Tuesday, May 30, 2023

2023 Retro Indiana Jones

In late January or early February of 1984, I was owed one figure by my parents.  It was for good grades.  Such incentives were common.  And, many of my figure acquisitions in the spring and fall of 1984 and 1985 were under similar circumstances.  This particular instance, though, I vividly remember.  We were at the Kohl's store on our side of town.  We went fairly often.  The store had only been open since the summer of 1983.  So, it was still new.  Back then, Kohl's had a toy department that rivaled that of Target or K-Mart.  (We didn't have Wal Marts, yet.)  And, in the latter half of 1983, it had been the go-to store for all the hard to find Joes.  I got my Dragonfly there.  And, the only instances of any of my friends finding Torpedo or Trip-Wire were at the store.  So, I had high hopes of getting a new figure for my collection.

When we arrived at the toy aisle, though, there was nothing but sheer retail devastation.  In the Christmas run up and then the post holiday clearance sales, the toy aisles were nearly bare.  One entire aisle that had been full of Star Wars and G.I. Joe was nothing buy empty pegs.  Sure, in 2023, this is a common sight.  But, 40 years prior, it was unfathomable for a store to sell out of such staple toy lines.  There were, though, just two figures hanging on the pegs.  One was a new 1984 Duke.  Normally, this should have been a source of excitement.  But, I had gotten the mail away Duke just a few weeks prior.  The other figure was a carded Indiana Jones figure.

Indiana Jones was iconic at the time.  Every kid knew about the whip and wit that defined the character.  I had passed on his toys, though, because they had articulation that wasn't really Star Wars but then, later, inferior to G.I. Joe.  I had a weird aesthetic where I needed my figure styles to match.  (This is why I could never get into He-Man or the super hero lines of the day.  I didn't see them as compatible to the figures I already had in my collection.)  I held the figure in my hands for a bit.  But, I was unsure if I wanted to waste my gift on him.  It was still a few months from lawn mowing season when I could start buying all the toys I wanted with my own money.  And, I had a weird hesitation about asking my mom to buy him.  I don't know if was just a fear of her going on about buying another all new toy line.  But, I put the Indiana Jones down and left the store.  A week or two later, I found the 1984 Firefly at a local Zayre store and bought him as my gift.  

So, the original Indiana Jones never entered my collection.  I did, though, get the Indiana Jones in Nazi uniform.  It's weird to think that was a thing in the '80's.  But, it was a cool figure.  The leg articulation was a bit weird, though.  And, it made him difficult to use in vehicles.  But, I used him as a generic good guy (the original green shirt!) until I dropped his bazooka in the grass under our jungle gym and couldn't find it.  Once that happened, the figure went into a box with my forgotten Star Wars collection and was, eventually, sold to the kid next door for a quarter per figure.

There is a new Indiana Jones movie coming out later this year. My kids were too young for the Star Wars revival in theatres. But, I'll be able to take them to see the final Indiana Jones movie. That will be fun.  Of course, there's lots of internet drama about the movie.  The usual forces are, of course, up in arms for a variety of reasons.  One thing I learned when watching the sequel trilogy with my boys, though, is that those were entertaining movies.  Maybe they weren't Order 66 level.  But, I had been waiting for that moment since 1983.  So, we'll go.  We'll enjoy the movie.  And, I'll move on with my life from there.

There is no 3 3/4 Indiana Jones line coming for this new movie aside from this retro line, though. That's probably OK since the 2008 line ended up on massive clearance. And, really, there's not much that could be done to the core characters that were made in 2008 that would update them enough to warrant the inevitable $17 price tag in 2023. You can buy MOC figures from 2008 for less than that.  There are, though, new 6" figures that look great.  So, they are the collectible to come from this final revival.

Sadly, though, the quality on this figure is...lacking.  Like the Haslab figures from earlier this year, Hasbro seems to have only intended these toys for MOC collectors.  From that perspective, the figure is great and checks all the boxes.  Once opened, though, the cut corners become apparent.  The pistol doesn't fit into the side holster very well.  And, the figure can't really hold either the gun or the whip.  The whip's always been a weird design.  But, the small hands struggle mightily to hold onto the whip for any period of time.  While the paint is good, the head is definitely different and looks more like a Kenner Han Solo and the vintage Jones figure.  And, finally, there's huge copyright information written on the figure's back.  It's no only offputting, but just seems unnecessary when the Retro Star Wars figures feature unobtrusive COO markings just like the vintage Kenner product.  But, at best, this figure is going to stand in a display case for decades, never seeing any use.  For that, it suffices.  But, I still find it disheartening that Hasbro now makes retail products that they don't even pretend to be anything other than MOC collectibles for adults.

The retro figures are cool because I can now get a facsimile Indiana Jones figure for $12.  Original figures from the '80's are expensive. And, Indy's pistol was one of the very earliest accessories to be bootlegged. So, ungraded ones will often include reproduction gear.  Mint and complete Indiana Jones figures will run up to $300-$400 these days.  I'm not sure if that's hype before the movie or residuals from the COVID hobby spike.  But, it's a pretty big disparity.  And, for my purposes, this figure is good enough.  I don't need an original as I never had one.  Getting a reasonable facsimile for cheap is the perfect compromise.  

2023 Kenner Retro Indiana Jones

2023 Retro Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kenner

Saturday, May 27, 2023

2004 Anti Venom Charbroil - Around The Web

Charbroil isn't a very popular character.  And, his figures don't really resonate with collectors.  (Well, aside from the Night Force version that is overpriced based on its more limited availability.)  So, it was a surprise to see him return in 2004 as a member of the Anti Venom set.  Sadly, the original bug-eyed helmet was replaced with an anonymizing Steel Brigade helmet.  But, that is something you can work with.  There was a surprisingly good amount of content on this figure available.  So, enjoy the 2004 Anti Venom Charbroil from around the web.

2004 Anti Venom Charbroil, Toys R Us Exclusive, Urban Assault Firefly, Cobra Trooper

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

1986 Motor Viper - Random Photos of the Day

The Motor Viper was the vehicle driving companion figure to the 1986 Viper.  As a kid, I wanted as many Motor Vipers as I could get so they could drive all the Cobra vehicles.  For a bit, I was able to do this.  But, I liquidated many of my spares and now have just one that's loose.  That's too bad as this figure looks great with a variety of other accessories.  I've found Techno Viper, BAT and Toxo Viper gear looks really good on the figure.  Heck, even as a kid, I gave this guy the Battle Gear version of the Viper's rifle.  I still think he's one of the best common Cobra drivers.  And, he remains cheap and available enough to outfit all your Cobra vehicles with a Motor Viper crew.

1986 Motor Viper, 2003 BAT, 1987 Maggot, Serpentor, Dr. Mindbender, Viper, AVAC, 1993 Detonator

1986 Motor Viper, 2003 BAT, 1987 Maggot, Serpentor, Dr. Mindbender, Viper

1986 Motor Viper, 2003 BAT, 1987 Maggot, Serpentor, Dr. Mindbender

1986 Motor Viper, 2003 BAT, 1987 Maggot, Serpentor

1986 Motor Viper, 2003 BAT, 1987 Maggot, Serpentor

Saturday, May 20, 2023

1984 Deep Six - Around The Web

Deep Six sucks.  Well, not the character.  Just this 1984 figure.  But, surprisingly, he's always been rather popular when I've posted content on him.  I'm not sure why that is.  There's even a good amount of content on the figure that's out there.  Again, I find this surprising.  I'm likely, though, just out of touch with other collectors really enjoy.  So, here's the best of the 1984 Deep Six content I could find around the web.

1984 Deep Six Profile

1984 Deep Six by Viper Space

1984 Deep Six by corpscommandercody

1984 Deep Six by thedustinmccoy

1984 Deep Six by playfulmonkeycosplay

1984 Deep Six by Attica Gazette

1984 Deep Six at JoeADay.com

1984 Deep Six by nickynostalgia

1984 Deep Six by weregoblin

1984 Deep Six by cobra_mercenary

1984 Deep Six, SHARC

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

1991 Tracker - Random Photos Of The Day

The 1991 Tracker is a figure whose popularity has grown over the years.  As such, you'll pay a premium for a complete version these days.  Sadly, the mold wasn't properly used in the 2000's and he still only exists in brighter colors.  Here's some photos I've taken of him in recent years. 

1991 Tracker, Badger, 1994 Beach Head

1991 Tracker, Locust

1991 Tracker

1991 Tracker

1991 Tracker, 1992 Talking Battle Commander Stalker, Rice Krispies Lifeline

1991 Tracker, Mercer

1991 Tracker, 1992 Flak Viper