(Editor’s Note: Today’s photos come from the one and only RTG of Attica Gazette. He generously provided me with these beautiful photos of 1990s GI Joe figures so that I might share them with you. RTG is one of the world’s best GI Joe photographers, and also one of the world’s best toy photographers in general. Not only that, but he’s been my friend for around 13 years now. I am grateful and honored to publish these pictures on my little website.)
I do, in fact, have something new and GI Joe related to share with you today. It’s not a full review, but don’t worry– you’ll get one of those on Thursday. It won’t be a GI Joe review, but it will be fantastic.
And you’ll also be getting a full gallery of amazing GI Joe photos on Friday. That’s a lot of stuff my friends and I are putting out for you this week.
Speaking of friends, I wanted to share some of my favorite things other people have been working on recently
And, as promised, I have a GI Joe thing for you, too.
(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from my friend Colin, the mastermind behind Colin’s Joes. It’s my favorite kind of toy review blog– the kind where the author waxes poetic about what a toy means to them and also gives a factual, in-depth review. If you like ARAH-era GI Joe and aren’t regularly reading Colin’s website, I highly encourage you to do so, because he makes every single post something special.)
Review and Photos by Colin H.
The “Neon 90s” weren’t so neon for me. I had a Sunice ski jacket that I got in grade 8 that was so bright it would burn your retina if you weren’t wearing sunglasses. But that was when neon died for me, sometime around 1992.
The decade started with moving from a small town (Fort Smith, NWT) to a small city (Yellowknife, NWT), and progressed through learning to drive, my first girlfriend, my first drink, graduating high school, working at a music store, and dropping out of university. Twice. I spent most of the time cruising around my hometown in a Ford Tempo, listening to Dre, the Wu, Big and Pac. And I remember going to the bars in Edmonton on the night that Y2K was supposed to disable the world’s computer networks, and in the relief of having survived disaster, I may have kissed three different girls at midnight.
I started the 90s hooked on X-Men comics, and I ended the 90s hooked on X-Men comics. But in between it all, I sold off my childhood GI Joes, then lived without toys for a few years, before coming back at 17 as a part time collector, grabbing late-run 90s figures at the local Wal-Mart, ordering classic 80s Joes through mailaway offers from Hasbro Canada, and lucking into a few early ARAH MOCs.
(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is something a little different. My friend Sintechness (Twitter, Instagram) was kind enough to share his photo taking process. A lot went into this amazing photo of Funskool Ripper, and it’s fascinating to see how he accomplished such a great shot.)
I’m always amazed at great toy photography. I’m even more amazed when I see how it’s actually produced. My own process boils down to making a haphazard set on top of my stove (it gets the best natural lighting in the house, so shut up) and throwing some toys in it. That is literally all I do. But some people, such as Sintechness, go above and beyond with practical effects and dazzling artistry.
Here’s what went into making this incredible photo of everyone’s favorite Funskool Dreadnok.
(Editor’s Note: I have another special treat for you today, courtesy of SurveillancePort.com proprietor CIAD aka Erick. He took these photos and was kind enough to loan them to me. I hope you enjoy some nice, clean photos of a dazzling little speedboat.)
Tiger Force Friday is always a big thing in the GI Joe Social media world. Just check out the hashtag on Instagram. I don’t usually participate, both because I am a loner and a rebel, but also because I’m never prepared and always forget about it.
Today, I’m a joiner and a conformist. But in a good way!
Thanks to Erick from Surveillance Port, here’s a fantastic photo gallery of the 1989 GI Joe Tiger Fish complete with every angle you could ever want.
(Editor’s Note: The photos for today’s post come courtesy of CIAD, aka Erick, the owner and operator of SurveillancePort.com. Erick is a great writer and photographer, but he’s more than that. He’s a pillar of the online GI Joe community. He’s one of the kindest and most supportive people in the fandom, and he’s always reporting on the latest news, giving signal boosts to cool projects, and spotlighting deserving content creators. You can find Erick at his website, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook. Thanks, Erick!)
Since we’re on an Alley Viper kick, I thought we’d take a look at another one. I acquired my first original Hasbro 1989 Alley Viper in 2019 at JoeFest in Augusta, GA. In September of that same year, I grabbed another one at a toy shop in Salt Lake City, Utah.
But those Alley Vipers weren’t my first experience with the 1989 mold. Sometime in late 2017 or early 2018, I acquired some factory custom Alley Vipers made by The Black Major. My first TBM AVs were the versions that homage the 1997 Rage box art/prototype Alley Viper– blue and black.
There was another version I was interested in, though. Online photos made it look like an ‘inverted colors’ version of the 89 Alley Viper, using blue as its primary color and orange as its accent color.
Those figures are the subject of today’s post– The Black Major Urban Assault Trooper, which started its life as a convention exclusive.
Today, we’re looking at my first Alley Viper. This is my actual childhood figure, who’s somehow still in really good shape. It’s a toy from a year that makes most GI Joe fans point their noses firmly skywards, but it’s one of my favorite years for the toy line.
The 1997 GI Joe Alley Viper is the reason that the Alley Viper is one of my favorite Cobra troops (it comes in second, only behind the Astro Viper) and is probably one of the major reasons I’ve continued to love GI Joe for my entire life.
Like all 1997 Joe figures, he’s a bit of an oddball. There are many reasons Serious Collectors don’t love this toy, but I don’t care about any of those things. This figure is one of my most cherished GI Joe possessions. So, of course I’m going to tell you all about that– but I’ll review the toy, as well. As much as I ever review a toy, anyway.
You know what you’re getting into at this point.
Stretcher, the GI Joe team’s medical specialist from 1990, and I go back a long way. We go all the way back to 1990 in fact. My original Stretcher figure met a tragic end sometime around 1992, but he’s still a character and toy I have a deep connection to.
This is a review I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but Stretcher is not an easy figure to find and complete. Luckily, I found a carded version at JoeFest 2019 in Augusta, GA. I opened him up about a week ago to bring you this review.
Stretch out and relax. Let’s dig in.
Today we’re keeping it casual at The Dragon Fortress.
I’ve updated the site with six (6!!) in-depth, dedicated pages for Russian Funskool GI Joe figures. Hopefully you find it useful and enjoyable.
We’re also taking a look at some amazing Transformers repro accessories a friend made for me.
Kick back and relax.