1992 GI Joe Ninja Viper

1992 GI Joe Ninja Viper Review

1992 GI Joe Ninja Viper

It’s August 2020, which means it’s time for Cobra Convergence V (full schedule and links here)! Here’s my little contribution to this amazing community event that Hooded Cobra Commander 788 spearheads every year. 

Today I’m joined by my friend RTG of Attica Gazette for a look at the 1992 GI Joe Ninja Viper, who was available exclusively as a mail-in offer. RTG is doing me a huge favor by providing photos and analysis– I never experienced the original Storm Shadow mold as a kid, and he’s written extensively about the figure and has something insightful to say each time he does. I couldn’t think of anyone better to help me out with this one. 

Here’s the figure’s filecard, presented without embellishment or commentary, courtesy of YoJoe. It’s pretty wild. 

Motto: “He who masters the art of self discipline can crush any adversary, even G.I.Joe!”

Recruited from the highest ranks of Cobra’s Viper Corps, the COBRA NINJA VIPERS are the elite representation of Cobra’s new elevated level of ruthlessness. Only the most sinister and cunning Cobras are selected for duty as Ninja Vipers. Cobra Ninja Vipers are no less than 10th level black belts in karate, jujitsu and kung fu. These villains are extremely obedient and always carry out their orders to the letter. They function as covert subversives who can “persuade” any foe to do their bidding by entrapping the individual in one of their patented martial arts maneuvers. If given the opportunity, Cobra Ninja Vipers could wreak enough havoc worldwide to seriously damage G.I. Joe’s global operations.

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1992 Turbojet Batman by Kenner (Batman: The Animated Series)

1992 Turbojet Batman Review (Batman: The Animated Series)

1992 Turbojet Batman by Kenner (Batman: The Animated Series)

This review is a bit different. Not only are we looking at an action figure from a toy line we’ve never talked about here before, but my friend Pat is also joining us. Pt is one of my oldest, dearest friends and we’ve undertaken many regrettable projects together. Here is our latest.

If you like both Pat and myself, know that we both contributed to the TMUK/Toy-Fu Transformers Action Masters Zine I wrote about in my last post. Pat’s contribution to the zine is a comic, and if anything else included in that zine makes me laugh that hard, I promise I will literally eat my hat and then never fulfill that promise.

Let’s talk about some old Kenner Batman toys! Today we’re going on at length about Kenner’s 1992 Turbojet Batman from the Batman: The Animated Series line.

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THE ACTION IS ALIVE 2020 Fanzine

A Transformers Action Master Fanzine that Benefits Charity

THE ACTION IS ALIVE 2020 Fanzine

If that title doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what to tell you.

Every year (almost), Toy-Fu and TMUK produce a themed Transformers fanzine for TF Nation, a UK Transformers convention. In years past, I’ve written about Micromasters and Rock Lords.

This year I got to write about Action Masters!

There are a ton of talented people behind this full color fanzine (including the creator of JaAm himself, my friend Matt) and you can get pre-order a digital PDF copy here.

If you live in the UK, you can also order a physical copy and some awesome pins and postcards.

Toy-Fu and TMUK Transformers Action Master Fanzine Order page 

Full details below.

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1994 GI Joe Shadow Ninjas Bushido

1994 GI Joe Shadow Ninjas Bushido Review

1994 GI Joe Shadow Ninjas Bushido

Motto: “Like a pointed, crystal icicle, I can also be found in the Williams Sonoma holiday catalog for the unbelievable price of $399.99. ”

BUSHIDO was born in Queens, where he decided to become a samurai, like his father before him. Unfortunately, his father wasn’t actually a samurai, and a samurai isn’t really a thing you can still be. Just ask BUDO. Met his “blood brother” BANZAI at a bar in the Bronx, where they used a pocket knife to complete the unhygienic ritual that bonds them to this day. Using his parents’ money, he “studied abroad” in Iceland, where he learned everything he knows about being a Snow Ninja– which is “basically being a samurai, just ask anyone.” Watched SNAKE EYES and STORM SHADOW slap-box in the commissary once, so is one of GI Joe’s foremost martial arts experts. Wears high-top sneakers. 

Equipment:

  • Family Heirloom Samurai Hat (also from Williams Sonoma catalog) 
  • High Top Sneakers (no, seriously, this is on his actual file card)
  • Gun

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2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, robot modes

2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys

2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal  toys, bagged

I originally intended this to be a short post. But, as it turns out, I took more photos than I have for any post on this silly blog. So we’ll see if I can keep the text short, too. 

For more than one reason, the set of 2000 Transformers Beast Machines McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys is my favorite batch of fast food premiums ever. I think there’s a strong argument to be made about it being legitimately the best batch of Happy Meal toys ever created. Look, I love Changeables and McNugget Buddies as much as the next Dinosaur Dracula, but this set had it all. 

If you’re a Transformers fan, these should be on your radar. 

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Bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker

Let’s Take a Quick Look at this Bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker

Bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker

Bootlegs are AN ILLEGAL CRIME, but I’ve always been drawn to them. Transformers bootlegs are often presented in strange colors. They’re often over (or under)-sized, and the plastic sometimes turns to ash the moment you remove them from their shoddy blister cards. But that’s their charm, right? 

They’re a lot like one of those direct-to-video B sci-fi mockbusters (Transmorphers, Atlantic Rim, etc.)– you never know exactly what kind of treasures and/or horrors are contained within. 

Some bootlegs, though, are straightforward. They’re exact copies of the original toy and boast similar quality, construction, coloring, and size. Sometimes they’re almost indistinguishable. They’re a perfect clone, more of a Boba Fett than a Bizarro Superman. 

The ethics around these get kind of dicey. This is the case with the bootleg Transformers G1 Sunstreaker we’re looking at today. You can lambast me in the comments and give me flashbacks to my Instagram DMs, but I won’t be too bothered– I’ve spent enough money on Hasbro and Takara products by now that I’m sure I’ve put every middle manager in both company’s kids through college. 

I picked this bootleg Sunstreaker up from AliExpress for several reasons:

  1. I’ve never owned a G1 Sunstreaker, and it hasn’t recently been reissued
  2. Many Sunstreakers on the secondary market are broken, missing pieces, or prohibitively expensive
  3. I’ve always been curious about the early Diaclone robots who became Transformers 
  4. I wanted to know if these bootlegs were good quality 
  5. It seemed like a fun thing to share with my readers 

So, let’s take a look at this Doppelganger Sunstreaker. Ending 2019 by looking at a morally-dubious copy of a beloved Autobot car robot seems like a fitting way to say goodbye to this Hell Decade. 

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Funskool GI Joe Halibna Exclusive Psyche-Out

Funskool GI Joe Halibna Exclusive Psyche-Out (2004) – Dragon Fortress Reviews

Funskool GI Joe Halibna Exclusive Psyche-Out

PSYCHE-OUT got his degree in psychology from Berkeley, where he listened to the Grateful Dead while plotting real estate development schemes. He went on to do “groundbreaking research” in the field of paranoia inducement with ultra low frequency radio wave transmissions and whatever leftover LSD his rich white roommate couldn’t sell to people at Hot Tuna concerts. Since joining the GI Joe team and the Sonic Fighters, he has fronted numerous classified Psy-Ops and disinformation campaigns against Cobra and those hippies who just won’t leave their rent-controlled apartments. He sees you, Woody and Janice. Time to make room for an artisanal mayo shop. 

“What can you say about a guy whose doctoral thesis was entitled, ‘The Use of T-Shirt Slogans In Enemy Troop Demoralization?’ Probably, ‘This guy paid someone else to do his school work and that was the best they came up with.’ His job involves complicated thinking and multiple layers of deception: making the boys at the local precinct think he’s interested in serving this disenfranchised and the community as a whole, all the while torturing people with slowed-down recordings on Jefferson Airplane concerts– all in the name of “science” and “national security!”

Assigned Armaments: E.C.M. (Electronic Cocaine Measurers), ULF (Ultimately Lasers are Futile) cerebro distortion laser.

Weapons Qualification: One-Eyed Marksman

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GI Joe Weapons Trees

GI Joe Weapons Trees Were Good, Actually

GI Joe Weapons Trees

Thank you for attending my TED Talk.

In 1993 and 1994, many GI Joe figures came with “weapons trees,” which were multiple, reused weapons from earlier figures attached to a plastic sprue. They were all molded in one color, and very often made no sense for the character they were packed with. This often meant your brand new figure would be brandishing Rock Viper’s oversized sniper rifle in dark purple or neon green– hardly the “realistic” weaponry GI Joe fans of the 1980s (and early 90s!) expected to come with their military action figures. 

But I’m here to tell you that these weapons trees were just as much of a blessing as they were a curse. Even if you’re currently balling up your fists and loading up photos of 1985 Snake Eyes to remind yourself of the “Good Ol’ Days” right now because the very thought that weapons trees might be somehow positive makes your brain vomit a little bit, just bear with me. 

Because, once upon a time, I hated them, too. That’s right– as an unabashed fan of 1990s GI Joe, even I wasn’t always on board with weapons trees. As I became an adult and began collecting ARAH-style Joes again, though, I realized how much I actually used those weapons as a kid, and how valuable they really were to me. 

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1993 Gi Joe Wet-Suit battle corps

1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit (Battle Corps) – Dragon Fortress Reviews

1993 Gi Joe Wet-Suit battle corps

Motto: “Well, with all due respect, nobody told me that was a BBC documentary crew submarine, SIR!”

WET-SUIT has been characterized as being “two Ikea shelving units worth of mean on the hoof” and “twice as frustrating to deal with.” He is definitely not big on social graces, and was recently 86’d from the Oasis. He is not the type who goes over very well as the Chaplain Assistants’ Social Tea, as he only drinks tall cans of Twisted Tea (always shotgunned, always two at a time) and Monster Energy Java. Despite being an elite underwater operator, no one has ever seen him drink a single glass of H2O. Even so, he is exactly the dude you want behind you when you run into a gaggle of Cobra EELS in a shallow mine field or in a kiddie pool filled with Green Jello. Amazing how much damage he can do with a Ka-Bar knife and a Breitbart comments account. Wet-Suit is the head-honcho in charge of piloting the GI Joe Barracuda, which is an unnecessary title he just made up because he needs to feel like he retains some control over his life.

Equipment:

  1. Totally-real, totally-not-a-movie prop undersea spear rifle
  2. Air-tight, underwater helmet with 360° unscrambled Cinemax
  3. High-impact, delayed detonation torpedo (hunter orange for safety reasons)
  4. Low drag, nautical jet sled with heads-up display and neck pillow
  5. Pulse-powered, battlefield wrist viewer with scrambled Showtime
  6. Portable beeper/female body inspector
  • Official V8 Survival Juice Drink
  • Select-a-charge war crime devices
  • Snug fit, deep water flippers (always worn with socks)

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