(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from my good friend Cody, who has reviewed a few Corps! figures for this website in the past. Today Cody is gifting us a GI Joe review, which is extra exciting. Please check Cody out on Instagram to find some frankly amazing custom figures. I appreciate the hell out of you, Cody!)
Today we’re looking at Hasbro’s Mortal Kombat Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, and Smoke from 1994. We’re also looking at the Mortal Kombat Movie Editions of Scorpion and Sub-Zero from 1995. They all use the exact same mold (with some cloth embellishments), so I figured I’d do them all in one go. Even if I spread them out over the course of a couple years, I feel like the reviews would get redundant.
This post is meant as a resource as much as it’s meant as a review. There’s not a ton of good info out there on these, other than some grainy archival photos and eBay listings.
Plus, once you look at the mold, you probably know which figures you do or do not want. The colors are the main difference between the figures, and the accessories are pretty much generic.
After you finish reading this, hopefully you’ll be able to choose your favorite flavor (it’s lime, right?) and frown really hard at eBay prices.
Get over here!
This review has been at least three years in the making. Maybe more. I’ve been working on it on and off since my Rita Torres review, but made only a little progress here and there until a couple weeks ago. Mostly, this toy is big and slightly hard to photograph. Or so I thought. I kind of psyched myself out– it’s actually not hard to photograph at all. I think I was just making excuses for myself.
Some of the photos in this review are old and probably not up to the “quality” of images I produce now, but I’m going to leave them in here to show how long I’ve been working on this thing.
I also want to dedicate this review to my friend Barry B., who’s been politely asking for it ever since that Rita Torres review. Thanks for your near-infinite patience, Barry!
Without further chatter, let’s take a look at the 1994 Exosquad Livanus with Troop Transport E-Frame.
This is another huge review, with 6000+ words and around 60 photos. But it has to be big because we’re looking at the biggest, baddest dudicus to ever be a metamorphing Bruticus.
Today I’m joined by my friend Dial H, who runs Dial H for Houston. If you enjoy pulpy science fiction, fantasy, and alternate history novels, check out his website immediately. He writes fun, funny, and snappy reviews of all sorts of books you’ve never heard of. His site has personally encouraged me to order a few books for The Pile.
Dial H was nice enough to supply both photos and commentary for G2 Bruticus, as I am both missing some of the toy’s accessories and missing all of Dial H’s life experiences and insights. This is a toy that’s notoriously hard to complete, as parts and pieces almost never pop up on the secondary market.
So we’ve united into our own ragtag combiner force to bring you this review. Dial H is going to bring you a definitive ranking for each member of the team, but I cannot bring myself to choose favorites among my brightly colored 90s children. I do mostly agree with his rankings, though.
I’ll let Dial H kick things off.
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.
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!
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.
- Family Heirloom Samurai Hat (also from Williams Sonoma catalog)
- High Top Sneakers (no, seriously, this is on his actual file card)
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.
Name: Rita Torres
Rank: Field Sergeant
E-Frame Type: Field Sergeant E-Frame #LD-029
Birth Planet: Earth
Dossier: Rita Torres is second to J.T. Marsh in the chain of command for Able Squad. As Field Sergeant, Torres is often first to engage Neosapien fire. On the ground or in the air, Torres is one tough leader. She follows the ExoFleet handbook to the letter, which often puts her at odds with the unorthodox procedures of Wolf Bronski.
With her Field Sergeant E-Frame at her command, Torres is never one to retreat from heavy ordinance Neobashing. She is able-bodied, level-headed, and objective-oriented — a perfect soldier of combat.
Name: Colleen O’Reilly
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Assignment: ExoSquad JumpTroop: Charlie-Five Squadron
E-Frame Type: Rapid Recon #LS 042
Dossier: Colleen O’Reilly is the communications and ExoTech specilist for JumpTroop: Charlie-Five Squadron. She’s gutsy and outgoing. O’Reilly has a photographic memory and can hotwire just about any electronic device in the HomeWorlds. As one of only three ranking officers in Charlie-Five, O’Reilly interfaces with Able Squad and has developed a special camaraderie with J.T. Marsh. Under cover of her Venusian Defense Cammo, O’Reilly can touch down in her UltraLight Rapid Recon E-Frame, blast her way into Neosapien strongholds, electronically sabotage Neo security and be out in time to join primary ExoForces in battle.