The Dragon Fortress x RetroCabal

I was on another podcast! It’s been a good week for me. 

This time, my friend David had me on his podcast RetroCabal. Dave’s a great guy, and we’ve been friends on Twitter and Instagram for a couple years now, so it was great to actually talk to him. He’s a bit younger than me, but he also has a passion for 90s toys and the properties that spawned them. 

Join us as we talk about 93-94 GI Joe, Beast Wars, Exosquad, the pre-WWE WWF, and more! 

David is passionate, positive, and knowledgeable. It’s a great combo. Also, I’m there. 

You can listen below or find the podcast on all of your favorite aggregators. 

You can also find David on Twitter

Thanks for listening! I hope you enjoy it. 

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.

Continue reading “1992 GI Joe Ninja Viper Review”

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

Continue reading “1994 GI Joe Shadow Ninjas Bushido Review”

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

Continue reading “Funskool GI Joe Halibna Exclusive Psyche-Out (2004) – Dragon Fortress Reviews”

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. 

Continue reading “GI Joe Weapons Trees Were Good, Actually”

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)

Continue reading “1993 GI Joe Wet-Suit (Battle Corps) – Dragon Fortress Reviews”

1991 Cobra night vulture

1991: The Year Cobra Broke (a Tribute) – Cobra Convergence 3

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.

Continue reading “1991: The Year Cobra Broke (a Tribute) – Cobra Convergence 3”

1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire

1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire – Cheat Day/Team Up Review

1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire

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!

Continue reading “1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire – Cheat Day/Team Up Review”