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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1997 Masked Rider KFC Kids Meal Toys

1997 Masked Rider KFC Kids Meal Toys

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from my friend Josh, co-host of the Raging Robot Partycast. Coincidentally, he goes by ‘ragingrobotparty’ on both Instagram and Twitter. Josh is a good friend who posts great toy photos and RC car videos. It’s always a delight to talk toys with Josh, and I’m over the moon about the review he contributed since it might just be the most niche post on this website yet. It also rules. And reading it made me want some mashed potatoes. Take it away, Josh!)

Review and Photos by Josh

Well, time for something weird! I’m Josh, you might know me as ragingrobotparty. Sometimes host of the Raging Robot Partycast, sometimes toy photographer, sometimes radio controlled vehicle enthusiast. All around tall dork with major divorce-dad energy who’s dwelled in the darkest parts of the dial-up internet for far too long. Today I’m here to talk to you about a set of toys from a Kids Meal that I had no idea existed until last year.

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1995 GI Joe Extreme Ballistic (Deluxe)

1995 GI Joe Extreme Ballistic (Deluxe) Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes from my friend Tyler Martin aka Baltimore Bivouac. He was one of the first people I followed on social media when I started this project 4 years ago– and he was one of the first people to offer to help me out with a guest review. Tyler is one of the few people I know who’s just enthusiastic about 90s toys, as a concept. On his Instagram account, he showcases everything from Kenner DC figures, to Exosquad, to GI Joe, to Toy Biz Marvel, to Lego Ice Planet. And we both love Super Sonic Fighters Psyche-Out. What I’m saying is he has great taste! Today’s review is also a first for The Dragon Fortress– a GI Joe Extreme figure!)

Review and Photos by Tyler Martin

I am a GIJOE Collector that grew up in the 90s. Many of my favorite Joes were neon, Mega Marines Clutch and the recently reviewed Battle Corps Long Arm were regulars (if not the leaders) of my missions. Back then my Joes operated mainly as some sort of undercover organization rather than members of a rank-and-file military team and I was crushed as a 9-year-old when Battle Corps and 3.75 Joes disappeared in ’95.

In their place, kids like me were presented with ‘GI JOE Extreme’ to fill the void.

This blog entry is about Ballistic v2, one of the few figures from that line that is worth having, but we’ll get to him in a minute.

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1992 GI Joe Cobra Rat

1992 GI Joe Cobra Rat Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes from Robert aka RangeViper84, who was one of the earliest friends I made when I started this project. Robert’s childhood experience is quite similar to my own, as we were born in the same year. I always enjoy his take on GI Joe, and I’m delighted to present you with his take on the GI Joe line’s most unloved toys. You can find Robert on Twitter and Instagram.)

Review and Photos by Robert

I grew up watching the show, playing the NES video game, and collecting Joes from Kay-Bee Toys and Toys ‘R Us, but largely shifted out of any “collecting.” Between 2000 and 2017, I maybe purchased 10 GI Joe-related items (Cartoon DVDs, Storm Shadow Sideshow figure, to name a few). 

Then, with the birth of my son in fall 2017 I started to retrieve all of my old Joes, Turtles, Marvel, and Spawn figures from my moms house. Many O-rings had deteriorated and it was that process of repair that re-ignited my love for the franchise and desire to “get back into” GI Joe. 

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1993 GI Joe Long Arm

1993 GI Joe Long Arm Review

1993 GI Joe Long Arm

There’s no guest review today. Instead, it’s a half-guest review. Today, I’m joined by my friend Eric aka Alexx aka Toys and Tomfoolery. You probably know him already. You can visit his website (which he’ll update any day now), or check out his very active Instagram, which features so much good stuff I couldn’t even possibly describe it. He photographs every good toy line you can think, gives exhaustive rundowns of entire toy series, creates funny comics, and just shares his stunning art with the world. I am a big fan.

Eric acquired 1993 GI Joe Long Arm recently, so I asked him if he wanted to do a collaborative review. I’m not sure if he regrets it now, but he said yes. I took about 8 photos or so, but the rest are all Eric. You can tell which are which, I’m sure.

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GI Joe Steel Kaiju (Cobra Sentinel)

GI Joe Steel Kaiju (Cobra Sentinel) Review

GI Joe Steel Kaiju (Cobra Sentinel)

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Ross Sewage. You may know Ross from his toy photos on Instagram and Twitter. You may also know him from his blog, where he shares in-depth guides on repairing and customizing electronics and music gear. Or, it’s possible that you know him as a member of Exhumed and Impaled. Ross’ GI Joe and Transformers photos are always a delight, and I’m excited he sent me a review of this big, lumbering Cobra robot. Enjoy!)

Review and Photos by Ross Sewage

I am a fan of many toy lines, but I am a G.I. Joe collector at heart. Still, I follow other toy lines and I have always been jealous of Transformers collectors. They have a vast richness of third party productions. These are toys not produced by Hasbro, the owners of the Transformers intellectual property, but other designers and factories not associated with Hasbro.

Hardcore G.I. Joe fans will, of course, point out the work of Black Major and Red Laser. Both of these mysterious individuals have produced some fun figures over the years which are largely redecorations of old Hasbro o-ring figure designs. There are also a lot of customizers doing cool work and some 3D printers churning out small bits and bobs to flesh out a collector’s G.I. Joe world. Transformer fans, though, get entirely new, factory-manufactured designs with original, complicated transformations. They’re produced with an (more-than-meets-the) eye towards recreating elements from the cartoons and comic books that Hasbro either missed the mark on, or they’re just bigger and more bad ass than what Hasbro is willing to do.

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1993 Gundam MS in Pocket

1993 Gundam MS in Pocket Review (Zolo, Zoloat, Contio)

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes from Nekoman, proprietor of The Viper Pit. You might have noticed the link in my sidebar before now. Nekoman is a person whose writing and photography I respect immensely. He’s one of the rare GI Joe enthusiasts who’s younger than I am, and I enjoy reading his perspectives on the toy line and how it influenced him growing up. If you haven’t read the Viper Pit and you’re hungry for more GI Joe content, then get started immediately. Today’s post, though, isn’t GI Joe related at all. It’s even better!)

Review and Photos by Nekoman

Japanese 90‘s toys are an interesting thing in the ways that both eastern and western cultures overlap and diverge. In some ways I feel like Victory Gundam represents a similar take on the edgy and extreme stuff from the 90‘s, like Unlimited Carnage, just by way of Gundam. Of course, I would also tell you that Victory Gundam has aged about a thousand times better than anything from Marvel in the 90‘s, but that’s probably because I’m less keen on comics, and very much more of a weaboo, so… yeah bias and stuff.

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1991 GI Joe Cloudburst

1991 GI Joe Cloudburst Review

(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.

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1993 Transformers Generation 2 Axelerators and Skyscorchers

1993 Transformers Generation 2 Axelerators and Skyscorchers Review

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from my good friend Video Dracula, whose work you can find on Instagram and Twitter. His writing about Transformers from many eras, and the accompany photographs, are quite stunning and brilliantly formatted. Give him a follow on Instagram if you like this review!)

Review and Photos by Video Dracula

Hi, I’m Dracula! You may remember me from such films as The Monster Squad and Santo and Blue Demon vs. Dracula and the Wolf Man. These days I mostly post on Instagram about Transformers. 

So let’s talk about Transformers. Specifically, let’s talk about Transformers: Generation 2, the grungy younger brother of the original Transformers line (which only got its G1 moniker thanks to the titling of the second generation, believe or don’t). Now Mr. The Dragon Fortress and I both grew up around the same time, experiencing a little bit of the 1980s and all of the 1990s. The 90s was a lean time to be a budding Transformers fan. All of the characters I loved from my scavenged comic books and rented VHS tapes were long off the shelves, only accessible via luck of the draw at yard sales and thrift shops. 

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The Corps! Whispering Willie

The Corps! Whispering Willie (Version 1) Review

The Corps! Whispering Willie

(Editor’s Note: Today’s review comes from my good friend Cody, who you may recognize from our Whipsaw review. Cody is a fantastic photographer, action figure customizer, writer, and storyteller. You can find Cody’s work on Instagram.)

Article by Corps Commander Cody

The Corps! is one of my favorite toy lines of all time. While most others write them off as cheap imitations or, at worst, complete and inferior knockoffs, I think The Corps! is a worthy brand. They have continued to provide products with all the fun of GI Joe at reduced cost. In fact, they are still producing figures today- some of the non articulated ones are not to my taste, but they’re constantly on store shelves, unlike some brands I could mention. 

Even the biggest Joe Bro who says that every military figure that’s not a Joe is a Corps! figure may agree that the greatest “Lanyard” “Corpse” was Whispering Willie. They may not know his name, but they love his face. And brother, I do too.

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