just the one retail appearance of the molds seems like resources weren't fully utilized.

Originally, this 6 figure set of Cobra Troopers and Officers was going to be the second offering in the "Internet Exclusive" figure line.  The first set was the 2003 BAT Pack.  Despite strong, initial, collector interest, that set died on the vine and had to be clearanced out to Amazon and places like Tuesday Morning stores.  With that concept dead, Hasbro had the decency to move the set into the first Toys R Us slot in 2004.  This ensured that collectors got the figures they so wanted and gave Toys R Us a hit in their slowest sales time of the year.  From a collector standpoint, the avenue of release didn't make much difference.  It's likely that online dealers would have had stock available for longer than the brick and mortar stores did.  But, it's also likely that they would have charged a premium for this due to the pent up demand.  So, in that case, it was good that the set was given to Toys R Us.

The new head molds that were created for this set went through some changes prior to release, too.  The original design for the heads included a removable helmet.  There are samples of these heads out there.  They are kind of tall and skinny...even moreso than the single piece head that was released.  In this case, I think collectors got the better deal with the second iteration of the heads.  While the tall and skinny new heads are different, they work well enough.  They are better than the original, removable helmet design and have saved a generation of army builders from having to track down and corral dozens if not hundreds of tiny little helmets that were not likely to have fit onto their heads all that well.

It's also worth noting that there are four variants to this figure.  There is a red haired, blonde haired, brown haired and dark skinned variant for the mold.  The idea was to make a "diverse" army while also maintaining uniformity.  I like the slight differences since it does help make the Cobras seem less like clones.  But, at the same time, if these different paint colors cost us useful accessories, then they were probably better spent elsewhere.  The figures also feature various unit and rank insignia.  Many collectors who bought dozens of sets have swapped out arms to denote Troopers of different ranks.  If you run into these, they are a result of kitbashes rather than variants.

We'll talk about the accessories since they are this figure's worst feature.  For some reason, Hasbro chose to release the entire set with 6 large Rock Viper rifles and 6 hollowed out SAW Viper backpacks.  The gear is oversized, out of scale, cheap and terrible.  The gear is not useful in any way, shape or form.  So, this leaves you to outfit your troopers through different means.  One upside of Hasbro's terrible weapons choices of that time was that it created a market for enterprises like Marauder's Gun Runners.  They could made accurate, detailed weapons that were perfect figs for figure sets like the Cobra Infantry.  And, Marauder sold quite a few weapon sets with AK-47's and Dragunov snipers that were specifically aimed at army builders of this Cobra Infantry set.  Within a couple of years, though, Asian sellers started offering overstock 2000's era accessories.  Through them, you could acquire large quantities of weapons like Red Star's AK-47 that were perfect fits for these figures and also used classic Joe molds.  Modern factory custom makers have put large quantities of remade 1982 AK-47's and Dragunov Snipers into the collecting world, too.  So, we now have a huge range of weapons available to solve the accessory issue with this set.  It's still a hassle, though, that we had to go to the aftermarket to get reasonable gear for otherwise exceptional figures.

These days, Cobra Infantry Troops are kind of middle ground.  You'll see mint, loose figures with no gear sell in the $7 range.  If you can find a lot of several of the figures, you can get them for less.  Dealers sell mint and complete with filecard figures in the $12 range: and do move a fair amount of them.  You can find deals on complete sets.  But, even left to the open market, loose sets tend to fetch over $10 per figure.  That's a far cry from buying the figures for $3.33 each at retail.  But, it's also been nearly 15 years since the set was first available.  Since the Trooper's real gear sucks, you're better off buying cheap figures and then outfitting them with weapons from other sources.  It's far more fulfilling and you avoid the cheapness of the real gear.

For me, these figures were awesome...at first.  In time, though, I found an army of them wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  The figures can have stiff joints, especially in the legs.  This made them difficult to pose and use in various combat situations.  Trying to find weapons for an army was a hassle, too.  It was easy to get a few decent weapons from the JvC sculpt figures of the era.  But, that was frustrating and seemed unnecessary.  As the factory custom Cobra Troopers came online, I found myself using these 2004 versions less and less.  Today, though, I do like them as more specialized units.  The softer hands allow the figures to use more weapons and I like a unit of Cobra Troopers with a SAW, bazooka, mortar, sniper type weapons and heavier assault rifles.  It makes Cobra more dangerous.

In the end, it was fantastic that Hasbro released these figures.  Their entry into collector helped finally quell the built up army building demand.  By the end of 2004, army builders were getting tired out and figures like those in this set started to sell for below retail for a bit.  I would have loved for Hasbro to either have offered a Stinger repaint or two in this set or done a release of repaints that would have given us some new colors.  But, in this case, these figures were perfect for what they were intended to be.  The gear sucked.  But, the figures don't.  Looking back on 2004, that was probably better than could be expected from Hasbro when it came to vintage style Joe releases.

2004 Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, 1993 Detonator, Battle Corps, Toys R Us Exclusive, TRU





Thursday, August 16, 2018

1991 General Hawk - Around the Web

I've not been feeling well for the past week.  So, content is sparse.  If I'm feeling better, things will be back to normal next week.  For now, here's some sparse stuff I was able to find in regards to the excellent 1991 General Hawk figure around the web:

1991 General Hawk Profile

1991 Hawk at the Dragon Fortress

Funskool's take on the 1991 General Hawk

General Hawk Pre-Production at YoJoe.com

General Hawk at 3DJoes.com

1991 General Hawk, Zap, Super Sonic Fighters, 1985 Mauler

1991 General Hawk, Zap, Super Sonic Fighters, 1985 Mauler

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

1991 Sludge Viper - Around the Web

The Sludge Viper lacks spectacular colors.  Even someone like me, who can forgive bright hues can find this figure less than stellar just because of the soft pastels.  But, the mold is actually quite good and definitely on par with Hasbro's best work.  Surprisingly, there's a lot out there on this obscure Cobra.  Here's the best of the Sludge Viper from around the web.

1991 Sludge Viper Profile

Sludge Viper by ScarrViper 1

Sludge Viper on Instagram

Sludge Viper Pre Production at YoJoe.com

Sludge Viper at 3DJoes.com

Sludge Viper by Nekoman

Sludge Viper by ScarrViper 2

Swamp Base Dio


1991 Eco Warriors Sludge Viper, Bulletproof, 1992, DEF, Shockwave, Monster Blaster APC, Mega Marines

Thursday, August 9, 2018

1986 Mainframe - Around the Web

In 1986, computers were novel and big.  But, it shows how forward thinking that Joe was when they included Mainframe as a computer specialist.  The figure is solid.  The grey body was a rarity at the time and the silver and black highlights make for a pretty solid figure.  For me, Mainframe was always an older guy who had great wisdom that was of benefit to the Joe team.  There's a decent amount of material on the figure/character out there.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

Mainframe Profile

Mainframe Video Review

Mainframe at JoeBattleLines.com

Mainframe at 3DJoes.com

Mainframe at JoeADay.com

Mainframe & Zarana by GI_JoeisThere

Mainframe by Otto the Otter

Mainframe by Flatline

1986 Mainframe, 1985 Flint, Mauler, Bazooka, Snake Eyes

1986 Mainframe, 1985 Flint, Mauler, Bazooka, Snake Eyes


1986 Mainframe, 1985 Flint, Mauler, Bazooka, Snake Eyes, TTBP, Dial Tone, Sci Fi

1986 Mainframe, 1985 Flint, Mauler, Bazooka, Snake Eyes, TTBP, Dial Tone, Sci Fi, Beach Head, HAL

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

1993 Frostbite

I really became a Joe collector in the summer of 1995.  I had touched on toy aisles through the years.  I had bought a few Joes at retail between 1992 and 1994.  But, in 1995, it was apparent the Joe line was done.  (I didn't follow any toy news magazines so my only indications were dwindling retail stock.)  As such, I decided I should buy as many Joe figures as I could find at retail before they were gone, again.  So, armed with a summer internship that paid 50% more than I had ever made in my life, I spent the summer sweeping through stores wherever I could in an attempt to snatch up the last bastions of retail G.I. Joe.  As the stock was still fairly plentiful when I started, I was choosy and bought the figures I felt were the coolest first.  As I acquired those, I went down the rungs and picked up any figure with black weapons and finally anyone I could find who wasn't Armor Tech or Ninja Force.  However, as I usually searched for toys on my lunch hour, my time was limited and that usually meant stops only at Toys R Us or Target.  One weekend, though, I was near the mall and decided to check out KB Toys.  They still had a small section of Joes left.  But, their stock featured several figures I had not seen before.  Among them was the 1993 Frostbite figure.

One of the nostalgic bents for this figure is I have still have the stack of cardbacks from all the figures I found at retail in the mid 1990's.  I kept them all and saved them first in the box of a Razor Blade and later in the discarded box from the Cobra Parasite.  They remain bundled together even today, more than 20 years after their purchase.  In pulling out Frostbite's card, I see the $3.49 price tag for the figure.  KB Toys was always more expensive than either Toys R Us or Target when it came to Joe figures.  But, the $3.49 price was closer to the $2.79 price tags from the other stores than I thought.  Still, I recall balking at paying the higher prices, even back then.  But, since I had never seen Frostbite before (nor the Backblast or Keel Haul who I also purchased that day) I bit the bullet in the chance I'd never see the figure again.  And, sure enough, this remained the only 1993 Frostbite figure I would ever see at retail.  So, his purchase was fortuitous.

Upon opening the figure, I found a signature accessory: the figure's mask.  When I was a kid, I was always a fan of removable helmets or masks.  Frostbite's mask was unlike anything I had seen before on a Joe.  The faceless expression left the figure as a perfect arctic army builder.  And, since he included a white version of my favorite MP-5 inspired rifle from that era, this Frostbite became an army of troopers capable of defeating Snow Serpents.  When I found the Blockbuster a while later, this Frostbite joined the crew of Windchill and various Snow Storm repaints and they became a wrecking crew capable of mowing through any well equipped army of 1994 Vipers and 1993 Crimson Guard Commanders who comprised the entirety of my Cobra forces at the time.

As a mold, though, this Frostbite is more than just the mask.  He is not overly detailed with tons of extra items that make him cluttered.  The figure has a well textured winter coat complete with a fur collar, some web gear and three grenades strung across it.  He's interesting enough without being too far gone.  Sure, the aqua blue webbing and orange grenades are somewhat gaudy and don't make much sense in a snowy environment.  But, it was 1993 and a figure that was mostly properly colored with just some splashes of brightness was OK.  Besides, the colors broke up what had, traditionally, been similarly colored figures.  The figure's head is a bit large, but that was how Hasbro was sculpting Joes at the time.  It allows for greater detail on the face and beard.

For gear, Frostbite featured a white weapon tree.  I can accept white weapons for an arctic themed figure.  Plus, the tree used for Frostbite included the 1988 Muskrat Shotgun, the Tracker submachine gun and a machete.  (It also included the 1991 Grunt's weapon.  But, I've never liked that gun and left it on the tree.)  He has the requisite missile launcher and missiles, too.  The mask was what made the figure stand out.  But, getting some weapons whose color matched the figure and his specialty was also useful.  While many of the 1993/1994 weapon tree colors didn't make much sense, all of the arctic figures included white weapon trees which complemented the figures very nicely.

While 1993 can be classified as a year full of repaints, the reality is that most of the newly molded figures to be released that year never saw another repaint.  Frostbite is among them.  This was the only appearance of this mold in the vintage line.  We know that Frostbite was going to return in the first wave of the Battle Corps Rangers line in 1995.  But, that figure would have been an all new mold that featured a removable hat.  (You can see him on the box art of the Battle Station and Sea Wolf.)  So, it's unlikely that Hasbro had any further plans for this mold.  In 1997, though, this Frostbite mold made a surprise appearance in the Toys R Us exclusive 3 packs, though named Blizzard.  (He was a last minute replacement when Hasbro couldn't find the 1988 Blizzard mold.)  This figure features far better paint but worse accessories.  So, a combo of the 1993 and 1997 releases will get you the best version of the figure.  The mold never appeared again, despite Hasbro releasing a couple of arctic vehicles and figure sets.  But, at least the lone repaint was decent.

Frostbite follows the pattern of most Battle Corps Joe affiliated characters.  Dealers will sell the figure for around $10.  And, the figure sells at that point.  On the open market, though, Frostbite will fetch close to $8.  So, you don't have a huge disparity between dealer and market pricing.  Carded Frostbite's can be had for around $20.  And, you can easily find the figure in lots where you'll pay only a couple of bucks for each figure if you don't mind picking up some other brightly colored '90's Joes in the deal.  On some levels, I feel those prices are high for a late release, unpopular Joe figure.  But, at the same time, collector ranks are now comprised heavily of adults who grew up in the 1990's and for whom figures like this Frostbite are their childhood favorites.  So, that plays a big part.

For me, had I now found this figure at retail when I did, it's likely he would have slipped through the cracks.  As a post retail collector, I've always lived in places where arctic figures don't have tremendous use.  (Finding a way to photograph this figure when it's 110 degrees outside certainly doesn't help!)  So, I would have missed a quiet gem had I not stopped into that KB Toys that summer 23 years ago.  Looking back at this figure helps me remember why I started and why I still collect Joe figures.  A lot has happened in the ensuing decades from this figure's release that makes this hobby difficult.  But, looking back to a simpler time helps to put that into perspective.  This Frostbite represents a time when I collected for the sheer joy of the hobby.  It's important for me to recall that every now and then.

1993 Frostbite, Battle Rangers, 1994 Snow Storm, 1986 Iceberg


1993 Frostbite, Headhunter Stormtrooper, DEF, Battle Corps

Thursday, August 2, 2018

1992 Headhunter - Around the Web

The Headhunter is simply a great figure.  He's got a spectacular mold, solid colors and exceptional gear.  Back in the late 1990's, he was also nearly impossible to find as a loose figure.  Slowly, though, that changed and pretty much everyone can enjoy this figure today.  So much so that they're pretty popular and expensive.  But, they remain a favorite of mine.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

1992 Headhunter Profile

Headhunters at the Dragon Fortress

Headhunters at IceBreaker's HQ

Headhunters in Marvel Comics

1992 Headhunter at 3DJoes.com

Headhunters at JoeADay.com

Headhunter Dio

1992 Headhunters, DEF, Cloudburst

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2005 Heavy Assault Squad Snake Eyes

The 2000's brought us a great many failures within the Joe line.  The line flopped at retail several times.  Individual products could pegwarm at unprecedented levels.  And, Hasbro's commitment to making quality products was often called into question.  But, there were good times, too.  There are several figures from that era who stand apart.  Most were nice updates of more obscure character molds.  A shining example is the 2005 Heavy Assault Squad Snake Eyes figure.  All told, this is, probably, the best paint job of this 1991 Snake Eyes repaint.  While it's far from perfect, the HAS Snake Eyes figure features decent colors and a useful purpose.  

The HAS Snake Eyes is something different for the character.  While he retains the signature black color, it's not prevalent all over the figure's body.  The pants, most noticeably, are grey and blue.  (The blue is a bit too close to Cobra blue, though.)  The cammo pattern is a bit distracting.  It's the same set of paint masks as were used on the 2004 Desert Patrol Snake Eyes: just done in different colors.  The figure's upper half is the exact same as the Desert Patrol figure.  So, this Snake Eyes felt overly familiar upon its release.  Thirteen years later, those similarities remain, but they are less fresh in the collective mind of the Joe community.  

Accessory wise, this figure is terrible.  The HAS set was useful in that it dropped a ton of accessories into one set and gave collectors a quick way to gets lots of extra weapons.  But, this was also bad since most of the weapons included with the set were awful.  Snake Eyes was given a Snow Job rifle and a Major Bludd rocket launcher.  The gear was not matched to the characters in the set so you're left with a good Snake Eyes figure with no real weapons that help define his character.

The hallmark of the 1982, 1985 and 1989 Snake Eyes figures was signature gear that complemented and enhanced the figure.  While the 1991 figure featured a poorly colored gun and sword, the gear was still unique to the character.  This HAS Snake Eyes lost that personalized touch that was so evident with the weapons from his prior releases.  So, you're left to the aftermarket to outfit the figure.  Fortunately, easily found 1989 Snake Eyes weapons are a good figure for this figure.  And, if you can find them, you can get a golden version of the 1991 sword and gun from the Night Fighter Guile figure.  The figure even works with an Iron Grenadiers Uzi.  It's not great that you have to go to the aftermarket to get some worthwhile gear for a full factory release.  But, this was pretty much Hasbro's standard in 2004 and 2005 and collectors came to expect it.  (The one big upside is that Hasbro's laziness with weapons helped to spawn Marauder's Gun Runners who did brisk business during this time releasing nice weapons that were far better fits for the retail G.I. Joe figures than anything Hasbro came up with.)

For me, this Snake Eyes is an encapsulation of the early 2000's era of G.I. Joe.  He was a product made for collectors, marketed to collectors and sold to collectors.  Yet, he didn't feel like a collector geared figure.  In the end, this Snake Eyes feels somewhat cluttered.  It's a fun take on Snake Eyes and it's nice to get the character in a different mold.  But, the lack of gear and somewhat offset color scheme take away from what could have been a solid release.  Hasbro made the HAS set as cheaply as possible.  I would have rather that they dropped one figure and released 5 better figures instead of 6 figures that were all flawed.  But, that didn't happen and it left collectors very frustrated.  One of the reasons that the ARAH style exclusive sets started to fail was for that reason.  Every set had so much unrealized potential and all had one flaw that simply made no sense.  

As a mold, this figure got no use and then got a ton of use.  The first Snake Eyes to utilize the mold was released in 1991.  This figure was not carried into 1992, though, and was rather obscure for many of the early years of online Joe collecting.  The 1995 Night Fighter Guile that utilized the body was even moreso.  The figure didn't reappear in any form until 2004.  The entire body first appeared in the fall when the Desert Patrol set featured a full 1991 Snake Eyes, but painted in better colors.  Then, the head appeared on the amazing Winter Operations Snake Eyes.  (This figure is one of the top ARAH style Joes Hasbro created in the 2000's for sure!)  While this HAS figure isn't bad, the tan pants are a different look for Snake Eyes and keep this figure from being the definitive release of the mold.  In the summer of 2005, this HAS Snake Eyes appeared.  The mold was then retired.  While it might have been cool to finally get a definitive repaint of the mold in a DTC or convention release, that was not to be.  But, the mold has all good releases and there's enough untapped potential for an enterprising collector to kitbash together better figures without much effort.

The HAS set had a production run of around 16,000 pieces.  It's release window, though, did not help it at all.  The set appeared after the infamous 2005 G.I. Joe Convention.  You know, the one where Hasbro pulled the set from their display after collector backlash and claimed it was an early sample not ready for public consumption.  Mind you, the EXACT set appeared at retail just a couple of weeks later.  By the time the set was released, Hasbro had succeeded in killing off any remaining interest in the Joe property.  The sets stagnated both at retail and online.  Most collectors decided to wait the set out and see if they could get it on clearance.  And, many did.  Amazon.com blew their remaining stock out for a fraction of the original price.  The set actually sold off faster than some of the Cobra army building sets that were also clearanced.  But, that's more likely a function of Amazon having greater inventory of the Cobras (Hasbro made 20,000 of the Cobra sets during this time compared to only 16,000 of the Joe sets.) than the HAS being more popular than the Crimson Shadow Guard or the Imperial Processional.  

You don't see nearly as many loose Toys R Us six pack figures as you used to.  And, as such, you will see dealers offering this figure for around $25 and actually selling a few to impatient collectors.  If you're willing to wait, you can often get the figure for around $6, though.  And, if you want a loose set and find a lot with in there, you can get the Snake Eyes even cheaper.  Boxed HAS sets will sell in the $50 range...making $25 for just the Snake Eyes a somewhat foolish purchase.  It's a far cry from the days of $6 sets online.  But, more than a decade separates us from this figure's release and the massive overstock bought at clearance prices has now been either dispersed or lost in some former collector's basement.  

2005, Snake Eyes, Heavy Assault Squad, TRU Exclusive, 1988, Shockwave, 1992 Gung Ho

2005, Snake Eyes, Heavy Assault Squad, TRU Exclusive, 1988, Shockwave, 1992 Gung Ho

2005, Snake Eyes, Heavy Assault Squad, TRU Exclusive, 1988, Shockwave, 1992 Gung Ho, Roadblock, Crimson Shadow Guard, General Hawk, Comic Pack