Wednesday, October 31, 2018

1994 Mexican Lobotomaxx - Lunartix Empire

Halloween is a fun time.  It's not something you'd normally associate with G.I. Joe.  But, as the line progressed, Hasbro was kind enough to introduce various monsters and aliens to the mythos that gives me fodder for profiles nearly 25 years later.  Most of these are tucked into the Lunartix aliens theme that was introduced in 1994.  Technically, we only have 6 members of the empire: 3 aliens and 3 Manimals.  But, there's much more.  In terms of rarities, there are 9 unproduced Manimal figures.  But, there are also three exclusive Lunartix alien repaints that were released as Mexican exclusives in 1994.  There were days when these figs were super common.  But, they have become scarce (likely due to extremely low production numbers) and desirable among collectors.  The Carcass and Predacon repaints are notorious for their drastic differences.  The Mexican Lobotomaxx is less distinguishable, but still an interesting addition to a collection.

Supposedly, the Mexican variants on the Lunartix alien figures were actually factory mistakes.  When the first samples returned from Asia, the aliens' colors did not match the card art.  So, they had the figures recolored and released in the U.S.  The miscolored figures were then packaged up and had Spanish language stickers slapped onto them before they were sold in Mexico.  I do suspect that some of these figures were actually sold in the U.S., too.  In the early 2000's, it was not uncommon to find Mexican Star Brigade figures intermingled with American Star Brigade figures when you bought from dealers. There are also factory samples of the figures with US cards that are incredibly rare, too.  But, these were among the final figures Hasbro ever produced so some ambiguity is forgiven since the guys who had given their life to make the Joe line so amazing had suddenly found themselves out of a career.

As a figure, Lobotomaxx is weird.  He's a four legged monster with a third hand on his tail.  On top of that, half of his head was removed when Predacon whacked him with a laser sword.  This detail as well as Space Shot being a Han Solo clone were likely inside pot shots at the newly acquired Kenner team that was working on returning Star Wars to retail in 1995 and would, ultimately, take the jobs of most of the Joe designers in the boys action figure division.  It also leaves Lobotomaxx as an awkward action figure.  The lower legs are actually two feet attached to one joint rather than four, separate feet.  The figure lacks the classic o-ring construction and has cut, swing joints for the hips.  A casual collector could come across this figure and really have no idea that he's from the G.I. Joe line.

But, as a piece of sculpting, the figure is an achievement.  The hands and tail are well detailed.  And, the entire figure's body features strings of veins running through it.  Lobotomaxx looks like a monster with no real ties to a humanoid form.  Thirteen years of knowledge and experience culminated in the Lunartix figures.  And, if you forgive the concept, you can see the attention to detail and quality on each character.  For this reason alone, the figures are noteworthy.  Even if their concept is too far from left field to really incorporate into the Joe mythos.

My first encounter with Lobotomaxx was in 1998.  I had just returned to G.I. Joe collecting and online resources showed off the exotic releases from 1993 and 1994 that I had never found in stores as I scoured the last bastions of Joe at retail stores.  The Lunartix aliens fascinated me because they were such a departure from the Joe I had grown up with and collectors, generally, hated them so much.  One of my first purchases at that time was a carded American Lobotomaxx.  I paid a princely sum of $15 for it.  (Remember, at the time, bagged version D Steel Brigade figures wouldn't sell for $5 and mint and complete Hardtops could be had for under $10.)  The figure than sat at my parents' house for several years while I acquired other, far cheaper versions as online supply of late run Joes exploded between 1999 and 2001.  And, that was pretty much the extent of Lobotomaxx for me.  At some point, I came across a loose sample and found the limitations of the figure weren't enough to keep it around when I had carded versions stashed away and this Mexican version remains the only loose Lobotomaxx left in my collection.

As for usage, there's not really a way to incorporate the Lunartix into the Joe world.  I had a story where the monsters were experiments of Dr. Mindbender gone awry.  As a one off idea, this can work.  You'll see a variant on that theme in the photos below.  But, it's not really a way to use Lobotomaxx as anything other than a de-humanized monster.  I suppose you could make him super intelligent as a by product of Mindbender's recklessness.  But, even that would play out rather quickly.  Really, the only use for figures like this is a conversation piece.  And, that's mostly what you see Lunartix reduced to in the modern collecting world.

There are a couple of notable differences between the Mexican and American Lobotomaxx figures.  The easiest to spot is the fact that the Mexican figure is a darker green.  However, as Lobotomaxx isn't a figure that most collectors are intimately familiar with, this detail can be obfuscated by unfamiliarity.  If you have a loose sample, the easiest way to tell them apart is the back of the figure.  While the American Lobotomaxx is clean, the Mexican figure features a silver overspray you can see in the first photo below.  This is the tell tale sign of a Mexican Lobotomaxx should you come across a loose sample in the wild.

While the Mexican Predacon figure has gotten pricey, you can still get both loose and carded Lobotomaxx figures for decent prices.  It's worth noting that the Mexican Lobotomaxx's accessories are slightly different in color from the American figure.  So, that's something to watch for.  But, you can get a figure for around $70 MOC and as low as $50 loose.  There are still lots of poorly labeled Lobotmaxx figures out there since few realize the color variant and you can get lucky to this day.  But, as American Lobotomaxx figures are $50 for a MOC figure these days, the luck only takes you so far.  For the price and the type of figure this is, I find him worth it because I'm a Star Brigade apologist.  For others, that probably isn't worth the price.  But, he's an odd duck to have in a collection for a variety of reasons and that's always worth a premium.

1994 Mexican Exclusive Lobotomaxx, Lunartix, Star Brigade, 1993 Mega Vipers, Mega Marines

1994 Mexican Exclusive Lobotomaxx, Lunartix, Star Brigade, Viper, Major Bludd, Battle Corps


  1. I guess this a small niche sub division of Joe to collect.I never liked the idea of Joes in space, I preferred the down to earth gritty realism of the early comics. Some of these are really pricey now, fortunately I have no interest in almost any Star Brigade figures. I know some collectors that like to collect the whole original line from 82-94, but a lot of 93and 94 figures are an easy pass. Do you have any links to the Spaceshot/Han Solo connection? I do know there was friction when Kenner was absorbed....

  2. I've no problem with GI JOE in space fighting side line. As long as there's a core military line going to, then it's all good. That Star Brigade came out in 1993-1994 affected their look and accessories. Had we gotten the 80's space force, we'd have seen more astronaut figures in that 87-90 style, any aliens (i've never heard of any planned for the 80's) would've been more along the lines of Cobra-La, with original accessories.

    Lobotomaxx's biggest flaws are his bendy parts, like Golobulus they don't work as well as intended, a bit too stiff, if I remember.

    1. Yeah, that's really the only thing that I don't like about Lobotomaxx. And Carcass too. That bendy plastic just didn't work the way Hasbro had hoped. A big part of the reason Predacon was my favorite. but as pointed out in the review, Lobotomaxx is very well sculpted and is pretty impressive looking on his own.

  3. I could see this guy appearing in a Sunbow cartoon, but he's almost too bizarre for even one of Mindbender's creations.

  4. When I first got into collecting old stuff, the Lunartix aliens weren't too expensive to my memory. But at the time, I couldn't stomach neon aliens despite that I actually liked the rest of the Star Brigade line. Now, I'm interested in these figures as I've collected most of the other ARAH items I really wanted, but I can't swallow the prices they go for. So frustrating.

    As a side note, I really hope one day some custom makers/ bootleggers will make a Royal Guard repaint in Lobotomaxx's colors as a generic trooper for the Lunartix Empire. But I might be the only person who'd want that...