Wednesday, January 24, 2001

1986 BATS (Battle Android Troopers)

In high schools and colleges throughout the country, the fans have their special chants to help spur on their team. Whenever an underdog is about to win a game on their home floor against a higher ranked opponent, the chant usually starts. "Over Rated. Over Rated. Over Rated." I don't think there is a figure in the entire line to whom that phrase is more appropriately applied than the original Bat.

Bats are just lame. I've already profiled the second version of the Bat, but told you that I use him as a human, not a brainless robot. The notion of robotic troops was really a direction in which Joe did not need to go. The thing about Cobra that made them the threat was that they had a highly organized and fully staffed army. It was the Cobra soldiers who made the threat real. Bats did nothing to further that. While they showed that Cobra was on the cutting edge of technology, they helped to reduce the validity of the Cobra forces. With these guys in place, Joe could easily mow through Cobra ranks and win battles against staggering odds. While I understand that the good guys had to win, it made Joe less interesting when Cobra became less a menace.

I think that one of the reasons that Bats were created is the same reason why George Lucas used Battle Droids in Episode I. Having Joes destroy tons of bloodless robots was much more acceptable to TV cartoon censors. While killing humans was relatively taboo, the cartoon creators were free to destroy as many Bats as possible. For that reason, I think of this figure as a cop-out. Rather than face the grim realities of combat, like many '80's cartoons did, the Bats put a shiny, happy, metallic face on warfare and its outcome. The early issues of the G.I. Joe comic dealt with death. Many Cobras, and civilians, died. Once the Bats came along, the carnage was toned down. Did anyone die when the Joes invaded Cobra Island in issue 41? These guys were the beginning of Joe losing its edge. The thing that made Joe so enduring to me in the early years was the realistic slant of the Comic and figures. Once the comic was bogged down in Serpentor and his ilk, I lost a lot of interest in Joe. I finally gave up on the franchise right as the comic was saved with Serpentor's death and Cobra Island civil war. Fortunately, this brought me back. I have yet to leave again.

I think the single thing I find most maddening about the Bat is that he is so loved by collectors. Frankly, the Bat is enjoying the success it does because of the time in which he was released. In the '80's, most now adult collectors were kids and the idea of robot soldiers was pretty cool. Compare the following concepts: robot troops, space troops, cyborg troops, high tech troops. Why is it that all except for the Bats are held in the utmost contempt by modern collectors? The answer is simple. By the time the Star Brigade came out, most of us adult collectors were no longer children and we lacked the imagination to integrate Star Brigade into our Joe universe. Had the Bats come out in 1993, they would be just as hated as the Cyber-Viper. That being said, though, it does bode well for the future popularity of Star Brigade and many of the currently "wacky" concepts that were being tried near the end of the line. As the kids who consider that stuff to be the epitome of Joe grow up, they will feel nostalgic for the figures that current collectors tend to disdain. While I don't see the Blackstar ever supplanting the popularity of the Crimson Guard, I do think many of the '93's and '94's will gain in collector support in the next few years.

The BAT mold had a decent history. After it was used in the US, it was sent down to Brazil. There, the BAT was released as Roboid. The colors are very similar to the American BAT. From there, the BAT migrated to India. He was released in India for a short window of time in the mid '90's. These bats featured stickers for the chest rather than the holograms. In 1997, Hasbro re-acquired the BAT mold. The legs and waist were used on the 1997 Viper and all subsequent Vipers up until 2006. In 2003, Hasbro produced the BAT Army Builder pack. This included the unpopular 1991 BAT mold and failed spectacularly. This is notable, though, as shortly after this debacle, Hasbro reps made public statements that the entire '86 BAT mold was available. However, it appears Hasbro spoke out of turn as the rest of the original BAT mold has never appeared. In 2008, Master Collector recast the V1 BAT head, backpack and attachments and included them on an exclusive BAT figure in their convention set. That was largely taken as a sign that the original BAT mold is now gone. The reality, though, is that were this mold to be brought back, it would be immensely popular with collectors. Even the Master Collector figure has potential and is a decent army building figure. Maybe one day, the rest of the body will return. Until then, though, collectors have a few alternatives to sate their BAT needs.

As a warning, there are several bootleggers out there who have reproduced BAT accessories in colors similar to the original colors. If you are buying BATs sight unseen, be sure to verify the accessories are the originals. These bootlegs are often slightly different colors than the BAT, itself and can be seen in the 2nd photo below. These aren't as available as they once were. But, enough made it into the market that the buyer now has to ask questions about the authenticity of complete BATS when you are in the market for new samples.

Bats are incredibly popular figures and sell for ridiculous amounts. I don't know why. People really, really like the Bats and are willing to pay outrageous sums for them. Of course, the Bat is a figure that comes with many small and easily lost accessories. Also, his paint easily rubs and the holograms on their chests are prone to falling off. It is very, very easy to find beat up, incomplete Bats. Finding mint, complete specimens takes a little more patience. They will also cost you. A mint, complete with filecard Bat will usually fetch between $22 and $28. Even a mint Bat with only one or two attachments will cost you over $15.

Considering how popular these guys have always been, that's way too much. Much like the Crimson Guard and Eel, the Bat's price is not indicative of his scarcity. These guys came out during Joe's peak popularity and were produced in incomprehensible numbers. Once again, I refer you to Cobra Command Online. Check out his Bats diorama. You will see that mint, complete Bats are plentiful. Of course, that doesn't make them any less expensive. Frankly, I don't think they are worth the price. As Ebay sales seem to indicate, though, I'm in the vast minority on this point. I'll leave the final decision up to you, but know that I can not justify that kind of money for this figure.

Bats suck. End of story. I don't want any more. If you wish to try to convince me that the Bat is a good figure, email me.

1986 BAT, Battle Android Trooper, BATS, 1987 Techno Viper, Maggot, Dr. Mindbender

1986 BAT, Battle Android Trooper, BATS,

1986 BAT, Battle Android Trooper, BATS, 2008 Hot Wire, BAT Mechanic, 1987 Techno Viper

1986 Zarana

The Zartan gimmick was a huge success for the Joe design team. However, rather than restraining themselves, they proved the axiom that too much of a good thing is bad. As such, they created Zandar and Zarana, Zartan's brother and sister. While this may have seemed like a good idea at the time, it really started to take Joe in a direction towards everything being just a little too interconnected. While some of the intricacies of the comic storyline really fed of this, they did, on occasion, take it to excess. The primary result of this is two obscure figures that don't see much fanfare among modern collectors.

I'm not a big Zarana fan. The primary reason I wanted to profile this figure, though, is that she is the only figure in the entire line who had a major mold change occur while the figure was in production. The corrected Zarana, which can be seen on the left in the photo below, has a sleek, thin face that makes her look closer to her card art and the manner in which she was portrayed in the comic. The original Zarana, which is on the right in the photo, has a head that makes her she would be a season ticket holder to the WNBA. I don't know why the mold was changed, though many people have speculated on that very subject. It makes her, though, a collectible figure. While mail ins like the Steel Brigade and Starduster had different molded parts on their various incarnations, all of those parts had already been used on other figures. Both of Zarana's heads are original. It was a running change that created two distinct versions of a figure.

I've made my feelings about female figures known throughout this website. Needless to say, I have little need for Zarana. Currently, she sits in a bag, with her accessories, at the very back of my '86 Cobra drawer. I removed her for the photo shoot that produced the picture below, but that is about the end of any further use she might receive. I just don't have anything that would call for a figure like her to be used. Her look is so dated that she is really only good as a historical piece to remind us of the horrible clothes that were considered "fashionable" in the mid '80's. On that level, the figure is kind of cool. Of course, she does have a fan following. She had a great run in the comic and was a highly developed character. While Zandar just kind of stood around, Zarana became someone who almost replaced the Baroness as the pre-eminent Cobra female after the Baroness defected back to Destro. At least that leaves her some sort of other legacy on Joe history.

Zaranas aren't too tough to find. She was an unpopular female figure that modern fan-boys seem to desire. That does not, though, make her very expensive. Usually, you can get a mint, complete, non-butch Zarana for around $10-$12. Expect to pay about a 25% to 50% premium for the original version. Personally, I haven't found either Zarana to be much harder to find than the other. The original and new seem to occur with similar frequency. As there are so few Joes that are rare, some dealers will try to sell you on the fact that the original Zarana was produced in much smaller numbers and is worth a high dollar purchase. Don't be fooled by this nonsense. These are the same people who will tell you that it's impossible to acquire a mint, loose, complete Baroness for under $50. These figures are out there and aren't highly desired. Zarana is a figure of whom you only need one of each version. Most of the modern collectors who were snatching up Baroness figures last year now have them. We've seen prices on Baronesses fall to under $15 from their highs in the mid $20 range. Adult collectors have their fill of these guys and unique, non army building female figures are starting to come down in price. As such, if you find a good deal on either Zarana, now is the time to take advantage. There is a new fan base for Joes that is growing. It would be good practice to take advantage on the lulls in pricing when they occur.

While I don't need any new Zaranas, I would like a Vypra. If you can help, email me.

1986 Zarana, 1992 TJBANG, Ninja Force

1986 Zarana, Variant, Dr. Mindbender, Sgt. Slaughter, 1989

1986 Zarana, Variant

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

1984 Roadblock

In my profile of Ripcord, I stated that a friend of mine had gone to California in early 1984 and had brought back many new Joes. While I couldn't beat him, I did pull the second most major coup of my class when I found three of the new '84's at a Value City only a couple of weeks later. Each of my brothers and I were only allowed one figure so I pawned the Baroness off on my youngest brother since she was the worst of the three. I took Firefly because even back then, you knew he was just awesome. The third figure we found, and the one my middle brother took, was another character we knew of and whose figure I was awaiting: Roadblock.

Of all the Joes, I think the Roadblock character is definitely in the top 5 most famous. He was ubiquitous throughout the run of the line and had at least 7 versions of him made. He was a character that everyone seemed to like and his figures usually lived up to his advanced billing. He was a huge, muscular monster back in the days before wrestlers were considered real celebrities. The thing about his character, though, was that Roadblock was a gentle giant. His love of the gourmet and desire to be a chef didn't fit with the hulking beast you saw on the battlefield. It was this type of complexity that was only achieved with a few of the Joes. In Roadblock, it works to perfection and it produced a character that was popular from his introduction in 1984 until the line's bitter end over a decade later.

There is something that is very interesting about the Joe line. While the figures and characters introduced were heavily caucasian and male, many of the most popular heroes were black or female. Both Stalker and Roadblock were integral characters to Joe media. Their figures were popular and they were given roles of distinction. In this regard, Joe was definitely different from any other toy line. While minority characters have not, even to this day, really found widespread mainstream success in toy lines, in G.I. Joe, they were integral parts of the story line and had figures that were loved. Of course, it's hard to tell that Stormshadow is Asian, but that type of thing was just sort of understood. Race was never a card that anyone in the Joe creative team played, but their handling of such a delicate issue, or lack thereof, helped make Joe just that much more enduring to all audiences.

Personally, I've found it odd that Roadblock has yet to return in any of the Joe releases since 1994. He would have made a much more logical choice as a crew member of the new Mobat over Heavy Duty. I still think, though, that we will probably see him in series IV or series V of the new Joes this year. He is a character that is just too important and popular to be missed. The fact that he has been missing for so long, though, makes me slightly worry that they may have lost his molds. It is known that the '92 version of Roadblock has found a long second life being produced by Funskool over in India. That could explain that mold's whereabouts, but we did get the '86 Roadblock's chest on the awful "new" figures from 1997. Of course, Roadblock was one of the original 4 Joes who were to be produced in 1996 or 1997 in the scrapped idea of boxed sets. That figure would have been a repaint of this version, but, for whatever reason, the boxed idea was abandoned, the TRU exclusive figures were created in their stead, and only Duke and Lady Jaye ever made it to plastic in their originally showcased form. Still, this is enough to think there must be at least enough parts out there to create a new version of Roadblock from old molds. He is a key figure and one that, like Flint really needs to make a reappearance in order to really give the line a strong connection back to its roots.


Since I originally wrote this profile, the V1 Roadblock mold has been resurrected by Hasbro too many times for it to be relevant any longer. Hasbro used it for Double Blast in 2001, Roadblock in 2002 and again as the Night Force Roadblock in 2004. Of these, only Double Blast included Roadblock's original accessories. And, without those, you start to realize that the Roadblock mold in and of itself is a bit boring. To date, I still like this figure as the iconic version of Roadblock and consider it be a significant figure. But, for the Roadblock character, I have taken to using the many later molds that offer a bit more.


This version of Roadblock is not very difficult to find. He was made during one of the most successful years in Joe history, and was a very popular figure of his year. His accessories, though, pose a bit more of a problem. For whatever reason, Roadblock's pack has a little peg on it that is designed to hold the stand to his machine gun. This little peg is extremely brittle and is easily broken. It is an affliction of both this version and Tiger Force Roadblock. His gun, while very cool, is also brittle. Leaving it on the stand makes it susceptible to its own weight and causes the barrel to sag, or even snap. The tripod is also brittle. It is also the one accessory that I continually stepped on throughout my childhood. However, only a slight pressure will break one of the legs and leave you without this accessory. All that being said, good luck finding one whose accessories are in excellent shape! Seriously, though, they do make mint, complete Roadblocks a bit tougher to find. As such, you can usually get a mint complete specimen for under $12.00. This guy appears in all sorts of lots, though, and can really lend himself to bargain hunters who are willing to sort through some large lots for a shot at a good example. This figure, though, is kind of a necessity to a Joe collector. It is, as far as I and many other collectors are concerned, the definitive version of Roadblock and the one that best represents the character.

While I do like Roadblock, I don't really need any more of him. Unless, though, it is his 1994 Star Brigade version. If you have some of those with which you wish to part, email me.

1984 Roadblock, 1985 Lamprey

1984 Roadblock, Duke, Recondo

1984 Roadblock, 1985 Lamprey

1986 General Hawk

Back in 1982, Hasbro released the Mobile Missile System. This fairly unpopular towed weapon system came with a figure named Hawk. Now, were you a young child who was not privy to the comic, and who was unfamiliar with military rankings, there was really very little way for you to know that Hawk was meant to be the leader of the G.I. Joe team. Nothing was done to rectify this and the original Hawk remains an incredibly obscure and unpopular figure today. However, in 1986, Hasbro promoted the former Colonel and made him the full field general of the Joe team. In order to celebrate this promotion, Hawk was given a new uniform and was released as the figure you see below.

Personally, I was one of the few people I knew who actually had the original Hawk. Most people had the HAL Laser and their towed vehicles stopped with that. The MMS really wasn't, and isn't to this day, very cool. Nonetheless, the original Hawk found himself among my original 4 Joes (the others being Breaker, Clutch and Snake Eyes) and was highly used. He was not, though, ever the leader of my Joes. Even when I got into the comic, Hawk couldn't become the leader. The figure was too bland and simply boring for him to ever amount to anything other than the simple infantryman he was.

In 1986, though, that changed. The new Hawk figure was absolutely fantastic. He was everything the original figure was not. Once I had him, the '86 Hawk became one of the most popular figures in my collection. I had a slight problem, though. I still couldn't use this figure as the leader of my Joes. He looks like a soldier, not a general. Since I had no other figures who could fill that void, though, Hawk remained in charge of my Joes by default. At least for a while.

After I destroyed the original '86 Hawk that I had, I went out and found a small, local toy store (Ed Shrock's) that had reduced Joes to $2.99 right before the holidays. Instead of buying comics that day, I spent my money on a new General Hawk figure. While that figure is not the one you see below, he is still around, and in pretty decent shape. While this new figure did see some use as the field General, I found him too cool to be stuck in only that role. As such, shortly after I acquired this figure, Hawk became a younger, lower ranking officer who was among the Joe field troops. Basically, I put Hawk into the role that was designed for Duke. I didn't like Duke and didn't have any use for him. Hawk fit his position very nicely. I outfitted the figure with Leatherneck's M-203 and had a field trooper who was easily on par with all the other great field troops who were released in 1986 and 1987.

As Hawk was a soldier and not a leader, I had to put off the Joe leadership. I made Hawk a level above Falcon and Flint, but he was still not the end all authority. This remained a problem for some time. However, in 1992, my acquisition of General Flagg finally solved this problem. The Flagg figure looks like an old, respected soldier. For that reason, I wouldn't mind someday seeing a General Flagg repaint that is actually the character of Hawk. (However, it appears the Flagg mold is currently in use in India so I doubt we will see him repainted anytime soon. Plus, Tomahawk already came out this year and I really don't want to see another version of him until at least 2003.) This means, though, that Hawk can finally be used in a manner that I see fitting him. The subtle colors, cool helmet, and detail pack all make him look like a fighter. I think this was the goal of the figure. Rather than come up with a new character, they made Hawk back into a figure kids could use. Frankly, it was a chance that really worked.

For some reason, Hawk's aren't too tough to find. As recently as this year, I had 8 of them. For some reason, he is readily available in lots of figures from just about any year. I think he was long offered as a mail in, and that helps explain his widespread availability. However, finding one complete with his original accessories can be a bit tougher. Hawk's gun is among the smallest in the line and many later mail ins did not include it as Hawk's accessory. Even with that weapon, though, Hawk won't cost you a whole lot. Sure, he's a popular character, but this is one of those figures that everyone already has and of which they really don't need any more. Fortunately, that allows newer collectors to add the best field general figure Hasbro ever offered to their collections. He is not a figure whose purchase you will regret.

I don't need any more 1986 Hawks, but do need one of his 1997 repaints. If you have one of these available for trade, email me.

1986 General Hawk, Beach Head, Leatherneck

1986 General Hawk, Serpentor

1986 General Hawk, Dial Tone, 1983 Cover Girl

1986 General Hawk, Dial Tone, Beach Head, Mission to Brazil Wet Suit

Tuesday, January 9, 2001

1985 Barbeque

Just about all Joe collectors agree on one thing: 1985 was the single best year for Joe figures in the entire run of the line. While I'm not sure I agree with the figures being the best, 1985 is certainly the most important year in Joe history. While 1984 was full of great characters like Firefly, Zartan, and Storm Shadow and was the year that Joe really started to enter the mainstream, it was the flurry of the 1985 figures and characters that really ushered in Joe's golden age.

While certainly not one of the stars of the '85 line, Barbecue is one of the supporting role players from that year, the same as figures like Airtight and Alpine. He was not a major character and didn't play a huge role in any of the Joe media. What he was, though, was a figure that really was a necessity in the line. Some people don't think of a need for a firefighter in a combat unit. (Most notably, Shipwreck from issue #40 of the Joe comic.) Without the firefighter, though, who would put out the burning Skystriker and save Ace after he crash landed on the deck of the U.S.S. Flagg? Barbecue is the type of figure that any line with the diversity of Joe needs.

In 1986 and 1987, the Hovercraft was my favorite Joe vehicle. Just about every mission I created occurred at sea. I used my bed as an aircraft carrier, since I couldn't con my parents into paying just 69.99 for a Flagg at TRU, and had my Hydrofoil attack it. Naturally, the Hovercrafts went out into the fray after the Hydrofoils. On one mission, I had the Hydrofoil hit the depth charges on the Hovercraft. As the crew couldn't put out the flames, the craft exploded and most of the crew was killed. (As I've said before, I have army builders for my Joes as well. It was very easy for me to sink a hovercraft crew without breaking from major continuity by killing major characters.) After that incident, a firefighter was assigned to every hovercraft crew. He was such a vital position, that I went out and bought myself a new Barbecue right before he disappeared from retail just for this purpose. I wanted a figure that would be able to hold up to the new duties I had assigned to him. While that figure is still around, though in much poorer condition than I would like, the figure you see below is an upgrade from earlier this year. You may have heard of the great lot of figures I acquired earlier this year from some other profiles. This Barbecue figure is among the many treasures that I found when I opened that box.

As time went on, Barbecue found himself being a standard on not only hovercrafts, but the Tactical Battle Platform, in the Joe headquarters, and at any airfield. He became a figure that was called upon in time of emergency, usually after the combat had ended. He continues in the capacity to this day. Now, I've got 6 Barbecues. While I acquired this many during a short stint where I used him as a prison guard and executioner, I'm now glad that I've got them. I can keep one in the hovercraft and in the headquarters and still have a few in reserve. He is a figure that I use fairly frequently, though pay little attention to. He is also a figure that I tend to forget about until the last moment. When I finally brought my Hovercraft out to Arizona, Barbecue was only added at the last minute to the inaugural voyage out into the pool. After I put this figure out there, though, I decided to use his second Eco-Warriors version from 1992 for any more dips in the pool. While this original version is lots of fun, the second version fit what I was doing at the time as he looks more like a diver (the figure is the basis for the mold of the 1993 Payload) and doesn't have small accessories that can easily be sucked down the drain. Now, this version of Barbecue is always used when I use my hovercraft indoors. When they actually go into the pool, the 1992 is called upon for duty.

Barbecues aren't too tough to find. Of the '85's, he is among the most common. Finding one complete with no paint wear on his face, though, is a bit more of a challenge. Barbeque's gun is among the smallest in the line. Since it was attached to a hose, that reduced the possibility of loss. For my friends and I, though, that hose was just in the way of a really cool guy that actually attached to the figure's leg. As such, the gun is most often missing piece on Barbecues you find today. Still, though, even mint, complete Barbecues can be had for next to nothing. He is a figure well worth adding to your collection, though, as he plays an important role that needs to be filled. I can't imagine any airfield without at least 2 Barbecues present to handle fires. As such, I expect Barbeque's will never get any press, but will remain in people's collections for realism reasons. On that level, the figure definitely works. Beyond that, I'm not sure the collecting community at large will ever go for this guy. That's okay, though, as it allows those who do appreciate Barbecue to quietly add them to their collections.

There are people who have no use for firefighters in a combat unit. Personally, I think this figure a necessity to the line. How do you feel?

1985 BBQ, Barbeque, Barbecue, Heavy Metal, 1986 Havoc

Monday, January 1, 2001

2001 Sidetrack

A couple of months ago, the first pictures of the series 2 Joes were released. The pics I saw, though, were a bit grainy and it was difficult to make out much of any of the figures. I knew that Big Ben and Whiteout would be white, I knew that the new Major Bludd would be brown, that the Rock Viper would have a white face, and that Duke and Sidetrack would be dark. That was about it. I figured the six new figures would hit stores just before Christmas. Hasbro has done that in the past with their Star Wars and I didn't expect Joe to be any different. Sure enough, about three days before Christmas, someone posted to the Joe newsgroup that they had found the new figures at a Target store. As Target has also been getting in tons of Star Wars figures that I didn't have, I hit a number of Targets on the 23rd and 24th of December. Of course, I had no luck finding the new Joes. Come Christmas morning, though, I got quite a shock. My fiancee handed me a package that I knew was a Joe 2 pack. This didn't come as a surprise as I had been with her when she bought me Firefly/Undertow, Tomahawk/Dialtone, and Dusty/Law packs that would be my Christmas gift. I opened the pack up, trying to figure why she had given me this one first when I knew what it was. Well, it wasn't any of the above three mentioned packs, it was a Big Ben/Whiteout! I opened 4 more presents just like the first and found 2 more Big Ben/Whiteout packs as well as a Major Bludd/Rock Viper pack. The final one I opened, though, turned out to be the pack I liked the best: Duke and Sidetrack.

I've been looking forward to all six new Joes probably more than I had the original 10. When I got Sidetrack, though, he really stood out to me. I've always liked the Ambush mold and was going to profile him here as soon as I got one that was complete. After I saw the Sidetrack pictures, though, I decided to wait and see what Sidetrack looked like. Now, I'm very glad I waited. The color scheme on this figure is its most notable feature. This guy looks like a soldier. The drab greens and black really work when subtly blended over the entire mold. This is the type of color scheme that causes you to remember Joe's original, military roots.

Of course, the best part of this figure, though, is his accessories. The webbing, along with the awesome gun and pack and poles are a neat feature that harks back to the last year where Joe figures were highly accessorized. One of the reasons why I had wanted a complete, original Ambush figure was because of the cool accessories. I have managed to get one, only without the secondary webbing that fits around the figure's head. Now, with Sidetrack, I don't have that problem. I've wanted this guy to be a bounty hunter of some sort, since the webbing looks like nets and this guy looks like someone who would be out trapping people. I think that will remain Sidetrack's primary use. He may see some time as a solitary soldier, but he just doesn't work in that capacity for me. As I've only had him a week, we'll see into what he evolves.

While I really like the color scheme on Duke and Sidetrack, I need to take a step back and offer something else. I really don't want any more figures colored this way. The pics of the upcoming 2001 Pathfinder show him similarly colored. Frankly, that's enough. While this color scheme really works and creates fun figures from old molds, it can quickly get overdone so that all the figures look the same. When I profiled the Night Force Repeater, I said that I would like to see 2 new Joes done in Night Force like color schemes, but did not want to see a whole new subset that has 10-14 of the same colored figures. The same holds here. I don't know who, or what, series III has in store for us, but I would like for Hasbro to keep going into new territory rather than reusing the same colors in each new batch of figures. There are literally hundreds of Joe figures that worked throughout the line's history. While colors like Sidetrack's are excellent, I want Hasbro to keep trying new things. I've yet to be disappointed with any of the repaints. So far, I hold ever newly released 2000 or 2001 figure in higher regard than their original molds, except for the Lamprey. Out of the figures they have released so far, that is an excellent ratio. Hopefully, it will continue well into the future.

Don't worry about this guy's availability. He will be everywhere, soon. I just got lucky in the fact that they seemed to ship these guys to the West Coast first. Being in Arizona actually paid off, this time. Besides, the guys out east got the series 1's first. It's only fair! Anyways, the initial reports seem to indicate that Big Ben/Whiteout is the pegwarmer while the Duke/Sidetrack and Bludd/Rock Viper are disappearing rather quickly. Over time, I only expect the Rock Viper to remain a hot seller. This guy is cool, but I don't want any more than the one loose one that I've already got. Still, it is a good sign when the new Joes sell out quickly. It shows there is an interest in the Joe resurgence and bodes well for the future of the line.

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

2001 Sidetrack, ARAHC, Ambush, 2000 General Tomahawk, Duke, Dialtone, Crossfire, Leatherneck

2001 Sidetrack, ARAHC, Ambush, 2002 Shock Viper

2001 Sidetrack, ARAHC, Ambush, 1988 Night Force Crazylegs, 1985 Heavy Metal, Mauler

2001 Sidetrack, ARAHC, Ambush