My Top 10 Toys of 2021

Contrary to what some people may believe, I do buy some modern toys. I didn’t buy too many toys in general this year, though. But since I bought at least 10, I thought we could close the year out by looking at some of my favorites.

I ripped this idea off of my friend Drac. I saw him do one and had to do my own.

My list won’t be as varied as his, since basically the only modern toy lines I collect are either MOTU or Transformers related. I also like Spin Master’s Batman line quite a bit, but none of those toys quite made this list.

There’s also no GI Joe on this list because I didn’t buy any of Hasbro’s newer GI Joe stuff this year. That blue HISS looks kind of fun, though.

Anyway, let’s get into it.

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Top 5 Modern Era GI Joe Figures

My Top 5 Favorite Modern Era GI Joe Figures

Hi everyone. It’s been a bit since I’ve written something, so I thought I’d do something easy. Of course whenever I set out to do something easy, it always ends up being a ton of work and taking way longer than I anticipated.

I’m kind of in the process of selling my Modern Era GI Joe collection, so I thought I’d spend some more time with them before they go. That’s where I got the idea for this post. I also thought that maybe if I spent some more time with them then I’d want to keep them. That didn’t end up being the case. I did not have fun taking photos and posing figures for this post.

Still, I have to give Modern Era GI Joe figures some credit. Despite being fussy and fiddly, they are important to me. When the 25th Anniversary line hit in 2007, those figures ended up getting me back into GI Joe in a big way. I still loved my o-ring-style figures and never sold them off or got rid of them, but the 25th Anniversary line made me feel like a kid again. Over the years of collecting Modern Era Joe stuff, though, I realized the modern style’s limitations and turned back to o-ring figures.

As my friend RTG of Attica Gazette once said, “they’re generally good action figures, but they’re not generally good GI Joes.” And I agree. Despite the enhanced articulation, the range of motion is often bad. Accessories fall off and fall out of hands easily. You can’t just plunk them down on the table and expect them to stand up.

But still, they have their good points. And in this post I’m going to talk about 5 figures I’ll probably keep even when the rest make their way into someone else’s collection.

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1998 The Corps! Bio-Wing Battle Squadron Kash Kobra

1998 The Corps! Bio-Wing Battle Squadron Kash Kobra

Today we’re going to keep it simple and look at a fun, brightly colored toy. I’ll go over all of the basics about the figure and its accessories and provide plenty of photos. We’ll do it in that same gallery/quick review style I use for most small GI Joe vehicles.

So while you’ll probably learn everything you want to know about the toy, this won’t be a full review. I just don’t have it in me right now. But we can still have fun anyway.

Let’s take a look at the 1998 The Corps! Bio-Wing Battle Squadron Kash Kobra. He’s green and yellow and fun all over.

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1992 GI Joe Shockwave (DEF)

1992 GI Joe Shockwave (DEF) Review

I am a total dummy and forgot yesterday was a “holiday.” So I spent my Thanksgiving cat-sitting, watching Roxette music videos, and heading over to a friend’s house to eat the cooking he spent all day on. He made this really good vegan puff-pastry thing with lentils and veggies in it, along with some killer mashed potatoes. I also tried Cheetos mac and cheese, which was slightly disappointing. So I took the day off.

That means we’re concluding Childhood Favorites Month on a Friday instead of my usual Thursday. Let’s blame the overeating holiday instead of me just totally spacing that there was a holiday at all.

Today, we’re taking a look at 1992 GI Joe Shockwave from the DEF sub-line, who is my final choice for this year’s Childhood Favorites. It was kind of a tough call, since so many figures fit that definition. But Shockwave won out. 

ON the surface, Shockwave v3 is a simple figure from a complicated sub-line. GI Joe’s War On Drugs was waged with more expensive carded figures, all of which included light-up spring-loaded missile launchers. The enemy figures in the sub-line were also actual drug dealers, which was kind of a unique thing for a sci-fi military toy line. I have mixed feelings on the whole thing.

I do not, however, have mixed feelings on the figure itself. Let’s kick open the doors (after we’ve obtained a proper warrant) and take a look at DEF Shockwave!

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I was on the Diary of a Dorkette Podcast!

Hey everyone. No new review post today. Sorry about that.

But in an excellent bit of timing, my friend Miss M just posted the episode of her podcast I was a guest on. We talked about toy store encounters, stealthily buying toys when we were teenagers, text-based online roleplaying games, and gently antagonizing toy fans. Plus, we both list our top 5 favorite 90s toy lines and talk about a Very Important Spreadsheet we’re starting. What more could you want?? Listen below or use this link to catch the episode.

I had the most fun ever being on this podcast and I hope you enjoy it, too.

And please check out Miss M’s website, Twitter, and Instagram for all of her great content. She is easily one of the most creative, funny, and kind people in the entire online toy community. It was a huge honor to work with her.

1992 GI Joe Cobra Commander (Talking Battle Commanders)

1992 GI Joe Cobra Commander (Talking Battle Commanders) Review

1992 GI Joe Cobra Commander (Talking Battle Commanders)

As it turns out, your first time reviewing a Cobra Commander figure is kind of intimidating. The character is such a large presence in the world of GI Joe, and the franchise as we know it literally could not exist without him. There are also a ton of Cobra Commander action figures, each of which has large swaths of fans and detractors. People are passionate about used car salesman/terrorist John Lennon.

And so am I. That’s why it’s taken me so long to review a Cobra Commander figure. I want to get it right. 

Since this is Childhood Favorites Month, today we’re looking at the Cobra Commander from my childhood– the 1992 Talking Battle Commanders Cobra Commander. This figure was a huge part of my GI Joe world growing up, as it gave me a credible version of the terrorist leader I knew from the cartoons, commercials, and comic books. 

You can point out many flaws in this figure and I will objectively agree with you. But the figure is also iconic. And, for people of a certain age, nothing represents Cobra Commander better than the TBC figure. Plus, the colors are nice. 

Let’s hope I do this figure some justice. 

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1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank

1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank Gallery and Quick Review

Hi there. Today we’re doing another gallery post, but I’ll also provide some thoughts on the toy. We’re doing “childhood favorites” this month, which is mostly a thing I’m reserving for my main reviews on Thursdays. But we’ll make an exception for today’s Tuesday post. 

dragon-fortress-childhood-favorites-month

The Sonic Boom Tank, released in 1993 as part of GI Joe’s Street Fighter 2 sub-line, definitely counts as a childhood favorite. I didn’t own a ton of GI Joe vehicles as a kid. I did have some bigger pieces like the Crusader and Fort America, but only had a few small or medium sized vehicles. I got the Sonic Boom Tank in 1993 during a bout of chicken pox, and it became one of my most-used vehicles after that. It was really the most “traditional military” vehicle I had for GI Joe, so it kind of became the go-to vehicle for every mission. 

Before the SBT, I basically just had the Attack Cruiser, which I didn’t love even as a kid. The Crusader was obviously an amazing piece, but it wasn’t practical for ground missions. And, even though it saw a good amount of use, I couldn’t really wrap my head around Fort America as a kid. I was used to Transformers, which had convincing secondary/disguise modes, so a weird tank transforming into a nebulous Pile of Brown was a bit odd to me. That left the Sonic Boom Tank and, a little later on, the Mudbuster as my primary Joe vehicles for the last few years of the ARAH line. 

Let’s dive in and look at some pretty pictures.

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1991 GI Joe BAT

1991 GI Joe BAT Review

Today we’re continuing Childhood Favorites Month with a look at the single figure who made up the backbone of my Cobra army as a kid– the 1991 BAT v2. 

As with the other three figures I’m featuring this month, this one means a lot to me. I’ll try to be objective, but nostalgia has a strong hold over me when it comes to this black and neon android. 

Also note that I’ve included some fairly old photos in this review. Any time you see a BAT without a chest sticker, that’s an old photo. I wanted to include them both because they are amusing and because I want you to see what a 1991 BAT normally looks like– their lenticular chest stickers have almost all fallen off by now. 

Let’s run through the usual childhood stories, the review, and the comparisons. Join me after the break. 

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The Mega Man Soundtrack (1995)

The Mega Man Soundtrack (1995)

In 1998, I was trying to rebuild my music collection. We had a house fire over the summer, so I pretty much lost everything. 

One day at Fred Meyer, my mom told me to go pick out two CDs from the electronics department. I instantly chose Powertrip by Monster Magnet, as “Space Lord” was my summer jam that year. It was instantly appealing to my then-13-year-old brain. I still love all of Monster Magnet’s first four records. Any band that lets their Hawkwind influence shine through so much will always have lasting appeal to me. 

The Mega Man Soundtrack (1995)

But another CD caught my eye, too. It featured a buff-looking Mega Man on the cover, accompanied by his loyal robot dog pal Rush. It was the soundtrack to the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon. 

When I picked up the CD, I only really recognized Skid Row and Sugar Ray on the track listing, but that was enough for me. It came home with me that day.

The CD featured a collection of songs that were used in the ending credits of season 2 episodes. I’ve never seen much of the show, but I remember the toys looking pretty cool. I was also a big fan of the video games and their music. 

The Mega Man Soundtrack (1995)

Since this is an obscure release that means a lot to me, I thought I’d do a retrospective on it and go track by track. Destructoid previously released a writeup on the album, but I found it to be both dismissive and petty. I want to look at the actual songs and see how they hold up and how they (absolutely do not) work in the context of Mega Man. 

I also didn’t buy the actual CD again. It tends to sell for at least $30 (if not way more) on eBay, and I don’t want to support Amazon. Also, the only CD player I own is in my car. So we’ll use YouTube instead. 

If you’d like to save the full YouTube playlist, you can find it here

Feel free to listen to each song as you read my blurb about the track– I hope you find something you like!

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1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Storm Shadow

1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Storm Shadow Review

Every Thursday this month, I’ll be reviewing a favorite GI Joe figure from my childhood. One of the figures I played with the most. The figures who were a part of nearly every childhood adventure. The ones who got dragged through the dirt, flung off the jungle gym at the local park, left at Grandma’s house over the weekend, brought to school hidden in a backpack, and treated carelessly by a child’s unabashed adoration. 

Narrowing it down to only four figures is a daunting task, but I think I’ve figured it out. 

I’m starting with 1992 GI Joe Ninja Force Storm Shadow, who is the pinnacle of “childhood favorites.” This is not a popular figure, but it’s a figure that means the world to me. It was a total game changer that affected every single aspect of GI Joe for me. This figure was my first ninja hero in the GI Joe line. A legendary character. A former bad guy now fighting on the side of the angels. A hooded avenger in white, righting wrongs with an alabaster sickle and sword. 

I’ll do my best to acknowledge the figure’s shortcomings (and there are many) while also singing its praises and describing what it means to me. 

We’ll also discuss its ephemeral nature– nothing lasts forever, not even an iconic ninja warrior. 

Here is the mythical Ninja Force Storm Shadow in all of his flawed glory. 

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