New specs (again)

Some of you that have been following the blog may remember these from a while back, but I’ve actually bought a second set op Knockaround G.I.Joe sunglasses.

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And here they are! Can you spot the difference between these and the ones from 2018?

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Now, the glasses themselves are the same, but the baggie they come with is new, this time around, featuring Snake-Eyes on the one side and Storm Shadow on the other.

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The bags feature the original card art of the figures, and I must say, it looks good.

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Now, it wouldn’t be a post about some exclusive Joe related item from the US without some issues with the postal services. This time though, I can’t really blame them. I bought the glasses with a discount code from Knockaround, so instead of paying $30 for them, I only had to pay $24. This is important, because our postal services don’t charge extra fees and duties on packages that have a total value (item + shipping costs) lower than €22 and it so happens that $24 was €21.16. So I thought I was good. I waited quite a while (with Covid and all, that was to be expected), and after about 2 months, I get a mailman ringing and asking for €35.80 ($40.60) to release the package. I was somewhat pissed and wanted to refuse the package, but then I would probably never have that bad-ass baggie, so I paid. I immediately launched in inquiry, both with the post office and Knockaround. As it turned out, Knockaround had put the original value of $30 on the custom papers, so the post office went with that. You could argue that they’re not to blame then. Well sort of, because they claim that part of the fee they ask to get the package through customs is that they open the packages and inspect the products. My package wasn’t opened and inside there was the invoice clearly stating the correct amount of $24. Long story short, Knockaround apologized for the mistake and gave me a refund on the glasses (massive Kudos to the Customer Service team!) and the postal services are asking for €85 administrative fees to correct the customs amount (so not their fees!). This would mean I’d have to pay another €85 to get €13.80 back from the customs amount. Talk about Kafka to the extreme.

It looks like the next few days will be sunny, so I’ll be taking out my sunglasses and enjoying some of the vitamin D.

See you next time!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Ambush

We’re back with another Special Mission. This one (#8) has it’s cover depicted on Impel Trading Card #90, Ambush. Let’s get into the story.

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The Joes are flying in a silent Dakota C-47 plane somewhere in Southeast Asia. CIA Agent Anderson is sending a team of Joes to extract Theron Portland, a traitor and spy who was working at a secret surveillance site.

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He stole computer chips and fled. The mission for the Joes is to return him to face trial or render him “unoperational” should he not be willing to come back. Anderson gives them the drop site and the site where they should set up the ambush. He provides them with radios so they can signal when they make contact with the target.

The team, Beach Head, Flint, Footloose, Leatherneck, Low Light, Tunnel Rat and Wet Suit, parachute down into the jungle and head for the ambush site.

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They investigate the radios that Anderson gave them and find an unfamiliar component. Low Light utters his concerns to Flint about the mission, but Flint orders them to prepare for the ambush as they are the guys who signed up to do the dirty work. They get into position and wait. And wait. And wait. In the blistering heat.

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And wait. And wait. And, wait, someone is coming!  A kid is riding a water buffalo down the trail, singing a song.

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Behind the kid, the convoy shows up transporting Portland. The convoy is actually an armored column instead of a small column as the CIA spook wanted the Joes to believe. The Joes are outnumbered and outgunned.

The leader of the convoy shoots the buffalo and the Joes give the radio signal indicating they’re making contact. As they turn on the radios, a loud screeching sound is produced. They immediately realize that the secret component in the radios is causing it and the CIA did set them up. They no longer have the element of surprise. They destroy the radio and remove the extra component from the other one.

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And the firing starts. Low Light spots Portland exiting the tank and chases after him as the Joes start their retreat back to the landing zone where they will be picked up. Meanwhile Low Light spots the leader of the convoy, who is about to shoot the kid from the buffalo and takes him out with one shot. He sends the kid on his way and goes after Portland.

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The Joe team manages to stay away from the chasing soldiers and reach the LZ where they call Wild Bill. Just as the Tomahawk is arriving to pick them up, Low Light is sprinting from the tree line, being chased by the soldiers. He makes it to the chopper just in time and get pulled on board. Wild Bill sums up the mission having ‘worked over’ Anderson. Portland was meant to defect with the chips. The ambush was to give him credibility as a turned asset and the Joes were set up and meant to fail. Anderson then informs what happened with Portland.

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Low Light tells him he refused to kill an unarmed man and that he just knocked him out with the butt of his rifle. Anderson laughs and says he knew this would happen because he studied all their profiles and he knew they wouldn’t kill Portland. What he couldn’t expect though, is that Low Light stole the chips. So the Joes actually accomplished their mission and the CIA’s scheme has failed.

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Again this Special Mission gave us an action packed and fun stand alone story. The dream team back at it, presented by the great Stan Lee.

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No sign of Cobra in this one, something we see quite a few times in these Special Missions, but that doesn’t mean the story isn’t good. The twist at the end is really surprising and shows that the Joes can get things done, even without killing the target.

The back of the Trading Card features Low-Light, who sort of is the main character in this story. My first memories of Low-Light are actually from the cartoon. We had several of them on VHS, dubbed in Dutch. Fun fact, in Dutch he’s called “Schijnwerper”, which translates into Spotlight. Quite the opposite of Low-Light. Anyway, one of the stories we got here is “Nightmare Assault” which features Low-Light as the main protagonist. When it comes to figures, we got the Slaughter’s Marauders version of Low-Light in 1991 and so it was a bit confusing to see him in his original outfit.

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While we’r on the subject of the figures, Low-Light was released 9 times between 1987 and 2011. Most notably are the Slaughter’s Marauders v2, the Dinosaur Night Spotter version 3 from 1993, the 2008 return to the original mold for the Dallas G.I. Joe convention S.W.A.T. pack, the 2011 Slaughter’s Marauders Battle Set for the 30th anniversary and then finally the double pack with the Night-Viper in 2014 (all that kit he got).

That’s all for now. I can’t talk much about the next post, the less you know, the better.

See you back soon!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Waiting on a few inches more…

Well I’m seeing all these pictures online of people showing off their new 6″ Joe figures. And I’m over here waiting for mine to arrive. I originally ordered the Limited Snake-Eyes version from Zavvi but they canceled my order without giving a reason. I then canceled my other pre-orders from them and found an online shop in the UK (In Demand Toys), that also did pre-orders. So I ordered Duke, Roadblock, Scarlett and Destro with them. Sadly, they didn’t have the Limited Snake-Eyes version on pre-order. Currently, they’re sticking with a shipping date somewhere in August, so I’m hoping to get them around my birthday.

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In the mean time, Hasbro has released the regular version of Snake-Eyes through the Hasbro Pulse site, which doesn’t offer international shipping.

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I did manage to persuade one of my US colleagues to initiate the pre-order for me and then ship it over here once it’s available. I don’t really like doing it this way, but it’s looking like this will be the only way I’ll be getting some stuff from the US over here. There’s so many stuff I’d like to buy, but I don’t feel comfortable asking them to ship stuff to me all the time, so occasionally I dare to ask it, but most of the times I just wait on eBay sales or until someone sells it on Facebook or – and this is a very big stretch – some store over here sells it or ships to here (for a reasonable price).

This being said. I’ll see you back soon for the continuation of the Impel Trading Cards or just another update on the collection.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

 

Some great news

I received word today that the Kickstarter I backed a while ago has hit a new milestone. The Larry Hama action figure has finally been produced and the creator is expecting them soon. Hopefully I’ll be getting the figure before my birthday, would be a great gift.

Below is the full text of the update.


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Bill Murphy – Creator

May 7, 2020

 

Hey everyone.

Happy to say that production is now complete. The factory is now packing the figures for shipment. They even threw in an extra set of hands with each figure because they wanted to do something nice for the customers given how long it’s taken to get these figures done. The delays were not even their fault but they wanted to do something cause folks have been waiting far too long. 

Here are a couple of images.

We’re working out the shipping logistics now.  Given covid-19 things are a bit messy with the shipping companies, but once we work it out I’ll have a better sense of an eta. 

More soon..

FMF


 

Well it has been a long time, but the team at FMF has kept us all in the loop about the difficult process of the creation of the figure. It will definitely have been worth the wait if you ask me.

See you next time!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

The Old Switcheroo

It’s that time again kids. Time to switch things up. We’re taking a look at the Impel Trading Card #89 featuring the cover art for the Special Missions comic book #7, The old switcheroo.

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The story begins with a bang when a group of Menshevikistans drive a Cerberus Security truck into the lobby of the Cobra Consulate building in New York City. Another team of insurgents is entering the building through the service entry, pretending to be from a pest control company. The attack catches the Cobra’s off guard and the Sierra-Gordo counter revolutionaries are able to kill several Vipers on their way to the boiler room in the basement of the building. The leaders demand Cobra to pull all it’s armed forces from Sierra Gordo and support their group as new government or they will blow up the Consulate.

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Inside the Cobra Consulate building, The Baroness and Zarana are using the CCTV camera’s to keep track of the intruders. They see them drilling holes in the support columns and putting explosive charges into them. Dr. Mindbender, who is also in the Consulate, has been checking the blueprints and noticed that the revolutionaries could bring down the entire building with half of the explosives they are placing. The Baroness uses the rooftop satellite comms system to apprise Serpentor of the situation. He does not want to be bothered with this trifle matter as he placed The Baroness in charge of the New York operation. She needs to take charge.

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Across the street, Chuckles, Dial-Tone, Psych-Out and Lady Jaye are monitoring the Consulate Building. Listening in on the conversations between the Cobra top members, Psych-Out concludes that The Baroness will perform according to the projected scenario and the Joes can proceed with their own operation.

In the lobby, The Baroness orders an assault on the boiler room. The revolutionaries are able to shoot down the pack of Vipers and as a warning that they do mean business, they blow up the truck that was still in the Consulate’s lobby. The Baroness concludes that they really are dealing with suicidal terrorists and she orders a complete evacuation of the building. Zarana criticizes her decision and both ladies start a discussion which Dr. Mindbender soon puts to an end as the evacuation alarm is sounding. The personal security detail of The Baroness are to stay in the building and she recalls the members that were patrolling on the roof. At that point, Chuckles gives the order to Breaker and Tunnelrat to cut the power to the Consulate from down in the sewer system. The entire building goes dark, both sides inside thinking the other is responsible.

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Using the cover of darkness, the Joes cross the street via powered hang-gliders and land on the roof of the Consulate building. Dial-Tone taps into the main communication line. Meanwhile in the lobby, The Baroness and Zarana are fighting again and downstairs, the Menshevikistans are arguing about actually blowing up the building. Psych-out, who remained across the street, gives the go to proceed with the next phase of the plan, which involves Lady Jaye, a long black wig and glassed… Down in the sewer, Breaker and Tunnelrat fix the power, so the revolutionaries in the boiler room can see a message from The Baroness (or is it?) on the TV telling the Sierra Gordoians are amateurs and calls their bluff.

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In the basement Evita takes the detonator and pushes down the button as upstairs Zarana and The Baroness get into a physical fight. Instead of an explosion that levels the building, riot gas is escaping from the tubes the revolutionaries placed. The gas is blinding both the Cobra’s and the Sierra Gordo Menshevikistans. The Joes can just walk out through the door as they are wearing gas masks. Chuckles and Pshych-out planned out the entire scenario and foresaw every move both sides would make. It was all an elaborate plan to plant a bug in the Cobra Communications System.

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First, let’s get the official stuff out of the way. The script for this story is by Larry Hama, art by Herb Trimpe, letters and coloring by Phil Felix and Bob Sharen.

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Now, let’s get stuck in the story itself. It’s a fun little stand-alone story that planning really is very important. The Joes studied their rivals and came up with a plan that may seem elaborate, but they got the job done without firing a single bullet. It also gives some depth to the rivalry between The Baroness and Zarana. As I said, it’s a small stand-alone story, so it’s quite forgettable, if not for a few highlights. The cover art really is beautiful. The hang-gliders are being used, although they are powered here – and then dumped into the river, cause it was acceptable in the 80’s to just dump your trash in the river, right? Give this story an update to 2020 with some cyber IT stuff and you could get an entertaining action flick out of it.

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No surprise on the back of the card to see Chuckles there. Ok, so it could also have been Psych-Out. We got Chuckles in a floral shirt, not his blue one I might add. In total there have been 5 figure releases for Chuckles since his first appearance in 1987. It took 20 years to get to a second figure, and all he lost were his sleeves, as this figure was part of the Collector’s Club Operation Flaming M.O.T.H. (set 3 out of 4), shipped with Shipwreck. Version 3 came 2 years later as part of the Assault on Cobra Island box set and the sleeves came back. v4 appeared in 2013 and gave him a subdued color scheme, fitting for a member of the Night Force (again a Collector’s Club limited set), packed with Freestyle – a female fighter pilot. Finally, in 2015, Chuckles got another release as part of the 50th anniversary Desert Duel set, sold originally a the Entertainment Earth booth during SDCC. His floral shirt is still dark, but with red highlights now.

I’ll be brief about it, read Cobra – The Last Laugh (Amazon). The. Best. Chuckles. Nuff said. Get to it.

Next time we’ll take on card #90 (out of 200, so we’re nearly halfway) where we will put the spotlight on Low-Light!