Transformers Repro Accessories

Fun with Transformers Repro Parts (and 6 Russian Funskool GI Joe figures)

Russian Funskool GI Joe

Today we’re keeping it casual at The Dragon Fortress. 

I’ve updated the site with six (6!!) in-depth, dedicated pages for Russian Funskool GI Joe figures. Hopefully you find it useful and enjoyable. 

We’re also taking a look at some amazing Transformers repro accessories a friend made for me. 

Kick back and relax. 

Continue reading “Fun with Transformers Repro Parts (and 6 Russian Funskool GI Joe figures)”

1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B

1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B Review

1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B

A couple weeks ago, I ran a Twitter poll asking my readers what they’d rather see for my next review– a “weird” Beast Wars toy or a Kenner-style DC toy. The BW figure won. Thanks to all 32 of you who voted. 

When it comes to “weird,” Beast Wars has plenty to choose from. It was a bizarre, high-concept toy line that took a ton of chances and commonly veered into what we might consider “abstract” or “avant-garde,” at least as far as action figures targeted at 7-12 year olds go. In that regard, it’s only rivaled by Hasbro’s Batman Beyond toy line. 

I really wanted to lean into the “weird” aspect, and it doesn’t get much weirder than Takara’s Cyborg Beasts figures. These Japanese exclusives took four deluxe Beast Wars molds (Cybershark, Dinobot, Waspinator, and K-9) and infused their beast modes with crazy robot augmentations. The general weirdness also carried over into robot mode. 

Consider today’s subject, 1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B, who is a cyborg German Shepherd with wolf-colored fur. 

In Mainframe’s Beast Wars cartoon, the characters were robots who combined their mechanical parts with organic parts, resulting in a biomechanical amalgamation that was mostly robot-based. For a cyborg beast, you have the robot augmented with biological animal parts (already kind of a cyborg), and then you add mechanical parts on top of the organic animal parts. So you’re basically left with a double cyborg, and in an entirely different way than what you saw with either Transmetals I or II. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s a lot different than what any other toy line was doing at the time. 

Let’s get weird with 1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B. 

Continue reading “1998 Transformers Beast Wars II Max-B Review”

Russian Funskool GI Joe

Site Updates: Russian Funskool GI Joe and Masters of the Universe Origins

Hi there. There’s no new review on the main feed this week, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t produce a ton of content for you to check out.

I have four in-depth looks at Russian Funskool GI Joe figures for you, and some not-so-in-depth looks at some Masters of the Universe Origins figures for you. Check them out after the break.

Continue reading “Site Updates: Russian Funskool GI Joe and Masters of the Universe Origins”

GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow

GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow (2002) Review

GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow

The catch of the day isn’t a whopper, but it’s generated some Big Fish Stories nonetheless. Do we find this figure compelling because of its lowered articulation? Because it came free with a couple tubes of toothpaste? Because of its odd, shoddy paintwork? Because of its dubious legal nature? Or do we recoil in horror because it’s not quite right?

For me, it’s all of the above and much more. When I set out to write this review, I figured I’d do  something “easy” because the last one I wrote was massive. But I’m a journalist by nature, so I couldn’t leave well enough alone– I did some initial research, asked the experts some questions, and then dug even deeper. A couple things I found really surprised me. 

This GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow is much more than a slapdash toothpaste giveaway figure. There are oddities with production, licensing, and figure construction. I dug up the unexpected. 

So, come for the weird under-articulated Undertow variant and stay for the mysteries hidden within its underachieving exterior shell.

Time to reel it in. 

Continue reading “GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow (2002) Review”

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Bruticus

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons and Bruticus Review

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons

This is another huge review, with 6000+ words and around 60 photos. But it has to be big because we’re looking at the biggest, baddest dudicus to ever be a metamorphing Bruticus. 

Today I’m joined by my friend Dial H, who runs Dial H for Houston. If you enjoy pulpy science fiction, fantasy, and alternate history novels, check out his website immediately. He writes fun, funny, and snappy reviews of all sorts of books you’ve never heard of. His site has personally encouraged me to order a few books for The Pile. 

Dial H was nice enough to supply both photos and commentary for G2 Bruticus, as I am both missing some of the toy’s accessories and missing all of Dial H’s life experiences and insights. This is a toy that’s notoriously hard to complete, as parts and pieces almost never pop up on the secondary market. 

So we’ve united into our own ragtag combiner force to bring you this review. Dial H is going to bring you a definitive ranking for each member of the team, but I cannot bring myself to choose favorites among my brightly colored 90s children. I do mostly agree with his rankings, though. 

I’ll let Dial H kick things off. 

Continue reading “1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons and Bruticus Review”

Boba Fett Youth - S/T

Boba Fett Youth

Photo by Eric Setzke of Toys and Tomfoolery (Instagram, Website)

I love music even more than I love toys. I’ve been playing in various punk, noise, and indie rock bands since I was 14 years old. Punk rock may not interest some of you, but I’m willing to take that chance. Everyone likes music, after all– even toy collectors. If nothing else, this article will please exactly one of my friends (RTG from Attica Gazette). 

The next review I have planned is a big one and photography is taking a bit longer than normal, so I’m doing something a bit different in the meantime. You might also see a smaller review between now and then as well, but no promises. 

Today we’re going to look at a CD I randomly bought in Idaho Falls, ID when I was 16 years old. It was a CD I bought purely because it was in the “punk” section and because of the band’s name. 

Prepare yourself for Boba Fett Youth. 

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The Corps! Whipsaw

The Corps! Whipsaw Review (All Versions)

The Corps! Whipsaw

I love Lanard’s The Corps!, but you’ve probably noticed that I’ve only published one article on the toy line up to this point. That’s because each figure has so many releases and variants that you have to be an expert to write anything comprehensive on the franchise. Good information on the toy line does exist, but it’s often buried in labyrinthian forums, so it’s tough to compile. Especially when you’re blessed with a short attention span like mine. 

Luckily, I found an expert. Today I’m joined by my friend Cody (visit him on Instagram), who’s exhaustively researched and chronicled every version of The Corps!’s Whipsaw– which happens to be his favorite figure. 

To me, Whipsaw was always just one of “the hat” guys, and was sometimes the “bare chested harness” guy (which made him more interesting). 

Hopefully Cody’s passion and attention to detail rubs off on you, too. Because now I’m a diehard Whipsaw fan. 

Cody will be doing most of the heavy lifting on this article, with both photos and writing, so almost everything you see here was submitted by him. I’ve left a little note in each section and a couple photos here and there, but he did all the hard work. 

Thanks, Cody!

Let’s begin.

Continue reading “The Corps! Whipsaw Review (All Versions)”

Dan Sartain

Remembering Dan Sartain

My friend Dan Sartain passed away yesterday. Dan was a remarkable and versatile musician, known as much for snarling garage punk and cool, detached synth pop as he was for the rockabilly-adjacent blues punk he used to make his name. His records were released by labels like One Little Independent and Swami. He toured the world with acts big and small. He collaborated with Jane Wiedlin, Richie Ramone, DJ Bonebrake, and many other legendary artists. 

Dan was also a fan of GI Joe, Transformers, Star Trek, and horror movies. That’s how I met him. We were internet friends before I ever met him in person. He was a kind, gracious soul who was always generous with his time and wisdom. Since some of my readers might know him, too, I wanted to remember him in this space. 

You can donate to his family’s GoFundMe for funeral expenses and building a trust for his daughter here

You can also find the majority of Dan’s vast catalog of work on his Bandcamp page here

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1994 GI Joe Star Brigade Payload

1994 GI Joe Star Brigade Payload Review

1994 GI Joe Star Brigade Payload

For a nobody, Payload sure got a lot of action figures released in the original GI Joe: A Real American Hero toy line. There were five total Payload figures released in the vintage Joe collection, which means there were more Payloads than Flints, Scarletts, Destros, Gung Hos, or Storm Shadows. That’s wild!

In fact, the only characters in the original ARAH line who had more versions than Payload were Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Cobra Commander, Duke, Hawk, and Stalker. Compared to all of those big, household names. Payload doesn’t seem like all that much. But, someone at Hasbro must have loved Payload– or, more likely, someone at Hasbro just loved reusing a certain environmentally-minded firefighter toy over and over again. 

Today, we’ll look at the last version of Payload released in the vintage GI Joe toy line. This is Star Brigade Payload from 1994. 

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