Tuesday, April 18, 2000

1985 Crimson Guard

Honestly, I wasn't planning on profiling any figures this week. The Nullifier was just something I had in my drafts folder and I cleaned it up and moved it into production. However, I was scanning Ebay and was awed by the prices for which mint, complete Crimson Guards were selling. Since I have 5 of them, I went home and pulled a couple out to see if I should sell them while the getting's good. After looking at the figure, though, I remembered why this figure is so inexplicably cool. I mean, this guy has a bright red (crimson) uniform. Sure, it has cool trappings, but it's still red. Had he come out in the '90's, this guy would have been a laugher. For some reason, though, this figure is just awesome. I can't bring myself to part with any of mine. They have a great mold and represent what Cobra was capable of doing. Also, since he is one of the immortal '85 Cobras, though, he holds a special place in many people's collections.

The Crimson Guard, or Siegie (CG, Cee Gee, get it?), as he was referred to in the comic, is the silent Cobra of which was only hinted about. These guys were deep cover operatives who infiltrated white collar America, never revealing their true loyalties. These guys weren't battlefield troops, they silently took over vast amounts of money and made people give in to their whims if they wanted to survive. Of course, a figure in a pinstripe suit that comes with a briefcase and pall point pen isn't all that exciting. Hasbro opted to release this figure in his ceremonial red uniform. The result is an awesome figure with a great mold, excellent detail, and a cool weapon. In G.I. Joe #29, they introduced the Crimson Guards in an elaborate ceremony. The first Fred shed his uniform, donned a suit, and climbed into a family sedan. The silent infiltration had begun.

From the minute I saw the Crimson Guard, he reminded me of the Emperor's Royal Guards from Return of the Jedi. Those guys used the red color as a regal, ceremonial symbol, but also masked deadly weapons behind the pomp. That also perfectly describes the Siegie. These guys were never meant for combat, but would appear during Cobra Commander's ceremonies as bodyguards or just a show of force. They were the Commander's private army. It is really a shame that the Siegie activities were never fleshed out in the comic. You could tell that Larry Hama had a fondness for the potential these guys possessed. Unfortunately, they never got the chance to realize it. I think that they would have made for an excellent sub story to the Cobra Island creation. I think, though, that it would have taken quite a long time to bring any sort of infiltration America story to a head. Hasbro was always anxious and liked to blow it's cover and reveal new products earlier than scheduled. I have a feeling that as the Siegies disappeared from store shelves, Hasbro put undue pressure on the comic creators to introduce new villains so those figures would sell. While the Siegie's would make token appearances for many years, they could never come to the forefront of Cobra Commander's plans.

At first, I used these guys as battlefield troops. My old, blue Cobras had bitten the dust and these guys were the most ready replacements. When the Viper came out in 1986, though, these guys became the elite troops they were meant to be. I had the Sears Crimson Hiss and had my guards ride that as the command vehicle into the fray. They were the leaders of the minions. They also served as the emergency help when Cobra was in serious trouble. I don't know where I got the idea, but I thought that Eels had to first serve as guardsmen. Since the Snow Serpents came from the Eel ranks, I had my Cobra hierarchy all set. The Guardsmen were good, but the Eels and Snow Serpents were better. Sadly, because of this, I stopped using my Guardsmen after a couple of years. They fell by the wayside. I knew that I had a couple, so I passed up many fantastic opportunities to add to my total. Now that Cobra Commander is back at the forefront of my collection, I suspect that the Guardsmen will start making many more appearances, and, if the price should fall, their numbers will certainly grow.

The Crimson Guards started a small franchise. Tomax and Xamot, a very dumb gimmick, were made their commanders. We also got a Sears exclusive Crimson Guard Hiss Tank, Mobat, and Mobile Missile System. In 1991, the mighty Crimson Guard Immortal graced the shelves. Finally, in 1993, the Crimson Guard Commander brought the genre to a close. The original figures, though, enjoyed a nice run of popularity. They appeared regularly in the comic and cartoon. In fact, I think they nearly replaced the old, blue Cobra soldiers of the first couple of years. That exposure, though, shows the dichotomy of the character. In the cartoon, he was a buffoonish trooper. In the comic, he was the pinnacle of Cobra advancement. They were never squandered on the battlefield and spent their days silently accumulating wealth and power in corporate America. They were the power that Cobra Commander knew he had, but was not willing to share with his other confidants. The Siegies were the Commander's trump card that he could play whenever anyone got too uppity. Had they had more time to explore the Siegie world, I think Cobra would have been the better for it.

The Crimson Guard mold was used by Hasbro in 1985 and again in 1989 when it appeared in the Python Patrol. After that, the mold was sent to Brazil where it was also released in a Python Patrol motif. (Though, this figure had the upper arms of Copperhead. That mold appeared to be gone at that point. As such, in 2003, Hasbro recreated the legs, torso and waist for the Crimson Guard and used them on the Agent Faces figure. This was just the beginning for the mold as it then appeared in Operation Crimson Sabotage in 2004, in a Toys R Us exclusive figure pack in 2005 and then in black as part of the Crimson Shadow Guard that came out later that same year. The mold was also planned for use in the Crimson Infiltrate set that was cancelled in 2003. At this point, the Crimson Guard mold has been used enough that most collectors should have adequate representations of it in their collections. However, I do think that we could still have a couple more uses of this figure in the standard Cobra blue or some other color that would keep the mold relevant.

Crimson Guards are very easy to find. Unfortunately, they are very, very expensive. They've been selling in the $20-$25 range for a loose, mint, complete specimen. That is far more than they are worth. These guys were released during the height of Joe's popularity. There are probably, literally millions of them out there. If you're going to shell out big bucks for this guy, make sure you're not doing it because you think the figure rare. He is one of the most common figures ever produced. Of course, he is also among the most popular. They look great in pairs and in large groups. They are a collector favorite for army builders. (I've already said that I have 5.) They are also one of the best diorama building figures out there. For this reason, I don't see their popularity decreasing any time soon. There seems to be an upswing in Joe prices right now. Frankly, the market can't support figures at these prices for very long. In the early days of vintage Star Wars figure resurgence, many figures were selling for ridiculous amounts. Suddenly, these seemingly rare figures started appearing in bulk and the prices dropped back down to normal. The same will happen with Joe. While figures like the Crimson Guard will remain more expensive than many other Joe figures, they won't keep the prices normally reserved for hard to find action figures. If you're into building armies of these guys, my advice is to wait.

I dig the Siegie, but am not willing to shell out what he now is fetching. What are willing to pay for an army builder? Email me.

1985 Crimson Guard, 2004 Operation Crimson Sabotage, Crimson Hiss Tank, KB Toys Exclusive

1985 Crimson Guard, 2004 Operation Crimson Sabotage, Crimson Hiss Tank, KB Toys Exclusive

Monday, April 17, 2000

1988 Nullifier

Most subsets that were released in the Joe line are held in high disdain by modern collectors. Many, like Eco Warriors, Star Brigade, Slaughter Marauders, Cobra La, etc., have a special place in many Joe collections, at the bottom. Before the nonsense picked up serious steam, though, In 1988, Hasbro came out with the Iron Grenadiers subset. This was a group controlled by a now independent of Cobra Destro. They had their own army, equipment, and agenda. At long last, G.I. Joe had an enemy other than Cobra to deal with. Almost every figure released in the Iron Grenadiers are awesome. The Iron Grenadier figures themselves are a better version of the original Cobra troops. The vehicles were ultra modern, but made for very cool toys. From those vehicles, the AGP, is where we get this figure, the Nullifier.

This figure is as forgotten as they come. Since he was a pilot in a bizarre flying contraption, he doesn't see much press nowadays. However, this figure has become an integral part of my Cobra legions. When you take him out and start using him, you realize what a great figure this is. The guy has a tight helmet, (Plus he does have a face shield, but I don't have one with any of my Nullifiers.) cool body armor, and a size to him that makes him look like a badass. This guy is my Cobra enforcer. He carriers heavy weapons and only appears in special circumstances. I use him as a guard for high ranking officials. His mold has all the trappings of being highly modern and full of surprises. The complicated grooves on his torso armor also allow for some creative license when developing his back story. I use a couple of these guys as support for lesser Cobra forces. When they need some serious firepower, the Nullifiers come in and clean everything up for them. These guys help keep the younger, more inexperienced, and more poorly equipped Cobra forces from getting in over their head. As this is their primary usage, these guys work great in tandem. Two of them are the perfect support for a group of Vipers that are in too deep.

The AGP is a pretty fun aircraft. I currently keep mine piloted by an Astro Viper. I just can't, in good conscience, have an aircraft piloted by any figure that doesn't have a removable helmet. The death scenes with removable helmet figures are just so much fun to ever have a pilot without one. The pod is small, has a couple of big guns, and comes with four missiles. I don't think it has much basis in reality, but it is typical of the Iron Grenadiers vehicles; it is a very fun toy, if not entirely realistic. I have found that it has become one of my more frequently used Cobra aircraft. I much prefer smaller aircraft. They are more fun to play with as you can hold the bad guy in one hand the good guy in the other. I do like the Rattler, but other than that, I have found most of the big planes to be very worthless toys if you like to play with them off the ground. Don't get me wrong, an airfield diorama is very cool, but acting out dogfights is kind of a waste of time if you only have the big planes. The smaller aircraft, such as Firebats, AGPs, Skyhawks, and Mud Fighters make up the majority of my primary air wing. They engage each other in combat all the time. On special occasions, my Hurricane VTOL or P-40 Warhawk from the Sgt. Savage line (A great concept with cool vehicles, but in the wrong scale to be truly compatible with Joes that came out in 1995) come into the fray. For the most part, though, smaller planes engage each other in far more entertaining battles than a pair of Skystrikers and Night Ravens could ever.

Nullifiers are a weird figure. You don't see them that often, but not many people look for them. If you take the time to seek them out, you can find these guys without too much difficulty. They aren't expensive, as they aren't all that popular. Since these guys weren't officially Cobras, the prices don't rise meteorically due to a small painted sigil. Finding one complete with his faceshield can be a bit of a challenge, but the figure works well without it as well. If you can find these guys, they make nice army builders, both for Iron Grenadiers and Cobra. You will have to outfit them with some weapons from your reserves, but I have found that the black version of Airwave's rifle that came with the 1993 Leatherneck is a perfect gun to transform these guys into the heavy hitters for which I use them. They have become an integral part of my armies. If you give them a chance, they can become favored figures in your collection as well.

I need this guy's faceshield. If you can help, email me.

1988 Nullifer, Iron Grenadier, Voltar, AGP

Friday, April 7, 2000

1987 Mercer

In 1987, Hasbro was using the professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter as a spokesman for the G.I. Joe line. I won't go into how many collectors feel about his presence in G.I. Joe, but he did leave a lasting legacy. In 1987, Hasbro released a three pack of figures called Sgt. Slaughters Renegades. In later literature, after the relationship with the old Sarge had been broken, they were just referred to as the Renegades. At any rate, they were a group of outsiders who operated for G.I. Joe, but had no official status. They were supposed to do the dirty work. Alas, they were never utilized as such. They never appeared in the comic, though there were many situations where they could have been useful. Because of their lack of appearances, these guys kind of fell by the wayside. The three figures that made up the pack were supposed to be a "Circus strongman, an ex-football star, and an ex-Cobra Viper". It was this last figure that has endeared itself to collectors.

The Renegades were a pretty useless 3 pack. (Not as bad as Cobra-La, but don't get me started!) Red Dog tried to capitalize on the lack of fame held by a Samoan NFL player at the time. Taurus was the perfect Eastern European stereotype. Mercer, though, was actually a good figure. He had a nice mold, a unique gun, and a perfect background story. He was the only Cobra to ever successfully defect to the Joes. Why this story's potential was never explored is far beyond me. Still, it made for a great figure with lots of play potential. Mercer is an awesome mold. He just looks cool. Many people prefer his 1991 incarnation, but I am more partial to this one. The 1991 is a nice figure and does make for some great custom fodder, but, to me, this figure is now and will always be Mercer. I just can't overcome the differences in appearance between the two figures. I think the personality I made for this figure just wouldn't fit the 1991 version. As such, I am left with another figure with which I can do anything I want.

This version of Mercer looks like the type of guy Cobra would recruit; young, angry, lost, and mean. The later version appears as a much more mature figure. This guy seems like an impetuous hot head who would have joined Cobra for the promise of riches, plus the chance to shoot at people. I think part of the figure's evolution between the 4 years that separate his versions is that the young, fiery man who joined Cobra became disenfranchised with what Cobra espoused. He finally mustered up the courage to leave. After he did, he was still the hot head, but, over time, matured into the figure that was released in 1991. The drive that made him a great Viper, and allowed him to escape, would haunt him for a few years as he tried to fit into the more regimented G.I. Joe team. That explains why he was an off the books type of guy who later became part of the team.

Mercer has always been a large part of my collection. One look at the wear on this specimen you see pictured will testify to his extensive use. I used him as the ex-Viper, a malevolent bounty hunter, or a turncoat traitor. He was a figure that had all sorts of potential. Since he was never used in any capacity in any official Joe continuity, I could do whatever I wanted with him. One of the more elaborate plots I ever undertook had Mercer defecting to the Joes, killing a major Cobra big wig (Serpentor), and then turning on the Joes in the end. It was all a plot by Cobra Commander to assassinate one of his rivals by having the Joes, lead by a "defector", do the deed. Mercer can lead to all sorts of great plots. That is why he is a mainstay in many works of fan fiction. People just like to flesh him out. He is one of the deeper characters that was never explained in any element of Joedom. Because of this oversight, we are left with a cool figure that can be used any way we want.

Mercers, like the other 1987 3 pack figures, aren't all that easy to get. Of all of them, though, Mercer is far and away the most popular. Since his new version was released on a regular card in 1991, though, many collectors use that figure to represent the Mercer character. That keeps this figure from getting too expensive. He will, though, cost you a bit more than other '87's that were available on their own, individual cards. He can also be tough to find complete. The Renegades three pack did not separate the weapons meant for each figure. From the card art, you could figure out the correct gun to apply to each figure, but the packs are a different story. I always used the pack you see in the photo. Other guides have different packs as being the ones associated with Mercer. At any rate, he should come with a pack. Which one you feel he should have will be left as an exercise to the reader. This guy is a nice figure that should be a part of anyone's collection, regardless of your feelings about his association with Sgt. Slaughter. Once you have him, you will learn all sorts of great uses for this guy.

Lots of people use Mercer in their fan fictions. I use the figure, but not the character. What's your opinion? Email me.

1987 Mercer, Sgt. Slaughters Renegades

1987 Mercer, Sgt. Slaughters Renegades, 2004 Anti Venom Barricade, Scarlett, Daina

1987 Mercer, Sgt. Slaughters Renegades, 2004 Anti Venom Barricade, Scarlett, Daina

1987 Mercer, Sgt. Slaughters Renegades, 2008 AWE Striker, 1991 Dusty

1993 Mail Away Deep Six

In 1989, Hasbro finally released a playable version of Deep Six. He had originally been included in the 1984 vehicle called the SHARC. This vehicle had its uses, but the figure, an unarticulated huge hunk of plastic, was absolutely useless. He was supposed to be a deep sea diver, but the figure was so terrible that he was thrown in my junk box and still, to this day, has never been taken out. The 1989 version, though, was awesome. The figure had a respectable diving suit, a pack befitting a diver, and a great, removable helmet. This figure is, for me anyways, the ultimate deep sea diving figure. As such, I have four of them. In 1993, though, Hasbro offered this figure via mail order. It came in the neonified colors that most of the 1993 repaints saw, but is still a cool figure. When I finally got one, this figure actually replaced the original coloring as my most favored deep sea rescue trooper.

I have made it clear many times before that I don't mind neon figures. This is another guy where I feel neon is warranted. I use this guy as a deep sea rescue trooper. It makes sense for him to wear colors that others can see. The gold gun is a bit much, but is also easily replaceable with the grey version from the 1989 Deep Six. When that is done, this figure is very fun to own. I also like the contrast that is created by the bright yellow and the dark black. It creates a nice dichotomy that makes the figure that much more enjoyable. The detail of the mold, with the built in air hoses and helmet latches, makes it evident that this figure was designed when the Joe engineers were still motivated to create an incredible product. The detail of the mold is what makes this figure stand out among Joe divers. He has all sorts of uses in a variety of situations. The mold on this figure is one of my favorites. I am a sucker for removable helmets, especially ones like this. It allows you to use the figure as a nameless peon who can be wasted by stealthy Eels. Figures like this make up the bulk of my Joe collection. I never fell for the idea that a group of 5 guys could take out an entire army of Cobras. As such, I have to have army builders for my Joes as well.

The original 1989 version of this figure is also very cool. As I only have one loose sample of this '93 version, I use him as the leader of a highly specialized search and rescue team that also includes my four 1989 versions. The '89's are also very common. They are a good figure to get if you want to build underwater armies. I have actually had an easier time getting the '89's, but that is also partly due to the fact that I didn't want to pay more than $3.00 for the '93 figure. That, though, should also give you an indication of both figures' availability and price. They are cheap and plentiful and easy figures with which to build armies. When I get a Flagg, these guys will be the quick response team that will respond every time a fighter goes in the drink. With the new swimming pool and an underwater camera, I should be able to get a nice diorama set up. You can be sure, though, that when I do that, the pics will appear here.

Hasbro used the Deep Six mold twice: in 1989 and 1993. After that, it was sent to India where Funskool released a Deep Six in colors very similar to the 1989 version for many years. As Funskool is now out of the Joe business, it is likely that Hasbro now has this mold back in their possession. However, what would they do with it? Deep Six isn't a character that many collectors clamour for. Nor is the mold one that would be greatly improved with a new color scheme. At some point, I could see the figure being part of an aquatic themed convention set. But, beyond that, I don't think many collectors would mind if the Deep Six mold were never used again.

1993 Deep Six's aren't too tough to find. They were available as a mail in near the end of the line, and many had to be liquidated for ridiculously low prices. Now, you can find them MIB for only a couple of dollars. He makes an excellent army building figure, though, and is available enough for you to do so. Like most of the later mail ins, though, I wouldn't expect unlimited, and cheap, availability to stay around for long. Many MIB figures are starting to stay that way as they disappear into private collections. If you want to open and play with this guy, I would suggest picking a couple of them up now, before the supply drys up. These guys, though, will never attain massive popularity, so I doubt that the price will ever climb too high. If you are like me, though, and like many multiples in your army, now is the time to add these guys.

Who is your favorite diver? Email me.

1993 Mail away Deep Six, 1992 Cobra Eel, 1988 Cobra Bugg

1993 Deep Six, Mail Away

1993 Deep Six, Mail Away, 1986 Devilfish, 1985 Flint, Shipwreck

1991 Desert Scorpion

In 1991, Cobra got one of the three greatest crops of new troopers it would ever receive. The Desert Scorpion was one of those figures. He came with a good, if interesting, mold, cool weapons, a solid background, and a giant, mutant black scorpion. All of these things come together to make a figure that is cool to own, but hard to use. His cloth wrap coming out of his head is a very unique feature that had previously been used on Dusty. It had been 6 years, though, since that figure and it was time for them to use it again. The Desert Scorpion was the only desert fighter that was ever produced for Cobra. It only took them over half a decade after the first Joe desert trooper to even things out. Fortunately, the Desert Scorpion was a more than ample opponent for all the desert fatigues Joes.

This figure came with some interesting accessories. He has two hand diggers that attach to his hands. They make for cool looking weapons, but only work in hand to hand combat. I also don't know how applicable they would be to dig in the desert sand. He also comes with a small pistol, but it is pretty cool. His pack is a convoluted contraption, though, that allows you to attach his pistol and a missile. I've never quite figured this thing out, but it does look good when totally assembled. He also comes with a life size, to you and me, plastic scorpion. If this thing was meant as Joe scale, then Cobra is growing scorpions that are larger than Croc Master's alligators. It is a silly accessory, but only seems to add to the Desert Scorpion's appeal.
I live in the desert. As such, you would think this figure would have an appeal to me. Unfortunately, it does not. Desert fighters were never much fun for me to use. I grew up in the Midwest and spent most of my days playing in lush, green backyards. Therefore, I like jungle and forest figures. Still, I found uses for the original Dusty. Since he never had a Cobra counterpart, though, he never really went on actual desert missions.

 Now that I have a couple of Desert Scorpions, I still never use any Joes on desert missions. I just don't see the appeal. I have much more fun in the water or in the jungle or forest. There's just so much more to do. The only thing I hope to do with this figure will only occur if I can find a real live scorpion in my backyard. (They don't tend to come to the highly urbanized areas like I live in, but an occasional scorpion will be found in the palm trees or saguaros.) If I ever find one, I've been living in Arizona for three years now and have yet to see one in the wild, I will take a picture of my Desert Scorpion figures next to it. That image will be about all I can ever hope to really get out of these figures.

Desert Scorpions are fun figures to own. They do look cool, but I just don't go for desert troops. I lament that many of the better Joe molds from the late years of the line were cast in desert fatigue colors. It makes these guys hard to integrate in with my other figures that are in normal cammo gear. The Desert Scorpions don't see much time in my collection. Every now and then, I pull them out to take a look at them, but that's about it. I just don't enjoy the desert combat the way I do other aspects. Perhaps, in my new house, I will use these guys more. Since I don't have desert landscaping, though, I don't see these guys getting any more time. Still, they are cool figures that not too many people have, or even know about. They don't get much press, even though they are tougher figures to find. I think that since they are relatively scarce, they don't get any publicity. They are out of mind for most Joe collectors. The other, more prominent, Cobras from all years tend to dominate collector attention and keep this guy from attaining more respectable status.

Desert Scorpions are tough to find. They came with many small accessories that were easily lost. As such, complete ones go for ridiculous prices. 1991 was also a year that seems to be a bit scarce. For whatever reason, figures from that year don't appear all that often. The Desert Scorpion is among the hardest figure to find from a normally scarce year. These guys and Crimson Guard Immortals don't come around all that often. Even missing a few accessories, these guys get expensive in a hurry. Your best bet to check out large lots. I got both of mine in lots for which I paid about $2.00 per figure. Building an army of these guys, even if you are of unlimited means, is very difficult. They are just not common. When they do appear, they get lots of attention. Since this was the only desert fighter ever issued in the Cobra line, he is popular with people who like setting up realistic dioramas. Needless to say, this only enhances this figures' desirability. If you get the opportunity to pick one of these guys up for a good price, don't hesitate. You will lament it for a good long time if you do.

On another interesting note, check out Funskool's version of this figure and see an interesting take on the desert color scheme.

These guys are tough, but I've got all I want. Who was your favorite Cobra from the 90's? Let me know.

1991 Desert Scorpion, Dusty

1991 Desert Scorpion, Dusty

1991 Desert Scorpion, 1994 Flint

1991 Desert Scorpion, 2005 Flak Viper

1991 Desert Scorpion, 2008 AWE Striker, 1987 Mercer, Dusty

1991 Desert Scorpion, 1987 Cobra Commander, 2008 Headhunter BAT

1993 Firefly

First off, let me say that this figure is not Firefly. Firefly is only personified in the awesome 1984 version. That being said, this figure is still very cool. Most collectors are not fond of the fact that Firefly was made into a ninja to fit into the Snake Eyes story. If you can get past those connotations that this figure evokes, you can actually find out this is a very cool, and very playable figure that deserves some positive attention. It is an oft forgotten gem that came out at a time when many hard core collectors were beginning to be alienated by the line. As such, not many people hold this figure in high regard. This is one instance, though, where the 1993 repaint was superior to the 1992 version that was trimmed in gray instead of black. Still, that is not enough to attract most people's attention.

This figure has a very aesthetically pleasing color scheme, and the uniform is very nice. It is very subtle, but the grenades and chain mail armor show that he means business. You may not like neon colors, but this green fits in nicely and is fun to look at. I consider this version to be superior to the gray and green 1992 version. The black is just more menacing and stands in starker contrast to the green. This figure also comes with a good rifle. It would, of course, be better had it been cast in black, but I don't have a problem with green weapons. (The original Firefly's sub machine gun was green in color. How many people to you hear complaining about that?) The little top spinning thing he came with was lame as a concept, but kind of fun to fool around with. It is, at least, a fun stupid accessory.

This figure does hold an important distinction in my Joe collection. In 1992, I was out of the comic, but decided to check out a Toys R Us. Once there, I found the 1992 version of this figure. Recalling how upset I was that they killed Firefly off in the comic, I bought the figure and then returned to the comic to see what was happening. I have to admit that I marked out when Firefly returned. The new uniform and feud with Snake Eyes was a bit lame, but I was just happy that one of my all time favorite characters was not dead. Still, though, this figure still has never been called by the Firefly name in my Joe world. In fact, in 1994, I developed a new crop of Cobra lieutenants. I have often referred to how my Cobra is no longer run by the old comic characters. They have aged and moved aside to allow a younger generation of field generals to showcase their stuff. This figure makes up the most ruthless combatant of all those generals. The figure was just too cool not to use, but I was not about to take my 1984 Firefly out of the rotation.

Needless to say, this guy sees a lot of time in my collection. He is usually a Stun commander and rides proudly into battle. He is not the political leader I have made some other figures. I consider him the replacement to the place formerly held by Major Bludd. This is the field commander the troops love, but also fear. He is as ruthless as any of the basic troops, but has the commanding personality that causes people to perform at remarkable levels when under his leadership. This guy is also good friends with the new political leader I created. At some point, these guys will have to clash with the older leadership, but, in the meantime, they are bent on building their reputations by helping Cobra regain lost glory.

This mold was used in 1992 (with grey highlights) and then again in 1993. It has not appeared anywhere since then. However, Firefly's gun did show up in a convention set. As such, it is very likely that this mold is available to Hasbro and could be repainted into something new. A simple headswap could easily breathe life into this mold as a new type of Cobra Trooper (in fact, it would be a great body for a Cobra Trooper update...) or as a new or existing named character. It's definitely a mold worth taking a chance on since the intricate detailing would really pop with the proper paint applications. Perhaps we will one day see this mold return. Done right, I think collectors would welcome it with open arms.

The original Firefly is one of the most popular figures in the entire line. This version, however, does not share the original's popularity. He can be had cheaply and easily. Carded versions run under $8.00 and loose figures can be had for nothing. That being said, I don't ever foresee this figure gaining in popularity. Hardcore collectors can't stand the the extremes the ninja plotline went to and don't like this figure because of it. As such, I see this figure inhabiting discount bins for the duration of its existence. People just don't like this character and want to remember Firefly as the awesome figure and character he was in the '80's, not what he was bastardized into in the '90's. This figure, though, has uses. With a little imagination, he has become an integral part of my collection. With any luck, this may have opened your eyes and revealed new possibilities for this figure.

Did you like Firefly as a ninja, or was he better as a mysterious saboteur? Let me know your thoughts.

1993 Firefly, Iron Panther, Sgt. Savage, 1995, 2001 Fast Blast Viper, 2002 Viper

1993 Firefly, 1993 Create a Cobra Mail Away, Night Watch Trooper, Officer, 2005, 1988 Astro Viper, AGP Pod

1993 Firefly, 2001 Fast Blast Viper, Chinese Major Bludd, Rock Viper, Range Viper, Chinese Flint, Pathfinder