A blast from the past!

Going under again! It doesn´t feel like it´s been just over a year, but let´s go back to January 2017, when we discussed #27 Deep Six. Today we have arrived at #64, and yes, it´s Deep Six again.

Now this is actually the first figure of Deep Six I remember. In fact, it was the second version of Deep Six, a total of 8 figures have been released of Deep Six.

I’m not going to rehash all that I said last year, instead, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a bit about the re-releasing of figures over the years. I can understand why Hasbro would do this, it brings in a lot of cash and the molds were available. And if it’s done creatively, I guess I can agree with it. Question is, do we really need 16 different versions of Scarlett, 68 (I kid you not) versions of Snake Eyes or 19 versions of Shipwreck? The Joe universe has a ton of great characters we never saw a figure of or just 1 version was released. I really think that even with the available parts, a lot more different figures could have been released.

I mean take a character like Scoop (ok, he only came on board in the DIC cartoons and wasn’t that popular, but he is one of my favorite figures). Only one figure was released back in 1989. This year an updated version was released through the FSS 5.0, but frankly, that’s too rich for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, the figure does look great and I would definitely want to add some of those figures to my collection, but purchasing them is a big cost already ($31.25 per figure). If I add the shipping costs and import duties per shipment, the price for one figure totals at about $60 for me. As much as I like – no love – G.I. Joe, I just can’t pay that kind of money for it. Sorry for yet another rant about this, but seriously, international collectors are really … well, screwed for lack of a better word.

Back to the point I was trying to make. We could have gotten so many figures we didn’t. Professor Apple, Candy (or Bozo), the White Clown, Magda, … I’m sure you all know some great characters that were never made. Some of these have been created by customizers, but those are not available for most fans.

Reading through this post, you may get the impression I’m disappointed with the figures we did get. Rest assured, I’m not. Most of the figures that were released, even the n-th release of Duke, Cobra Commander or Snake Eyes are small pieces of art. If I had the money, I’d start a museum for my Joes. Setting them up in display cases like the shots from the catalogs, how cool would that be. The problem would be, what could we sell in the museum shop? Not a lot of stuff is coming out (let’s hope the movie reboot is a huge success and sales are rocketing), so what’s left? There are a lot of fans of the franchise who create great content. Think of Robert Carson Mataxis’ great 3DJOES or Christopher Hemsworth’s GIJOE365. Both these guys have taken their love for G.I.Joe to the next level and beyond and have created new content for the fans. Thanks to these guys, the community grows and continues to live on. So a very big thank you to them! I hope that in a small way, my blog can also add to the community and inspire more of the fans to speak out and restore G.I. Joe back to its glory. (I don’t have shares in Hasbro in case you were wondering, just a fan that doesn’t want to see his idols slip into the big black hole of nothingness…)

Time to wrap it up for this time around. Next time we’ll take a look at another one of my favorite figures that also got a mere 2 figures released (the second one being a straight repaint, 50 shades darker 🙂 ) Thread carefully and see you again next time.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Hadleyville,PA or the Bayou?

We’re not going to talk about some Japanese car manufacturer taking over an American car factory, but about the Joe’s first real Marine, Ettienne R. LaFitte, better known as Gung-Ho.

Shown here in his dress blues, is actually also how I first got to know the figure. I hadn’t read any of the comics or seen the cartoons when I started collecting (okay, back in the day it was called playing) with Joes. So I had no idea how Gung-Ho looked like in his more regular Joe outfit. I have to say, he scrubs up nice 🙂 With the pornstache, bald head, bare chest, … I can’t help but think of The Village People. Y-M-C-A, it’s fun to — ok, let’s not go there.

In the comics, Gung-Ho is part of the backup team in Alaska when Cobra’s new specialist (Destro) first appears. He is later assigned to the guard detail on Cobra Commander, eventually getting injured at the hands of Storm Shadow, leading to the discovery of Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow sharing the same tattoo.

Between 1983 and 2015, 21 figures of Gung-Ho (or Gung Ho) have been released. Surprisingly, most of these show him wearing a shirt. The first figure of Gung-Ho I had, was the dress blue version of 1987. In my younger self’s headcanon, he was some sort of Army Brass, a high ranking officer coming down to inspect the Joes. I have a few of the later iterations now and I have to say, he’s not my favorite Joe, but I suppose it’s admirable that he runs around bare-chested a lot, dropping that huge USMC tattoo on his chest in your face.

In the cartoons, Gung-Ho is always there, fighting for freedom over land and air. But mostly, showing off… see below. Or talking to his gun as if its a child.

That’s all for now. Next time, we’ll aim for the moon and end up somewhere in space.

Until then, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Might as well…

I get up, and nothing gets me down You got it tough. I’ve seen the toughest around And I know, baby, just how you feel You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real.

Welcome back! I’ve been recovering from a back injury and haven’t had the time nor longing to write some. But I’m getting better now and so here we are again with a new post.

In the last 2 posts, we tackled the Original Joe team and the 2 Cobra infantry soldiers. This time around we take a look at the 1982 vehicles, displayed on the Impel Trading Cards #54 through #60. As with most of the original figures, I don’t have a lot of these in my collection. Let’s jump right into it, with #54 the J.U.M.P. Jet-pack. The J.U.M.P. Jet-pack, giving your Joes wings since 1982. And probably some very serious burns and loss of legs… I definitely can see the charm of being able to fly to do recon or even attack the enemy. But this just isn’t practical. Not alone the safety issues (these people are professional soldiers, they can handle the heat), but the maximum range is only 10 miles and with a top speed of 210 MPH, this means about 3 minutes of flight time… (I know I’m ignoring acceleration, elevation and well, physics really, but it’s G.I.Joe, they’re above all that). The toy was released in 1982 without a figure – smart marketing if you ask me. That way you should buy multiple Jet-packs for all your Joes 🙂 The next year, Grand-Slam was included in the package. He was depicted with the J.U.M.P. Jet-pack on card #50. The J.U.M.P. Jet-pack was used in the cartoons and the movie. Just wanted to mention this to link to the intro on Youtube again… Gotta love that intro.

Now on to #55, the R.A.M. The box art for the RAM  shows a green shirt driving wearing a helmet with a microphone. One might think it was Breaker, but there’s no beard. The card art here shows some beard but then the helmet doesn’t have a microphone. Clearly, any Joe can handle the RAM. In 2008 the RAM was renamed RAM Cycle and was released with Cpl. Breaker together with a Cobra Flight Pod (that’s the official name, I always thought that Trouble Bubble was actually its name) with a Tele-Viper. I don’t know where exactly, but I remember seeing Lady Jaye driving the RAM. So let me leave the RAM with a little homage to that. Next up is #56, the FLAK. The FLAK is actually one of the 1982 toys I have in my collection. I bought a bunch of comics and figures from a fellow collector and to my surprise, a FLAK was included as a gift. It’s the 2008 version, but this one has the same colors as the 1982 original. It’s a realistic looking cannon, that can be manned by any greenshirt. I see it as a base camp toy. A defense weapon that is fixed on a base, ready to shoot at incoming Rattlers or Fangs. The FLAK was renamed F.L.A.K. Cannon in 2009, cause you know, it’s a cannon. People probably didn’t get that at first. In 2013, the Night F.L.A.K. was as part of the Collector’s Club Convention Exclusives. I have to say, it looks good in black. Moving on to #57, the V.A.M.P. In 1984, the V.A.M.P. Mark II was released, just 2 years after the Mark I. The Trading Card goes on about how good the Mark II is but the image clearly shows the Mark I from 1982. The V.A.M.P. was released with Clutch. This is probably one of the most used vehicle designs over the years, but I only have one in my collection and that’s the 2014 Danger at the docks version. Technically you could argue I have 2, question is, is the Tiger Sting a V.A.M.P. or a Stinger? Because of the whole story around the Tiger Force and it using vehicles they “recovered” from Cobra, I’ll go with a Stinger and so I only have one V.A.M.P. Not much more to say, I like the vehicle. It’s one of the more realistic vehicles in the Joe motor pool. I’m gonna have to get more of them, loose that is. #58 gives us the HAL. Ah, the HAL… Very effective if you use it to drop on a big robot. Other than that, not the best of Joe weapons. The HAL was released with Grand-Slam, being the popular figure he is, he was then released with the JUMP jetpack for its second release. Again, a more realistic looking vehicle, but fairly simple and a lot like the FLAK, more a toy to use at your base, not something you want to drag up a flight of castle stairs to use as a lockpick. Only to leave it there when the whole building blows… I guess cost efficiency was not something the Joes brass were thinking about. Moving on to #59, the MMS. G.I. Joe was way ahead of their time, already talking of MMS in 1982, when cell phones weren’t even invented yet. The Mobile Missile System is useful, and sort of realistic – again, this is a constant for the early vehicles. Somehow it just doesn’t seem as attractive a toy as say a VAMP or RAM. It did come with the leader of the gang, Gen. Hawk, so I guess they used that feature to promote this toy. Don’t think they would have sold a lot without the free figure incentive. I’m facing a bit of a dilemma. I like it when toys are somewhat realistic. On the other hand, I do love some of the wacky vehicles the Joe line produced. Vehicles like the MMS here are realistic looking and could even work in real life (probably), but still I’m not looking to add it to my collection. If you happen to have a Cobra BUGG, I’d instantly buy it (at a reasonable price). Mixed feelings. Hard to put to words too. I don’t dislike them and they’ll probably end up in my collection someday, but just when I happen to come across them, I won’t go searching for them. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen these in stores here, and didn’t see them until I read the comics when I was a teenager. Out of sight, out of mind… But always looking 🙂

The final vehicle for today is without a doubt the most impressive one of the lot, the M.O.B.A.T.
The M.O.B.A.T. is about as real as you can get to an actual military vehicle. On top of that, the toy actually moved on its own. This tank is a BEAST. With a 130mm anti-armor cannon as the primary weapon,  secondary weapon is the .50 caliber machine gun with 1,500 rounds of ammunition. The MOBAT is powered by two gas turbine engines (the toy by batteries :-)) and can reach 60mph on an open road and 45mph driving cross-country. It can submerge in water for up to an hour due to retractable snorkels and air-tight hatches.

I really like the M.O.B.A.T. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find over here, but I was lucky to score an Action Force Battle Tank, which is basically the same vehicle, but with a different color scheme. Seriously, just look at how cool this thing is, even in a pretty old commercial, still looks better than 90% of the toy commercials they’re airing now.

Well, that’s all for now. Next time, we’ll go where the people aren’t (according to Ariel that is).

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Foreign Scum!

With a title like that, one might think we’ll talk about the Donald again, but no, this time we take a look at the Impel Trading Card #36 featuring the ever charming Baroness.

I can’t help but notice there is a trend within Cobra to employ a European specialist to do the dirty work. Right from the get-go, we have the Baroness, who is European Aristocracy. Another specialist was introduced in Destro as the arms dealer, but in the first place as just that, a specialist. The Crimson Twins are Corsican Maffia, Major Bludd is an Australian poet who kills (language mostly – occasionally a Green Shirt :-)), the Dreadnoks are Australian too, … Basically, most of the worst people in the Joeverse are foreigners. I’m not saying that it’s racist or that they have come to take the terrorist jobs from the hard working American people. Just stating the obvious. True story!

Now, let’s get back to the lady of the day. Baroness Anastasia Cisarnova or De Cobray, whatever you prefer. We first meet the Baroness in issue #1 of the Marvel ARAH series. She is the one who kidnaps Dr. Adele Burkhart. Later in the issue, she uses her disguising skills to trick the Joes into thinking she is Dr. Burkhart. Inevitably she escapes with Cobra Commander to plot away at another world domination scheme.

While we don’t get a lot of background story on the Baroness, we know she has a strong connection with Destro, even from before he became an active member of Cobra. Later on in the comics, we get to see the history of the Baroness and Snake Eyes. As a young girl, she was confronted with the death of her brother. When she arrives at the scene, the soldier who would become Snake Eyes, had rushed in when he heard the shots. Seeing the soldier with a loaded gun standing over her dead brother, the Baroness assumes he was the killer.

Years later, when she is working for Cobra, she succeeds in kidnapping Snake Eyes when he is recovering from yet another plastic surgery to restore his face. The Baroness even shoots Scarlett, leaving her in a coma. Upon his escape, Snake Eyes speaks for the first (and only) time in the ARAH run, uttering the name of his beloved redhead. Scarlett awakes from her coma and is back her badass self.

The Baroness is featured in both the Sunbow and the DIC cartoon. In the DIC series, she rescues the Commander from a life of being the pet of Serpentor and is able to return him to sort-of human. Destro left her for Zarana (mid-life crisis anyone) but doesn’t need a lot of persuasions to dump the pink haired Dreadnok and return to his beloved Baroness.

My favorite Baroness is the one from Renegades. She is a corporate figure and does PR for the somewhat legit Cobra Industries. At the end of the series (and show 🙁 Will this be the Firefly of Joe fans?), she is sucked into the wormhole that was generated by the destroyed M.A.S.S. device. I just hope she’s fine, wherever she is.

I guess we now should discuss the movie. They turned her blonde! Nuff said. Moving on.

There are a few fans out there that cosplay as Joes or Cobras. A character like the Baroness is very suitable for cosplay. Sexy yet sophisticated, ruthless but pleasing to look at. I’ll leave you to google for some of the cosplay pics available out there on the world wide web. Shout out to @CobraNorth. Let me share you one, miss Leah Burroughs as the sexy Baroness of your dreams – or nightmares…


That’s all for this post (are you even reading this or still looking at the picture above?).

Join me next time when we take on the next card in this series. Hold on to your monocle.

YoJoe and Happy Collecting!


We’re going under!

We have dived and have arrived. Card #27 is up today and let’s not get astray. Rhyming like I’m Roadblock, just cause I’ve got writer’s block. Playing on you some mind tricks cause this post features Deep Six.

His filecard describes Deep Six as being a social loner within the Joe team. I can only guess, but I guess it has something to do with his high-pressure diving suit. Being locked into that probably feels like being in a coffin. Claustrophobic anyone?

The toy figure is undoubtedly the least articulate Joe figure of all time. Not counting the dogs, wolfs and parrots 🙂 It was released with the S.H.A.R.C. vehicle, some sort of crossover between a fighter jet and a one-man submarine. I really do like the S.H.A.R.C. as a toy, it’s versatile and not too big, nor too small. The Deep Six, however, is not one of my favorites. I didn’t have the original 1984 figure, but the 1989 one with the bright orange helmet. I always saw G.I. Joe as sci-fi, but then in the not so distant future (as they put it in the movies). Why would you have a guy in a big metal suit in which he can hardly move in a high-tech team? Same goes for the 1989 figure, his diving suit offers more maneuverability, but it still looks more steampunk than G.I. Joe worthy.  Then came the 1992 Eco-Warriors figure that was released with the dolphin Finback. He had a more futuristic look and finally looked in place with the Joes, albeit in bright colors.

That’s it for now. Next time we will explore the shadows of Japan… Mysterious, right?

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!