Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Rarities - Funskool Maltova Red Toxo Viper

 A few years ago, I looked at the Funskool Maltova promotional figures.  In that write up, I had pictures of 6 different releases.  But, I mentioned that I had no idea how many more there might be.  Well, here's another one.  And, it's a doozy.  Funskool produced an all red Toxo Viper for the Maltova series.  Like the other figures, though, he has the super crappy straight arms that all but nullify his collectiblity.  

The red really works for the Toxo Viper character, though.  The hazardous nature of their job would make something like a bright red necessary for some members of the Leaky Suit Brigade.  So, in that regard, the figure has tremendous value.  

A-Man noted in the comments below that this figure actually has Red Dog legs.  I hadn't even looked at them and just assumed they were the same as the 1988 Toxo Viper.  But, the additional parts change just makes an already odd figure that much more unique.

The figure also included accessories.  This sample does not have a helmet.  But, I do not know if that is true of all of them.  The gear, though, seems to the standard gear included with a Funskool Toxo Viper.  So, there's no coloring exclusive to this figure as far as gear goes.

Of course, this figure is stupidly expensive.  And, if it had swivel arms, I'd be inclined to pay it.  But, the straight arms save me from that type of purchase.  So, I'm somewhat grateful for that.  It's a travesty that this color scheme didn't get a wide release with proper arms on a Funskool card.  I know I'd have bought a few had they been available.  

Funskool Maltova Promotional Red Toxo Viper Variant

Funskool Maltova Promotional Red Toxo Viper Variant

Funskool Maltova Promotional Red Toxo Viper Variant




Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Rarities - European Force Rendon

So, each year I try to showcase some piece of the European Force line of knockoffs.  This year's focus is Rendon.  Basically, Rendon is a red 1986 Dial Tone with Flint arms and Hawk legs.  He's not the type of thing collectors would love.  Except that he's exceedingly rare and that alone causes people to be interested in him.  Heck, I'm a Dialtone fan.  And, I don't really want an all red version of him with different arms and legs.  But, at the same time, I'd totally buy this figure if I ever came across one for a good price.

All of the European Force figures have a kitsch about them that makes them interesting.  We'd have never seen some of these colors on vintage Joes.  And, the lower quality and reduced paint masks definitely mark these figures as bootlegs.  (Rendon doesn't appear to have Dial Tone's mustache painted.  Yet, Hasbro did the same thing in 2000.)  But, at the same time, the entire line has a panache that makes you want it.  The fact that some of the designs have never been revisited seems a shame.  And, after the oversaturation that's occurred with the Red Shadows in the past 10 years, having MyGal as an alternative European villain would be nice.

You'll note in the photos below that Rendon included a rifle originally from the Baroness.  The red weapon in the last photo was from a different line that a seller just included since it kind of matched Rendon.  With obscure lines, you see things like this often.  And, absent carded samples, it can be difficult to determine real gear that was included with a figure versus aftermarket items that were added from a box of unsorted weapons.

Like all the European Force figures, high quality Rendons are nearly impossible to find and are extremely expensive.  You'll pay over $100 for even a sample with heavy paint wear.  The European Force quality is not good.  But, their designs were fun.  I just wish they were more attainable.

European Force Rendon, Dialtone, Dial Tone, European Exclusive, Bootleg

European Force Rendon, Dialtone, Dial Tone, Carded, MOC, European Exclusive, Bootleg


European Force Rendon, Dialtone, Dial Tone, European Exclusive, Bootleg


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Rarities - Unproduced Funskool Shark 9000

We do know that Funskool had plans for the G.I. Joe line that extended beyond Windmill.  There was a new Rock and Roll figure that used the 1989 mold that was planned.  And, Funskool was also toying with the idea of releasing a new character that would have been an amalgamation of molds that would have been more "Indian" in origin.  We don't know what this would have been.  But, it's likely the figure would have been fun and interesting.  

The last Funskool new vehicle that we really know of was the 1993 Detonator.  Funskool created it in 2001 or so.  (Can't remember the exact date.)  But, this Funskool catalog below shows another vehicle that, to my knowledge, never saw the light of day from Funskool: the 1993 Shark 9000.

The catalog below is an interesting amalgamation.  The Sky Striker and Battle Hawk are clearly the Funskool versions.  Whereas the Detonator and Shark 9000 use old Hasbro catalog photography from the 1990's.  As such, the Shark 9000 that does appear is the Hasbro version.  So, we have no idea what Funskool's take on the vehicle may have looked like.  

Again, to my knowledge, the Shark 9000 was not actually released.  But, if you have information to the contrary, or pics of a sample, please let me know.

Funskool Catalog, Shark 9000, Detonator, Skystriker, Mean Dog

 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Rarities - Unknown White Numbers Bazooka

A few months ago, H5*0's Vintage Toys posted a question about a 1985 Bazooka figure that was missing paint applications on the number 14 that adorns his chest.  My initial thought was that it was simply a missing paint application.  But, within 2 days, another 4 or 5 samples of the figure had been produced.  With that type of distribution, it's likely that the figure is, indeed a legitimate variant of the 1985 Bazooka.  I doubt that the missed paint app was intentional.  But, it's possible that a bad batch was needed to fulfill an order and was green lighted for release.

1985 White Number Bazooka Variant, Bagged, Mail Away

But, where did it come from?  The initial guess is that the figure was a catalog or mailaway that was available bagged.  This is entirely possible.  But, we do know that correct Bazooka figures were bagged, too.  So, if this is the origin of the figure, then it would be a smaller subset of the bagged figures.

1985 White Number Bazooka Variant, Bagged, Mail Away

As variants go, this isn't overly exciting.  But, at the same time, it is extremely noticeable.  So, the figure missing these paint apps would catch your eye since the blue makes for such a large portion of Bazooka's overall appearance.

The variant figure doesn't have any different COO or date stamps than a standard Bazooka.  So, it was not a release from later in the line.  

1985 White Number Bazooka Variant, Bagged, Mail Away

If you have any information on the origin of this figure, or just have a sample, please let me know.  I'd love to learn more and determine if this is just a bad production batch or can be traced to a specific release.

1985 White Number Bazooka Variant, Bagged, Mail Away


1985 White Number Bazooka Variant, Bagged, Mail Away

1985 White Number Bazooka Variant, Bagged, Mail Away

This is one of the odder items I've come across.  And, you'd think that variants like this would be better documented.  Hopefully, the full story of this figure will come to light.  There's lots of pushback that the figure is custom where someone removed the paint.  That, of course, is possible.  But, the fact that so many showed up so quickly from various parts of the country and that none of the customizers bothered to remove the paint from the figure's armbands makes that explanation less likely.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Rarities - Pre-Production 2005 Comic Pack Horrorshow

In 2005, Hasbro finally produced a Horrorshow figure.  This long awaited release was met with general approval from the fan community.  Sure, it had issues.  But, overall, it was good enough.  As with all new figures from that era, Hasbro had some pre-production versions of the figure leak out.  This figure isn't overly different from a production Horrorshow.  It has pink hands and is missing the date stamps.  Not much of a variant.  But, it's an insight in the process that lead to this figure's release.

Sadly, this mold never got a re-release or even a repaint.  His wave of Comic Packs saw a truncated production due to the massive unsold inventory of late 2004 Comic Packs that were still being clearanced out from stores around the country.  For about a month, you could get this figure.  Then, he was gone.  He's always been the most pricey Oktober Guard figure.  But, the fact that he's now a triple digit purchase is a bit much.  Collectors have this figure en masse and almost the entire production run was purchased by collectors who were aware of the short production window.  But, times are dumb and Joe prices are dumber.  For a long time, you could get the pre-production Horrorshows for cheaper than a production figure.  But, those days are gone and you'll pay a premium even though only the most eagle eyed collectors would notice a difference.

2005 Comic Pack Horrorshow, Oktober Guard, Prototype, Pre Production

2005 Comic Pack Horrorshow, Oktober Guard, Prototype, Pre Production

2005 Comic Pack Horrorshow, Oktober Guard, Prototype, Pre Production

2005 Comic Pack Horrorshow, Oktober Guard, Prototype, Pre Production



Saturday, June 19, 2021

Rarities - 2000's Era Stormshadow Unproduced Figures

For some reason, Hasbro loved the 1992 Stormshadow mold.  After the debut of the 1984 mold in the 1997 repaint sets, Hasbro put it on hiatus for another 7 years.  In between, they, instead, released repainted 1992 Stormshadow figures.  The first, in 2000, was a nice diversion and something different.  But, then it appeared again in 2002 in the BJ's Gift Set and again in 2004 in the Urban Strike set.

Design wise, this wasn't terrible.  The figure mold is nicely done.  But, as the mold debuted in Ninja Force, it has construction and design limitations.  As a one off, it was neat to see.  As the default Stormshadow, though, the mold was frustrating.  In 2004, Hasbro got the 1988 Stormshadow mold back from Funskool and also resurrected the 1984 figure.  By then, though, it was kind of too late.

In additionl to the production versions of this mold, there are also several pre-production and unproduced figures from this time period.  The first is the unproduced 2003 Sky Patrol Stormshadow that would have been a Wal Mart exclusive.  These figures were cancelled due to the parachutes they would have included.  And, Wal Mart released some decent JvC sculpt repaints instead.   The figure is an interesting blend of blue and red.  On the 1984 or 1988 mold, this color scheme might have been fun.  On the 1992 figure, though, it doesn't do much for me.

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow


Hasbro then followed up the unproduced 2003 Wal Mart set with the mold's use in the 2004 Urban Strike set.  All of the Urban Strike figures have unproduced variants that use red cammo.  You can see Stormshadow below.  In this case, the production figure was a better release.  But, the red cammo was available for cheap for a long time and was worth picking up for that reason alone.

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow


But, for some reason, there are actually two different unproduced Urban Strike Stormshadows.  In addition to the red cammo version, there is the grey version you see in the team shot below.  There was no explanation given as to why there are two variants of Stormshadow but not of the other members of the team.  But, such was the nature of the era.

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow

2004 Urban Strike Stormshadow, Unproduced, Midnight Chinese, 2002, BJ's Gift Set Stormshadow, 2003 Wal Mart Sky Patrol Stormshadow, Storm Shadow


Of course, all these figures are now tough to find and will cost you way more than the couple of bucks they'd have set you back in 2005.  But, that's the way of the market right now.  But, if you like the 1992 Stormshadow mold, there's some fun stuff to find that will keep you occupied for a while.


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Rarities - Joseph Colton Pre Production - Green Weapon

 Back in the profile of Lt. Kawalski from the Stargate line, I mentioned that early prototypes of the Joeseph Colton Mail Away figure included a green weapon similar to the one included with Lt. Kawalski.  Well, here is that Joseph Colton with the green weapon.

As far as variants go, it's pretty benign.  I doubt many people would prefer this green weapon over the black.  Most would likely prefer the weapon that was shown with Colton in the mail away booklet to this reuse of the 1992 Gung Ho weapon.  But, that didn't happen and we're left with this oddball green weapon as an example of early designs for Joseph Colton.

These photos were found on Ebay.  Pieces like this Colton tend to have fairly significant value.  But, at the same time, many of the people who own them feel the value should be much higher than what the market is willing to pay.  As such, you often see them sitting unsold for years.  Again, this isn't a particularly interesting variant.  But, it's something different than what we got at production.





Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Rarities - 2005 Comic Pack Scrap Iron Test Shot - Discolored

Fun fact: the blue plastic Hasbro used in the 2000's absolutely sucks.  Even figures that were well cared for are now starting to discolor...including carded figures.  It's not great.  And, soon, there will be no mint figures in the blue plastic left.  Some will hold out longer than others.  But, short production runs ensured that bad plastic was evenly spread.  So, soon, your nice 2005 Scrap Iron figure is going to turn to a dull greyish blue.

To illustrate this point, here is a test shot of Scrap Iron that uses the blue plastic.  Notice that's he almost entirely discolored.  The thing is, when the plastic's crappy, there's really nothing collectors can do to stop the decay.  Comic Pack Scarlett, Thrasher and even the Nullifiers are all starting to go and it's just a matter of time until yours do, too.  It's sad.  And, one of the reasons I take so many pictures.  I have proof that Scrap Iron was once all shiny, bright blue.  And, by the end of this decade, that will be all that we have left of the way figures like this were supposed to look.

2005 Comic Pack Scrap Iron, Pre-Production, Prototype, Discoloring

Here's Hasbro's original promo image that went to vendors who wanted to buy the Comic Pack #49 cases.  See how nice and bright Scrap Iron is?


2005 Comic Pack Scrap Iron, Pre-Production, Prototype, Discoloring, Serpentor, Firefly







Saturday, June 12, 2021

Rarities - Platirama Bridge Layer (Argentina)

In the early 2000's, there was a warehouse find of a massive overstock allotment of Plastirama G.I. Joe toys from Argentina.  These toys were massively imported to the U.S. as toy dealers bought them for nothing and resold them for a substantial mark ups.  All those "rare" Satan and Ninja Ku figures exist in massive quantities and sat unsold for $30-$50 for a MOC figure for years.  Remember that when you're looking to drop $1,000 on one today.

Some vehicles came over, too.  They were less common than the figures, most likely because they were more expensive to import and collectors of the day didn't have nearly the interest in vehicles that they did in figures.  Among the vehicles released by Plastirama was the Bridge Layer.  

The Bridge Layer has always been a fun toy just because it's practical.  It's not exciting or flashy.  But a toy that does a job and does it well is always worthwhile to have around.  You can see there are coloring differences between the Plastirama release and the Hasbro release.

Now, Plastirama vehicles have gotten hard to find and expensive.  This Bridge Layer shows that the foreign releases had some differences.  But, in general, were often pretty close to Hasbro toys in terms of colors.  


Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina

Plastirama, 1985 Bridge Layer, Comandos Heroicos, Argentina


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Power Commandos Sound Speed and Sniper

One of the most popular posts from the 2020 Rarities month was on the later series Power Commandos figures.  In that profile, though, I did not have an example of Sound Speed and Sniper from the middle series of figures.  Now, though, you can see a sample of what the figures looked like.  

Sniper is an interesting military themed figure.  Decked out in green camo, Sniper would fit into any Joe squad.  As Power Commando figures go, he's actually kind of boring.  The whole point of this series was outlandish figures.  And, Sniper doesn't fit with that.  But, as he's unique to the line, he does provide a nice juxtaposition from the more off beat characters.

Sound Speed is the more interesting of the two figures.  He's obviously based on the Cobra Eel mold.  But, instead of flippers, he appears to have skis and ski poles.  I'm not sure why.  But, his gear makes as much sense as rocket skates or a Mummy Man who also appear in this line.

There are both green and black versions of the Power Commando weapons.  This pack is different in that Sniper includes black weapons while Sound Speed has green accessories.  You see that the weapons are recycled molds from the earlier series and remain the kitbashed version of G.I. Joe weapons.

This middle series of Power Commandos figures is tough to find.  Unlike the common first series, overstock of these has not been found.  So, you'll pay a substantial premium for them over the first 6 figures.  But, all the Power Commandos are fun figures that are nice additions to a Joe collection.  

Lucky Bell, Power Commandos, Sniper, Sound Speed

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Rarities - Estrela Volanter (Blocker) Weapon Variants

Collectors have know about the Brazilian Comandos Em Acao line for years.  Most of the knowledge, though, was focused around the Brazilian exclusive figures.  In time, people realized that every figure from Brazil had some unique trait.  But, the figures that were close to their Hasbro counterparts were still relatively ignored.  Even people who did care about them usually only got a single sample for their collection.  This has lead to a number of Estrela variants not being well documented.  There are some subtle differences between many Brazilian releases.  One variant, though, seems like it would have gotten a bit more play in the collecting community: the weapons variants on Volanter.

Volanter is the Brazilian version of Blocker.  The colors are slightly different.  But, for some reason, there is a weapon variant on the figure.  One release has the standard weapon mold that was included with the 1987 Blocker figure.  The other, though, includes an exclusive silver version of the 1988 Iron Grenadier Uzi.

Volanter appears with the same gun as the US figure.  You can see the slight color and skin tone differences on the figure itself.

Volanter, Brazilian Blocker, 1987, Weapon Variant, Iron Grenadier Uzi, 1988, Silver


Then, you see him with a silver Iron Grenadier Uzi.  There's no real explanation as to why the figure has one weapon or the other.  

Volanter, Brazilian Blocker, 1987, Weapon Variant, Iron Grenadier Uzi, 1988, Silver, MOC

Volanter, Brazilian Blocker, 1987, Weapon Variant, Iron Grenadier Uzi, 1988, Silver


From watching this figure for years, both variants seem about equal.  But, when you base that off of, maybe, 15 samples, even one or two oversamples throws off the whole observation.  But, if you collect Comandos Em Acao, this is a variant to watch for as the silver Uzi is exclusive to this figure.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Rarities - 2002 Unproduced BJ's Firefly

 In early 2003, two oddball figures popped up on Ebay.  One was a red Roadblock.  The other was this metallic green Firefly.  Both figures used the paint masks from the BJ's exclusive Gift Set, but had different base colors.  The figures sold for ridiculously high amounts.  Within a few months, though, more of the figures started showing up.  In 2004, all of the alternate Asian figures were staples of Ebay.  And, in 2005, entire sets were blown out for cheap prices on Asian websites.  It was a great time to be a collector.

As a figure, this Firefly works better than the red version that was actually released.  The red figure is crazy and bizarre.  So, it has some value for that reason alone.  But, the brown head better meshes with this green figure.  And, even the oddball blue and copper look good with the green as a base.  I'd have liked this figure had it been released.  Sure, we have a green Firefly already with the 2000 version.  But, this would have been another that worked.

Like all these once common figures, modern pricing on this Firefly is just dumb.  It will sell for hundreds of dollars.  So many collectors think this figure really rare as they weren't around when these figures were ubiquitous and common.  Sure, there's probably only hundreds of them.  But, that's a lot more than some of the other unproduced figures from the '90's where there's maybe a dozen of them that exist.  This Firefly, though, is a nice update and works for the Firefly character.  But, there were so many Fireflies released in this time that even one more repaint would have been retail overkill.  But, seeing this figure again really brings back memories of a far better time to be a Joe collector.

2002 Unproduced Green BJ's Firefly, Midnight Chinese

2002 Unproduced Green BJ's Firefly, Midnight Chinese