Thursday, December 28, 2017

2004 Night Force Tunnel Rat - Around the Web

The 2003 G.I. Joe Convention was a sea of awesomeness for collectors.  Hasbro announced several new sets of vintage style Joe figures that would see release the following year.  In early 2004, the first of these sets appeared: the Toys R Us exclusive Night Force set.  It included 6 figures that were decent enough.  However, within a week or two, the companion Cobra army building set of 4 Cobra Troopers and 2 Cobra Officers was released.  This immediately eclipsed the Night Force set as the focus of collector attention.  Night Force then languished at retail for the remainder of the year.

While the Night Force set had some duds (Roadblock!) it also had some solid repaints.  The Tunnel Rat is especially nice and is a diversion from the neon ammo that defines the vintage Night Force take on the same mold.  Sadly, though, Tunnel Rat's signature gear was gone: diminishing the figure.  If you have a spare Tunnel Rat rifle around, it helps this figure.  I was fortunate to find a spare 1988 Night Force Tunnel Rat satchel for cheap at a comic shop years and years ago.  It helps make this Tunnel Rat version equal to many vintage releases.  There's not a lot out there on this figure, despite his late release date.  But, here's the best I could find of him from around the web.

Night Force Tunnel Rat Profile

Night Force Review at

Night Force Review at

Tunnel Rat at JoePedia

Tunnel Rat at Half the Battle

2004 Night Force Tunnel Rat, Toys R Us Exclusive, 2005, Sgt. Stalker, Lonzo Wilkinson, Comic Pack

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

1993 Astro Viper - Around the Web

The Cobra Astro Viper was first released in 1988.  While collectors tend to ignore that figure, they at least acknowledge him.  In 1993, the mold was repainted for Star Brigade.  While the bright blue may be off-putting to some, it fits within the context of an astronaut.  However, collectors generally forget this figure exists and and ignore him completely.  However, the black helmet with green visor makes for a really nice visual on this version of the Astro Viper.  Here's the best content on him from around the web.

Astro Viper Profile

Astro Viper at

Astro Viper Dio 1

Astro Viper at

Astro Viper at JoePedia

Astro Viper Dio 2

Astro Viper by Slipstream

Astro Viper by toysandtomfoolery

1993 Astro Viper, Star Brigade, Cobra, 1985 Trouble Bubble, Flight Pod, 1997 Toys R Us Exclusive

1993 Astro Viper, Star Brigade, Cobra, 1985 Trouble Bubble, Flight Pod

Thursday, December 21, 2017

1985 Tele Viper - Around the Web

The Tele Viper is one of the background characters who is absolutely essential to the Joe line.  Without him, Cobra would not have their massive worldwide communications network nor their pipeline to the the phones that drive almost all of Cobra's revenue.  The figure is not perfect.  But, he is the right color and released in the right year to be a major part of most collections.  The figure is still relatively cheap and available, especially if you know how to touch up the flesh colored nose and silver goggles.  Here's the best of him from around the web:

Tele Viper Profile

Tele Viper Dio 1

Tele Viper at Joe Wiki

Tele Viper Dio 2

Tele Viper at Cobra Temple

Tele Viper Dio 3

Tele Viper at

Tele Viper Dio 4

Tele Viper Video Review 1

Tele Viper Dio 5

Tele Viper at Mike's Collection

Tele Viper Dio 6

Tele Viper Video Review 2

1985 Tele Viper, 1984 Zartan, 1994 Action Soldier, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

1985 Tele Viper, 1984 Zartan, 1994 Action Soldier, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ

1985 Tele Viper, 1984 Zartan, 1994 Action Soldier, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ, Crimson Guard, Hiss Tank

1985 Tele Viper, 1984 Zartan, 1994 Action Soldier, 1983 G.I. Joe HQ, Crimson Guard, Hiss Tank

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

1983 Clutch Around the Web

The first G.I. Joe figures that ever entered my house arrived at my younger brother's birthday in the fall of 1982.  He got a haul of G.I. Joe that included several vehicles and many of the figures.  Clutch was my immediate favorite.  His unique chest and shoulder holster simply put him over the top against the other figures.  I have him Grunt's backpack and Stalker's gun and commandeered the figure for weeks.  For Christmas that year, I got my own VAMP and Clutch.  The figure has been a favorite of mine since then.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

Clutch Profile

Clutch Dio 1

Clutch Video Review 1

Clutch at

Clutch Dio 2

Clutch Pre Production Figure at

Clutch Video Review 2

Clutch at

Clutch Dio 3

1983 Clutch, Wild Bill, Flash, Dragonfly, VAMP

1983 Clutch, Wild Bill, Flash, Dragonfly, VAMP, Steeler, Hawk, General Hawk, Colonel Hawk, Snake Eyes, Version 1.5

Thursday, December 14, 2017

1997 General Hawk - Around the Web

It was 20 years ago that I stopped at a local TRU on my way home from work, looking for a Slave Leia figure and stumbled across the 1997 Joes.  20 years.  Vintage Star Wars figures weren't 20 years old when I found these guys.  I take my boys to that same TRU now.  Just, back then, there was no freeway connecting it to the rest of the city.  How time flies.  In looking back, we didn't know how good we had it with these '97 figures.  We'd never get this level of detail and accessories on any consistent basis again after 1998.  In some ways, I now like this Hawk almost as much as the original.  Here's the best I can find of him around the web.

1997 General Hawk Profile

General Hawk on Instagram 01

General Hawk Pre-Production at

1997 General Hawk, Cobra Commander, Destro, Stalker, 1984 VAMP Mark II

1997 General Hawk, Cobra Commander, Destro, Stalker, 1984 VAMP Mark II

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

1994 Metal Head - Around the Web

In general, Cobra figures were the first figures to sell out after Joe stopped shipping to retail.  For someone desperately trying to fill gaps in their collection in 1995 and 1996, it was incredibly frustrating to see these aweome Cobras on the cardbacks but not on the shelves.  In the instances when I did find a Cobra, though, I usually bought him without hesitation.  Among the few Cobras I found at the time was the 1994 Metal Head figure.

I was aware of the Metal Head character from the comic and a kid down the street had the 1990 figure that I had seen after I had quit buying Joes.  So, I jumped at a chance to get a new version of him: purple weapons and all.  Like most of the later run figures, there's not a ton of content out there in regards to the figure.  But, here's what I could come up with:

Metal Head Profile

Metal Head at

Metal Head Dio 1

Metal Head Pre-Production at

Metal Head Dio 2

Metal Head at

Metal Head Dio 3

Metal Head at Wikipedia

1994 Battle Corps Metal Head, Star Brigade Cobra Blackstar, Funskool Crimson Guard Immortal

1994 Battle Corps Metal Head, Mega Marines Cyber Viper, 1993, Action Soldier, Monster Blaster APC

1994 Battle Corps Metal Head, Star Brigade Cobra Blackstar, Funskool Crimson Guard Immortal

Thursday, December 7, 2017

1983 Grand Slam - Around the Web

Grand Slam may be the most obscure Joe of the original 13.  He didn't get a lot of play in the early comics and didn't get much characterization until he kicked Major Bludd through the windshield of a bus nearly a year and a half after Joe debuted on the newstand.  He's a figure, though, that collectors have warmed to over the years.  Much of this is due to the fact that his silver pads version is considered a relatively rare figure.

I was able to find a decent amount of Grand Slam content out there.  It seems his obscurity in early Joe media has allowed to take on more life in the ensuing 35 years.  Here's the best of Grand Slam from around the web.

Silver Pads Grand Slam Profile

Red Pads Grand Slam Profile

Grand Slam Dio 1

Grand Slam Video Review

Grand Slam Dio 2

Grand Slam at

Grand Slam Dio 3

Grand Slam at

Grand Slam Dio 4

Grand Slam Dio 5

Grand Slam at Comic Vine

Grand Slam Dio 6

1983 Grand Slam, JUMP, Jet Pack, Short Fuse, Steeler, 1985 Mauler, Flash, 2017 Sightline, Red Laser's Army, Bootleg

TNT, Grand Slam, Silver Pads, JUMP, HAL, Rock and Roll, 1983, 1982, Argentina, Plastirama, Blowtorch, Flint, Funskool, India

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

1994 Viper - Around the Web

In 1995 and 1996, Cobra army builders were especially hard to find at retail.  I only found four of them and they were the Crimson Guard Commander twice and this 1994 Viper twice.  But, I was able to army build them from the get go.  The 2005 Iron Anvil proved what a good mold this figure has.  This Halloween orange leaves something to be desired.  But it remains a sign of the times from the 1990's.  Here's the best content I could find on the web for him:

Viper Profile

Viper Pre Production at

Viper at

Viper at Nekoman's Viper Pit

94 Viper at Droppin

Viper at OreoBuilder's Blog

'94 Viper at 1

1994 Viper, Cobra Viper, Funskool Blaster

1994 Viper, Battle Corps, 1987, Jinx, 2004, Scarlett, Comic Pack
1994 Viper, 1987 Jinx, 2004 Comic Pack Scarlett

Monday, December 4, 2017

Holiday Hiatus

2017 has been a crazy year.  And, the last three months or so have been ridiculously odd, tumultuous and great.  But, the series of events that occurred have completely limited my time.  I haven't taken any new Joe photos in months and all my figures got packed away for a few weeks.  So, I'm out of content. 

With that, I'm taking the month of December off.  I'll have two or three Around the Web features every week.  (I've got about 60 of those ready to go.)  So, there will be something to stop by and check out.  I'll be back in January with new profiles and photos.  I've got the 1988 Cobra Bugg, some factory customs and a couple of fun, obscure releases who will kick off 2018.

Until then, you can follow me on various platforms for any new content and previews:




Friday, December 1, 2017

1984 Roadblock - Around the Web

The 1984 Roadblock figure stands as one of the great links between the line's first two years and the leap in quality it took in the third year.  In many ways, Roadblock feels like a 1983 release.  But, his gear makes him stand out from the simpler equipment from that year.  He's not as complex as Blowtorch or Stormshadow.  But, he remains an iconic figure, nonetheless.  I first got him in early 1984 at a Value City store.  He's been a staple of my collection since, even if this mold has gotten a bit stale.  Here's the best of him from around the web.

Roadblock Profile

Roadblock Dio 1

1984 Roadblock at When It Was Cool

Roadblock at

Roadblock Dio 2

Roadblock at

Roadblock Dio 3

1984 Roadblock, 2017 Sightline, Red Laser, Black Major, Factory Custom, Bootleg, Viper, Backstop, 1985 Mauler, Plastirama, Argentina