Thursday, May 30, 2019

2003 Inferno BAT - Around the Web

The 2003 BAT Pack was released with great fanfare.  But, the set landed with a thud at retail, though.  Collectors bought a lot.  But, there weren't enough collectors to absorb the stock.  There were some massive armies out there for a while, though.  The Inferno BAT was an afterthought to the standard BATs in the set.  But, years later, the figure has some cachet and can be fun to own.  I don't need too many of them.  Having a handful makes for a useful army.  Here's the best of the Inferno BAT from around the web.

Inferno BAT Profile

Inferno Bat by Ironman3719

Inferno BAT at

Inferno BAT at

Inferno BAT at Half the Battle

Inferno BAT makes the Halloween List at Castle Geek Skull

Inferno BAT at

2003 Inferno BAT, BAT Pack, Army Builder, Mail Away, Red Laser Army, Cobra Trooper, 2018, JUMP, Jet Pack

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Zeros - Mark IV

Each year, I've looked back at underappreciated posts on this site.  2018 was a weird year in that traffic was constant for the first 6 months before it almost doubled over the summer.  Then, in the fourth quarter, it plummeted.  Supposedly, Google changed their algorithm around this time due to the demise of Google+ and it greatly affected the number of people who visited the site.  Things seem to have normalized, now.  But, the traffic patterns are interesting, nonetheless.

Below are the least popular posts of 2018 that I think deserve more love:

Mexican Lobotomaxx

Historically, foreign exclusive figures have been among the most popular profiles on my site.  Add in the fact that this was a monster whose write up was released on Halloween and you have a recipe for...failure?  Barely 200 people read this profile of a rather hard to find figure.  But, the fact that Lobotomaxx is an unpopular alien and his Mexican variant is barely a shading difference and you get a figure that didn't grab people's attention.

1994 Mexican Lobotomaxx, Lunartix Alien, Star Brigade, Major Bludd, Cobra Viper

Rarities - Unproduced 2004 Desert Patrol Figures (Convention Prototypes)

Even Rarities month produces a dud every now and then.  When these figures were show at the 2004 Convention, the set looked like it wasn't great, but had some promise.  The final production figures, though, didn't hold up.  The excellent Ambush paint job you see here never saw the light of day and the resulting retail set faded into obscurity...just like this post.

Unproduced, Prototypes, 2004 Desert Patrol, Stalker, Ambush, Tunnel Rat, Snake Eyes, Ambush, Dusty, TRU Exclusive

1993 Flak Viper

Few collectors share my passion for neon 1990's army builders.  In 2017 and 2018, this figure fascinated me and I slowly built a little army of them.  Yet, the profile was super unpopular despite it being one of my personal favorites for the year.

1993 Flak Viper, Battle Corps

2001 Pathfinder

With this guy, I get it.  It's a boring repaint of a character that no one remembers.  At least the original figure was distinctive.  This 2001 version was lost in the sea of olive drab banality that defined 2001.

2001 Pathfinder: TRU Exclusive, ARAHC

2005 Iron Anvil

While these figures seem to be well like by collectors, they remain super cheap for convention army builders.  The profile got little attention: which is unfortunate for such a great mold that was finally painted in a proper manner.

2005 Iron Anvil, Cobra Viper, 2006, Iron Grenadier, Convention Exclusive, Viper Pit

So far, 2019 has been pretty solid.  We'll see what the rest of the year brings.  We should be in about the final 6 months of the Joe renaissance that's driven up prices.  That should take us into 2020.  If Hasbro gets the Snake Eyes movie going, that could change the landscape again: either for better or for worse.  But, I'll keep plugging along and hope you'll come along, too.  Thanks for the great year!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

2004 Anti Venom Roadblock

Larry Hama loved Roadblock.  He was introduced in the comic with superhero level flair.  He then remained a mainstay of the comic plot for the remaining decade of Joe media.  As if this weren't enough, Roadblock was a staple of cartoon, too.  He was that rare character who crossed over into both mediums and was appreciated by fans of each.  He was also a favorite of Hasbro.  Just as his iconic 1984 mold disappeared from retail shelves, Hasbro released a newly sculpted 1986 figure.  This figure hung around until 1988 when the Tiger Force repaint of the 1984 was released.  Roadblock then, though, went on a bit of a hiatus and did not appear again until 1992.

Roadblock's return to retail in 1992, though, was extremely well done.  The new mold brought some heft to the character that had been missing in 1984 and only slightly improved in 1986.  For the generations of kids who had grown up in the '80's, this 1992 sculpt was a missed redo of a favorite character.  And, as collectors started to come of age, the 1992 Roadblock was one of the very few figures from that decade that were sought after.  Hasbro helped this along in the early 2000's when they got the mold back from India and repainted it for the 2004 Anti Venom set.  Gone were some of the more gaudy hues from the '90's and in was a palette of black, tan and deep green.  It was extremely rare for the 2000's era Hasbro to produce the best paint job on a figure.  But, with the Anti-Venom Roadblock, they succeeded.

Hasbro had planned a repaint of the 1984 Roadblock as part of the 1997 Toys R Us exclusive G.I. Joe assortments.  While all of the other replacements from the original hand painted samples could be explained away by "lost" molds, Roadblock's absence was odd.  While he was not replaced in that year's lineup, his 1986 sculpt did.  The parts were used for Breaker and Rock and Roll in the Stars and Stripes set.  But, then, those parts disappeared and the 1986 Roadblock was never repainted.  In 2001, the 1984 Roadblock returned to retail: renamed as a new character.  It was revealed the copyrights were an issue and may have been part of the 1997 snafu.  The 1984 mold was re-done several times: to the point of annoyance in the collecting world.  Finally, Hasbro got the 1992 mold back from Hasbro.  While I'm not too keen on Hasbro's handling of the molds returned from Funskool, they did right by Roadblock.  He was released twice, both times in a solid color scheme worthy of the character's importance.

When I talk about Joes of the 1980's, the memories are of childhood play.  For figures from the 1990's, it is of my re-entry into collectordom and the recollections are a mixture of childhood regret of not having some of the toys when I was a kid and adult happiness for finding a fulfilling past time.  My 2000's remembrances are of the acquisition of figures and the sentiment of the collecting community at the time of their releases.  Each era has value to me.  But, it also shows why many of the 2000's figures have faded with time.  They lack any real connection to me aside from the community aspect.  And, the community during that time was fun.  Sure, there was nonsense.  But, less than today and more guys got along since it wasn't a big competition like so many want to make collecting now. 

For this Roadblock, though, I have found uses.  I like Roadblock to appear in photos since he's a popular character.  The 1984 has its uses.  And, I no longer have the 1986, 1992 or 1993 figures in my collection.  So, the Anti-Venom Roadblock and the HAS Roadblock see a good amount of use in various photos and dios.  The colors are strong and the accessories are good.  That's about all you can ask of a decade old repaint.  But, that's also the extent of my involvement with the figure.  He had no great adventures.  I lack any anecdote about losing him somewhere or playing with him in a place that's long gone.  (I have no nostalgia for any homes I've sold other than my first.  If I liked them enough to stay, I'd still own them.)  In short, he's something cool that's there.  But, without his connection to my childhood toys, I'd have no reason to own him.  I'm happy I have him.  But, at the same time, I also realize that he's never going to be more than a box checked for some mythical collection goal.

I've talked about the Anti Venom Steel Brigade helmets before.  For characters that had a unique helmet, the common theme detracted from the figure.  But, for Roadblock, the helmets are less problematic.  The original figure release did not include a helmet.  So, the inclusion here doesn't replace something better.  The helmet, of course, doesn't fit on Roadblock's head.  So, it's value is minimal.  The rest of Roadblock's accessories are derived from the 1984 original.  He includes a black version of the 1984 .50 cal machine gun and stand.  I consider this Roadblock's iconic weapon.  So, its inclusion is a welcome one.  The figure also includes a black version of the 1984 backpack.  However, this is the modified version from earlier in the 2000's that lacks the peg for the tripod and has the ammo pack molded to back body instead of having it as a separate piece.  It's a downgrade from the original.  But, it also is less prone to breakage and loss.  The final piece is a black figure stand.  The fact that the Anti-Venom set included well thought out accessories seemed inconsequential at the time.  But, this proved to be the only Joe set that ever included gear that really matched the figures.

The 1992 Roadblock mold had an interesting life.  Originally, the 1992 figure was released with a spring loaded spinner and cool new machine gun.  However, the spinner mechanism broke easily and was "recalled".  Roadblock was then removed from later 1992 shipments.  However, in late 1992 or early 1993 the 1992 Roadblock paint scheme was re-released on 1993 cards.  This time, though, the figure included a weapons tree and the cool machine gun was gone.  Once this stock was cleared out, the mold was repainted in a neon 1993 color scheme and shipped for the rest of the year.  Hasbro sent the mold to India in the late 1990's where Funskool then released the figure in colors similar to the 1992 figure for many years.  The Funskool release brought back the "recalled" 1992 machine gun and gave collectors a chance to easily get it.  Hasbro got the mold back in 2003 when Funskool returned 18 molds to Hasbro.  They then released it in this Anti Venom set.  There are two different unproduced color schemes of the Anti Venom Roadblock: a light blue and a dark blue variant.  Both are now expensive and hard to find.  In 2005, Hasbro used the exact paint masks from the Anti Venom Roadblock for the HAS Roadblock.  The HAS set was terrible, but the Roadblock and Snake Eyes figures were useful.  The mold then disappeared and never appeared again.  There's lots of paint jobs of the figure for collectors to track down.  But, the mold probably had a couple of more uses in it if the line had continued for a few more years.

The Anti Venom set was actually relatively popular upon its release.  At the time, collectors generally ignored any set that didn't include army builders.  But, the Anti Venom set found some interest.  While the Urban Strike set was reduced to $15 at Toys R Us stores around the country, the contemporarily released Anti Venom set never saw such reductions.  While it hung around in stores through most of the rest of 2004, it did sell out.  By 2006 and 2007, loose figures from the set were selling for double retail: a feat not even achieved by many army builders of that era.  Now, too, the figures have gotten rather scarce.  It's actually kind of hard to find mint and complete versions of the characters from the set.  But, scarcity doesn't equal rarity and pretty much anyone who collected in 2004-2006 has this figure safely tucked away.

Still, though, a mint and complete version of this figure will run you between $15 and $30.  That's quite a lot for a mold that was repainted twice and was heavily concentrated in collector circles.  But, all Joe figures are pretty stupidly priced these days for things so common.  If you can find collections amassed during the early 2000's, this guy will be there.  And, that's probably your best way to get him cheap.  This version is easily the best paint job on the mold and is a worthy addition to any Roadblock collection.  With production numbers around 16,000, there's plenty of these guys out there.  You just have to have some patience to find one for a fair price.

2004 Anti Venom Roadblock, Toy R Us Exclusive, Slaughters Marauders Mutt, 1989, Funskool, Flint

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Chinese Exclusive Flint (Tiger Force Falcon) - Around The Web

In 1997, a scalp kiosk at a flea market on the other side of town had some carded Joes from China.  He wanted way more than I wanted to pay for them.  But, I remember seeing the Flint figure and thinking what a cool weapon was included with him.  (I didn't realize it was the Headhunter shotgun at the time as I had never seen a Headhunter.)  Fortunately, the advent of Ebay proved the figures were actually very common.  So common that I could open a carded version and enjoy one of the cooler and better done foreign exclusive figures.  Here's the best of the Chinese Flint from around the web.

Chinese Flint Profile

Chinese Flint by flatline54

Chinese Flint by Stormer

Chinese Flint by specialmissionforce

Chinese Flint at

Chinese Flint by flatline

Chinese Flint by yototheJoe

Chinese Exclusive Flint, Tiger Force Falcon, Spirit Iron Knife, 1984, Steel Brigade, VAMP, Mail Away

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2005 Oktober Guard Horrorshow - Around the Web

This Horrorshow figure is far from perfect.  But, for the time, it was about the best we could have expected from Hasbro.  I ended up selling off my original Horrorshow several years ago.  I didn't really miss him.  But then, I randomly found him, Stormavik and Stalker for a buck at a random flea market in Indianapolis.  I snatched him up and have come to realize in recent years how fortunate I was to come across that random find.  Now, Horrorshows are stupidly expensive.  And, if you're going to pay a premium, the flaws of this figure become far more apparent.  Here's the best of Horrorshow from around the web.

Horrorshow Profile

Comic Pack #7 at

Comic Pack #7 at

Oktober Guard at Icebreakers HQ

Horrorshow at

2004 G.I. Joe Convention Horrorshow Prototype at

2005 Oktober Guard Horrorshow, Comic Pack #7, 1998 Snow Serpent

Thursday, May 16, 2019

1988 Secto Viper - Around the Web

The Secto Viper is a great figure.  He's the perfect Cobra deep sea diver and is an excellent match for the oddball BUGG.  Sadly, they have gotten pricey and hard to find these days.  Even worse is that we didn't get any cool repaints in the 2000's.  This guy would have been awesome in 1985 Eel colors.  (See NetViperX's site for a Copperhead repaint, too!)  The mold was lost to Olmec toys, though.  There's tons of content on them around the web. 

Secto Viper Profile - 2002

Secto Viper Profile - 2014

Secto Viper at NetViperX's Custom Gallery - Don't miss this one!

Secto Viper at ARAH Gallery

Secto Viper by Colorviper05

Secto Viper at

Secto Viper by Dreadnokdread 1

Secto Vipers by ScarrViper

Secto Viper by Dreadnokdread2

Secto Viper by C-DGSM 2487

Secto Viper by jamietheteleviper

Secto Viper Swamp Base Diorama

1988 Secto Viper, Cobra Bugg

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

1987 Crazylegs - Around The Web

So, real life intervenes and I'm going to be offline for a week or so and probably not back to normal posting for another week or two after that.  I still have Rarities Month planned for June.  So, that's happening.  But, It's going to take most of May to get back into the swing of things.  In the meantime, please see the best of Crazylegs from around the web.

1987 Crazylegs Profile

Night Force Crazylegs Profile

Plastirama Crazylegs Cardback

Funskool Skydiver using Crazylegs parts

Crazylegs Video Review

Crazylegs at

Crazylegs at

1987 Sneak Peek, Crazylegs

1987 Sneak Peek, Crazylegs