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 Transformers Generation 2 Bruticus

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons and Bruticus Review

1994 Transformers Generation 2 Combaticons

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. 

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The Corps! Whipsaw

The Corps! Whipsaw Review (All Versions)

The Corps! Whipsaw

I love Lanard’s The Corps!, but you’ve probably noticed that I’ve only published one article on the toy line up to this point. That’s because each figure has so many releases and variants that you have to be an expert to write anything comprehensive on the franchise. Good information on the toy line does exist, but it’s often buried in labyrinthian forums, so it’s tough to compile. Especially when you’re blessed with a short attention span like mine. 

Luckily, I found an expert. Today I’m joined by my friend Cody (visit him on Instagram), who’s exhaustively researched and chronicled every version of The Corps!’s Whipsaw– which happens to be his favorite figure. 

To me, Whipsaw was always just one of “the hat” guys, and was sometimes the “bare chested harness” guy (which made him more interesting). 

Hopefully Cody’s passion and attention to detail rubs off on you, too. Because now I’m a diehard Whipsaw fan. 

Cody will be doing most of the heavy lifting on this article, with both photos and writing, so almost everything you see here was submitted by him. I’ve left a little note in each section and a couple photos here and there, but he did all the hard work. 

Thanks, Cody!

Let’s begin.

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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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1993 Transformers Generation 2 Minibots

1993 Transformers Generation 2 Minibots Review

1993 Transformers Generation 2 Minibots

Thanks to my friend Battle Armor Dad for contributing to this review!

You asked your mom for an Optimus Prime, but you got a Bumblebee instead. This happened for 2 reasons:

  1. You’re a little shit
  2. Despite working two jobs, it’s much easier for your mom to afford a Bumblebee than an Optimus Prime 

The year was 1984. Or was it 1993? 

The phenomenon of getting “the little ones” (or Minibots, or Mini-Vehicles) as gifts is something that unites both 80s kids and 90s kids. Even if the older generation is still mad about smokestack sizes and newer Megatron toys being allowed inside of airports, it’s hard for them to not empathize with our shared plight. 

If you were into Transformers in the 80s and 90s, chances are you had the Minibots. They were cool, charming, and affordable, which made them appeal to our overworked, underpaid parents. 

Unless you were a rich kid. If so, this post is not for you. Go invest in a failing brick and mortar video game store, waste your money on some poser-ass Kings of Leon adult contemporary crypto MP3s, enjoy your inherited success, and come back for the next review. 

This Transformers Generation 2 Minibots review is for the real ones. 

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1995 Sea Claw Batman

1995 Sea Claw Batman Quick Review (Batman: The Animated Series – Crime Squad)

Today we’re trying something a bit different. I have a full length review gestating, but it needs just a little bit of work. So, while you wait, here’s a quick review. 

I love Kenner, Hasbro, and Mattel’s old DCAU based toys– but there’s only so much you can say about each individual figure. My first Batman: The Animated Series figure review was a retrospective on the toy line as a whole and how it compared to other toy lines of the 1990s. We don’t need to cover that ground twice so, in this review, we’ll just be taking a quick look at one BTAS figure. 

It’s pretty simple– just a 5POA Kenner figure and two accessories. So I doubt even I can get too long winded about it. Let me know if you like this kind of stuff, as I wouldn’t mind throwing down quick reviews for basically every DCAU-based figure I own. There’s a shocking lack of content concerning most of these toys on the web. 

This time, we’ll be looking at Kenner’s Sea Claw Batman, released in the Crime Squad sub-line in 1995. 

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2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line Review

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Toy Line

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker had everything– the fourth vocalist of Black Flag, Clarissa Explains it All, Luke Skywalker, Boy Meets World, Smallville’s Lex Luthor and Justice League’s The Flash, Mrs. Mom from Mr. Mom, and Megatron. It also had a toy line. 

The film featured a remarkable, toyetic cast of clown-themed villains working under the titular Joker. Their designs are so memorable that you might think they appeared in Batman Beyond often, and not just in this movie and an episode of Justice League Unlimited. But no, those are their only two appearances, and they are still iconic. 

2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

They are:

  • Bonk – a hulking, brutish Nosferatu/clown hybrid that was once a hardcore frontman and is now a spoken word grump
  • Chucko – a terrifying murder clown whose lower body was eventually replaced with a large beach ball
  • Dee Dee – Harley Quinn’s granddaughters and twin Sabrinas 
  • Ghoul – a Halloween pumpkin man in a witch hat 
  • Woof – an honest-to-god cyberpunk werehyena 

You’d think this colorful cast of circus-themed horror weirdos would make for an incredible toy line done in the Kenner-disguised-as-Hasbro style. But that wasn’t quite what we got. 

I’m here to take an in-depth look at the toy line we actually got for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and there’s neither a werehyena nor an especially large clown in sight. 

Here’s a review of each figure from Hasbro’s 2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker toy line. 

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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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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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