Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Saturday, November 27, 2021
2019 Slaughter's Marauders Snake Eyes Profile
2019 Slaughter's Marauders Snake Eyes by thedustinmccoy
2019 Slaughter's Marauders Snake Eyes by battlearmordad1
2019 Slaughter's Marauders Snake Eyes by funtimeatserpentorslair
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Repaints are a double edged sword. On one hand, they provide a great way to use an existing character in a new way. On the other hand, collectors almost always wanted something new during the vintage line's heyday. But, repaints became a thing in 1983 and continued through 1994. In the vintage line, though, repaints were almost always excellent redos that brought something new to the character. While this would change in 1993, the repaints released in the first decade of the line tended to be sold in subsets. The main repaints were sold in color themed ensembles. But, later, the figures started to appear in other subsets, but as just solid repaints instead of being married to a specific palette. In 1990, Hasbro released the high priced Sonic Fighters subset. While all the figures in the series are well done repaints, today we look at Dialtone.
Dialtone is one of my favorite figures. This stems not only from the figure's quality, but also the circumstances of the character entering my collection. (See the 1986 Dialtone profile for that saga.) I had both of his 1986 color schemes and always found a way to include Dialtone in whatever adventure I could conjure up. But, as I was completely out of Joe by 1990, I never saw this Dialtone in stores. This new black, silver and blue color scheme was a strong entry for the character. But, upon learning of this figure's existence, I didn't really take much time to track him down. Instead, I was more interested in picking up additional 1986 figures. And, this 1990 figure (acquired in a very early lot of 1990 figures I I bought back when no one cared about any figure after 1987) simply faded into the drawer of his contemporaries. When Dialtone returned to retail in 2000, I army built that figure. And, again in 2002, I snatched up a few extra cheap figures from the BJ's set. Still, I never really thought of this Dialtone version.
In recent years, though, my obsession with all things obscure lead me back to this figure. I found the color scheme stronger than I remembered. And, his overall appearance is on par with his previous releases. The color scheme is more akin to Cobra. But, more on that in a later paragraph. This Sonic Fighters Dialtone works well in a variety of vehicles and gives you a less bright version of the character for use in the field. Original Dialtone gear isn't overly difficult to track down. So, it's pretty easy to outfit him with the 1986 weapon and pack. And, that leaves his other weapons for use with different figures. The black grenade launcher is a nice match for the 1992 or 1993 Gung Ho. And, I do enjoy the flamethrower with the 1994 Ice Cream Soldier.
So, now this 1990 Dialtone finds himself another option for me to use when a photo needs a communications trooper. While I still don't like it as well as the original, that's also a function of the first release holding the childhood memories. So, it's difficult to look at the Sonic Fighter through the lens of anything other than an adult collector. But, in that vein, this blue and black Dialtone is a solid entry to the Joe world. He meshes well with other figures. He can be used in a variety of bases or vehicles. And, he looks good when he's out and about in the wild. You can't ask for much more from a figure. I always find more value in the Dialtone character than most, just because of my childhood biases. But, even with those brushed aside, the Sonic Fighters Dialtone is pretty decent.
The Sonic Fighters included a great deal of gear. In addition to the massive sound producing backpack that was completed with a radar dish on top, Dialtone also included four weapons. The additional gear was a cheap way for Hasbro to convey extra value beyond the sound backpack. As the Sonic Fighters were higher priced, Hasbro needed to convince parents that these figures were really special. Dialtone included a black versions of: his 1986 weapon, Blocker's pistol, Hardball's Grenade Launcher and Charbroil's flamethrower. Many of the Sonic Fighters included recolored Battle Force 2000 weapons. But, they also included many accessories from the 1988 and 1989 Night Force figures. Dialtone's flamethrower is nearly indistinguishable from the 1989 Night Force Charbroil's. And, there is considerable debate in the community regarding the differences between it as well as the Night Force Shockwave and Spearhead weapons that are included with other Sonic Fighters figures.
It was pointed out to me that Dialtone and the 1991 Interrogator share a color scheme. The blue, black and grey of Dialtone is nearly identical to those colors on the Interrogator. While Hasbro loved to reused the same colors again and again in the line, it was rare for two figures in close proximity to be so closely aligned. There's no connection between the characters. But, maybe there should be. It would probably get super weird with one them wearing colors to mimic the other. And, the stalker, obsessive nature of one of the characters would be out of depth with their established characterization. Interrogator is smooth operator. So, it doesn't flow that he's had some bizarre obsession with a random and somewhat obscure member of the Joe team.
The Sonic Fighters retailed for $7 each. This was more than twice the cost of a standard carded figure. But, while toys that make cheesy electronic noises are commonplace and cheap today, they were state of the art 31 years ago when this figure was released. The size of the pack helped to sell the additional gimmick that more than doubled the cost of a figure. But, the concept must have been successful enough as the Super Sonic Fighters and Talking Battle Commanders followed in subsequent years. I did find remnants of the Talking Battle Commanders at retail in 1997. So, it's probable that the higher price gimmicks did fizzle out, eventually. But, Hasbro pushed the edge of what a 3 3/4" figure could be and found ways to make the figures evolve, even as they kept the construction and basic design of the figures the same for 13 years.
Dialtone has been done to death. He was first released in 1986 and immediately got a Mission to Brazil repaint later in that year. This Sonic Fighters figure appeared in 1990. The 1986 Dialtone was released on a Chinese card around 1994. Then, Hasbro went crazy. After scrapping plans for a desert Dialtone in 1998, they released an olive green figure in 2000. He appeared in the BJ's Gift Set in 2002. His chest and arms were also released in grey as part of the 2002 Dusty figure and his parts ended up on a few other figures from the 2000's. Then, a Tiger Force version was released in 2003. Despite all this, Dialtone could have used both an arctic figure and a full production desert figure. As I enjoy the mold, I'd take him in any colors. But, I'm in the minority on that point.
Sonic Fighters Dial Tones are not expensive. Just the figure can be had for under $7. One with a couple of his weapons will run you $12 or so. And, mint and complete with filecard figures can be had for $20. For a figure with a lot of gear that was released in a lower production run subset, that's not too bad at all. But, as this was the third Dialtone released in the vintage line, you can see how collectors were a bit fatigued with him. And, while his colors are pretty strong, they are also not as distinctive as his 1986 releases. The lack of a communications backpack is also a factor. So, this Dial Tone languishes in obscurity, even as other figures released in his same subset find favor among collectors.
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
The 1993 Mudbuster is a really fun vehicle. It's well put together, has lots of great play features and isn't overly large or bulky. In short, it's one of the highlights of the 1990's vehicles. There's a decent amount of material out there on Mudbuster. And, you do see it in various photographs from Joe content creators. It also looks great with a multitude of 1993 and 1994 figures. Every collector owes it to themselves to pick up a Mudbuster...if for no other reason than to appreciate it and its place among the 1993 Joe line. Here's the best content on the 1993 Mudbuster from around the web.
Saturday, November 13, 2021
In 2003, the BAT Mail Away pack was highly anticipated. But, the actual result landed with a quiet thud. Retailers didn't have faith in Joe fans wanting cheap army builders. And, they were proved right as Hasbro ended up dumping excess BAT packs for pennies on the dollars to closeout stores. 18 years later, though, this pack holds up pretty well. The 2003 BAT is a very solid army builder. And, as more collectors have realized the value of the 1991 BAT sculpt, they have come around on the 2003 repaints, too. Sadly, much of the material written about the BAT Pack back in 2003 is lost to time. There's a few old gems in here, though. So, enjoy the best of the 2003 Battle Android Trooper from around the web.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Star Brigade is one of my favorite Joe concepts. For a young adult collector who had missed most of the figures released between 1990 and 1994, all of the figure molds seemed new. The concept of Joes in space was also not that much of a stretch as Star Wars was starting to come back and the sci fi element of Joe that had been present since 1982 wasn't really out of place. And, even if I didn't want to use the figures as astronauts, many of the molds were very close to the pilot figures that I had always wanted when I was a kid. Upon finding them at a closeout store, I had to have more. And, as the 1990's wound down, I found myself snatching up cheap Star Brigade figures at every chance I had. In this buying spree, I would up with several 1993 Starfighters. While the ship was just OK, the pilot included, Sci Fi, is a visual treat that works spectacularly with the space theme.
Sci Fi is interesting as he's the only Star Brigade member to have two, distinct uniforms. Most Star Brigade figures saw repaints of their 1993 molds. But, Sci Fi got this 1993 repaint of the 1991 Sci Fi figure and an all new figure in 1994. There's no real reason for this. But, Sci Fi had the "space-y" name that could be co-opted into the new series. And, the figure was futuristic looking. And, the helmet really works for a space pilot, too. All of that added up to Sci Fi being a logical choice for the pilot of the 1993 Starfighter.
The color scheme chosen for this figure somewhat matched the vehicle he was intended to fly. While the Starfighter was just a mostly recolored 1988 Cobra Stellar Stiletto, the new white coloring made it stand apart from the original design. And, Sci Fi's white and blue color scheme blended nicely with the ship. This made Sci Fi a good match for his ride while also hearkening back to the 1983 Ace as a pilot in an all white motif. The end result is one of the Joe line's more obscure releases. But, also one that has a lot of different uses and is an excellent way to really make a photo pop due to his limited appearances.
Sci Fi includes two accessories. The first is his helmet. It is the same helmet mold from 1991, but cast in white with blue paint. It's a nice helmet that fits on the head extremely well. The second is the laser rifle from 1991. Sans pack and hose, the rifle is pretty useless. I've never really liked it. But, part of that is I was introduced to it in the Battle Corps era and the peg on the back of it for a hose was never explained or used in the Battle Corps figures. The pack, rifle and hose, though, make a pretty nice rig. And, they look great with the 1991 Sci Fi as well as this 1993 repaint. Even the 2001 Laser Viper's accessories make for a good companion to this figure. So, there are easy options to improve the figure and make him more useful.
By 1993, Hasbro wasn't too keen on including drivers or pilots with their vehicles. But, the 1993 series had more vehicle drivers than the 1992 series. Still, the slots used for the 1993 vehicle drivers were all repaints of prior figures. This was likely due to lower production runs of the vehicles that precluded the expense of sculpting an all new figure for the release. The reused molds add to the perception of 1993 as a repaint year. But, all of the vehicle drivers offer something drastically different from their mold's original release. Repaints done right are always welcome and the 1993 series delivered in that regard. The fact that this Sci Fi matches the coloring of the Starfighter is an added bonus and makes him feel like he was designed with his ship in mind.
This Sci Fi mold got two uses in the vintage line in 1991 and 1993. It then re-appeared in 2001 as the body for the Laser Viper. This worked well enough since the Laser Viper's coloring was drastically different from the Joe figures. And, he included a new head, too. That was the end of Sci Fi, though. While the Laser Viper could have used a repaint (maybe in the unproduced color scheme), the real shame is not getting this 1991 mold in 1986 colors. This mold would have certainly lent itself to green, black and silver. And, knowing that Hasbro molds like the 1992 Duke, 1991 Low Light, 1992 Wild Bill, 1992 Ace, 1992 Mutt and others, the fact that they didn't update the newer molds in the colors of the V1 seems a missed opportunity that collectors would have loved.
1993 Sci Fi figures aren't overly expensive and also seem to be relatively common. Mint, loose and complete figures run between $10 and $15 on the open market. The helmet is the expensive piece as you can get incomplete figures for under $5. Bagged figures are relatively available, too, but will run $25 or so. The Sci Fi figure is very prone to discoloration and the white plastic holds stains. So, you'll find a lot of figures with solid paint and joints that look terrible due to the plastic's poor qualities. But, for the price, this is both a great Sci Fi figure and distinct enough to own even if you have the 1991 version.
Saturday, November 6, 2021
Starting in February of 2001, Funskool figures were massively imported into the collecting community. Within a few years, dozens of dealers offered Funskool figures for $3-$5 each. Of the many army builders that Funskool offered, it was the Night Viper that grabbed the attention of the collecting world. At the time, Night Viper figures were starting to get incredibly expensive. For a short time, he was the most expensive army builder in the line. But, the supply of Funskool figures helped solve collector demand for the character since the Funskool was very similar to the Hasbro release. Collectors army built these figures in droves. And, it was one of the very few figures that would still sell out at online dealers into 2002. There's not a ton of material on the figure out there. But, here's the best I could find of the Funskool Night Viper from around the web.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
In looking at this figure, I was visually drawn to him. The basic color palette is nearly identical to 2017's the General figure. Again, there, I found the color compelling. Then, it finally hit me. Hollowpoint is, basically, the 1985 Flint figure. The black shirt, green camo pants, bullets on the chest and even the black beret all hearken back to Flint. Flint being my favorite figure, it's no wonder that I'm drawn to figures like Hollowpoint. The complementary colors really help bring the design to life. And, as they were not too often used in the vintage Joe line, the combo doesn't yet feel overdone.