#2346: Zombie Viper

ZOMBIE VIPER

G.I. JOE: 30TH ANNIVERSARY (HASBRO)

“ZOMBIE-VIPERS are COBRA infantry troopers who have been given a mysterious chemical substance, Compound Z, that has turned them into drones. Wiped of all thought, they follow orders mindlessly and cannot be reasoned with or sidetracked. They have retained skill at combat; in fact, their desire to fight has been increased, making them more dangerous than before. In other words, they are deadly zombie warriors.”

After a rather noticeable hiatus from retail shelves, G.I. Joe is making its return later this year, with an all-new line of 6-inch figures.  I myself am quite excited for this new line, so in the mean time, I’m going to look at some of the older items already in my collection.  Today, I’m turning my sights on the 30th Anniversary of the 3 3/4 inch line, which in addition to updating some of the older figures to the modern day, also served as the distribution point for a handful of left over ideas from Hasbro’s rather inventive Pursuit of Cobra line.  PoC attempted to introduce some new ideas into the franchise, including a few new styles of Cobra trooper.  And since everyone was going crazy about zombies in the early 2010s, we even got one of those!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Zombie-Viper was part of the fourth assortment of the G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary line, which would prove to be the final assortment of the 30th line.  Unfortunately, due to Paramount not wanting competing product during a movie year, the 30th line was shoved into 2011, which wasn’t its actual anniversary year, and the fourth assortment in particular was practically non-existent at retail.  Fortunately, the Zombie-Viper got a more or less unchanged release for the 50th Anniversary line in 2016, making him much easier to find.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The Zombie-Viper’s non-zombie parts are re-used from the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper.  The same figure served as a parts source for both the standard PoC Cobra Trooper and the Viper,  so there’s a nice connective tissue to it, which sells the backstory that these are infected Cobra forces.  The new parts do quite a nice job of selling the whole zombie thing.  The level of detailing is really impressive at this scale and at on a mass retail item, and is honestly enough to give other zombie lines of the time a run for their money.  The forearms are designed like those of the BATs, allowing for them to pop out at the joint and be swapped out for other attachments, in this case a set of tendrils, adding to that more sci-if side of things.  They are also compatible with the BAT attachments, allowing for some mix and match.  The Zombie-Viper’s paint work is mostly on the drab side, which is sensible for a zombie, but with a little bit of bright blue thrown in there, again to play up that sci-fi side of things. There’s some nice accent work wit ph a wash, which helps highlight the intricacies of the sculpt.  The Zombie-Viper is packed with the previously mentioned tendrils, as well as a containment helmet and tube, and a display stand with the figure’s name and the Cobra insignia on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was quite looking forward to this figure when it was first shown off, but unfortunately Wave 4 never showed up at retail around me, and by the time I realized it hadn’t, the full sets had long since sold out online.  I wound up tracking down my one must have figure (Lifeline) on his own, but never did get the Zombie-Viper.  Fortunately, via the 50th Anniversary reissue and Max not wanting to keep both of them from the two-pack, I was finally able to get one.  I’m glad, because he’s a really cool figure.

#2288: Spirit Iron-Knife

SPIRIT IRON-KNIFE

G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6 (HASBRO)

“Spirit Iron-Knife started in field operations and was selected for the most difficult missions because of his outstanding ability to spot overlooked clues.  He became a lead investigator at special ops and solved complex cases with his ability to track suspects using shreds of information.  He was soon promoted to covert ops and used his tracking skills to to uncover criminals skilled at concealing their existence.  He is also an expert at creating small, precisely targeted explosions that disable mechanical or electronic systems without destroying the entire structure.  He is a highly skilled marksman with his bow, using technologically advanced arrows that deliver powerful explosions.”

In the last several months, I’ve taken some time to really look at the G.I. Joe franchise, with a real focus on its ’80s A Real American Hero incarnation, which was by far the franchises most popular and successful incarnation.  Now I’m taking a jump ahead to the incarnation that followed, Sigma 6.  Launched in the mid-00s, it tried to modernize things and tap into what was popular at the time, and it was honestly a pretty decent success. Well, purely commercially, anyway.  With the pre-existing fans?  Let’s just say they don’t deal well with change.  So, after a solid three year run, it was put to bed and replaced with a return to the old.  But, let’s not focus on the end, let’s focus on the beginning, with one of the line’s launch figures, a re-imagined Spirit Iron-Knife.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spirit Iron-Knife was one of the five figures released in the first Commando assortment of the Sigma 6 line, which launched the line in 2005.  Compared to the others in the assortment, Spirit was something of an oddball choice, not being amongst what people would typically consider the “core” Joes.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new at launch (and would later be re-used for a second version of Spirit), though it certainly had some similarities to his team-mates, given the line’s general style and the uniformed nature of the Joes.  Spirit’s design is shared with his cartoon counterpart, and marked something of a departure from his original ’84 design (which was a little bit stereotypical for a Native American tracker).  He had received quite a redesign in the comics that accompanied the 2002 relaunch of ARAH, and his S6 design seemed to take a few elements from that, as well as being the first version of the character to tap into Billy from Predator as a design inspiration.  The final result is honestly the most unique of the five initial figures, not just when compared to the other four in the same set, but also compared to prior versions of Spirit himself.  The figure’s sculpt is definitely the coolest of the initial assortment, showing some neat deviations from the standard uniform, and giving us a head with a lot of character behind it.  As one of the more deluxe “Commando” releases, he also got to be a slightly mixed media affair.  Not only is his head band cloth, but he’s also got a pair of actual pants to wear over his Sigma suit, as well as the usual set of dogtags.  The figure was then armed with a bow, four arrows, a quiver, a knife, a sheath, a pair of axes, and his pet eagle.  As is the nature of the Sigma 6 beast, mine is incomplete, with only the bow and the knife sheath.  I know, for shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve discussed before, Sigma 6 was a concept I very much enjoyed, but unfortunately not a line I was able to get much of when it was new.  Spirit was a figure I always wanted, but was just never able to get.  I was eventually able to track one down back in November of 2018.  It took a while to get him and he’s not complete, but it’s still very nice to have even just the core figure, because he’s quite a cool offering.

#2260: Action Sailor

ACTION SAILOR

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Since joining the Joes, I’ve held the record for personally sinking more enemy ships than the entire 3rd fleet, and that’s on a bad day!  I’ve torpedoed so many hulls, I’m surprised the ocean hasn’t overflowed with scrap iron!  On dry land, I’m a fish out of water.  I’d rather be on my sea sled than in a tank or jet fighter; luckily I have plenty of courageous teammates to handle those jobs. Making the seas safe from criminal scum is my life’s work, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than as a member of G.I. Joe!”

In 1994, it was the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand as a whole, but perhaps not the best spot for the brand’s 3 3/4 inch scale, which had ruled the market for 12 years.  In its last gasp of breath before going on a hiatus, the line merged styles with its 12-inch predecessors for a line of commemorative 3 3/4-inch figures based on the original Joes.  Each of the major branches of the military was covered with one figure based on the original packaging illustrations.  In the case of the “Action Sailor” that meant a pretty sick looking wet suit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Action Sailor was released in 1994 as part of the final year of the Real American Hero branding’s vintage run.  He and the other four 30th figures were sold as deluxe boxed items in packaging that replicated the original box.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While the original Action Sailor was in a more standard uniform, this figure instead gives us the sailor in his Navy Frogman outfit, by far the most distinctive look for this branch.  His mold was brand new to him, but a slightly altered version was used by Fun 4 All later in the ’90s when they put out their Keychains.  As I noted in that review, I find this and the Action Pilot to be the best of the 30th sculpts.  It’s a lot more organic than the soldier and marine were, and gets to add in the details of a fully kitted out design.  This version of the mold is also a lot sharper than the keychain recreation, allowing the details to more clearly be made out, making it all the more impressive.  Also, the better quality plastic means that he’s not as easily broken, allowing me to finally have a diver without the broken pelvis.  Yay!   His paintwork is a fairly basic set-up; the black is just molded plastic, with some silver and flesh toned details mixed in throughout.  The Action Sailor included his sea sled, a scuba tank, two flippers, a harpoon gun, a flashlight, and a hose.  My figure’s missing the gun, flashlight, and hose, but even so, he makes out alright on the accessory front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Action Sailor is important me because the Keychain release is actually what got me into small-scale G.I. Joe.  That one was never quite as impressive as a proper Joe, but I hung onto him for a good while.  It wasn’t until much later that I even knew that non-keychain releases existed, nor did I know of the difference in quality.  This guy came from a small collection of Joes that All Time got in about a month before the huge collection.  He got a little overshadowed, but I was still pretty happy to have the proper Hasbro release after all these years.  He’s not majorly different, but it’s different enough that I felt he was worth the purchase.

#2246: G.I. Joe

G.I. JOE

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“G.I. Joe (a.k.a. Joseph B. Colton) graduated in 1960 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, receiving the academy’s highest possible honors.  An expert marksman, he is proficient with all modern weaponry from M60 machine guns to attack helicopters and L.A.W.s (Light Armored Weapons).  Recruited by Special Forces, Colton was destined for military glory, quickly distinguishing himself as an outstanding Green Beret.  In 1963, after participating in “ultra” top secret combat operations and extensive tours of duty in trouble spots around the world, 1st Lt. Joseph B. Colton became the most decorated — and most feared — battlefield soldier the world had ever known.  Recognizing Colton’s innate combat skills and his warrier heart pumping courage through his veins, then President John F. Kennedy, secretly selected him to create and command an ULTIMATE freedom fighting force.  Higher ranking soldiers had been passed over for this elite, presidential appointment.  Colton was issued the name “G.I. Joe” and began building his team with the toughest men the armed services could muster.  From there, G.I. Joe would change the course of military history and re-define the word hero!”

When reworking G.I. Joe into the anti-terrorist fighting force that would so define them throughout the ’80s, Hasbro decided to re-work the assumed name of one man from the ’60s toyline, and make the name for the whole team.  However, when it came time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original 12-inch line, Hasbro decided to transfer some of the old style figures into the new smaller scale.  Additionally, they decided to pay tribute to those original figures by actually making “G.I. Joe” one guy again, and having that one guy be the one who started the whole thing, just like that one figure started everything in the real world.  It was a pretty cool concept and one that has found its way into comics and movies as well.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

G.I. Joe was offered as a mail-away offer as part of G.I. Joe‘s 1994 line-up.  He tied in with the wider 30th Anniversary assortment offered up that same year.  The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  His bio classifies Joe as a Green Beret, so this smaller figure is wisely patterned on the Green Beret Action Soldier from the original line.  As far as construction, he shared a lot of his parts with the other 30th Anniversary figures (whose molds would later be re-purposed by Fun 4 All for the line of key chains offered in the late ’90s).  His torso and arms are from the Action Marine, and his left and lower right leg are shared with the Action Soldier.  The head, pelvis, and upper right leg were all new.  They slot in well with the already sculpted parts, and the end result is a figure that does a respectable job of replicating the larger figures in the smaller scale.  This is my first exposure to the original Hasbro versions of most of these pieces, which are certainly of a higher quality than the Fun 4 All variants.  The details are a lot crisper, and there are some that just go missing entirely on the later releases.  The new head is a solid rendition of the old Joe likeness, but made to fit a little better with the rest of the smaller line.  Joe’s paintwork is fairly basic, but does the job well, and it looks pretty clean.  The little bit of camo visible beneath his jacket is in particular pretty cool.  Joe was packed with a heavy machine gun, re-purposed from the V2 Gung Ho in 1992. It’s really large, but not in a comical sense, and he can hold it reasonably well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I was alive in ’94, I wasn’t quite collecting yet, so I didn’t send away for this one myself.  So, I had to resort to buying one second hand.  He wasn’t in All Time’s rather large collection from over the summer, but I ended up finding him at Yesterday’s Fun while on vacation over the summer.  I wasn’t specifically looking for him like the other two I ended up getting, but I have to say I do quite like him.  He’s a cool little piece of history to be sure.

#2232: Undertow

UNDERTOW

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Any frogman can operate in clean water, under optimum conditions, but the UNDERTOW are especially trained to function and fight in the murky, polluted waters that clog busy industrial and military waterfronts.  His wet-suit is made of a nontoxic anti-corrosive material.  His face-mask is coated with silicone to repel oil slicks, and is organically conditioned against hostile biological agents and infections.”

In 1988, Destro decided he just wasn’t content to let Cobra have all that faceless minions fun, so he got his own group of armed body guards, dubbed the Iron Grenadiers.  He then decided he liked that enough to double down, and start adding even more faceless minions.  But, in order to add more minions, he’d really need to diversify things a bit.  Throw in a little bit of specialization, you know?  Cobra had their own group of underwater operatives, so why not get in on that market?  Enter the Undertow, Destro’s Frogmen.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Undertow was released in the 1990 line-up of G.I. Joe, and was one of two additions to Destro’s forces from that particular year, bringing Destro’s total numbers up to a resounding 10.  Hey, that’s not the worst, I suppose.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Despite not being Cobra affiliated in the slightest, Undertow’s sculpt actually has a lot of the same hallmarks of a lot of Cobra’s forces.  Because of this, it’s not much of a shock that the next two times the mold was used, he was transitioned over to Cobra.  It’s honestly a pretty solid sculpt, and surprisingly restrained for being a 1990 release.  Where most of them were starting to bulk up and go for the more fantastical elements, this one keeps it far more low-key, and honestly feels pretty at home with the line’s earlier offerings.  He’s just got a very clean design.  It’s kind of a shame that they saddled him with with the color scheme that they did.  Yes, if Undertow’s sculpt isn’t indicative of the time period he was released in, his paint is.  I mean, it’s not blindingly neon like others, I suppose, but he looks something like a Christmas pageant reject with all that red and green.  Not exactly the sort of colors that come to mind when you think of an underwater trooper, are they?  At least the application’s not bad, I guess.  Future uses of the mold would change the colors way up, which honestly did the mold a lot of favors.  Undertow was packed with a mask (with hose), harpoon, sled (with removable missile), flippers, and a…barracuda?  Hey, whatever works for you, man.  Mine is missing the harpoon, but everything else is showcased here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was a kid, I actually had the 2002 Undertow figure, which used this same mold, and he was a favorite of mine.  Unfortunately, he didn’t make it through my childhood intact, so there was this Undertow-shaped hole in my Joe collection.  I was the slightest bit bummed when Undertow didn’t come in with the big collection that All Time got over the summer (but not overly surprised, given how late run a figure he is), so I ended up finding this guy at Yesterday’s Fun during my family’s family vacation.  The colors are wonky, but the sculpt is still one of my favorites.  Of course, I still kind of want to get a direct replacement of my V3 original one of these days…

#2218: Mercer

MERCER

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“The Renegades don’t answer to anyone but themselves. They don’t officially exist. They can function with very little restraint but if they are compromised, they’re on their own.

Mercer was the only Cobra Viper that ever defected to the Joes and survived. He had joined Cobra for the adventure and the promise of material gain but soon grew disaffected with the Cobra philosophy. He escaped Cobra island by hot-wiring a hydrofoil and outrunning his pursuers across the Gulf of Mexico. Mercer is proficient with all Cobra small arms and explosive devices.”

In 1986, GI Joe got their first real-life celebrity member in the form of professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter, who would serve as a high-stakes drill instructor for the team when Beach Head just wasn’t enough.  In 1987, both the toyline and the movie would give Slaughter his own specialized team of hard-hitting trainees, dubbed Sgt. Slaughter’s Renegades.  The three man team was made up of Red Dogg, Taurus, and today’s focus, Mercer, a turncoat Cobra Viper.  Gee, I wonder why Ethan likes this one…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mercer and the other two Renegades were released as a special three-pack as part of G.I. Joe‘s 1987 line-up (except for in the UK, where Mercer and his teammates were available individually).  They were one of a pair of three-packs based on characters introduced in the movie.  There were plans for a third, but they were scrapped after the less than stellar performance of the Cobra-La pack.  Mercer stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new to him, and apart from the head being re-used for another Mercer figure in 2006, the parts would remain unique to him.  Mercer’s design is important, since it has to read as a Cobra uniform without actually being one.  Now, why it’s not just a broken down Viper uniform is really anyone’s guess, but I’d say Mercer’s not super keen to get mistaken for the enemy.  He’s got a lot of similarly styled elements to the Viper figure, with the vest and the quilted elements on his pants.  That said, he definitely reads as just a little bit more heroic than a Cobra operative.  All things considered, though, Mercer’s sculpt does seem a little more basic and light on the details than some of his compatriots, with the hair being noticeably devoid of detail.  He’s still more detailed than the line’s earlier works, but compared to some of the figures that hit the same year, the fact that his hair’s so smooth does stand out as a little odd.  He also shows the line’s shift towards more exaggerated proportions, with his arms being quite bulked up, and his torso getting more of that V-shape that later figures would receive more regularly.  With the proportions, it is a little more excusable for a character like Mercer, since the Renegades are supposed to be a little more hardened, though.  Mercer’s paintwork is decent enough, keeping with the sculpt’s “suggest Cobra, but not actually Cobra” aesthetic.  He does end up a little oranger than he looked in animation, but it’s at least a deep orange, not a safety orange.  Mercer was packed with a pistol and a backpack, both of which are missing from my figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a huge fan of the Vipers, so it’s not much of a surprise that I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Mercer (the other two Renegades I can kind of take or leave).  When piecing together the huge Joe collection that came into All Time, I was a little sad that the Renegades weren’t included (though not as saddened as the time Red Dogg and Taurus came in without a corresponding Mercer.  That one really stung deep).  As luck would have it, I happened upon Mercer at Yesterday’s Fun while on my summer family vacation, so I wasn’t without him for too long.  Honestly, after going through so many Joes in the last few months, Mercer is perhaps not as exciting as I’d hoped, but it’s still cool to have him.

#2204: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“SNAKE EYES honed his combat skills as a Long Range Recon Patrol trooper in Southeast Asia and perfected his mystical martial arts techniques with the same Ninja clan that produced STORM SHADOW. Although he is as equally adept with submachine guns as he is with swords, Snake Eyes is most dangerous and unpredictable when he’s armed and cornered. When HAWK went to Snake Eyes’ cabin to recruit him for duty with G.I. Joe, the silent Ninja was out hunting rabbits – bare handed!”

After around 1988, there’s something of a downward shift for G.I. Joe.  They really hit their groove in ’85, but the movie really through them for a loop.  Despite gimmicks and really far out concepts largely being the thing that people deride the movie and its associated characters for, Hasbro would nevertheless double down on such concepts as they embarked into the ’90s.  Interspersed with the likes of Super Sonic Fighters and Eco Warriors, they did manage to have some slightly less gimmicky Joes, I suppose, including a rather surprising go at returning Snake Eyes back to his pre-ninja roots, going back to his original backstory as a commando, albeit one in bright 90s-esque neon colors.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes was released in the main 1991 assortment of G.I. Joe, as the fourth version of the character to grace the line.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  By the ’90s, the sculpts were definitely changing again, morphing into a style that would more closely match the rest of the stuff that would come out of the decade.  Snake Eyes showcases a lot of these changes, being way more bulked up and exaggerated in his proportions than the character’s prior incarnations.  Poor Snake looks like he barely fits into his gear this time around.  Maybe it’s time to put down the weights?  Or lay off the steroids?  Something.  Well, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.  Snake Eyes sculpted design is perhaps not the most radical departure from prior designs, although the artful nature of prior looks is largely lost, with everything adding up to a design that doesn’t quite have that same cool factor as prior versions.  All of the elements to make a Snake Eyes are certainly there, but they come together like some sort of off-brand product.  The goggles in particular just seem…goofy and unimposing.  More like safety goggles than anything combat ready.  The artwork for the figure honestly doesn’t make them look that bad; there was something lost in translation.  Of course, the biggest thing against this figure’s probably the paint, where he departs the most from every other version of Snake Eyes.  Previous Snake Eyes figures all were very heavy on black, and very light on pretty much anything else.  This figure’s still got some black, but it’s interspersed with a lot of light blue, grey, and even some red.  While he’s hardly the most garish figure his year produced, by Snake Eyes standards, he was pretty obnoxious.  Also, inexplicably in Cobra colors, for whatever reason.  More than anything about the sculpt, these colors are the thing that remove this figure the most from being Snake Eyes.  Repaints of this figure in more Snake Eyes-esque colors aren’t perfect, but do at least make him more recognizable.  My guess would be that the sculpter and the person who chose the colors were not one and the same on this figure.  Snake Eyes was packed with two swords, a submachine gun, a backpack with a built-in missile launcher, and a display stand.  With the exception of the pack and stand, the accessories are all a vibrant red, again removing the usual Snake Eyes brand a bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the very large Joe collection that came into All Time over the summer came in, this figure’s file card was in the mix, but he was nowhere to be seen.  Unlike Falcon, he did not miraculously appear out of one of the vehicles, however.  Instead, he miraculously appeared out of a small bag brought into the store by the person who sold us the rest of the collection, who had apparently found Snake Eyes and another figure while cleaning.  As an unabashed Snake Eyes fan, I have this weird desire to own all of his vintage figures, no matter how goofy, lame, or off-brand they may be.  This guy’s not great, but I honestly love him anyway.

As noted above, Snake Eyes came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2190: Falcon

FALCON

G. I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Lt. Falcon is a second-generation Green Beret, his father having served with the 10th SFGA (Special Forces Group Airborne) from its very beginnings at Fort Bragg’s Smoke Bomb Hill. Falcon was cross-trained in demolitions and served briefly with the 5th SFGA ‘Blue Light’ counter-terrorist unit as an ‘A’ Team XO. He is proficient in Spanish, French, Arabic and Swahili and a qualified expert with NATO and Warsaw Pact small-arms.”

1987 was a big year for G.I. JoeAfter running a successful cartoon for two seasons, they hit the big time with a feature-length, fully animated feature….or at least that was the plan.  Though G.I. Joe: The Movie was supposed to be the first of the three animated Hasbro productions to hit theatres in 1987 (with the other two being Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony: The Movie), production delays got it moved to the end of the list, and by that time, the poor performance of the other two films at the box office meant that G.I. Joe: The Movie went straight to video and TV.  The 1987 toy line-up served as the source of the film’s new focus characters, with Falcon serving as a potential new lead as the series’ old lead Duke was planned for a rather dramatic exit.  As with Hot Rod over with the Transformers, being pushed as the replacement for the prior central lead didn’t exactly enamor fans to poor Falcon, who has subsequently become something of a butt-monkey amongst the Joe fandom.  Poor guy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted above, Falcon was part of the 1987 line-up of G.I. Joe figures from Hasbro, debuting alongside his movie appearance.  The figure’s bio makes no mention of Falcon’s relation to Duke as mentioned in the movie, because he wasn’t originally meant to be related to Duke.  If anything, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have him be related to Hawk?  You know, bird-themed code names and all that?  I suppose that would have meant actually devoting some screen time to Hawk, though, which the cartoon really didn’t like to do.  Back to the actual figure, though!  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  By this point, Hasbro had the construction of the line down pretty pat, so there were no real surprises with Falcon.  His sculpt was unique to him at the time of his release, but like a number of the ’87 figure, he got a Night Force re-deco the following year.  It’s actually a fairly classically Joe sculpt, going back more to the line’s roots as a proper military force.  Mixed in with the rest of ’87s colorful cast, it’s a wonder Falcon go the chance to stick out at all.  Compared to the likes of Crazy Legs, his sculpt seems a little bit softer, and has less of the unique details, but it’s a solid offering nevertheless.  Falcon’s paintwork continues the rather straightforward realworld approach of the sculpt, placing him pretty much entirely in drab greens.  There was a variation in Falcon figures and the sizing of the camo pattern; some were larger, and some were thinner.  My figure is a thin-camo Falcon, for what it’s worth.  Falcon was packed with a shotgun, knife, and backpack with a removable antenna.  Again, a fairly basic set-up, but if it works, it works.  The shotgun is at least a little more unique, and the backpack is certainly cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Hot Rod, Falcon is a character that I feel a little bad for when it comes to the fan base and their hate for him, and I’ve kind of always wanted a Falcon.  That said, he wasn’t super high on my list when the large collection came in at All Time…at first.  Then this crazy thing happened.  While I was sorting through the figures, I swore I saw a Falcon.  I swore he was one of the first figures I pulled out of the box.  So did Jason, the owner.  So, when I found his filecard, but no figure to match, I was somewhat baffled.  Maybe I was losing it?  There were other filecards without figures to match, so I guess he was just never there.  But as I progressed through the collection, I eventually found his backpack, and his gun, and his knife, making the lack of Falcon even more apparent.  Just as I was about to close the whole collection up, I realized I had one vehicle to check for parts.  And I cracked open the cockpit, and wouldn’t you know it, there sat Falcon.  Not a clue what figure I thought I saw the first time, but Falcon was still in the collection.  And, after the whole mystery of finding him, I kind of felt like I had to buy him.

As touched on above, Falcon came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2176: Crazylegs

CRAZYLEGS

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

Crazylegs could have been the greatest organist in the world if his fingers hadn’t been too short. The Airborne Rangers don’t care how perfectly you can play Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, they’re only concerned with your willingness to jump out of a helicopter into a hot LZ* with nothing but a rifle, a couple of grenades and the best wishes of your commanding officer. Crazylegs is of course, Airborne Ranger qualified and has been cross-trained as a forward artillery observer.”

Craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy Leeeeeeeeeeeeegs!  This guy’s got some Crazy Legs!  That sounds a bit like a Rick and Morty bit or something, doesn’t it?  Like the natural third partner to Baby Legs and Regular Legs.  He’s the loose cannon!  He’s Crazylegs!  ….What was I doing? Oh, right, toy review.  So, we’re back to the G.I. Joe reviews today, with a look at one of the less-remembered members of the team, one Crazylegs.  This guy’s crazy…or at least his legs are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Crazylegs was released in the 1987 assortment of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line.  He’s one of the less fortunate members of that year’s assortment, given that ’87 was the year the movie came out, and several of that year’s characters got staring roles.  But not ‘ol Crazylegs.  Nope, there was no space for him.  Had to make room for Big Lob!  Everyone’s favorite!  Crazylegs stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation, though his hips are somewhat restricted by the design of his harness.  The figure sported a unique sculpt when he was new, though it would also be re-used for the v2 Crazylegs the following year.  It’s actually a pretty impressive sculpt.  He’s got one of the most expressive faces of all the Joes, with this big goofy grin on his face.  This is a man who enjoys his legs being all crazy.  His uniform is also pretty darn cool; there’s a quilted pattern on the red sections of the uniform, which seems pretty appropriate for someone doing high-altitude jumps.  Crazylegs’ ensemble is completed by his parachute and harness, which actually connect under the legs, rather than pegging into the back like most of the line’s back gear.  Crazylegs’ paint is a decent offering.  It’s different from the usual greens we tended to see with the Joes, instead going for a red and grey combo.  It actually looks pretty decent, and keeps him rather unique (although it does end up being rather similar to his assortment-mate Sneak Peek).  Crazylegs is packed with a sub-machine gun with a folding stock, which is honestly one of the cooler standard weapons from the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to Crazylegs was actually his Pursuit of Cobra figure, which was one of the line’s more oddball choices.  I liked that figure quite a bit, despite not knowing a ton about him.  When I was piecing together a large collection of Joes for All Time, Crazylegs was included and was one of the earlier figures to be pieced together.  As one of the cheaper complete figures, it was pretty easy to throw him on the growing pile of far more expensive figures in the set.  He’s honestly quite a nice figure, with a ton of fun little details.  He’s got that unique expression, the nifty quilted details, a sweet gun, and just the craziest of legs.  There’s really nothing about him I don’t like.

As touched on above, Crazylegs came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2162: Tomax & Xamot

TOMAX & XAMOT

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO

“Spell on the name TOMAX in capitals and and hold it up to a mirror. It reads XAMOT. The same holds true for the actual brothers. Each is the mirror image of the other except for a scar on Xamot’s face. Both twins served with the Foreign Legion paras in Algeria before the officers Putsch. They honed their mercenary skills in the bush wars of Africa and South America. They were too smart to be soldiers forever. Went to Zurich and became bankers.

They quickly found the ins and outs of international finance to be too haphazard for their tastes. They preferred a situation they could control. COBRA was willing to give them access to that control. Now they command legions. But their legions wear three-piece suits and fight their battles in executive board rooms. These then are the most fearsome of the COBRA adversaries. They don’t fight with steel and claw, backed with muscle and honest sweat…The chase you with paper, wound you with your own laws and kill you with the money you loaned them.”

If you’re looking for an easy shortcut to the whole creepy villain thing, identical twins are a good way to go, all things considered.  And, when you’re running a broad strokes, everybody’s got a gimmick toy-line, even better.  There’s your gimmick right there.  Such went the creation of Cobra’s own creepy twins, Tomax and Xamot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tomax and Xamot were released in 1985 as a special two-pack; rather than forcing you to track down both individually, Hasbro was actually kind enough to give them both in one go, a practice that they would hang onto for all future releases of the characters.  The figures stands 3 3/4 inches tall and they have 14 points of articulation.  Despite their very similar appearances, the fact that one is a reflection of the other and all the asymmetry that brings means that Tomax and Xamot actually share very few pieces.  The pelvis and the lower arms are the only parts that are actually the same, with everything else being a mirror image of the other figure.  For clarification, Tomax is the one on the left up there, with his armor an his right shoulder, while Xamot is the one on the right, with his armor on his left shoulder, and a scar on his left cheek.  Interestingly, both the cartoon and the comics of the time would mirror the figures, with the armor and Xamot’s scar switching sides on their respective characters.  The two sculpts are pretty decently handled.  The Cobra designs were quickly becoming more fantastical at this point, and it starts to show here.  There’s not a practical reason for these two to dress in this particular fashion.  It does give the opportunity to show off some decent texture work, though.  As far as the actual mirroring goes, given the pre-digital nature of the sculpting, they didn’t do a half bad job of matching these two.  The roughest bit is definitely the hair-part change-over on the heads; it appears Tomax was sculpted first, as his feels the more natural of the two, while Xamot’s is not quite identical in its angling.  Still, really strong work given the time and the scale.  The paint on these two follows the established Cobra norms: dark blue, red, a dash of silver, and some black.  It’s all pretty straight forward stuff, and it makes it pretty easy to tell which side they’re on.  The twins were each packed with a laser pistol, as well as a skyhook and zipline to share.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve wanted to get Tomax and Xamot for quite some time, in some form or another.  They weren’t *completely* absent from the 2002 re-launch, but they were packed in with a kind of pricey larger vehicle, which was a little bit prohibitive for me as a child.  I remember eyeing up their Real American Hero Collection re-issues at the time, but never got them, and the same was true of their 25th Anniversary figures.  When these two came in in the large Joe collection that came into All Time several months ago, they were some of the earliest figures I set aside.  I don’t know why they’re so cool to me, but I just really dig the implementation of the concept, and I’m happy to finally have a set of them in my collection.

Like I noted above, the Twins came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.