#1600: Snake Eyes



“SNAKE EYES served in Long Range Recon Patrols in Southeast Asia. He left the service to study mystic martial arts with the same Ninja family that produced STORM SHADOW. SNAKE EYES was living an ascetic existence alone in the High Sierras with his pet timber wolf when he was recruited for the GI JOE team. He is a qualified expert in all NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms, has a black belt in 12 different fighting systems, and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons.”

Ah, look at that.  Another hundred reviews.  That means it’s time for—wait, sorry, hadn’t updated the script.  Right.  Hi there dear readers!  Welcome to the Figure in Question’s 1600th review.  Usually on the hundred mark I do a special high-end deluxe review, but I like to mix things up occasionally and space those particular reviews out a bit more as I go along.  So, the deluxe reviews are new going to be every 250 reviews from now on.  So, in honor of this not at all monumental review, I’ll be taking a look at a Snake Eyes figure.  Wooo-eee.


This particular Snake Eyes figure was packed with the Kid Rhino DVD release of the first two mini-series of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon, which hit in 2003.  It’s the 16th version of the character released, and is actually just a slight re-working of his very first figure.  This figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s the exact same figure as the ToyFare-exclusive Snake Eyes figure from the same year (already reviewed here).  It’s the original Snake Eyes mold, with the version 1.5 swivel arms, and Roadblock’s pelvis piece.  It’s a sculpt that shows its age, but one I still very much like.  The main difference with this figure and that one is coloring (though not paint, as the actual paint applications on these two are identical).  Rather than Snake Eyes’ usual all black palette, this figure is molded in a dark blue, which mimics how he was colored in the cartoon.  Given how this figure was released, it’s certainly a reasonable change, and makes for a somewhat unique looking figure.  Snake Eyes was packed with a pretty decent accessories complement, given his nature as a pack-in.  He included a sword, an Uzi, a pack of explosives, a back pack, and his trusty canine sidekick Timber.  Sadly, I lost Timber at some point, something I still kick myself about.


I got the DVD set that included this guy as a Christmas present from my parents some years back.  I know I’d seen it somewhere and expressed interest in it, and they took note of this and got it for me.  Of course, I certainly didn’t ask for the set just for the figure included with it.  That would be preposterous, right?  Who would do something like that?  Not me.  Not me at all.  Despite essentially having reviewed this figure before, there’s just something about this particular variant that I really like. 


#1524: Flash



“Flash is highly skilled in many aspects of electronic technology and is capable of equipment repair in the field. Specialized Education: Electronics School; Chemical School; Covert Electronics. Qualified Expert: M-16; M-1911A1; XMLR-1A (Shoulder-Fired Laser Rifle).”

In 1982, Hasbro was looking to revitalize their G.I. Joe brand.  Two different iterations of the 12-inch line had come and gone, and the market just wasn’t there for the style.  What the market totally *was* there for, however, was 3 3/4 inch figures, which had been super-popularized, courtesy of a little movie called Star Wars.  So, Hasbro partnered with writer Larry Hama and created a brand new iteration of G.I. Joe, dubbed A Real American Hero.  Now the Joes weren’t just your average soldiers, but were instead a group of specialized operatives, each with their own style and code name.  The line began with 13 figures, built from a common pool of parts.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of those 13, the Laser Rifle specialist, code-named “Flash”*


Flash was released in the original 1982 assortment of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Unlike many of his compatriots, this wound up being his only figure for 23 years (well, apart from his 1983 re-issue, which I’ll touch on in a second).  Flash stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  That articulation count’s a little lower than usual for a vintage Joe.  Why’s that?  The first year of Joes didn’t sport the swivel arms that became a standard for the line in ’83.  These original releases are known as “Straight-Arm” figures, and are an interesting quirk of the earliest offerings in the line.  All of the straight-arm figures would see swivel-arm re-releases in ’83 to help bring them up to date, so there’s two versions of our boy Flash out there.  The lack of swivels does impact posablility, of course, but I didn’t find it to be quite as restricting as I’d expected; I guess I’m just used to my Micronauts.  Another change in motion is the neck joint.  Later figures got actual ball-jointed necks, but the earlier guys just had swivels.  Not a huge difference, but certainly a noticeable one.  In terms of construction, Flash doesn’t actually have much that’s unique to him.  His head was shared with Hawk, Shortfuse, and Steeler.  It’s a reasonable enough piece, and generic enough that changing the hair color is really all that’s needed to make him look different.  I certainly prefer it to his 25th Anniversary sculpt.  The lower legs were shared with Snake Eyes (they’re just generic boots, so it works fine), and the rest of his sculpt is shared with Grand-Slam.  As Grand-Slam was his fellow laser trooper, it’s a pretty sensible re-use, since they’re presumably both in uniform.  The sculpting on this guy is indicative of the time.  The details are a little soft by modern standards, and proportions are less traditionally heroic.  But, if you know what you’re getting into, it’s all about standard for the vintage line.  In terms of paint, Flash is mostly basic work, but it’s all pretty clean, and surprisingly bold for the line.  A lot of the early figures had very washed out palettes, but Flash gets some bright red to keep things a bit more interesting.  Flash was packed with a removable helmet (with flip-up visor), a back-pack, and his laser rifle, which my figure happily still has all of.


Flash has been on my list for a little while.  He was ranked as #16 on ToyFare magazine’s “Top 20 G.I. Joe Toys,” which is what really got him on my radar.  Since then, I’ve been on the look out for him, albeit at a reasonable price.  I ended up getting him very recently, courtesy of Lost In Time Toys, during one of their December sales.  He was in a case of items marked 50% off, meaning I got him for about $10, which is great for a vintage Joe.  Unfortunately, when I opened him, I discovered the o-ring holding him together had dry-rotted.  As luck would have it, Hasbro used standard parts for these guys, so all I needed to do was run over to Home Depot and pick up a box of #9 plumber’s o-rings, which ran me about $2 and took me less than 20 minutes to swap out with the old one.  It was actually pretty awesome to get to rehabilitate this guy, and now he’s ship-shape, and hands down one of my favorite Joes in my collection.

*DC was a bit less productive of their trademarks at this point, I suppose.  Future figures of this character would all add a rank of Sergeant to his name to denote him from the scarlet speedster.

#0753: B.A.T.




After being a fairly straightforward military-based line of toys, and then a mostly down to earth adventure series for the first 20 years of its life, in the 80s, G.I. Joe gave up on that whole real world thing and threw caution to the wind. Okay, that’s not true. The first year of the 3 ¾ inch line was actually pretty modest. Then 1983 added Destro and Gung-Ho to the line and all bets were off. Prepare for the neon colors, the wacky specialists, and even the Battle Android Troopers!


BATVint2The B.A.T. was released in the 1986 series of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (which, as I noted in my Lifeline review, was a pretty good year for the line). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has 15 points of articulation. That’s one more point than most of the line! Structurally, the figure was all new at the time, though his pieces would get used for a few other figures (though, none of them were B.A.T.s. It depicts the B.A.T. in its Cobra uniform, but there are actually some nice hints at it being a robot under the clothes, rather than just a normal person. The details are generally pretty sharp, at least for a figure of the time, and the mechanical arms in particular are very nicely detailed. The B.A.T. definitely looks unique from the other Cobra forces, while still fitting in great stylistically. The figure originally had a lenticular piece in the middle of the torso, detailing some of the B.A.T.’s internal mechanics. Sadly, my figure does not have this piece. The paint on the B.A.T. is decent, though not the greatest thing ever. The orange/yellow bits are a bit on the sloppy side, especially around the edges. That said, the overall look is pretty good. The Bat is pretty well accessorized, with four different right hand attachments (normal hand, claw, flame thrower, and gun), as well as a backpack to hold the extra attachments. Also, my figure has a small pistol thrown in, but that isn’t from the original figure.


I picked up the B.A.T. loose from local toy store All Time Toys this past summer. I’ve always loved the B.A.T. design, and I’ve had several of the figures over the years, but I never had the original. Now I do! He’s a pretty nifty little figure, though I do think he’s been surpassed by a few of his successors.


#0720: Lifeline




Despite having quite a high appreciation for G.I. Joe and its many military themed characters, I wouldn’t really consider myself a particularly military-minded person. As such, my favorite figures are very frequently those who deviate a bit more from the military structure of the line. One of my favorite characters from the line is Lifeline, who was one of the team’s medics and happened to be a pacifist, which definitely made him a little different from the rest of the Joes, and gave him a nice bit of contrast.


LifelineVint2The original Lifeline was released in the 1986 series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (which, having looked into for the purposes of my review, may well be one of my favorite Series of ARAH. That was a good year). This Lifeline, however, is actually the exclusive Rice Krispies mail-in offer version of the character from 1991. The two are almost identical, but there’s one difference between them that I’ll get to in a moment. Lifeline, like all good G.I. Joes, stand 3 ¾ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Lifeline has a sculpt that is very much in line with the rest of his vintage compatriots. Sure, it’s not quite up to modern sensibilities of action figures, and there’s a bit of hokeyness to the sculpt, but it’s certainly a nicely detailed sculpt. Plus, it just has a certain charm to it. Lifeline has a helmet and a pair of sunglasses, so his face is a little hard to see, but what we do see looks nice and friendly, which certainly is befitting of the pacifist medic. So, about that minor change; yeah, Kellogg’s wasn’t super eager to have their mail-away figure sporting a firearm, so, in addition to dropping the original’s included handgun from the accessories list, they also had Hasbro change the figure’s legs to remove the holstered gun on his thigh. The final figure’s legs are shared with the 1985 Frostbite figure. The change isn’t a really big deal, what with the whole pacifist thing mentioned above. The only real issue is that the straps on the figure’s waist, which originally connected to his holster and a pouch on his right leg now just end with the waist piece. It’s a little odd, but admittedly not super obvious unless you’re looking right at it. Lifeline’s paintwork is pretty straightforward; the reds are molded plastic and the whites and silvers are painted on. While my figure sports a little bit of wear from play (that’ll happen to figures from the time before collectors started having the hermetically sealed), the paintwork is overall pretty clean, and I like the “RESCUE” printed on the left leg in particular.  While he may have lost his handgun, the mail-away Lifeline certainly isn’t lacking in terms of accessories. He includes a backpack that looks to double as a transmitter of some sort, as well as a rescue pack, befitting his status as a field medic.


My appreciation for Lifeline came a little while after I got into G.I. Joe. He wasn’t amongst the Joes chosen to be updated for the 2000s incarnation of the line, so I had no figure of him, and therefore, no initial knowledge of the character. However, I got to know the character through his comic and cartoon appearances, which is how I came to really appreciate him, even if I didn’t have a figure. This figure is actually a fairly recent acquisition, having been picked up from a cool little store nearby called 2nd Chance Toyz. I didn’t realize until after getting him that he was the mail-in version, but I can’t say I mind, truth be told. Lifeline is very definitely a toy of his time, but I’m glad to have him in my collection.

#0514: Sgt. Flash




YO JOOOOOOOOOOOE!!!! If you’re gonna review action figures, every so often, it’s important to take a look at something from the original action figure line, GI Joe. And, while the original 12 inch Joe was the one who created the whole freaking industry, when you mention GI Joe, most people are probably going to think of the A Real American Hero incarnation that first appeared in 1982. In ’82, Hasbro was looking for a way to revitalize their brand. Instead of selling one large figure, why not a bunch of smaller ones? Each of them could have their own specialty, and if done properly, they could make use of a lot of the same parts, keeping costs down. Thus, the line started off with a group of figures affectionately known as the “Original 13.” The figures offered a mix of more realistic soldiers and some that were a bit more sci-fi inspired. Today’s figure is one of the latter, a laser trooper by the name of Sgt. Flash!


SgtFlash2Sgt. Flash (originally just Flash, but I don’t think a certain Distinguished Competition was too happy about that name) was released in the 2008 assortment of the GI Joe: 25th Anniversary line. He was part of that year’s first wave of single-packed figures. The figure is about 3 ¾ inches in height, with 22 points of articulation. Flash is obviously based on his original 1982 figure, though a few liberties have been take here and there with the sculpt. The original Flash figure shared more than a few parts with his teammates, but that’s not the case here. The good Sergeant has been fitted with an all-new sculpt. It’s not one of the greatest sculpts the line had to offer. The head is easily the figure’s weakest point. The original was sort of plain and generic, but here he’s kind of a little dopey looking. Something about him really makes me not want to trust this guy with the lasers. Another problem with the sculpt is something that actually affected a lot of the initial 25th figures. The nature of how the lower/upper arm pieces were sculpted seriously inhibits the range of motion on the elbow joints, which ends up being quite limiting on a figure like Flash, who needs to hold stuff. There’s also the issue of his chest armor being divided in half, but that’s a more minor thing. The articulation is actually pretty nice to have there. The rest of the figure’s sculpt is actually pretty great. His jumpsuit has lots of great work on the folds and such, and being able to see the collar of the knit shirt underneath is a cool touch. The quilted pattern of the armor and the etched patterns on the gloves are also very well handled, and add some character to the figure. The paint ends up being the weakest part of the figure. The red, in particular, is pretty bad. It’s uneven, it frequently bleeds over, and there’s a rather noticeable spot on his chest where something got stuck to it while it was drying. The paint on the head does an already lackluster sculpt no favors. The eyebrows are really thick, and just a tad too high, and his eyes look rather lifeless. At the very least, the boots and gloves are well painted, so there’s that. Sgt. Flash includes a helmet with a flip up visor, his trusty laser rifle, a backpack that it can plug into, and a GI Joe logo-stand with his name written on the front.


Sgt. Flash was picked up for me by my Dad and my brother. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out at the time, and I was sitting at home watching my DVDs of the cartoon. They felt kinda sorry for me, so they bought me Flash (as well as General Hawk, who was the real winner of the two). The original Flash figure is one I’ve always wanted, but never gotten. This one’s not quite the same thing, and he’s certainly not one of the best figures this line had to offer, but he does make for a decent stand-in, and he really isn’t that bad.

#0272: Chuckles




1985 may have been the year that set the standard for GI Joe: A Real American Hero, but 1987 also proved to be an important year for the line. 1987 marked the release of GI Joe: The Movie, a full length theatrical film which tied into the Sunbow animated series. The movie introduced a few new recruits to the line, and the toys followed suit, bringing all but one of those recruits to the line proper. Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of those recruits, Chuckles. Chuckles is an infiltration and intelligence specialist; essentially a spy. He also likes Hawaiian shirts!


ChucklesWilsonChuckles was released as part of the 6th series of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, which was distributed in 1987. The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation, all standards for the line. Chuckles featured an all new sculpt, which was only used for this particular figure. The sculpt doesn’t have the detail of Flint or the elegant simplicity of Snake Eyes, but it’s not too bad. The head seems a bit strange, especially the ears, which have an odd shape to them. The rest of the sculpt is fine. Nothing incredibly impressive, but far from the worst the line had to offer. The paint work on Chuckles is somewhat basic, but it’s all well applied, and the shirt in particular looks really great. Chuckles included a handgun and a holster, but mine was purchased loose without those pieces.


Like Flint and Snake Eyes, Chuckles was purchased at Yesterday’s Fun, a really cool toy store I visited with my family while on vacation last week. Just like Flint, I found Chuckles while looking through a box of vintage GI Joes trying to find Snake Eyes. I never owned a Chuckles figure, but I remember liking him in the movie. The figure was in pretty decent shape and was fairly inexpensive, so I figured I might as well go for it. He’s not my favorite Joe ever, but the figure is distinctive, so that’s cool.

#0271: Flint




Yesterday, I took a look at the GI Joe line’s second version of Snake Eyes, released in 1985. 1985 was rather important year for GI Joe as it served as the year that introduced a new style of movement on the neck joints, and also introduced several characters that would go on to become key characters in the franchise. One such character was Chief Warrant Officer Flint. Interestingly, Flint officially first appeared in the GI Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon 1984, before his release in the toyline.


FlintWilsonFlint was part of the fourth series of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, released in 1985. This is the very first version of Flint released in the line.  The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. Flint featured an all-new sculpt, though it would go on to be reused on two additional Flint figures, as well as donating several pieces to fellow Joe Claymore. The sculpt is pretty much in line with what the rest of the line’s sculpts looked like. It’s a nice sculpt, with some pretty nice detail work, especially in the folds in the uniform. The head also offers quite a bit of character, giving Flint one of the more distinctive looks in the line. The paint work on Flint is really nice. There’s pretty much no slop or bleed over, and he features a whole lot of small details, such as the camo pants, or the rounds in his suspenders. Flint included a backpack and a shot gun, although mine was purchased loose, and therefore lacked the shotgun.


I purchased Flint last week from Yesterday’s Fun, which I visited while on vacation with my family. While looking through a box of vintage GI Joes to find Snake Eyes (reviewed here), I came across Flint in rather good condition. I’ve always rather liked the figure, but never had the opportunity to get one. He’s a cool little figure, and I’m happy to have him.

#0270: Snake Eyes – V2




The 3 ¾ inch line of GI Joe first launched in 1982, with 16 figures, sharing as many parts as possible. It was a hit, and those original 16 have since gone on to become rather memorable, simply for being there first. However, many people don’t see that first year as the one that defined the line, but rather see 1985, the line’s fourth year. It’s the year that introduced the ball jointed neck articulation that would become standard for the line, as well as introducing fan favorite characters like Flint, Lady Jaye, Shipwreck, the Crimson Guards, and Tomax and Xamot. It also featured the line’s first re-do of a previous Joe, Snake Eyes, beginning his reign as one of the line’s central characters. Today, I’ll be taking a look at that second Snake Eyes figure.


SnakeEyesV2WilsonSnake Eyes was released as part of the 1985 series of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, which was the 4th series of the line. As indicated in the title, it’s the second version of the character in the line. It is also considered by many collectors to be the definitive take on the character. This is the figure that added the character’s definitive knight-style visor. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The figure features a brand new sculpt, which interestingly enough never saw any re-use or re-release, which is surprising given Hasbro’s penchant for re-use and the popularity of this particular figure. The sculpt is pretty much par for the course for a vintage GI Joe figure. It’s fairly basic, but that’s part of the appeal of the figure. The simplicity works especially well for Snake Eyes’ design. The paint on Snake Eyes is once again fairly basic, with a few areas of dark grey details and some silver on his right arm. For the most part, it’s pretty cleanly applied, although there is some bleed over on his bandolier.  Snake Eyes included a sword, a back pack, an uzi, and his pet wolf, Timber. However, my figure was purchased used, so he only has the back pack.


Snake Eyes version 2 is a figure that’s eluded me for roughly ten years. When I got into GI Joe with the GI Joe vs Cobra line back in 2002, I was thrilled with the line, and quickly began looking into older figures from the line. Snake Eyes was by far my favorite character at the time, so I was very interested in versions of him. Not too long after, the magazine Toyfare ran a feature on the Top 20 GI Joe toys, with this particular figure ranking #3 on the list. As soon as I saw him, I knew I wanted one, but acquiring one was no easy feat. Toyfar eventually ended up releasing an exclusive Snake Eyes figure, but that one was built out of the first version, not the second one that I really want. Still, I got that one to tide me over (incidentally, that one still remains one of my favorite GI Joes). When Hasbro launched the 25th Anniversary line, I picked up the update of the V2 figure, once again to tide me over.

Last week, while on vacation with my family, we visited a nearby toy store called Yesterday’s Fun. We’ve been there a few times before, and they always have some pretty cool stuff. I walked around and found a few figures I was interested in, and when I walked up to the counter, I noticed a box of loose GI Joes in a glass case. I politely asked to go through them, hoping to find that Snake Eyes figure. Alas, he wasn’t in the box (although I did pick out a few others I’d wanted). Then, as the owner put back the box, I noticed a small selection of Joes sitting next to the box. Sure enough, there sat Snake Eyes, front and center. I can’t begin to describe how excited I was to finally get him after looking for one for so long!

#0218: Captain Ace




“He’ll fight for freedom, wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there!” or here rather. Yep, it’s another G.I. Joe review. Yet again, I’m pulling a figure from the A Real American Hero incarnation of the franchise. This time around, is one of G.I. Joe’s trusty pilots, Ace. Or, as he’s been named due to trademark issues, Captain Ace. Hey, he lucked out compared to some of the others, believe me.


Ace is one of the figure’s from Hasbro’s G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary line. He comes from one of the line’s two-packs, where he was packaged with a figure of Cobra pilot, Wild Weasel. I picked up Ace on his own, so no Weasel review, I’m afraid. Ace stands about 3 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He’s based on Ace’s original design from his ’83 figure, and, according to yojoe.com anyway, features an all new sculpt. I know several pieces of this sculpt were also used on the 25th Anniversary version of fellow pilot Wild Bill, but I guess Ace came first. Ace’s sculpt is very nice, with lots of great detail work in the folds of the jumpsuit. His head sculpt also has the appropriate “hotshot pilot” vibe. Ace also features a harness add-on, which helps to further emulate the look of the original figure. It’s a nice piece, and it sits pretty well. Ace’s paint is a bit on the messy side. There’s a few spots of bleed over and his face paint is just odd, giving him a bit of a wide-eyed stare. It’s a bit of a letdown, given how nice the sculpt is. Ace includes a helmet and a display stand with his name and the G.I. Joe logo.


I picked up Ace a while after his release, from a local toystore. I got him loose, hence the lack of pack-mate Wild Weasel. I’ve always liked Ace, though this is actually the first figure of him I ever got. He’s a cool figure, but I do wish the paintwork were a bit better.

#0067: Breaker



Today’s figure comes from the original action figure line:  GI Joe.  It’s far from one of the original figures, but he’s part of the line, so…umm…there’s that.  Anyway, it’s Breaker (who, incidentally was one of the original 13 figures from the 3 ¾ incarnation of the line) from the 2009 GI Joe movie, Rise of Cobra.


Breaker was released in the first series of Hasbro’s tie-in line for Rise of Cobra.  He’s based on Breaker’s more casual look from the film, instead of his “impact armor” look.  The figure stands roughly 3 ¾ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  The sculpt is pretty good overall, with nice texturing and folds and such.  The head sculpt is a decent approximation of the actor who plays Breaker in the film.  However good the sculpt is, it doesn’t matter, because the paint is where this figure falls apart.  The paint is thickly applied, and kind of haphazardly applied.  The paint on the body is a bit better, but still leaves a lot to be desired.  Breaker is accessorized with a removable vest, a machine gun, a handgun, a laptop, a big freaking missile launcher, and a stand with his name on it.  The missile launcher isn’t pictured, because I got rid of it, along with all the other over-sized missile launchers Hasbro seems intent on giving us.


I got Breaker along with several other figures from the line at the time of the movie’s release.  I liked the character, so I bought the figure.  Mistakes may have been made.