Russian Funskool GI Joe

Site Updates: Russian Funskool GI Joe and Masters of the Universe Origins

Hi there. There’s no new review on the main feed this week, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t produce a ton of content for you to check out.

I have four in-depth looks at Russian Funskool GI Joe figures for you, and some not-so-in-depth looks at some Masters of the Universe Origins figures for you. Check them out after the break.

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GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow

GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow (2002) Review

GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow

The catch of the day isn’t a whopper, but it’s generated some Big Fish Stories nonetheless. Do we find this figure compelling because of its lowered articulation? Because it came free with a couple tubes of toothpaste? Because of its odd, shoddy paintwork? Because of its dubious legal nature? Or do we recoil in horror because it’s not quite right?

For me, it’s all of the above and much more. When I set out to write this review, I figured I’d do  something “easy” because the last one I wrote was massive. But I’m a journalist by nature, so I couldn’t leave well enough alone– I did some initial research, asked the experts some questions, and then dug even deeper. A couple things I found really surprised me. 

This GI Joe Funskool Pepsodent Exclusive Undertow is much more than a slapdash toothpaste giveaway figure. There are oddities with production, licensing, and figure construction. I dug up the unexpected. 

So, come for the weird under-articulated Undertow variant and stay for the mysteries hidden within its underachieving exterior shell.

Time to reel it in. 

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1994 GI Joe Star Brigade Payload

1994 GI Joe Star Brigade Payload Review

1994 GI Joe Star Brigade Payload

For a nobody, Payload sure got a lot of action figures released in the original GI Joe: A Real American Hero toy line. There were five total Payload figures released in the vintage Joe collection, which means there were more Payloads than Flints, Scarletts, Destros, Gung Hos, or Storm Shadows. That’s wild!

In fact, the only characters in the original ARAH line who had more versions than Payload were Snake Eyes, Roadblock, Cobra Commander, Duke, Hawk, and Stalker. Compared to all of those big, household names. Payload doesn’t seem like all that much. But, someone at Hasbro must have loved Payload– or, more likely, someone at Hasbro just loved reusing a certain environmentally-minded firefighter toy over and over again. 

Today, we’ll look at the last version of Payload released in the vintage GI Joe toy line. This is Star Brigade Payload from 1994. 

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1994 GI Joe Action Sailor

1994 GI Joe Action Sailor Review

1994 GI Joe Action Sailor

For at least five years (longer in the underground rock world), we’ve been repeating and reliving the 90s. This website is prime evidence– none of us are immune, even worldly sophisticates such as yours truly. Humans are always retreading pop culture from years past. The cartoon snake devours its action figure tail while hissing, “I WASSS ONSSSE A MAAANNN”

As you’ll kindly recall, the 1990s were all about the 1960s and the 60s hangover that was the early 70s. Smash Mouth appeared on the scene in the 1990s as a 60s-schlock appropriating ska-punk band and then ruined rock music forever. Our friends and loved ones wore “flare jeans” from Old Navy that were just rebranded bell bottoms. People sewed little cutesy flower patches all over their jackets, pants, and backpacks. Psychedelic rock came back in a big way and songs got way too long again. And, to add 20 pounds of shit to an already-full 10 pound bag, Austin Powers came along and ruined movie quotes forever. 

In 1994, GI Joe was also feeling some 60s nostalgia. To supplement its main GI Joe line and celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary, Hasbro released a Commemorative Collection of 3 ¾” figures styled after the 12” figures of old. They were counting on older collectors with nostalgia for the old 12” toys to buy these new figures, and probably hoping that some GI Joe-loving kids would pick a few of the toys up, too. 

I was a 10 year old kid in 1994, and I only had a loose idea of what GI Joe looked like in the 60s and 70s. But I did have several figures from the Commemorative Collection, which I integrated seamlessly into my ARAH Joe collection. 

Today we’re taking a look at the 1994 GI Joe Action Sailor, who is simultaneously a burned-out hippie and a lapdog of the military industrial complex. Nostalgia is fun! 

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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.

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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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