Friday, April 12, 2024

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander - Around The Web

We were introduced to Cobra Commander in the early pages of G.I. Joe #1.  At the time, he was wearing his casual hood.  Later, he donned the battle helmet that would become the basis for his first action figure in late 1982.  Two years later, though, kids were graced with a new Cobra Commander, this time wearing the hood.  This figure was only available as a mail away.  But it was available for about a decade.  So, the dealers from the mid 1990's who wanted people to pay a premium for this figure because it was "rare" were taking advantage of na├»ve collectors.  Fortunately, Ebay rectified that as it became obvious there were plenty of Hooded Cobra Commanders to go around.  

The massive overstock that was still available back in 2012 when I profile this figure, though, has dried up.  So, while this version of the Commander is still cheaper than a mint 1983 helmeted figure, you'll pay a premium for it today.  Being a key figure of, perhaps, the most important character in the line, there's tons of content on the figure out there.  Here's some of the best from around the web.

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander Profile

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by dreadnokdread

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander Photos at the Attica Gazette

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by Scarrviper

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander at Nekoman's Viper Pit

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by viper_space

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by Roland da Thompson Gunner

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by cobra_rules_cybertron

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by Slipstream80

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander at 

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by master bungle

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by Nekoman

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander by Sintechness

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander, Mail Away, 2021 Black Major Crimson Guard, factory  custom

1984 Hooded Cobra Commander, Mail Away, Funskool Desert Scorpion, Skeres, Cobra Trooper

Friday, April 5, 2024

1992 DEF Mutt - Random Photos of the Day

Mutt is a classic character with an iconic look.  In 1992, though, Hasbro created an update for him.  Personally, I think it's a solid update to the character.  And, I find it a nice alternative for Mutt.  Not everyone agrees, of course.  But, that's part of what makes collecting fun.

The most interesting thing about this figure is that he is in Slaughter's Marauders colors.  It's a choice that ties this figure to his predecessor.  But, the muted colors allow for this figure to be used in a variety of settings.  And, he's a nice complement to the 1992 Spirit.  

I haven't taken as many photos of this figure as I would have thought.  He's a figure that I enjoy.  So, here's a few photos I've taken of him in the past few years.  Let me know what you think of this guy.

1992 Mutt & Junkyard, DEF, Wildbill, 1991 BAT, Battle Android Trooper

1992 Mutt & Junkyard, DEF, Funskool Flint, Bomb Disposal

1992 Mutt & Junkyard, DEF, BBQ, Eco Warriors, Barbecue

1992 Mutt & Junkyard, DEF, 1993 Gristle

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Major Bludd

I have looked at this sculpt for Major Bludd before.  In fact, I have reviewed every single use of the body and head that was ever released anywhere in the world with one exception: the original that started it all.  All of the subsequent derivatives of this Super Sonic Fighters Major Bludd were done up in the classic brown from Major Bludd's debut look in 1983.  But, this 1990's Sonic Bludd brought a new color scheme to the character and updated him to a much more useful and interesting look.  It doesn't hurt that he's also in some very classic Cobra base colors that allows him to be a prominent member of an updated Cobra High Command.

An interesting point about this figure relates to its colors.  The blue and yellow are a nice blend of colors that works not only for Bludd, but for figures in general.  As this Major Bludd appeared in the cartoon, too, his look was exported around the world.  In India, Funskool had released a brown Major Bludd for several years that was based on the original Hasbro figure from 1983.  However, around 1993, Funskool repainted the 1983 Major Bludd mold in a blue and yellow color scheme.  It was likely that this was done to match the toy to the colors that appeared in the cartoon.  (The cartoon was airing in India during this time.)  So, you can spend way too much money to get a version of Major Bludd in this color scheme, but on his original mold.  Hasbro was keen to ensure that certain characters matched media releases.  So, Funskool updating an original mold into a new color scheme to match the cartoon was rather unique in the Joe world.

The figure itself does get maligned for the overabundance of grenades that are sculpted onto the figure's body.  There's way too many of them, for sure.  They can hinder the ability of the figure to fit inside certain vehicle cockpits.  Aside from that, though, the rest of the figure is just amazing.  Bludd carries over the dog tags from his original figure.  And, his overall harness and suit combo really do fit with Bludd as a jet pack user.  Which, at its core, is what this figure really is.  This is Bludd's flight suit as he soars among the clouds.  No one uses this figure in that regard.  But, it is the reason that this version of Bludd exists.

Situated among the '90's releases of Cobra Commander, Destro and Firefly, this Bludd fits perfectly.  The color palettes of these later figures all mesh well.  The bulkier sculpts give the early characters more heft and make them more posable with 1990's Joe figures.  You don't often see the 1990's Cobra High Command pics, though.  That iconography is reserved for the early 1980's figures.  And, the missing Baroness also makes the later team look incomplete.  But, Bludd, et al, really work either in the original swivel head versions from the early 80's or the ball headed updates from the early 90's.

Major Bludd's accessories are...well...terrible.  He has the oversized sonic jet pack.  Of the sonic packs, his being a jet pack probably makes the most sense.  So, I can forgive that.  His other gear...not so much.  He includes a yellow rifle that's one of the worst designed weapons in the line.  It seems like it was intended to be part of a vehicle and would attach to a gun port.  Instead, it was repurposed for this figure.  He then includes an odd "sonic disruptor cannon".  It's a two handed weapon (making it rather unique in the Joe line) with a not terrible design.  As a throw in, it's not bad.  But, when Bludd's main weapon is so terrible, the disruptor cannon becomes less acceptable.  The card artwork, though, clearly shows Bludd wielding the pistol that would, ultimately, be included with the Air Devil.  This would have been a better weapon for sure.  And, I would love to know how Bludd came to include his yellow rifle instead of the superior Air Devil design.

I acquired my first version of this figure back in 1999.  I bought a lot of 1990 and 1991 figures.  It was about 50 mint and complete with filecard figures.  I paid well under $100 for the lot since no one liked '90's figures back then.  When the lot arrived, most of the figures were bagged with their correct gear and filecards.  A few, though, weren't.  This Major Bludd was one of them.  Instead, he was holding a 1990 Rock Viper pistol.  While I knew this wasn't meant to be his weapon, that pistol just kind of stuck with this Major Bludd.  And, through the years, I've used that Rock Viper weapon more with various repaints of the Bludd mold than I have with actual Rock Vipers.  Even today, I'm more inclined to pose this Major Bludd figure with that Rock Viper pistol than I am to give it to the actual Rock Viper.

This Bludd has often found use in my collection.  But, it was almost always the later, brown paint jobs.  You can find the blue figure in a few very early pictures on the site.  He was almost always paired with the 1993 Firefly.  I saw the figure as a new character, though.  So, he was rarely used as Bludd.  Those days, though, are gone.  And, now, I see this as a great way to have Major Bludd interact with later Cobra characters and army builders.  The bulkier sculpt is more in line with his contemporary releases.  And, Bludd looks great among the stalwart Cobras from the latter half of the line's history.  

So, one of the subtle points of contention about the Super Sonic Fighters relates to their release year.  YoJoe put them as 1991 releases.  And, for that reason, they were considered to be 1991 figures for decades.  Recently, though, reclassified the series as a 1992 release.  Personally, I'm not sold on this change.  The Super Sonic Fighters feature only other 1991 released on their cardbacks.  But, I'm not privy to the internal paperwork and other documentation that other well reasoned collectors used to come to their conclusion.  The reality is that the idea of a yearly wave of Joes went out the window with the advent of subsets in the 1990's.  (And, could be argued back as far as the Battle Force 2000 figures being 1987 or 1988 releases.)  So, while the main carded line did have a set year of release, the subsets were phased in as the year progressed.  And, it's entirely possible that a set was a very late release one year and was meant as a main retail alternative for the subsequent release year.  In the end, you'll see this figure labelled as either a 1991 or a 1992 release.  For now, either will do.  As older guides fall out of favor, 1992 may become the de facto standard.  Personally, old habits die hard.  And, I've had this figure and his brethren in my 1991 drawers since 1999.  Rather than move them, I'll just continue to call this a 1991 release: knowing full well that it could change at some point in the future.

This Major Bludd mold debuted in 1991.  The head was then used around 1994 for the Chinese Major Bludd.  In very late 2000, the entire figure was repainted in brown and released as part of the ARAHC line.  This figure was shipped with the Rock Viper and was an international pegwarmer of near epic proportion.  Hasbro then, oddly, shipped the mold off to India.  In 2002, Funskool released Major Bludd based on the ARAHC figure: just in a lighter brown.  This is the end of the mold.  So, really, there's two brown versions and this one blue version.  Both are excellent.  And, since we got the mold in classic Bludd colors, there's not really any reason  for another coloring to exist.

The Sonic Fighters figures had limited release windows.  While there were plenty on the shelves during their release year, they were just released during that short time.  So, today, you don't find these figures with the same frequency as their contemporary standard carded figures.  During the price surge between 2018 and 2021, this Major Bludd climbed as high as $40 for a mint and complete figure.  So, dealers still try to sell them for that price.  But, you can get a mint an complete figure for around $15 in the current market.  If you're willing to sacrifice completeness, you can get the figure for under $8.  So, that makes this figure a worthwhile addition to any collection.

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Major Bludd, 1992, 2023 Black Major Steel Brigade

1991 Super Sonic Fighters Major Bludd

Saturday, March 30, 2024

O-Ring Ghostbusters Figures - Not an Early April Fools Joke

We all know that 3 3/4 o-ring Joes have been a retail flop.  Hasbro canned a planned 2 pack and we haven't seen any new packs in a couple of years.  The Transformers crossovers are collecting dust at every retailer who was dumb enough to buy them.  And, Amazon can't give away the Transformers sets for a fraction of the original retail price.  What if, though, the issue with the vintage Joe style is not the 40 year old engineering.  But, instead, it is the property on  which the style is used?  

Well, we're about to find out.  Hasbro threw a curve ball at Wondercon on 3/30/24 that no one saw coming.  They will be releasing a 3 3/4 o-ring set of the original Ghostbusters figures.  Now, I won't pretend that I ever wanted Joe compatible Ghostbusters.  But, for the right price, they are something I'll buy.  From the mock up image below, the figures look decent enough.  The heads will likely be a little overdetailed to be 100% matches for vintage Joes.  But, the rest of the bodies look like they were stripped straight from a 1983 Doc.  

It will be interesting to see how these do.  The Ghostbusters Haslab funded almost immediately.  So, there's a fanbase.  And, since everything but the heads and Bill Murray's lower legs look like reuse of the same parts, Hasbro doesn't have a ton invested in the tooling.  The proton packs look like 1982 Joe gear with the attached hoses.  They should be more pliable than the old Hasbro accessories.  And, I'm unlikely to be all that invested in their quality when these proton packs turn 40.  

As a kid, I wished that every toy line and property was available in Joe construction.  If Hasbro starts looking at other properties that could be ported over to classic construction, I wouldn't hate that.  But, I'm also unlikely to fully support every product released in the style.  But, if Joe isn't viable in the vintage style, I'm OK if other licensed characters are.  I'll approach them much like I do Kickstarters and Factory Customs.  If something's cool, I'll buy it.  But, I'll easily skip anything that doesn't really speak to me.

I'll be very curious on pricing.  If they price out at $22 each like the Pulse Joes, they will be a tougher buy for me.  If they're in the $13 range, they're much more palatable.  Supposedly, there is a compatible Ecto-1, too.  Getting an all new 3 3/4 compatible vehicle will be nice.  Though, the Ecto-1 is so iconic that it would be tough to integrate into a Joe collection.  But, cool toys are cool toys.  And, so far, these look OK and are a direction that isn't terrible for a company like Hasbro who has really struggled over the past couple of years.

(Update - it appears the figures will run about $44 for the set.  If so, that's an amazing price.  And, it also means that we paid $10-$11 extra per figure for the Pulse o-ring Joes....)

Hasbro 3 3/4 o-ring Ghostbusters Figures

Friday, March 29, 2024

1985 Bazooka - Around The Web

This weekend is Easter weekend.  For Easter in 1985, my younger brother found Bazooka in his basket.  He found his basket first.  So, I just assumed that I was going to have a Joe as part of my holiday haul.  I was desperately hoping for Flint.  But, when I found my basket, there was no Joe figure in it at all.  I have no recollection of what I did get.  But, it wasn't a Joe and that's all that I remember.  It's been 39 years and I'm still butthurt over it.  I need therapy.

I'm also known for posing Bazooka with his launcher backwards.  I never liked the idea of the rocket sticking out of the front.  I pose Footloose with his launcher the proper way.  But, it's a different mold.  Like Buzzer's saw, though, I find Bazooka's weapon posing to be a relic of my childhood.  So, it's unlikely to ever change.  None of the photos below feature him holding his weapon.  But, my older photos do showcase my preferred way of him holding his weapon.

It seems that hashtags are now extremely limited.  Which makes it hard (impossible, really) to search out old photos on everyone's favorite photo site.  It makes the site far less usable.  But, it's also indicative of the "fire and forget" mentality of social media.  In my searches, though, I found that several of my personal favorite photographers seldom use Bazooka.  It's likely because he's just so out of place in 1985.  And, it's really hard to make him look cool.  But, I found a bit of content using him.  There is, of course, a lot more.  It's just really hard to find.  So, take a look at Bazooka while I go and eat way too much chocolate in a desperate bid to overcome my sadness of not getting a G.I. Joe figure for Easter when I was 11.

1985 Bazooka Profile

1985 Bazooka by thedustinmccoy

1985 Bazooka at

1985 Bazooka Unknown White Numbers Figures

Brazilian Bazooka - Rarities

1985 Bazooka by dreadnokdread

1985 Bazooka by steelbrigade

1985 Bazooka by sammyscollectibletoyhall

1985 Bazooka by theatticagazette

1985 Bazooka by ankolsamtoys

1985 Bazooka by thedustinmccoy

1985 Bazooka, Crankcase, Ripper, Dreadnok, 1988 Mean Dog

1985 Bazooka, Mauler, 1986 Mainframe

1985 Bazooka, 1986 Dial Tone, Beach Head, Armadillo