1990 GI Joe Sonic Fighters Viper

1990 GI Joe Sonic Fighters Viper Review

1990 GI Joe Sonic Fighters Viper

Last Sunday, my friend Mike T. (and a few other people) posted photos of various Vipers for the #CobraSunday hashtag on Instagram. These photos inspired me to take a Viper photo, and for some reason I decided on the 1990 Sonic Fighters version of the figure. The photo turned out okay and is embedded somewhere in this review.

But taking the photo made me remember how much this figure means to me and how it was a big part of my childhood. The years of 1990, 1991, and 1992 were my most formative GI Joe years. While I had several figures from before and after that time period, those years marked the time when I felt most aligned with the toy line and felt like it was being made specifically with my tastes in mind. 

There’s no shortage of content on this figure available on the web, but I wanted to throw my hat into the ring. Both because I have some history with the figure and because I think Sonic Fighters have an unearned bad reputation. People make fun of the “oversized backpacks” all the time, but those people likely weren’t kids when these toys came out. They’ve always looked at Sonic Fighters through adult eyes. 

Sonic Fighters and Super Sonic Fighters were a big part of my childhood GI Joe experience, though. They were sometimes the best way to get figures of older, legacy characters and they almost always had interesting colors and accessories. The Viper is no exception. 

No one says the Sonic Fighters Viper is a bad figure, but I do think they unfairly deride the figure’s gimmick and the SF sub-line as a whole. 

Here’s my opinion, based on both my childhood and the present day. 

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2001 Jack in the Box Kids Meal Max Steel Toys

2001 Jack in the Box Kids Meal Max Steel Toy Review

2001 Jack in the Box Kids Meal Max Steel Toys

In 2001, I was going to Jack in the Box a lot. Not only did one of my friends work there, but it was also the New Hotness in town. Previously, we only really had McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Wendy’s, and some regional-type places like Arctic Circle.

In 2001, there was also something of a 12″ doll renaissance going on. The Toys R Us shelves were packed with Action Man, Max Steel, GI Joe, 21st Century Toys, BBI, and The Corps! in Barbie Doll scale. I would browse those toys every time I visited, but I never bought any.

Action Man and Max Steel also had pretty prominent Saturday morning cartoons at the time. When I saw the commercials for the cartoons (or, rarely, even caught the shows themselves), I liked the designs. I also thought the toys had some good stuff going on. But I never bought any, as I was much more into 3.75″ scale dolls and dolls that transformed into either vehicles or techno-organic beasts.

But, one day at Jack in the Box, I noticed they had a Max Steel Kids Meal toy line going on. I purchased one of the toys along with my traditional two tacos and Big Cheeseburger (how I miss that menu item).

A couple years ago, I got some of the other toys in the series, both because they are cool and because they aren’t really documented anywhere on the internet.

So here’s a quick review of (most of the) Jack in the Box Max Steel Kids Meal toy line from 2001.

GI Joe fans, you might actually be interested in this.

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1997 Transformers Beast Wars Claw Jaw

1997 Transformers Beast Wars Claw Jaw Review

1997 Transformers Beast Wars Claw Jaw

Hello and welcome back. Today we’re looking at a Beast Wars toy.

Beast Wars is one of my favorite toy lines ever, so it’s funny that this is only the third proper BW figure I’ve reviewed on this site, alongside some Happy Meal toys. I guess GI Joes are just easier for me to photograph. I am pretty pleased with how most of the photos in the post turned out, though. Some of them were maybe overly ambitious, but I’d rather try something cool and not quite pull it off than always do the same old thing. 

So let’s look at 1997 Transformers Beast Wars Claw Jaw, a Basic Class Maximal that Hasbro released under the Kenner brand. 

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2018 Funskool GI Joe VAMP Repaints

Hello there! Today we’re going to take a look at two of Funskool’s repaints/remolds of the venerable GI Joe VAMP, which were both released in 2018. It’s possible that Funskool is still making these today, as well.

Update: 9/7/21: Rony informs me that Funskool has been making the MRF and Police Jeeps since the early 00s and that they’re releasing a black Army Jeep soon. See Tweet below. 

Ostensibly, these both fall under the “Giggles” imprint, which is where Funskool releases its preschool and early childhood toys. Only one of the two VAMPs has any Giggles branding on its box, but eCommerce sites seem to list both of them as Giggles releases. 

My friend Rony (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram) sent me the Army Jeep (green one) and I bought the MRF Racing Jeep (red one) from eBay while prices were still reasonable (around $20 shipped). I did also order the Police Jeep (blue one), but it never showed up and the seller deleted their own account. So I possess neither the Police Jeep nor the money I spent on the Police Jeep. It’s sadly too expensive for me to even consider buying one now. 

This post will be done in more of an image gallery/mini-review format. I didn’t want to write a full review, but I did want to share the toys with you. Also, I used my photo tent for these pictures, and I’m still not an expert with it. You’ll notice some of the background colors, saturation levels, and brightness levels are a bit inconsistent. So please forgive me. Regardless, I think the photos are good enough for you to get a good feel for the toys. 

Let’s get to it.

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1992 GI Joe Headquarters

1992 GI Joe Headquarters Review

1992 GI Joe Headquarters Review

Today I’m joined by my friend Nekoman, purveyor of the Viper Pit. If you’re not following his work, you should be. He takes some of the best GI Joe photos (and toy photos in general) around, and his reviews are perfect blasts of fun, nostalgia, and insight. He’s one of my favorite people in the online action figure community. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.

He suggested today’s collaborative review, which I’m very excited about. Today we’re taking a look at the 1992 GI Joe Headquarters, which has an exalted place in both of our hearts.

Nekoman also took every single photo featured in today’s review, which should earn him a hero’s wage. But this is the internet, so that really just means this review will be stolen by some aggregator site like ToyFarts.ru so they can make money off of Cialis ads.

But really, every single one of you owes Nekoman a Shasta Cola. And I owe him upwards of three Shasta Colas, which I will never financially recover from.

On with the review!

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LEGO 1999

The State of LEGO in 1999 (And Russian Funskool Budo)

LEGO is probably my favorite toy line of all time. It’s definitely the one I’ve spent the most time with, too. I haven’t written about it much on this website yet, though. In time and when/if things get back to normal for me, I actually have a few sets to review. Until then, I wanted to talk about a weird, dreary year for LEGO that had a pretty profound affect on me.

But since most of you are here for GI Joe, we’ll do some of that, too. So today we’ll take an in-depth look at Russian Funskool Budo and talk about the state of LEGO in 1999.

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1998 Transformers Beast Wars Transmetals McDonald's Happy Meal Toys

1998 Transformers Beast Wars Transmetals McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

That’s a hell of a title, wouldn’t you agree? But sometimes when multiple brands get involved with a cheap piece of plastic, there are layers upon layers. These are McDonald’s toys, which are Happy Meal toys. These are Beast Wars toys, which are Transformers toys. These are Transmetals, which are Beast Wars toys. It’s like an onion before it gets chopped and dehydrated into McDonald’s flavor crystals. 

Surprisingly, my Beast Machines Happy Meal Toy review is one of the most enduring and popular posts on this entire website. That means y’all like transforming fast food toys. So I’m happy to give you more. Today, we’ll be taking a look at McDonald’s second try at the Transformers Beast Era. 

So, say it with me– it’s time for 1998 Transformers Beast Wars Transmetals McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys. 

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1993 GI Joe Star Brigade Destro

1993 GI Joe Star Brigade Destro Review

1993 GI Joe Star Brigade Destro

The 1992 Destro is iconic for people of a certain age. The 1992 series of GI Joe was great like that. For kids of the time, the toy line served up great versions of Destro, Cobra Commander, Duke, Storm Shadow, Roadblock, Hawk, Stalker, Wet-Suit, Spirit, and Gung Ho. They were recognizable, cool, and forward-thinking. That 1992 Destro looked like he stepped right out of a Sunbow cartoon rerun. Every kid who was into GI Joe at the time wanted one. 

The 1993 GI Joe Star Brigade Destro figure, on the other hand, is not iconic. In 1993, Hasbro branched out in many different directions with GI Joe and blazed some new trails. It wasn’t always successful, and sometimes the iconography got lost in the shuffle. In an attempt to keep up with other toy lines and pop culture trends, some strange choices were made. 

I was a kid in 1993, though, and was not burdened by the jaded Joe collector mindset. I experienced Armor Tech Destro at a prime toy-loving age, but I still had some opinions on the figure. Obviously I’m going to share my past and present opinions in this review, but I’m going to dig a little deeper than “THIS BIG SPACEMAN ISN’T A REAL GI JOE.” 

Just a little. 

Armor Tech figures are widely hated by older fans because of their reduced articulation. But what did 7-12 year olds think of these toys at the time? I can answer that question. 

There’s a full review here, too, of course. And a special little surprise you’ll just have to click through to see. 

Let’s get to it. 

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1994 Exosquad Livanus with Troop Transport E-Frame

1994 Exosquad Livanus with Troop Transport E-Frame Review

1994 Exosquad Livanus with Troop Transport E-Frame

This review has been at least three years in the making. Maybe more. I’ve been working on it on and off since my Rita Torres review, but made only a little progress here and there until a couple weeks ago. Mostly, this toy is big and slightly hard to photograph. Or so I thought. I kind of psyched myself out– it’s actually not hard to photograph at all. I think I was just making excuses for myself.

Some of the photos in this review are old and probably not up to the “quality” of images I produce now, but I’m going to leave them in here to show how long I’ve been working on this thing. 

I also want to dedicate this review to my friend Barry B., who’s been politely asking for it ever since that Rita Torres review. Thanks for your near-infinite patience, Barry!

Without further chatter, let’s take a look at the 1994 Exosquad Livanus with Troop Transport E-Frame. 

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