Saturday, July 29, 2023

1987 Falcon - Random Photos of the Day

There are few perfect figures in the Joe line.  Usually, there's one or two slight defects that really prevents the figure from being a perfect 10.  The 1987 Falcon, though, is pretty much an ideal toy.  He has great colors that fully accentuate the amazing details on the mold.  His gear is amazing and is iconic to the character.  And, he debuted in the biggest Joe year of 1987.  Collectors love Falcon and he's never had a bad repaint since the mold is just so well done.

I don't actually use the 1987 figure all that often, though.  Personally, I prefer the Super Sonic Fighters version with a Night Force backpack.  But, the original figure was the one I used in the final year of my childhood Joe playing days.  So, here are some of the random photos I've taken of this figure over the past couple of years.  I will still do more as time goes on since the figure is so well done.  I need to pick up a Night Force version as I actually have his gear lying around.  Maybe in the next year as prices continue to drop.

1987 Falcon

1987 Falcon

1987 Falcon, Tunnel Rat

1987 Falcon, 1989 Snake Eyes

1987 Falcon, 2005 Classified, Snake Eyes

1987 Falcon, 1989 Long Range, 1988 Mean Dog

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

1994 Star Brigade Ozone - Around The Web

I'm kind of in a funk when it comes to writing new profiles.  I've got a bunch started.  But, I haven't been able to finish any of them.  And, while I have hundreds of random photos and around the web posts started, none are really ready to post.  That included this look at the limited content on the 1994 Ozone.  But, I wanted to get something out.  And, as this Ozone was shortpacked in the cases that are likely to have the lowest production in the vintage line, content on him doesn't exactly ooze out of the collective fandom.  

But, this is a figure I enjoy.  The colors are distinctive and memorable.  And, they keep this mold from being stale, even in it's fourth paint job.  1994 Star Brigade are having a bit of their moment in the sun in the collecting world and high prices reflect that.  This figure was never all that easy to find, even if he was super cheap when I tracked him down.  Because of that, there's little done with him.  So, enjoy the 1994 Ozone as it's not a figure you're going to see all that often.

1994 Ozone Profile

1994 Star Brigade Carded Set

1994 Ozone by gen_liederkranz

1994 Ozone by corpscommandercody

1994 Ozone at The Dragon Fortress

1994 Ozone by relena_warcraft

1994 Ozone by codyanskaya

1994 Star Brigade Ozone, Roadblock

1994 Star Brigade Ozone, Roadblock

1994 Star Brigade Ozone, Roadblock

Saturday, July 22, 2023

1987 Ice Viper - Around the Web 2

It's hot outside and we've had lots of storms.  I've lost 2 trees that were more than 75 years old and another that was about 30 years old in a windstorm.  So, I'll post up some pics I took back when there was snow on the ground.

The Ice Viper is one of those figures that's a nice match for his specialty.  He's just interesting enough to hide inside the cockpit of one of the best winter vehicles in the line.  Here's some nice content on the Ice Viper from around the web.

1987 Ice Viper Profile

1987 Ice Viper Around the Web 2016

Arctic Cobras Diorama

1987 Ice Viper by gijoeggernaut

1987 Ice Viper by 00zxcvb

1987 Ice Viper by dreadnokdread

1987 Ice Viper by sithviper

1987 Ice Viper by steelbrigade

1987 Ice Viper by scarrviper

1987 Ice Viper, 2020 Black Major Worms

1987 Ice Viper, 2020 Black Major Worms

1987 Ice Viper, 2020 Black Major Worms

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

1987 Law and Order - Random Photos of the Day

There's a lot you can do with an MP figure.  Especially, if the figure is generic enough that he can be used as an army builder.  He can be a good guy or a bad guy.  He can be a single character.  Or, a nameless minion who simply dies a terrible death due to his incompetence.  And, when the figure is good, like the 1987 Law, it makes it fun to have him around.

At one time, I had a massive Law army.  They were the enforcers of my Joe world.  Some were virtuous souls who believed in the rule of law.  Others were corrupt as hell.  And, from these various takes on the role for the figure, I found value in Law.  The main reason this is important is because I never considered Law a real Joe character.  Even as a kid, he was just too bland to be much more than an army builder.  Others view him differently.  But, to me, the real purpose of the figure is to fill various gaps in the Joe world and be a bland, nameless automaton who could be used as one off story filler when I needed a break from the Joe vs. Cobra standard.

Despite still having a bunch of them, I don't use Law all that often any longer.  I do need to get a bunch of them out for a large photo shoot again.  Maybe sometime this fall.  But, below you'll see the photos of Law I've taken in the past 6 or 7 years.  He's still a neat figure who I enjoy.  But, he really only works in multiples.

1987 Law & Order, 2005 Comic Pack Firefly

1987 Law & Order,

1987 Law & Order, 2002 Funskool Law, 1986 AVAC

1987 Law & Order, 1985 Snake eyes, Crankcase

1987 Law & Order, 1985 Flint, Dreadnok Ripper

1987 Law & Order, 1986 General Hawk

Saturday, July 15, 2023

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" Cobra Commander - Around The Web

Comic Packs were a mixed bag.  They were full of pretty bad figures.  But, there were also some pretty good ones.  And, this Fred is one of the best.  The head really captures the essence of the character.  And, more importantly, the head was also compatible with some of the contemporary Cobras released and could be used on Crimson Guard heads to really recreate the concept of "Fred".  These sets were heavily clearanced as they didn't sell well.  So, it was cheap to get extras to use the heads for customs.  That isn't so much the case today.  

There's lots of great content out there on this figure.  Many people have done cool things with it.  So, check out the links below and enjoy!

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" Cobra Commander Profile

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by corpscommandercody

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by dashiellrfairborne

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" at

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by relinquished1979

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" at

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by mrmikevinthepit

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by corpscommandercody

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by misterbungle

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by sintechness

2005 Comic Pack "Fred" by corpscommandercody

2005, Cobra Commander, Fred, Comic Pack, DTC, 2021 Swamp Trooper, Cobra Trooper, Black Major, Copperhead Eel, 1986 Sears Dreadnok Stinger, Ground Assault

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

2001 Destro

So, one of the great failures of the Joe line is that Hasbro has a long history of releasing overly similar figures over and over again.  This didn't happen too often prior to 1997.  But, for some reason, post 1994 Hasbro got into barely repainting certain molds.  This practice hit its crescendo in 2001 when, in Wave III of the ARAHC, Hasbro released a 1987 Cobra Commander homage and 1992 Destro homage that were so similar to their vintage counterparts that it was nearly impossible to tell them apart unless you had them in hand.  This was a frustrating development as, at the time, both the '87 Cobra Commander and the '92 Destro figures were alarmingly cheap and available.  In fact, you could get these figures for only slightly more than you'd pay for the new retail versions.  Worst of all, both figures could have been amazing repaints and we never got an opportunity to explore those possibilities.

The biggest frustration with this 2001 figure comes from the fact that the mold has a number of sculpted details that were not painted on the 1992 release.  But, Hasbro didn't update the paint masks to make a better figure.  A little silver paint on the legs and arms would have gone a long way towards refurbishing the figure and drastically improving it.  The only real difference between this 2001 figure and the 1992 is that the 1992 has red dashes running down his legs.  There is a slight color difference in the collar's red color.  But, it's tough to see without the two figures sitting side by side.  In 1997, Hasbro had given this figure a chromed head.  But, they didn't do that with this 2001 figure.  And, it suffers for it.

The real question, though, is why wasn't this figure at least an Iron Grenadier homage with a golden helmet?  That seems like a no-brainer, especially since Hasbro didn't know they had the 1988 Destro mold available until 2005.  But, in 2001, the Iron Grenadiers were not, yet, a truly accepted subset.  Collectors were still 1987 and prior focused.  And, while Iron Grenadiers weren't hated at the time, they weren't popular, either.  You could get all the 1988 Iron Grenadier figures you wanted for cheaper than pretty much any other infantry type army builder.  

This Destro mold got a bit of use.  He was one of the new 1992 molds that was not carried over to 1993, though.  So, he didn't get a subsequent repaint.  However, around 1994, this Destro appeared on Chinese cards.  These were widely available at discount stores in the U.S.  That Destro is the pretty much the same as the 1992 figure, but includes a different rifle.  The mold then appeared in a great purple in 1997.  It was repainted for this 2001 figure and then the body appeared again in a Comic Pack in 2005.  The Comic Pack had a new head.  But, the color scheme was, basically, the same as the 1992 figure.  The head was used for the 2005 Convention Destro.  But, the body was not.  So, despite 5 uses of the mold, there are really only two color schemes: the original and the 1997.  The mold had lots of potential and it's a shame that it was never repainted in Iron Grenadier colors with a golden mask.

Destro only includes his pistol and a black battle stand.  The spring loaded launcher that was used in 1992 and 1997 didn't make this release.  That's probably not terrible.  Though, Destro's launcher is one of the better and more useful spring loaded accessories.  I do love Destro's pistol.  It's the main reason I bought the figure back in 1992.  But, it would have been cool to see a backpack that was a homage to Destro's 1983 weapon filled pack.  I've found a few smaller pistols that also work well with Destro.  You'll see him with a variety of weapons below to give him a bit more depth.

This Destro isn't worth much.  The 1992 figure isn't hard to find and is relatively affordable.  So, there isn't much demand for the 2001 figure.  Despite the fact that this figure was only released in Wave III and includes the surprisingly good Fast Blast Viper, you can buy carded sets for about $17.00.  Dealers will ask $30.  But, those don't sell.  Mint and complete with filecard loose figures sell for about $2 if they are left to the open market.  Making this guy one of (if not the!) cheapest figures in the line.  Dealers will ask $8 or so.  But, it's better to just buy a carded version to also get the Fast Blast Viper.  If you just want a Destro that looks like this, the 2001 is probably a better option than the 1992 as it's has softer plastic, doesn't discolor like other 2000's era figures, includes proper gear and is substantially cheaper than the 1992 release.  But, if you already have the 1992 Destro, there's simply no reason to obtain this 2001 version.

2001 Destro, ARAHC, 2000, Baroness, Chameleon, Sure Fire

2001 Destro, ARAHC, 2002 Flint, Rock and Roll, Rock Viper

2001 Destro, ARAHC, 1986 Motor Viper, STUN, 2002 Fast Blast Viper, Gift Set

Saturday, July 8, 2023

2005 Night Watch Trooper - Around The Web

Once upon a time, Hasbro did little with the classic Cobra Trooper mold.  Just as collectors had given up hope we'd ever seen another retail release of the mold, Hasbro dropped a little surprise into the first round of DTC releases: the Cobra Night Watch.  

Ostensibly, the Night Watch is just different enough to be useful.  But, also just different enough to not really go with anything.  Below, you'll find a nice mix of modern uses of the figures as well as some thoughts on the figure back when it was first released.  In the 18 years since this figure appeared, though, the multitudes of Black Major Cobra Trooper repaints have rendered the Night Watch kind of moot.  There are plenty of factory customs that now are better night themed figures and also better blend with Night Vipers, the Stinger and other Cobras that fit the nighttime theme.

But, these figures are still useful, even if they are not the cheap army builders that they were even just a few years ago.  You can check out all the links to see a nice array of ways that collectors have used these figures.

2005 Night Watch Trooper Profile

2005 Night Watch Trooper by andrey_collector

2005 Night Watch Trooper by Dreadnok Dread

2005 Night Watch Trooper by gijoekorea

2005 Night Watch review at

2005 Night Watch Trooper by thedustinmccoy

2005 Night Watch Trooper by gigamach

2005 Night Watch Trooper by megastorm

2005 Night Watch Trooper by yotothejoe

2005 Night Watch review at General's Joes Reborn

2005 Night Watch Trooper by Slipstream80

2005 Night Watch Trooper by gen_liederkranz

2005 Night Watch Trooper at

2005 Night Watch Trooper, Squad Leader, Cobra Officer, DTC

2005 Night Watch Trooper, Squad Leader, Cobra Officer, DTC

2005 Night Watch Trooper, Squad Leader, Cobra Officer, DTC

2005 Night Watch Trooper, Squad Leader, Cobra Officer, DTC

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

2023 Super7 Tiger Force Shipwreck

Yeah, it's that time again.  We're going to look at a Super7 figure.  Once again, the figure in question is a Target exclusive.  Instead of a flavor of Stormshadow, though, this time around the figure is the Tiger Force Shipwreck.  Super7 is releasing a wave of Python Patrol and Tiger Force figures.  Among them are some first time members of each team.  And, the designs of each figure are very strong and interesting.  Shipwreck's appearance can be attributed to both the endearing legacy of the Shipwreck character from the cartoon and the figure's appearance in the Brazilian version of Tiger Force.  That figure was a new character named Marujo.  But, it gives vintage legacy of Shipwreck's appearance in this now collector favored subset.

You'll notice no loose pics of this figure in the write up.  Once I had the figure in hand, I had a bit of buyer's remorse.  I also had a bit of a collectorism bite me, too.  See, the card I found was in really nice condition and was unpunched.  It's the type of thing I normally don't care about.  But, since this loose figure isn't something that's all that important to me (he'd get photographed once and disappear into a box), opening him isn't a priority.  I do like to have a clean carded figure added to my collection from time to time.  And, this seemed like the prime chance to do it.  But, the remorse was that I paid full price for this figure and that money could be spent elsewhere.  And, while I really like the yellow rope and grappling hook and would likely use it with my vintage Joes, the Shipwreck's lack of the cool double barrelled pistol that appears on the card artwork limits my interest in an open toy.  I'm not sure why the pistol was omitted.  But, it was probably a cost savings measure on a figure that has a lower production run since it's exclusive.  But, leaving the figure carded means I can return it next week if I decide that $20 was just too much for this type of collectible.

Tiger Force Shipwreck makes more sense than something like Tiger Force Frostbite or Blizzard.  At sea, the crazy yellow is less of an issue.  And, Shipwreck's iconic appearance isn't something that really lends itself to repaints.  So, getting one in a subset makes as much sense as any other release.  (And, he's a great fit for the Tiger Force Hovercraft.) On display, the Super7 figures look great.  And, a full lineup of Tiger Force will always look good.  And, this figure for $20 is far better than $200 for a real Marujo.

As a figure, this Shipwreck checks the Super7 boxes.  The paint applications are tight.  The quality looks good.  And, the card artwork is fairly poor.  I'd have preferred a Marujo card art homage.  But, that would have probably cost too much and put the figure over budget.  I'm a sucker for grappling hook and rope accessories.  But, the lack of a weapon is a big mark against this figure.  The real Marujo features long sleeves, though.  It's a slight difference.  But, again, this figure had to be a straight Shipwreck repaint to keep the costs in line.  New arms would have been too much.  And, not too many newer collectors have enough familiarity with Marujo to really argue about the appearance difference.

In recent years, it's become a bit of a subversive theme in the community that the Classified collectors (and, therefore, the bulk of the retail buying adults) are not really Joe collectors, per se.  But, instead, scale collectors who flock to Classified due to a slight connection to a childhood memory.  But, moreso, due to the fact that the Classified figures are among the best 6" figures on the market today.  This has finally become confirmed in recent months.  Many posters in large online forums are flummoxed by figures like the Funskool Snake Eyes and this Tiger Force Shipwreck homage.  But, the real event that confirmed it was the announcement of Glenda as part of the Dragonfly Haslab.  Despite the fact that Glenda is one of the most famous international exclusives and has been a key collector piece since the 1990's, you saw far too many posts from people who didn't know who she was.  It's one thing to not know all aspects of foreign Joe ephemera.  But, figures like Glenda and Marujo have been very common and available for two and a half decades.  Casual collectors have at least cursory knowledge of them.  And, to see the vitriol aimed as Glenda shows that the new breed of Classified collector is even more different from the traditional Joe collector than many of us thought.  

All of the Target exclusive Super7 figures have gone to clearance around the country.  Most of them finally sell out around $5.50 or so.  So, it's entirely possible that this figure will be clearance fodder in a few months when the next Target exclusive figure is ready to ship.  Target clearance items don't appear at every store.  And, it's rare that they stick around for more than a week or two since Target tends to cut deeply just to get rid of the stock.  But,I leave it to you to use your own judgement as to when or if you acquire this figure.  

The one takeaway I have though, is that Super7 collectors get Tiger Force Shipwreck and an awesomely unique Python Patrol Cobra Commander while Hasbro gives o-ring collectors a craptastic Zarana with black elbows and a Zartan who got kicked out of Kiss.  It's such night and day in how each company views the older collector base.  I just wish Hasbro would get over itself and give the o-ring license to Super7.  Sure, the figs would be $20.  But, I'd feel that their $20 designs would be well worth the money while Hasbro's feel like $3 figs from the asshole early 2000's Hasbro Joe team that are repackaged at a 600% markup.

Tiger Force Shipwreck, Super7, Marujo, 2023, ReAction, Target Exclusive

Tiger Force Shipwreck, Super7, Marujo, 2023, ReAction, Target Exclusive

Saturday, July 1, 2023

2023 Soundwave with Zartan and Zarana

It has been one year since Hasbro announced the 2022 Stinger.  It was a surprise vehicle with limited quantities offered on Pulse.  It shipped fairly quickly after the announcement.  To this day, though, we do not know where the rest of the Stinger production run ended up.  A lot were shipped to Europe.  But, I do think there's still stock out there since Hasbro has been open about how badly their warehouses are stuffed full of unsold merchandise.

But, finally, after a full 12 months of speculation on the death of o-rings, Hasbro finally offered up a new product.  It was the long rumoured Soundwave who transforms into the Thunder Machine.  It's pretty likely that Hasbro designed the Soundwave back when they thought the o-ring line might have a modicum of success.  But, after the retail disaster that was both Megatron and Bumblebee, it's unlikely any retailers were willing to subsidize another shelf clogging disaster that also came with a stupidly high price.

But, it now seems that retailers are now once again willing to work with Hasbro to get this long suffering product to retail.  And, you can now order this Soundwave along with an o-ring Zarana and Zartan for a whopping $100.  After tax and shipping, you're going to spending a lot of money on two carded o-ring figures.  But, I think it's a lot better to get two of them than just one like we did with the 2022 toys.  I just want high quality figures that command that premium price

As to the toy itself, the Thunder Machine doesn't make much sense.  Historically, Dreadnok themed toys don't do very well among collectors.  Aside from that, though, the Thunder Machine isn't really even a top 10 iconic Joe vehicle.  They're pretty easy to find and not terribly expensive.  So, seeing a remake is weird and out of left field.  But, we haven't seen one in nearly 4 decades.  So, from that perspective, it's OK.  I'm just disappointed that they didn't make it in different colors.  A Thunder Machine in Sears Stinger colors would have been awesome.  But, I don't need another one in the same colors as the original.

It's the figures, though, that are so disappointing.  One, we've seen both Zartan and Zarana multiple times since the vintage days.  I'd really rather have molds that weren't repainted in the 2000's.  (And, in the case of both these figures, hit MASSIVE clearance during that time.)  But, they are characters that people tend to like.  And, they are both good names that might help move the toys.  But, the renders from the release are not great.  

To begin with, the figures have painted heads.  Those are terrible.  They suck and ruin any figure.  We need flesh plastic heads, not pink painted versions that will wear and chip with the slightest use.  After that, though, there are other positives and negatives.  

Zarana finally features the arm tattoo that was removed from the figure in 1986.  I can't tell if they added the flesh colored paint under her ripped pants as the 1986 figure also intended.  It's a nice vintage homage.  But, the rest of Zarana is pretty much the same as the original.  Her black gloves, though, go all the way up to her elbow joints.  With the juxtaposition of black gloves versus flesh upper arms, it's painfully obvious that this is cost savings move on a $100 toy.  I'd accept black elbows on $4 Funskool figures: not on $20+ figures geared for collectors.  Zarana's head also isn't great.  It's like they tried too hard on it.  We'll see if the final product is better.  But, we have yet to see renders undergo massive improvements prior to release.

Zartan features a face with paint that based on his cartoon appearance.  But, sadly, it looks too much like Kiss makeup.  The upside is that the figure will include with backpack and face mask along with an update on his original pistol.  So, that's an improvement.  But, the colors on his chest plate are a combo of his 1984 (that really worked) and his 2005 (that didn't work) colors.  Again, for a $5 figure, this is fine.  For a massively expensive collectible, this really isn't.  The figure should be a perfect rendition of Zartan.  Not something that's indistinguishable from a $3 comic pack figure.

So, as you can tell, I'm not a fan of this item.  I can't abide by Transformers being seen as integral to Joe.  I don't want a $60 Transformer that is unsellable on the secondary market.  So, in end, I'm paying $50+ for two figures that are deeply flawed.  After the disappointing quality on the Skystriker figures, I'm really fed up with paying premium prices for quality that was poor when the figures cost a fraction of their current price.  

Sadly, it seems there are at least two more of these in some stage of development.  A MOBAT/Optimus Prime with Hawk and a TTT with Sgt. Slaughter are the names.  We'll see if they come to be.  I don't see this item being a huge seller, especially with it being available at every obscure online store in the world.  But, the historic failure of the first two Transformers didn't preclude another being made.  I'm at a point where I'd rather have no o-ring Joes than poor quality figures that are included with a toy line in which I have interest and have to pay a premium to acquire.

2023 Dreadnok Thunder Machine, Soundwave, Zartan, Zarana

2023 Dreadnok Thunder Machine, Soundwave, Zartan, Zarana

2023 Dreadnok Thunder Machine, Soundwave, Zartan, Zarana

2023 Dreadnok Thunder Machine, Soundwave, Zartan, Zarana