That filecard is funnier than anything I could ever hope to write in this opening section, so we’ll leave it at that.
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.
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:
- I’ve never owned a G1 Sunstreaker, and it hasn’t recently been reissued
- Many Sunstreakers on the secondary market are broken, missing pieces, or prohibitively expensive
- I’ve always been curious about the early Diaclone robots who became Transformers
- I wanted to know if these bootlegs were good quality
- 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.
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
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.
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.
- Totally-real, totally-not-a-movie prop undersea spear rifle
- Air-tight, underwater helmet with 360° unscrambled Cinemax
- High-impact, delayed detonation torpedo (hunter orange for safety reasons)
- Low drag, nautical jet sled with heads-up display and neck pillow
- Pulse-powered, battlefield wrist viewer with scrambled Showtime
- 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)
Within the last week, I finished collecting the 1991 Cobra roster. I almost have the GI Joe side complete, too– I just need that pesky Cloudburst!
While not every figure I have is complete or perfect, 1991 is the only GI Joe year I’ve set out to complete so far. That’s because it’s easily my favorite GI Joe lineup. As a kid, I had a few figures from 1988 and 1989, and even one from 1987. I had a good amount of the 1990 roster, and those figures were excellent, but it was a year full of all new characters. As a kid, I wanted the characters from the Sunbow cartoon and the animated movie.
1991 fulfilled that desire. It gave us Cobra Commander, Hawk, Snake Eyes, Zap, Grunt, Falcon, Rock n Roll, Major Bludd, Flint, Low-Light, Dusty, Mercer, and Sci-Fi. It also gave us fantastic new characters like Heavy Duty, Cesspool, Interrogator, Big Ben, Red Star, and Ozone. The accessories were still good and still specifically made for each character.
To me, it’s the best Joe year of all time. I was only 6 or 7 when I got most of the 91 figures I had as a kid, but it was my first real chance to have versions of the characters I knew. And the accessories were a bit less confusing to a kid than the complicated setups from 1990.
But, in this quick feature, I want to talk about the 1991 Cobra roster. I’m more into the Joe side than the Cobra side, but this month it special– it’s Cobra Convergence 3!
YouTube toy reviewer Hooded Cobra Commander 788 spearheads Cobra Convergence every year, and this time he’s asked bloggers, photographers, and other creators to contribute.
So, this is my humble entry. Let’s take a look at why 1991 was just as much of a banner year for Cobra as it was for GI Joe.
So, as it turns out I’m not dead. Which is good, because often dead people become ghosts. And if I were a ghost, I most certainly would have been busted due to this blog post. This is a convoluted way of saying I roped three of my friends into drinking expired Ecto Cooler with me, even though there’s not even a dang ghost on the can anymore.
No ghosts to bust here, neither human nor aluminum. If bustin’ can’t make us feel good, then what possibly can? Hopefully the answer lies in expired Hi-C Ecto Cooler.
In the spring and summer of 2016, Hi-C rereleased Ecto Cooler into the wild. It was impossible to find in Boise, so I had to live vicariously through social media and Dinosaur Dracula posts. Ecto Cooler was a big part of my childhood, though, so I was pretty bummed out about the whole thing.
I drank a LOT of Ecto Cooler as a kid. Those juice boxes were my favorite. They bring back memories of X-Men pogs, staying in on sunny summer days and watching reruns of Welcome Back Kotter (I think there’s a Smiths song about that), and reading Star Trek novels I barely understood.
The thing is, I’m not a Ghostbusters superfan. I ADORED The Real Ghostbusters as a very young kid, and spent a lot of time watching the cartoons and playing with the toys.
My mom even bought me the cereal, and said she’d order me whatever prize was on the back if I ate the whole box. I didn’t like cereal, though, so I’m not sure what I was thinking. The first bowl she poured me, I hid under the kitchen sink and said I finished. She was very proud of me until she found it that night because the milk began to stink. I did not get that prize.
Sure, I like the films. My dad showed me Ghostbusters 2 at a tender young age and it scared the piss out of me. Especially those minks, man. I liked the first film when I eventually saw it around age 10 or so. Still, the cartoon holds the most nostalgia for me. I do appreciate the movies, and the franchise as a whole, but I’m more of an Ecto Cooler fan than I am a Ghostbusters fan.
As it turns out, Ecto Cooler was a rebranded Citrus Cooler that was first released in 1987. I don’t imagine I ever had it until 1991 or 1992, so I always thought it was a 1990s thing. As it turns out, Ecto Cooler is one thing Gen X and Millennials can both agree on.
So, I was very excited when my friend Beer Baron sent me two cans of the 2016 Ecto Cooler in the mail. I’d never had Ecto Cooler in a can before. What a novelty!
1988 Tiger Force Tripwire aka The Skoog aka Cat Skoog– today on The Dragon Fortress!
He dropped out of high school and got kicked out of a monastery. He’s an explosives expert. He’s a total Klutzy Karl.
And today, this Klutzy Karl shows off his Kitty-Kat Makeover.
Let’s cut the blue wire!
Subject: Deanna Troi
Assignment: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Profile: Stardate 48271.5 Deadwood, South Dakota. The site of a wild west holodeck fantasy set on Earth in the 19th Century, unfortunately programmed by a notorious pervert and Worf’s idiot son. A stranger by the name of Durango wanders into town. Durango is really Counselor Troi, who has entered the Holodeck to join Sheriff Worf in the quintessential western saga which, again, was programmed by an idiot and a pervert. The Holodeck program created by Worf’s son, Alexander and his friend, Reginald, malfunctions. This strangely wasn’t due to their incompetence, but due to the fact that Captain Picard yelled at Geordi and Data for interrupting the recording of his new space clarinet mixtape. The corrupted programming on the Holodeck spawns multiple Datas with the simulation. Geordi wanted to get back at Picard, so he plugged Data’s brain into the Enterprise, and replaced all recreational activity and food with cat poetry and Friskies. Meanwhile, on the holodeck, Troi unfortunately didn’t get to do very much.
Wild West accessories:
* Sure-Shot Rifle (we legally can’t say ‘Winchester’)
* Six Shooter Revolver
* Ring of Jail Keys (pretty sure Troi looked at these once in the episode)
* Showdown Time Clock (Worf looked at this clock once, which is good enough for Playmates)
* Bonus: Starfleet Action Base