Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2003 DVD Snake Eyes - Around the Web

Hasbro dropped a surprise DVD Snake Eyes repaint in early 2003.  Bagged samples first showed up in 2002 and, due to the similarity to the Toy Fare Snake Eyes figure, may collectors thought it might end up being an unproduced figure which lead to insane pricing.  But, this figure turned out to be readily available and anyone who wanted one could get him.  It's a great Snake Eyes repaint and something a little different for the character.  I thought there would be more on him out of the web.  But, the content was pretty sparse.  Here's the best of what I could find.

2003 DVD Snake Eyes Profile

DVD Snake Eyes at JoeADay.com

Snake Eyes at Comicbookbin

2003 Snake Eyes, DVD, Purple, 1982 VAMP, 2004 Night Force Flint, Toys R Us Exlcusive

2003 Snake Eyes, DVD, Purple, 1982 VAMP, 2004 Night Force Flint, Toys R Us Exlcusive

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

1997 Alley Viper - Around the Web

At the time of his release, the 1997 Alley Viper was generally reviled.  Most collectors didn't care for him since vintage army builders were so cheap.  Now, though, a lot has changed and this figure is one of the better colored and desirable Alley Viper figures.  Here's the best on him from around the web.

1997 Alley Viper Profile 1

1997 Alley Viper Profile 2

1997 Alley Viper at JoeADay.com

Alley Viper at JomiToys.com

Hand Painted Alley Viper at YoJoe.com

Unproduced Boxed Set Alley Viper at YoJoe.com

1997 Alley Viper at Serpentor's Lair

Alley Viper at HalfTheBattle

1997 Alley Viper, Brazil, Cobra Flying Scorpion, Escorpoa Voador, Estrela, 1983 Hiss Tank

Monday, July 24, 2017

1987 Payload - Around the Web!

Payload is the Joe Team's original astronaut and remains one of the best space themed molds Hasbro ever produced.  The original version has the best coloring on the mold.  But, all three uses of the mold (1987, 1989, Brazil Orbita) are hard to find and somewhat expensive.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

Payload Profile

Payload Pre Production Figure at YoJoe.com

Payload Variant at JoeDios.com 1

Payload at 3DJoes.com

Payload at JoeDios.com 2



Sunday, July 23, 2017

1987 Chuckles - Around the Web

Chuckles is a figure that should be terrible but is kind of fun.  His holster and pistol are excellent accessories.  And, his outfit is a nice way to get a civilian-esque figure into the line.  I've long used him as my de facto prisoner figure.  And, for that reason, I have a about half a dozen of him.  Here's the best on him from around the web.

Chuckles Profile

Chuckles Video Review 1

Chuckles Dio

Chuckles Video Review 2

Chuckles Packaging Review at JoeADay.com

1987 Chuckles, 1986 BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Cobra

Thursday, July 20, 2017

1986 Sci Fi - Around the Web

Sci Fi isn't a figure that I really enjoyed as a kid.  Even as an adult, his oversized head and gear takes a lot away from an otherwise decent design.  The bright green color is eye-catching, though, and does brighten up what had been, up until 1986, a relatively modest mix of figure colors.  Here's the best on him from around the web:

Sci Fi Profile

Sci Fi Video Review

Sci Fi at JoeADay.com

Sci Fi at Joepedia

Sci Fi Video Review 2

1986 Sci Fi, Mainframe, 1985 Snake Eyes, Mauler





Tuesday, July 18, 2017

1993 Col. Courage

When I first returned to Joe collecting in the mid 1990's, there were lots of figures for me to buy.  Mostly, this was because I didn't have any figure released after 1989.  But, it was also because Hasbro produced a ton of new figures between 1992 and 1994.  As the months and years went by, though, I managed to buy all of the best figures that were out.  As these dried up, I looked for other criteria that could justify a purchase, such as if the figure included black accessories.  Eventually, though, even these dried up and all I was left was the dregs of the Joe releases.  Outside of the standard subsets like Street Fighter and Ninja Force, there were a few figures that were always easy to get.  Gristle, Beach-Head and Dr. Mindbender were often among the last figures you could find on the pegs.  Another was Col. Courage.

For me, Col. Courage was about one thing and one thing only: the green version of Tunnel Rat's rifle that was included with him.  I instantly recognized the gun when I saw it framed in the package behind the figure.  As a kid, Tunnel Rat's rifle had been one of my last favorites.  But, for some reason, my version was brittle.  As such, the handle broke off (a rare breakage that occurred after 1986) and was rendered useless.  Col. Courage was the first time I had seen the rifle re-used.  (There were older uses, but I was not collecting when they occurred.)  So, I bought the figure for his gun.  Shortly after his acquisition, though, the folly of a neon green weapon assigned to Tunnel Rat became apparent.  But, the figure itself proved somewhat worthwhile.

In the mid 1990's, the only figures I had available to me were a handful of childhood leftovers that were mostly off condition and lacking accessories and the figures I could find at retail.  As the retail figures were new, in good shape and had gear (no matter how poorly colored it might be), they found themselves in various roles outside of the figures' specialties.  For Col Courage, his main use was a generic soldier.  His uniform suggested that he could be a basic grunt (Aside from the tie!) and his plethora of weapons were useful against the onslaught of Crimson Guard Commanders and 1994 Vipers who formed my Cobra army of the day.  In this role, Col. Courage might save the day.  But, far more often, he would die.  Sometimes quickly in the fight and other times, he would last until the final three or four men against Cobra.  But, he found some usage here just to the complete lack of options available to me.

Naturally, as my collection grew with the advent of online acquisitions in the late 1990's, Col. Courage's value proportionally decreased.  I had many better figures to fill any role I wanted.  And, now, I had the means to acquire those figures both in good condition and complete.  So, any advantage held by Col. Courage and some of his less than stellar ilk was lost as I brought more and more outside figures into my collection.  As a sculpted figure, though, Col. Courage isn't terrible.  He is well detailed and the colors used are fairly calm, aside from the neon green highlights.

Col. Courage features a nice complement of weapons.  His tree includes the Tunnel Rate machine gun, a rifle from the Sky Patrol Airborne figure, Shockwave's pistol, Muskrat's machete and Blaster's oddball Battleforce 2000 cannon.  Of course, they are all colored neon green which really limits their usefulness.  He also included the requisite spring loaded missile launcher and missiles.  If you can find some spare weapons in black (his tree was released in black with Predacon) they work much better and draw away from the neon green highlights of the figure: giving Col. Courage a much more muted look.  But, really, there's not much to say about this figure.  Aside from the tucked in necktie, there is nothing exceptional about the mold.  But, for a 1993 release, Col. Courage is just subtle enough that he blends into the line and remains an obscure release.

Col. Courage's mold was used by Hasbro in 1993.  He featured new arms, chest and head.  But, used the lower body from Recoil.  Shortly thereafter, the mold was sent to Brazil.  There, Estrela released the mold as Coronel Coragem (which is a direct translation for Col. Courage) but with caucasian skin.  This figure really is the interesting part of the Col. Courage story.  In Brazil, Recoil's body was used twice around 1993 and 1994 for the Tigor and Flying Scorpion figures.  Neither of these, though, used Recoil's lower body.  The reason being that Hasbro kept it for use with Col. Courage.  Estrela, ultimately, got the rest of the Recoil mold when they released the Coronel Coragem figure.  Col. Courage disappeared after this release.  However, Coragem was released in Brazil with three other figures: Marfim, Brutus and Vandalo.  Brutus and Vandalo are noteworthy as they used the molds from the Headhunter and Gristle figures, respectively.  Hasbro released both of those molds in 2008.  As such, it was extremely likely that Hasbro had access to the Col. Courage mold at that time, but never used it.

This is really a shame.  In 2005, Hasbro produced the terrible Greenshirts 6 figure set that was released at Toys R Us.  Col. Courage's mold would have been a great greenshirt who would have fit into that set and given collectors a very different take on the mold.  Instead, we got the horrible figures that barely fit together and look like knock offs.  Hasbro's inability to search out and understand that the 1990's molds were full of valuable repaints was a big part of why the repaint suffered so much.  Two or three repainted Col. Courages figures, two or three Steel Brigade updates and even two of the Greenshirts that were released would have been a pack that collectors would still enjoy.  But, like so many other opportunities of that era, Hasbro simply squandered it for poor reasons.  It's an almost certainty that this mold is gone now.  But, at least there's something out there for collectors to enjoy.

Left on their own, mint and complete Col. Courage figures will sell for $2 - $3.  Dealers will get $9 or $10 for him.  But, that's mainly due to limited supplies driven by the fact that the figure is immensely unpopular.  The late release, substandard name, neon green highlights and the tie on a combat uniform all add up to a figure that has never and will never catch on in the collecting community.  As a background filler, though, Col. Courage is a good pick up for a couple of bucks.  His mold doesn't have the heft of many of his contemporaries and he can fit in with figures from many years.  That's not a bad little use for a cheap and common figure.

1993 Col Courage, Bazooka, Battle Corps


1993 Col Courage, Spirit Iron Knife, Mail Away, International Force, Battle Corps

1993 Col Courage, Spirit Iron Knife, Mail Away, International Force

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Diorama - The Trojan BAT

Hot Seat picks up the latest supply crate and enlists Fast Draw and Dodger to unload it.

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

But, the crate comes to life as a hidden BAT explodes from the box.

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

Hot Seat is quickly taken out.

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

Fast Draw fails as the BAT moves on to Dodger.

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

Mutt hears the commotion and arrives just in time.

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

The BAT is dispatched.

Red Laser Army, Bootleg, BAT, Battle Android Trooper, Stinger BAT, 1987 Fast Draw, 1989 Hot Seat, Dodger, BattleForce 2000, 1992 Mutt, DEF, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

Thursday, July 13, 2017

1983 Tripwire - Around the Web

The Joe team's favorite klutz is also one of the better designed figures from his era.  Tripwire's look fits his specialty and his gear is excellent.  He's one of those background characters who is essential to the long term prosperity of a toy line.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

Tripwire Profile

Tripwire Dio

Tripwire Variants

Tripwire Instagram 01

Tripwire Instagram 02

Tripwire Video Review

Tripwire at 3DJoes.com


1983 Tripwire, Rock and Roll, Cover Girl, Grunt, Falcon Glider, Wolverine




























1983 Tripwire, Rock and Roll, Cover Girl, Grunt, Falcon Glider, Wolverine, TNT, Plastirama, Argentina, Bomb Disposal

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

1988 Lightfoot

I have many odd, random memories from my youth.  While I recall certain major events, I also find that some small, specific items stick with me and maintain a clarity that is not present for occurrences of far greater significance.  I don't really know why this is.  One of these days, I'll have to research it a bit and see if I can come across some explanation.  But, one such incident involved the 1988 Lightfoot figure.  Aside from this poignant memory, I would not have any recollection of this figure at all.  But, those are the weird nuances of the human brain.

In 1988, I was done with Joes after the first couple of months of the year.  I picked up a few figures in the early part of the year, but after that, my Joe buying days were over.  My youngest brother, though, continued to acquire new figures throughout the year.  As I was into my own stuff, it was rare that I'd have insight into his figure purchases until I'd find a random figure strewn about the house.  Inevitably, the accessories were already dispersed in multiple rooms and the figure's packaging had been thrown away.  So, tracking down all of a figure's gear was often tough.

One day, I happened upon the Lightfoot figure.  He was easy to notice due to the bright yellow color.  For me, though, this was not a detriment...especially once I saw the helmet included with the character.  My final Joe playing days had involved a lot of aerial combat between Sky Hawks and Cobra Drones either from the Night Raven or the Mamba.  I searched long and hard for figures that would make good pilots for the Joe aircraft.  Based on years' worth of Star Wars watching, my Joe pilots had to have certain attributes that would make their inevitable death sequences exciting.  Removable helmets and airmasks were great...especially for Joes who would become trapped in their air filled cockpits beneath the ocean: unable to escape without outside help of highly skilled divers.

So, seeing Lightfoot immediately brought to mind him leaning forward, helmet falling down as his aircraft exploded from behind him.  So, I included the figure in any little 5 minute adventure I might steal away when no one was in the house.  But, the true memory of the figure is from sometime in the summer of 1988.  My parents had an ancient vacuum cleaner.  It was probably made in the late 1960's.  It wasn't the main floor vacuum.  But, it had a hose attachment and was the only way to clean corners or around the baseboards on the floor.  One day, while using this beast, I accidentally sucked up Lightfoot's helmet.  Had I not cared about the figure, it's doubtful I'd have done anything other than shrugged it off.  But, I liked the helmet and wanted it back.  So, I took the vacuum outside, onto the poured concrete stops that lead from an unused door on an addition my father had built onto the house in the early '80's. These steps were rough concrete and were next to a small garden full of hostas that were supported by limestone fossil rocks my brothers and I had found in various camping excursions through the years.  This garden was home to many Joe adventures since it was relatively small and I could sit on the steps or the driveway to play, rather than the mud and grass in the backyard.

But, on these steps, I dug out months and months worth of lint and dirt from the vacuum bag in search of Lightfoot's helmet.  You would think that being the last think sucked into the vortex that it would have been on top of the bag.  But, no.  I had to empty out most of the bag before I found the helmet.  It was no worse for wear other than being covered in a fine layer of dirt.  I washed it off, replaced the vacuum bag and Lightfoot's relevance to my youth ended.

Fast forwarding to around 1995 and 1996, though, Lightfoot was still around.  My brother's interest in Joe basically ended in 1988 as well.  (I'm not sure we had any 1989 figures in our house aside from a few, random appearances of figures that neither my brothers nor I had any recollection of purchasing.)  So, the Lightfoot figure was in good shape.  When I started collecting Joes again in the mid 1990's, the Lightfoot figure was one of the few who was in really good shape.  And, as I hadn't used him much as a kid, he still seemed new to me.  So, when I had just a shoebox of a couple of dozen figures from which to choose to display on my shelves, Lightfoot made the cut.  He was either in the co pilot's chair in the Tomahawk or driving the APC.  But, he found a home since he fit in so well with the neon heavy figures that I was still able to buy at retail in those years.

Since then, though, Lightfoot has been pretty much neglected.  There are lots of better figures for his specialty.  And, my need for new pilots is sated by better figures that fill that role, too.  When it came time to get the Lightfoot character, the Night Force version was really the only choice.  It is really a nice figure and blows this version out of the water.  With that in hand, I had no real use for the yellow version.  So, this Lightfoot fell into obscurity...so much so that I sold my only complete versions without realizing I was missing some gear for my final figure.

As a figure, Lightfoot is three basic colors: yellow, green and black.  They are an eye-catching combination whose stark contrasts does create a visually appealing figure.  Like many 1988 figures, though, Lightfoot is somewhat light on the paint applications and has some unpainted details on his mold.  He's got some body armor, but not enough to really matter and the grenades attached to his chest would offset any value gained from that armor.  Beyond that, the figure is non-descript.  Were he in more muted colors, he's be nothing more than a Wild Card or Armadillo with accessories.

In the accessory department, Lightfoot is unusual.  He comes with a lot of gear.  Usually, figures who included lots of gear had really cool uses for it.  Lightfoot's complement, though, seems mundane and boring.  He has a backpack to which he can attach his "sniffer" either directly through the pegs on the pack or via the belt that can attach to both.  He also includes a robot.  But, it's boring and bright red.  Lightfoot's pack has a lenticular sticker, as does the robot.  But, the overall design just isn't fun.  When you see Trip Wire's mine detector, you know what it is.  Seeing Lightfoot, his specialty is not overly apparent.  His helmet is really just bizarre and bulky.  Plus, it's in a blue color that really doesn't fit the overall color scheme of the figure.  Lightfoot looks better with his gear on.  But, the gear itself isn't all that much fun or useful.

The Lightfoot mold was used three times.  The first was this original version in 1988.  The Night Force version then appeared in 1989.  After that, the mold was sent to Brazil where it was released as Desarmer.  Desarmer is colored nearly identical to the 1988 Lightfoot and includes the same gear.  Lightfoot disappears from there.  Many of his contemporaries in Brazil later appeared in India.  But, many also never appeared again.  It is very likely that Hasbro got the mold back at some point in time.  But, they either then sent it to Funskool or simply packed it away in Asia and never bothered looking for it again.  But, really, the Night Force Lightfoot is pretty much a perfect repaint of the figure.  While you could make a case that the mold might look good in some different colors, there's many other figures I would have wanted to see repainted ahead of him.  At least collectors got one really nice version and alternate, bright version for other uses.

While Night Force Lightfoot figures tend to be very expensive, the original version is not.  Despite lots of easily lost accessories and lenticular decals, the figure remains cheap.  Mint and complete with filecard versions can be purchased for around $7.  But, you can get carded versions for around $20.  (Most of the Night Force Lightfoot's individual accessories sell for more than a mint and complete 1988 figure!)  Either is a solid way to get an interesting figure for a cheap price.    It's hard to call Lightfoot a background character since he's so obscure.  But, he provides good filler and he does look kind of cool when he's fully accessorized.


1988 Lightfoot, Super Trooper, Mail Away, Cobra Imp


1988 Lightfoot, Sgt. Slaughter, Cobra Imp, Night Force crazylegs

Thursday, July 6, 2017

1998 Thunderwing - Around the Web

The 1998 Thunderwing is a fairly obscure release.  He was unpopular in his time and was even more unpopular when he was repackaged for release in 2000.  But, the figure is very well done.  The odd hue of green is unique among Joe figures and helps him stand apart from other, early molds.  Plus, the paint details are convention level.  He's turned into one of my personal highlights from the post vintage eras of Joe.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

Thunderwing Profile

Thunderwing Dio 1

Thunderwing at Half the Battle

Thunderwing Dio 2

Thunderwing and MOBAT Video Review

Thunderwing Dio 3

Thunderwing on Instagram 01

1998 Thunderwing, Thunder, 1997 Zap, Snake Eyes, Bazooka Soldier

1998 Thunderwing, Thunder, 1997 Zap, Snake Eyes, Bazooka Soldier, Slugger, MOBAT

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Admiral Raddus - Rogue One

First impressions can be tough.  They are a vital part of the human decision making experience.  But, in cases where they are wrong, you can miss out on something great.  Months and months ago, I saw the publicity photos of a figure from the new movie, Rogue One.  It was a dark skinned Calamari who, at the time, appeared to be wearing an Imperial uniform.  My thought was that it was lame to make a dark skinned alien be a bad guy.  And, I put the figure out of my mind.  I really didn't have any anticipation of seeing Rogue One.  So, I forgot about the figure entirely.  Fast forward to December of 2016 and events conspired on the film's opening night where I ended up attending a late showing.  I left with Rogue One tentatively holding a place among my top three Star Wars films.  But, one takeaway from the screening was the impression left by the new character Admiral Raddus.

Doing a search on the character in the following days from watching the movie turned up the old, forgotten images of the character.  Seeing that he was going to have an action figure was exciting.  But, I could find no info pertaining to his release date.  Slowly, I came to know that he was a future planned release.  As I started re-following the Star Wars toy news a bit more closely, I also started seeing the rumors that his wave might be cancelled or available in extremely limited quantities.  This was disconcerting as Raddus was a character of whom I wanted a figure.  But, it eventually became apparent the toy would see some release: it was just not known how easy the figure would be to find.

As my local Wal Mart sold out of single carded figure in early January, I held up hopes that, were the figure released to retail, I might luck out and be one of the stores likely to get the wave.  Months passed, though, and the Wal Mart never restocked.  Empty pegs stared out at me, even when reports of new figures being found at Wal Marts around the country were pouring in.  So, I resigned myself that, even if the figure did appear at retail, it would be unlikely to hit my store rotation.  Soon, Raddus began to appear online.  The prices were far higher than I really wanted to spend on a figure like this.  But, still, he was character that a repeat viewing of Rogue One had confirmed was interesting enough to warrant a toy in my collection.  Finally, prices dropped low enough for a stand alone purchase that I bit.  Overall, I probably overpaid for Raddus.  But, in grouping him with 6 other figures, I was able to bring the per figure cost under $6 each: which would have been less than retail were he actually released via that avenue.

As a figure, Raddus is very well done, though.  The five points of articulation are annoying.  Especially since's Raddus' only scenes are of him sitting down.  But, if Hasbro is only going to make figures in this articulation pattern, they should all have the overall quality of Raddus.  The paint job is excellent.  The sculpting on the head is exquisite and the the colors are true to the character.  Raddus' mouth also opens to give an additional bit of characterization.  The rest of the figure below the neck is OK.  It's a relatively boring design.  But, the head brings all the pizzazz you would want for a character like Raddus.  He, of course, includes a spring loaded weapon that's very reminscent of the G.I. Joe accessories from the early 1990's.  He also has a Rebel blaster to allow kids some play element.  Though, of course, no kid will ever own him since he was only available through collector channels.

Raddus, however, brings up a major plot hole that was created by Rogue One.  In A New Hope, Vader and Tarkin desperately require Princess Leia because she knows the location of the Rebel Base.  However, Rogue One created a couple of issues with this.  First, the Tantive IV was shown docked on the moon of Yavin.  So, ostensibly, the entire crew, including the scores of Rebel Fleet Troopers and droids that were shown being lead away to prison in A New Hope would have know the location of the base.  But, more importantly, the Battle of Scarif left Raddus' command ship disabled.  While it was confirmed by Rogue One's director that Raddus died in the battle, the Empire boarded the disabled command ship.  It's extremely unlikely they killed all the crew: especially with such valuable information at stake.  (We know Stormtrooper weapons could be "set to stun".)  So, again, Vader would have had multitudes of prisoners, all of whom were orbiting Yavin's moon or on it.  Basically, Leia was one of dozens if not hundreds of prisoners who we now know were knowledgeable of the Rebel Base's location.  So, why did Vader and Tarkin focus on her?

The obvious answer is they were dicks and wanted to blow up her planet.  But, then allowing her to escape with Han and Luke to find the base's location was downright negligent.  Tarkin deserved to get blown up for that kind of ineptitude.  Originally, the plan for Rogue One was for the Rebel Base to be on Dantooine.  The producers thought that was too obscure, so they returned to the base seen in A New Hope.  Sadly, had they gone with Dantooine, then this entire plot hole never exists.  But, now, you are faced with Tarkin and Vader being completely incompetent: which flies in the face of the established characterization for both.  I feel Rogue One was a good enough film, though, to forgive this mistake.  But, sometimes, letting nostalgia trump improvement is not the right call.

The Raddus wave is, in a microcosm, why it's annoying to collect modern Star Wars figures.  The first two waves of Rogue One figures hit almost at the same time in September of 2016.  They were readily available through Christmas.  Many of the more popular figures did sell out while there are seas of Jyns and Cassians rotting on the pegs.  But, nothing in those waves was hard to find at all.  Then, though, shipping got crappy.  Wave 3 of Rogue One, which included highly desirable single pack troop builders of the Death Trooper and Scarif Trooper was impossible to find at retail.  Many stores never got it all and it was a no show even in places where all the previous Rogue One figures had sold out.  So, this Wave 4 was dropped from full retail.  This means that online dealers could get it even though traditional brick and mortar stores would not.  (And, it appears Hasbro has offered full case packs of 3 figures in this wave, including Raddus to small sellers.)  So, despite the fact that this figure will not likely ever appear at brick and mortar retail, he's relatively available and affordable now.  Though, affordable probably means $12 or so after you pay for shipping.  That sucks.  But, it's also the reality of collecting a line that's largely being treated as a movie property instead of the traditional collector themed toy line that Star Wars used to be.

In the long run, who knows what will happen with this figure.  It's possible that massive overstock will show up for $6 at discount retail stores a year from now.  It's possible that this figure dries up at retail and is never seen again.  Hasbro could release him again in The Last Jedi waves later this year.  Raddus appears to have found a niche among the collecting community and is a character who will retain some level of popularity.  Though, I'm not sure he'll be popular enough to justify inclusion in the new Vintage Collection starting in 2018.  By the time that line starts, Raddus will be 18 months and nearly two movies removed from his onscreen debut.  And, when looking at the pantheon or Rogue One characters who would be the best candidates for super articulated treatment, Raddus falls down below Chirrut, Baze and K-2SO for sure and maybe even behind Krennic, Saw and some of the new troop builders or Saw's gang.  (Not to mention the almost assured repacks of the Death Trooper, Scarif Trooper, Jyn, Cassian and the inevitable Darth Vader repack of him on a Rogue One card with card art from "that scene".)  So, I'm not hopeful for a Vintage collection release.  But, this figure is good enough for now.  If he shows up in wave 2 of the Vintage collection in 2018, so be it.  But, with Raddus in the fold, I feel my Rogue One collection is really complete.  I may not have all the characters I want in the right articulation.  But, I have the ones I care about.  I may pick up an upgrade here or there if the card art and availability are right.  But, with Star Wars, the good enough threshold will remain in place.  And, this Raddus meets that benchmark with relative ease.

2017, Admiral Raddus, Saw Guererra, Moroff, Idrio Two Tubes, Death Trooper, The Black Series, Rogue One

2017, Admiral Raddus, Saw Guererra, Moroff, Idrio Two Tubes, Death Trooper, The Black Series, Rogue One

2017, Admiral Raddus, Saw Guererra, Moroff, Idrio Two Tubes, Death Trooper, The Black Series, Rogue One

2017, Admiral Raddus, Saw Guererra, Moroff, Idrio Two Tubes, Death Trooper, The Black Series, Rogue One

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Zeros - Mark II

There's over 800 profiles on the site.  Some are a lot more popular than others.  So, if you're stuck inside over the holiday due to the heat, here's some of the least popular posts on the site.  Give them a little love.

The Unexplained:

These figures should be relatively popular as they are collector favorites.  But, they don't see much attention.

1984 Recondo

1986 Mainframe

1983 Torpedo

1992 DEF Shockwave

1986 Wet Suit

Obscure Releases:

These are often convention figures or figures that have odd names that are hard to search.  You also see lots of modern takes on classic army builders in here.

2004 Crimson Guard

1988 Ghostrider

2008 Headhunter Guard

Brazilian Tiro Certo

2004 Urban Assault Night Creeper

2003 Tele Viper

2004 Night Force Tunnel Rat

2004 Cobra Squad Leader

Boring Figures:

These are figures that just aren't popular or they are the left behind construction of the New Sculpt era.

1989 Countdown

1990 Sky Patro Sky Dive

2003 Blackout

Eco Warriors Clean Sweep

1991 Grunt

1987 Gyro Viper

1991 General Hawk


Friday, June 30, 2017

Rarities - Asian Bootleg 1992 and 1993 G.I. Joe Figures

I've saved the oddest item of all for last.  In the late 2000's/early 2010's, carded bootleg examples of 1992 and 1993 G.I. Joe figures started showing up in Asia.  They were on cards mimicking the vintage carded look for G.I. Joe.

The figures sometimes attempt to be similar to the colors shown on the card artwork.  In other cases, they are very off.  But, the figures are spectacularly bad.  They are definitive bootlegs if only for their horrendous quality and garish design.

Below you will see ten of the figures offered.  There may be more.  I'm not sure of the origin.  But, some figures, like Cobra Commander can be interesting due to the different paint jobs.  I own the Iceberg figure, but have never gotten around to opening him.

These figs were dirt cheap when the first appeared, often selling in the $5 MOC range.  Today, they are still relatively cheap with the most popular figures running around $20 for a MOC figure.  As an interesting display piece, the figures have some value.  But, they are really, really awful in terms of quality.

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock, Gung Ho

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock, Gung Ho

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock, Gung Ho

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock, Gung Ho

Bootleg, 1992, 1993, Alley Viper, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cross Country, Keel Haul, Leatherneck, Iceberg, Dr. Mindbender, Roadblock, Gung Ho



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rarities - JC Penny Cobra 3 Figure Pack

When G.I. Joe debuted, the retail landscape was vastly different from what we know today.  Regional retailers held large sway and local toy shops were still a large part of the sales model.  Pretty much any retail store that was not a specialist would sell toys near the holiday season.  And, giant catalog retailers like JC Penny's and Sears were juggernauts able to negotiate exclusive products from toy manufacturers.  In the Joe line, Sears was a preferred retail partner of Hasbro through 1986.  Penny's didn't wield Sears' buying prowess.  But, it was able to hold its own and obtained some exclusive items that were offered in its catalog.  The most famous of these is the Cobra Figure 3 Pack from 1982.

1982 JC Penny Cobra Trooper 3 Pack, Variant Bazooka, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, Catalog, Mail Away, MIB, Bubbled

The Cobra Trooper and Cobra Officer were late additions to the Joe line.  They were not among the initial releases of figures and appeared in later months as the brand gained a foothold.  They were early enough to be released with straight arms: but, late enough that they featured the improved, thinner crotch piece that was less prone to breakage.  JC Penny's had the idea to package two Cobra Troopers and one Cobra Officer into a three figure pack that was then equivalent to the 3 different 3 packs of Joes they offered as well.

The real change to this figure three pack was the accessories.  The Cobra Officer included his standard AK-47 rifle.  But, he was also given a version of Short Fuse's mortar.  While the catalog pictured the earlier, full handled mortar, the actual figure came with the half handled mortar that was being used at the time.  The Cobra Troopers, though, did not include their original gear.  Instead of the Dragonuv sniper that define the character, the two figures included Zap's bazooka.  This wouldn't be great as '82 Zap bazookas are fragile and tend to break.  However, Hasbro did future collectors one better by making both the bazookas an exclusive color.  This now helps differentiate these figures from someone trying to boost the price of a Cobra with a leftover Zap bazooka.  But, it also makes finding a complete version of these figures nearly impossible.

The other change to the set was the filecards.  The Cobra Trooper now denotes that is an expert with a mortar and a bazooka in order to match up with the included accessories.

1982 JC Penny Cobra Trooper 3 Pack, Variant Bazooka, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, Catalog, Mail Away, MIB, Bubbled


Identifying the bazookas is troublesome.  But, it can be done.  The 1997 Zap bazooka is a close color match for the Penny's darker green bazooka.  But, they are not the same and can be easily identified.  The Penny's bazooka has an A 1 on the handle.

1982 JC Penny Cobra Trooper 3 Pack, Variant Bazooka, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, Catalog, Mail Away, MIB, Bubbled


The second Cobra Trooper includes a bazooka that is nearly identical to Zap's in terms of coloring.  However, there is still a difference.  Zap's light green bazooka has a B 2 on the handle.  The correct bazooka from the Penny's pack has a B 1 on the handle.  Finding this variant is just as frustrating as the dark green bazooka.  But, it's a small, important detail to ensure all the parts are correct to the set.

These figures are pricey.  A complete Cobra Trooper with the correct, variant bazooka will fetch upwards of $150.  Since the Officer lacks an exclusive weapon, it's rare to see a price increase on him unless he includes the filecard.  On their own, though, the filecards can be equally expensive.  Sets of three will sell around $50 - $60 each.  Again, though, as the Cobra Trooper's card features exclusive text, you will see it get a slight premium on the officer card.  But, the unique outline of the exclusive bubble that denotes it as Penny's Officer helps keep in the same ballpark.  Intact bubble samples are very rare and are among the most expensive exclusives out there.  Even 15 years ago, they were a $1,000 item.  Today, they remain a four digit purchase.

For me, the expense is extreme.  But, being released in my childhood wheelhouse for Joe also makes them somewhat desirable to me.  While I don't really want to pay $150 for, essentially, a slight color variant bazooka, I can see myself doing it at some point just because it's another piece of the early line that caused me to continue collecting these toys for 35+ years.

1982 JC Penny Cobra Trooper 3 Pack, Variant Bazooka, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, Catalog, Mail Away, MIB, Bubbled

1982 JC Penny Cobra Trooper 3 Pack, Variant Bazooka, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, Catalog, Mail Away, MIB, Bubbled


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rarities - European Exclusive Firing Weapons Figures

Everyone is familiar with the European exclusive Action Force G.I. Joe repaints, the 6 European Tiger Force exclusive figures and even the more obscure European variants of Mutt and Spirit.  But, there were actually many more European exclusive figures.  Some are just minor color differences.  Some are date stamp discrepancies.  And, some are exclusive accessory variants.  It is the last category that is the focus of today's profile.  In the 1990's in Europe, Hasbro released 15 figures who featured exclusive accessories.  They are defined by the fact that the most identifiable characteristic is that most included spring loaded, firing weapons.  But, these are a lot of interesting tidbits hidden within these figures that we'll look at below.

The 15 figures are all 1990 and 1991 figure molds.  It should be noted that most, if not all of these figures were also released in Europe with their American accessories.  But, these altered releases were exclusive to the continent.  I'll start with my favorite of the bunch, the Rock Viper.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


As you can see in the photo above, the Rock Viper now includes gear from the 1991 Snake Eyes figure.  The backpack is in an exclusive dark maroon color.  But, the thing that I really like is the neon green gun and missile.  The green is a nice color offset for the Rock Viper and I don't mind neon accessories in some cases.  But, this colored missile and gun are exclusive to this European version of the Rock Viper.

Next up is the Night Creeper you see below.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


The main reason I like this version is because I like the Night Creeper in general.  This version, though, includes the backpack and launcher from the 1991 Mercer figure in a dark purple to match the Night Creeper figure.  He also includes an exclusive silver missile.

Next up is Ambush.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


The obvious difference in Ambush is his accessories.  He now includes the backpack and missile launcher from the 1991 Snow Serpent in an exclusive light tan color.  He also have the Snow Serpent missile in red.  But, if you look closely, the figure itself is different.  Instead of dark brown cammo on his body, this Ambush features a brighter, lighter brown that has an orange-ish hue.  It is definitely a variant to Ambush.  Though, I'm not 100% certain that this cammo variance was exclusive to Europe or was also available elsewhere.  This European figure also features exclusive card artwork.

The 1991 jet pack General Hawk stands out because he does not include a spring loaded weapon.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

As you see above, Hawk includes the launchers and missiles from the 1991 Crimson Guard Immortal figure.  They appear to be in the same color as the CGI weapons.

Next, we have Bullhorn.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


Bullhorn is still the same great figure.  But, this version includes the 1991 Snow Serpent missile launcher in an exclusive maroon color.  He also has a neon green missile.

The most famous figure from this crop of missile launching figures is the 1991 Dusty.  This is because Dusty was also released in Asia with the same accessory configuration.  (There were some other figures in this series that also saw Asian releases with the alternate gear including Range Viper, Laser Viper and Desert Scorpion.)

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


You see Dusty includes the 1991 Red Star AK-47 and missile launcher.  The figure also features unique card artwork that showcases his alternate inclusions.

The 1991 Low Light follows the Dusty.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


Low Light also includes the 1991 Red Star launcher and missile.

Up next is the Laser Viper.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


This Laser Viper variant includes the missile launcher and missile from the 1991 Sci Fi figure.

Pathfinder shares a detail with Laser Viper:

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

Pathfinder also features the 1991 Sci Fi missile launcher.  These accessories appear to be unchanged from the American Sci Fi figure release.

Captain Grid Iron makes the Sci Fi launcher reuse a trifecta.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


Captain Grid Iron, though, also features exclusive card artwork to help make him a little more interesting than just the reused launcher.

Metal Head brings us back to exclusive gear.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


Metal Head includes a golden launcher from the 1991 Cobra Commander figure.  He also includes the standard 1991 Cobra Commander gun.

The final four figures are all Cobra army builders.

Range Viper:

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

The Range Viper also features Red Star's AK-47 and missile launcher.  He includes an exclusive golden missile, though.

SAW Viper:

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

The SAW Viper includes the gear from the 1991 Incinerator figure.  He also features exclusive card artwork that showcases his different accessories.

Desert Scorpion:

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded

The Desert Scorpion includes the backpack and missile from the 1991 Mercer figure.  The only exclusive part of the figure is the card artwork that shows an oddball configuration for the new gear.

Undertow:

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded


The Undertow figure also uses the gear from the 1991 Snake Eyes figure.  But, it's in an exclusive red color meant to mimic the Undertow's colors.  He also features an exclusive grey missile.

As accessory variants don't tend to command great attention as opposed to figure variants, these European figures remain very obscure.  But, they are generally hard to find and carded figures can command a premium in the right setting.  I'd love to track down a few of them as the offbeat colors are right up my collecting alley.  But, the general rarity of them makes them another fun subset in foreign Joe collecting.  One final picture is from a European catalog that showcases several of the figures in their alternate accessory configurations.

Ambush, Bullhorn, Captain Grid Iron, Desert Scorpion, Dusty, European Exclusive, General Hawk, Laser Viper, Low Light, Metal Head, Pathfinder, Range Viper, Rarities, Rock Viper, SAW Viper, Sci Fi, Undertow,  MOC, Carded