Showdown

Well, it’s time to put out the cards on the table with this post that brings matters to a head or acts as a conclusion or point of decision. The title could also refer to a game for the blind and visually impaired, which in a way does relate to the story. The blindness that is. There are also numerous movies sharing this title, dating back as far as 1942, as well as television shows and episodes, records and songs. But enough about those things, let’s get cracking with the Impel Trading Card #87, featuring the cover for the Special Missions issue #5, Showdown. Spoiler alert, the moral of the story is a teeny tiny bit in your face, like BIG time.

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The story kicks off with a Cobra ground crew inspecting a Night Raven. A member of the rescue crew is looking into the cockpit and questioning why a crowbar is included in such a high tech plane. A maintenance officer explains that when the canopy would not open for some reason, the breakout tool can be used to bust the canopy and allow the pilot to escape. At that moment, the Strato-Viper appears and bullies both crews away from his plane. He will be taking off to recon a Florida Air Force Base.

The Joes have spotted the recon flight and are sending Slip-Stream and Ace up to greet him. And annoy him. Their orders are to only fire when fired upon first. On the way to their planes, they meet the ground and rescue crew they hooked up with the night before. The maintenance crew had been repairing the Conquest all night and one of the men couldn’t visit his kid in the hospital because of the overtime he put in. Slip-Stream tells him everything is fine with his kid and gives a toy (Transformer!).

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Now, I’m not a huge Transformer connaisseur, but I do know that this fellow is Megatron and he turns into a tank or a gun… Not a fighter plane. I guess Larry and the team weren’t that big of Transformers fans themselves.

I’m not sure what to make of this to be honest. Later on in the story, the Joes encounter the Transformers, so either that is out of continuity or they’ve created toys based on the giant robots that try to destroy them… I think that it’s just a pop-culture reference that needed to be put into the comic by the marketing people over at Hasbro. Seeing the wrong name and transforming ability, Larry didn’t think about it and just added it in to keep them from giving him a hard time about it.

 

 

The Joes take to the sky and find the Night Raven. Ace inverts the SkyStriker and taunts the Strato-Viper, who gets pissed off quite quickly.

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He fires a missile at Ace’s SkyStriker and pops a flare so that Slip-Stream in the Conquest behind him is blinded. Ace is hit and has to eject. He lands in the water and the rescue crew is scrambling to pick him up asap.

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It takes a few moments for Slip-Stream to regain his vision and by this time, the Night Raven is behind him. He shoots out a flare of his own and runs an evasive maneuver, but that stalls his engine. The Strato-Viper sees the Conquest spiraling down and flies away. Slip-Stream remains calm and collected and doesn’t pass out. Just in time, he gets the engine running again.

 

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Meanwhile, the Night Raven is having some electronic issues caused by the Conquest’s flare. The Strato-Viper is getting all worked up about it and is so distracted that he doesn’t notice Slip-Stream coming up from behind. Slip-Stream opens fire and damages the Night Raven enough to send it going down. The Strato-Viper tries to eject, but the canopy doesn’t open, not even with the manual release. He’s able to crash land on the water, but the breakout tool is missing, so he can’t break the canopy open.

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The Cobra rescue crews are airborne, but they refuse to fly at full speed. The Strato-Viper’s abusive behavior towards them shoots back like a boomerang. The plane is slowly sinking with him still aboard and locked in.

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Slip-Stream flies past Ace to make sure he is fine. The rescue crew soon picks him up. Ace didn’t even have the time to test out his shark repellent spray (another pop-culture reference). When they arrive at the Joe base in Florida, Slip-Stream gives a Top Gun style victory roll to dedicate the victory to the ground crew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elsewhere above the ocean, the Cobra rescue crew arrives just as the tailfin of the Night Raven slips below the surface. No sign of the Strato-Viper. Instead of trying to locate him, they just discuss the fact that they really should have given the canopy some maintenance, but that the pilot should have been able to break out. One of the crew casually shows the breakout tool he swiped from the plane before the Strato-Viper took off. They throw it into the ocean and head back for Cobra Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I always knew that G.I.Joe was all about good versus bad, but this story lays it on THICK. As Matthew 7:12 teaches the believers, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”. The good do good, the bad don’t do much… And not much good, would you believe it. The difference between the Cobra pilot and the Joe duo couldn’t be more clear as well. Where the Strato-Viper abuses his crew, the Joes are friends with their ground and maintenance crew. Naturally, this reflects in the response from the crews when they actually have to go out and rescue their respective pilot. It’s all very simple and sickeningly obvious that it might as well be a Disney movie.

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The card itselfs depicts the cover from the issue as usual. It’s a fiery cover where it would appear the Joes aren’t faring to well against Cobra. Yes, there are actual Cobra in this Special Mission. We haven’t seen them in the flesh since issue #1. The cover art was done by Mike Zeck and John R. Beatty. The book itself had a script by Larry Hama and art by Herb Trimpe. The wonderteam of the Special Missions.

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The back of the card shows the Strato-Viper. The figure, yes, just one official release, came on the shelves with the 1986 series and was boxed with the Night Raven. There was a mail-order campaign in 1989 and another one in 1992 where you could get a Strato-Viper without the plane as part of – respectively – the Special Missions Driver mail-away and the Cobra Patrol Unit mail-away.

I actually do have the Night Raven, with a Strato-Viper, though I didn’t as a child. It was one of the first big toys I really wanted as an adult collector. By that time, I still hadn’t read the English comics, but I did know of the Strato-Viper because one of the cartoons (In the Presence of Mine Enemies) was released over here, dubbed in Dutch, on VHS. I must have watched that tape hundreds of times, and I still have it in my collection. In this story, like you don’t know, Slip-Stream is able to shoot down another Night Raven, but his X-30 is destroyed as well. Both pilots land on an island that harbors one of Dr. Mindbender’s labs. It’s a great story, that has a happy end for the good guys, although no-one ever saw that female Strato-Viper ever again… Speaking of the Night Raven though, the plane got a second life as part of the Sky Patrol. That huge beast looks awesome in chrome. I have mine still mint in the bags and in the box, but the old tape has loosened over the years and so I’ve been able to take a look at the shiny parts. The small reconnaissance craft was also given another chance as part of the G.I.Joe Crusader Space Shuttle. Come to think of it, I own that one too. I guess you could say I’m a fan of the Night Raven/Sky Raven/Crusader. In honesty, I always wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid. I was devastated when it turned out I had to wear glasses and that meant I would never have been able to become a fighter pilot. I lived close to the local airport (mostly cargo and some smaller planes back then), and so I always had a fascination for them. It’s only natural that I like collecting them as Joe vehicles. So I still treasure all my planes from both Joe and Cobra. And since we’re not getting some new planes (so far, and with the 6″ line, it’s doubtful any vehicles will be released), I’m looking at other lines to score new planes. I have the True Heroes C-130 and the Beast Bomber, and would you believe it, The Corps has a new plane out now, the Sky Strike.

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A very good looking plane if I do say so myself. The only issue is that I can’t get my hands on it. So if you happen to live in the UK (or Australia, it would appear they have it at the other end of the world too), and would like to help a fellow collector out. Let me know! We can make a deal! Contact me through the contact form, over on Twitter or via mail (bjorn@europeanjoes.com).

That’s it for now, join me back next time when we take on … you’ve guessed it, #88. There a story there, so do come back. Don’t miss out on it, no need to evade. Get it. I’m going now. But seriously, it’s a great story. #hypebuilding

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Holiday in Hastings

It could have been a title for one of Action Force’s stories. But it was in fact last week for me 🙂

We spent the week in an AirBnB just outside of Hastings, in St.Leonards-on-sea. The house itself wasn’t very big, but it was very nicely decorated and furnished. We had everything we needed to spend some good quality time here.

I didn’t have much hope of finding some Joes, and I browsed a few secondhand shops, but found no toys whatsoever. I did find a Battle Action Force Annual from 1986 though in very good condition at a secondhand bookstore that had way too much inventory for the size of the shop. Books were stacked on top of the shelves, in front of the racks, in the middle of the floor… basically just about everywhere. Charming, but not very practical when you’re looking for something. I was almost giving up when I noticed this bright yellow book on one of the shelves hidden behind a stack of Doctor Who Annuals. Lucky me I guess.

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So the book collection is growing. Even more so since I decided to start collecting the IDW G.I. Joe Complete Collection in hardcover as well, they look great and should even get a spot on the living room bookshelf 🙂 I already got #1 through #5. Thanks to @JoeonJoepod for drawing my attention to these. I’ll try and get one each month from now on until I have all 9 released (#9 should be released by the end of this month). Check them out for yourselves, they are presenting the full run of ARAH and the Special Missions. In proper reading order and collected in hardcover volumes. I get mine from The Book Depository, they are cheaper (most of the time) than e.g. Amazon and offer free shipping (shipping usually is a bit on the slow side, best to order sooner rather than later). I recently found out that even Bol.com is selling them – sometimes with next day delivery – though they consistently keep saying it’s written by Mr. HaMMa…

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Anyway, back to the trip. In the local toy store, I scored 3 new The Corps figures. They have a new set out. They’re figures that come with dinosaurs straight from the year 25xx… Stranger things could happen, so I just decided to go with it.

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The story isn’t that strong, but I can’t explain how good it feels to see some action figures in stores. As for the figures themselves, they are repaints of previous The Corps figures. Not quite Joe quality, but nice looking.IMG_20180828_105519

On the way back to Dover, we stopped in Ashford and went into the Smyths Toy Store there. I didn’t take any pictures inside, there were a lot of kids inside and frankly I was too busy looking left, right and center. I can honestly say I never saw a bigger toy store in real life. We had some stores here before and I have been to Hamley’s in London which is larger, but since it’s on multiple floors, it doesn’t look that big. Here everything was on one floor and had shelves of about 6m high, stocked from bottom to top with every possible toy. From Barbie to Hatchimals and Lego to Sylvanian families. We bought some toys for the girls and I got one of my all time favorites (even tough it was just released this year). The 3 3/4″ Jurassic Park Jeep Wrangler.

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Did I mention before that JP is one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid. I must have seen that movie (and the sequels) about a hundred times if not more. The Jeep in the Classic JP livery looks absolutely gorgeous and it should fit Joe figures. Since my Joes are all still boxed up, I haven’t tried it yet, but when I get the new Nerd Attic set up, this will get a prominent place in my display.

In the store they had a lot of WWW figures. I didn’t think that was popular outside of the US, but good to see that it’s a success in the UK as well. Maybe this can lead to getting G.I. Joe back on the shelves. Further down the row, they had The Corps stuff as well. I was tempted to buy a lot more, but well, it was the last day of our holiday so the money was running out and I managed to keep my credit card in my wallet, after all, first and foremost I am a G.I. Joe collector and these cheap placebos can work as a temporary painkiller, but they aren’t the cure. I did get The Gryphon – Aerial Assault Craft. That thing looks like it could have been a Joe design and it really does look good and a not-to-distant future like vehicle the Joes could use. See for yourself.

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It comes with light & sound machine guns, a cockpit that opens, adjustable wings that can rotate freely, spinning rotors and a non-descript action figure. When I get Wild Bill out of storage, he can take it for a spin. Or better yet, Windmill or Lift-Ticket. Or Dogfight, Ace or Slipstream. Or Zap (he’s a pilot, look it up).

Well that’s it. I have expanded my collection just a bit again. Can’t wait to start opening up those moving boxes and setting up my Joes again. I’ll keep you posted on any more updates, and the Impel Trading Cards will keep on coming.

YoJoe and Happy Collecting!

The Corps called into Action

Hi all,

I was planning on continuing the Impel Trading Cards series today in a new blog post but as I went shopping yesterday, something happened that I could hardly believe. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but seeing 3.75 inch figures in a store over here is kind of a big deal. Trust me. I look all the time. I’ve mentioned this before in several of the posts. There’s this local discounter chain called Action and they sell all kinds of stuff, from office supplies to cleaning products, tools, lights, candy and cookies, underwear, cutlery, painting supplies and of course toys. They don’t have a fixed product range, I guess they buy stock from companies going out of business or buy sleft over stock from wholesale. In any case, I’ve bought a lot from them, going from My Little Pony toys for my daughters over LEGO-compatible toys to complement my Kre-O’s and Disney Infinity figures. This time around though, they are selling The Corps figures (and a vehicle set, which I didn’t get initially).

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The Corps! now has a series going of The Corps! vs The Curse!, a ruthless terrorist organisation determined to rule the world. Scratch that last sentence, there might be some copyright infriction 🙂 The figures aren’t as detailed as the ones we love, but there not fugly. If I ever start customizing, they might end up being used.

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So I first got these 6 figures for about $ 2 each. A small price to pay for small soldiers around here. Maybe I’m just getting used to those ridiculous prices people are asking for Joes these days. I didn’t get the playsets, mainly because I don’t have room larger items right now and they don’t look that good. Naturally I went back after a few days and got them as well 🙂

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The plan still is to create some form of dio when I finally get my Joes unboxed again. These will be great for that I guess. There’s a boat, piece of wall and cannon and the other set has an ATV, sandbags and drums and another cannon – both cannons have realistic light & sound… ahum.

Anyway, they may not be top of the line, but it’s so great to finally find some 3.75″ soldiers in stores here. Basically, shut up and take my money!

See you again next time. We’ll continue the Impel run then. YoJoe! Oh, cursed. The Corps!

Another intermezzo

The next post about the Impel Trading Cards will come soon, but today, I’ll show off The Corps! Beast Bomber. As I mentioned before, it’s next to impossible to find a toy store here that sells 1:18 scale military toys, let alone they would have G.I.Joe. The Corps! is probably the second best-known brand for 1:18 soldiers and vehicles, but over here, no stores sell them.

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I bought the True Heroes C-130 a while back as a troop transport for my Joes and when I found out about the Beast Bomber on hisstank, I knew I needed to add this to my collection. There is a member there that created a very nice custom Joe plane out of this. It’s my goal to customize my C-130 and the Beast Bomber as well, but I’m not confident I can do as good a job on it. So I keep pushing the customizing ahead of me.

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Back to the Best Bomber now. I was able to find it for an affordable price with Smyths, but they don’t ship to Belgium. I tweeted the question if someone in the UK could help me out and the guys from Action-Figure-Supplies were very kind in purchasing the Bomber and sending it to me in Belgium. I figured the plane would be a bit bigger than a Rattler, but I was slightly mistaken. The Beast Bomber is a genuine Beast and is the same size as the True Heroes C-130. Below is a shot of the Beast Bomber on top of the C-130. It´s not that easy to spot the C-130 below that Beast.img_20160927_192647

Here´s another view of these 2.

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The pilot of the Beast Bomber is Condor. His file card tells he is an expert jet pilot and an ace dog fighter. And yet he gets to fly a huge bomber 🙂 The other figure packed with the plane is Troll. He´s an interrogation expert and master-at-arms. He´s a member of The Corps!´ nemesis, The Curse!. (Those marketing people sure like their exclamation points!)

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Just now I realize I haven´t taken any pics of the figures themselves. You can see some of them in the pictures above. I guess there lies the weakness of The Corps!. The figures don´t have the same articulation as the Joes and the quality is just not there. I really like the vehicles and the storyline is ok (Good vs Bad, how wrong can it be?), but the figures are just pieces of plastic. I have to say, that the female characters do look better, so I´ll have to chase these down somewhere.

I´ll probably try and get some more of The Corps!. I hope some local store will start selling them. Check out the website www.thecorpshq.com if you haven´t done so already. Since Hasbro is not releasing a lot of new Joe toys, I´m glad to find some other 1:18 scale toys to combine with my Joes.

For now, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!