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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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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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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Russian Funskool Airtight and King’s Quest VI

Hi there! Today I’ve prepared a special Funskool GI Joe treat for you. I’m also going to wax nostalgic about a video game. I’ve never written about video games before, so we’ll see how that goes.

I have a full review coming up for you on Thursday. It’s a huge one, too, and is over three years in the making. It’s not GI Joe related, but I think most of you will be into it.

So let’s get to the reason why you’re here (Airtight) before the part you’ll skip over (King’s Quest).

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1990 GI Joe Freefall

1990 GI Joe Freefall Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes from my friend Scott, who has some great insights on GI Joe. Beyond being knowledgeable about toys, Scott is an artist, animator, game developer, and pixel art enthusiast. He’s profiling a figure that was a childhood favorite of both mine and his own. I always enjoy talking to Scott about toys, and I think he dives deeper into some aspects of GI Joe than I ever could. You can find Scott on Twitter as AnimatedTako to read more of his toy musings, see more of his art and photos, and read his thoughts on fighting games.)

Review and Photos by Scott

Freefall felt like a good place for me to start thinking about action figures critically not just because of the obvious leap of faith association I could draw to reviewing a paratrooper, but because I literally cannot remember a time where I was aware of G.I.Joe before Freefall. He and Topside were my first two figures, and most of my strongest early memories of the first house I lived in are framed around the adventures those figures had. Topside was my first figure, selected by my Dad because his first G.I.Joe was also nautically themed, a 60’s Action Sailor. 

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Black Major Tiger Force Snake Eyes

Black Major Tiger Force Snake Eyes

Today we’re taking a look at the Black Major Tiger Force Snake Eyes figure, which is probably more accurately a Tiger Force Invasor figure. There’s a lot to unpack with that.

But, I’ll be honest with you– this article is mostly just an excuse for me to voice my opinions about the 1985 Snake Eyes mold. And, to a lesser extent, my opinions of the wild world of Black Major Snake Eyes repaints. 

This isn’t a full review or anything, and I’m also not going to give this figure a rating. I just wanted to get some thoughts out onto the digital page.

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1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper Review

Today I’m joined by my friend Video Dracula, who just launched a new website! If you enjoy Transformers of all eras, you need to check it out. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.

Drac helped write the review and also took a ton of photos for this post. I’m sure you can tell which are mine and which are his.

The 1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper is not technically a 90s figure, but it is a figure I got around 1990 and played with throughout my childhood. I asked Drac if he wanted to collaborate on a review with me, and he suggested this late 80s weirdo. I thought it was a great idea, because what is 1989 if not the dark herald of the 90s to come?

And boy oh boy, does this figure ever foreshadow what would happen in the 1990s with GI Joe.

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My Big Nerdy Weekend: Lukewarm Takes on Snake Eyes and MOTU Revelation

It’s a big media weekend for nerds, dorks, and dweebs. Masters of the Universe: Revelation was released on Netflix yesterday and Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins was released in theaters at some point this week. I’m not looking it up because I’m too busy typing this silly blog post.

I usually don’t get around to watching too many new things and the pop culture zeitgeist usually passes me by. Not because I’m “too cool,” but because I’m bad at actually watching both TV and movies. I have a short attention span.

I’m going to keep these Lukewarm Takes relatively short and pretty much spoiler free.

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