Posts tagged 90s toys
Posts tagged 90s toys
I never found General Hawk that interesting as a character.
In the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon and the Marvel Comics series he was pretty much a boy scout, kind of boring without much personality beyond his leadership role.
The character got better story arcs when Devil’s Due started publishing G.I. Joe: ARAH comics in the early 2000s.
But then G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was released with Dennis Quaid playing Hawk, and that whole flick is revolting, as I’ve mentioned many times before.
Here’s the 1991 version of Hawk from Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: ARAH action figure series.
He was one of the few in that year’s line that didn’t come with a spring-loaded weapon. Instead he had a jet backpack with missiles that I seem to have misplaced.
Check out the Superman curl on the figure’s head. That’s actually a pretty good comp for Hawk. He stands for truth, justice, and the American way, just like Superman.
He also lacks internal conflict, edge, and has nothing going on aside from his “good guy” persona. Just like Superman. Or at least some versions of Superman, don’t get all riled up Super-fans.
Growing up in western New York, you could have a lot of fun with the “cold weather” Joes.
Most years, Hasbro would produce a G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero action figure dressed in winter gear — guys who had “cold weather” code names like Snow Job, Blizzard, Frostbite, Sub-Zero, Iceberg, and the figure you see above, Cold Front.
On the other side of the coin, there were a handful of “cold weather” Cobra villains, like Ice-Viper and Snow Serpent.
In the winter months, I’d go outside with these guys and get into all kinds of adventures. Guys would get buried in avalanches or trapped in ice, you know how it goes.
Cold Front was released in 1990 with the Avalanche snow tank. It was always more fun when you could introduce a vehicle into the action. It gave guys something to fight on top of, like the tank fight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
I never thought of Cold Front as a superstar in my Joe army. My favorite “cold weather” character was actually Wind Chill.
I’ll get around to posting him sometime.
I need to start pulling out more of the Joes from the 80s, because I’m getting tired of these “Battle Corps” figures.
It’s not surprising that I have so many, I had almost every G.I. Joe Hasbro produced in this era.
Here’s Frostbite — the second version — from Hasbro’s 1993 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series.
While I think the remodeled Frostbite had a nice look, I’ve long complained about the “Battle Corps” series and the way their accessories were packaged in a plastic “tree” that made them less personalized to the individual figure.
Does that makes sense? What I’m trying to say is the older Joes came with their own weapons and accessories that were made by a better quality plastic.
These “Battle Corps” figures were packaged with a bunch of different weapons that were previously produced for other figures.
In Frostbite’s case, he came with a shotgun and machete that were originally packaged with Muskrat in 1988. Why the Joe “Arctic Commander” came with a machete is beyond me, but it proves my point that this plastic tree idea was stupid.
Frostbite also came with two other rifles that were packaged with many different figures, “Mega Marine” Clutch being one of them.
I was a bit too young to understand Cold War politics in the 80s.
Sure, I knew The Wolverines and Rocky were pretty much responsible for keeping America safe, but I wasn’t reading the newspaper every day like I do now.
I also remember the G.I. Joe cartoon and comic books occasionally featured a team of Russians known as the Oktober Guard.
Both teams would cross paths and get into little skirmishes, but at the end of the stories they would always team up to fight Cobra.
For the longest time I wanted Hasbro to make action figures of the Oktober Guard, but that wasn’t going to happen. I’m sure politicians in the 80s would have had kittens if they knew kids were playing with toys of Soviet soldiers.
But after Hasselhoff brought down the wall Hasbro decided it was okay to move forward, and that’s how we ended up with Big Bear.
According to his file card, Big Bear is a member of the Oktober Guard who “can be meaner than a Siberian wolf with its leg caught in a steel trap and wilder than a Murmansk fur merchant.”
I get it. He’s Russian.
If that wasn’t enough, how about this quote from Big Bear himself: You G.I. Joes! Airborne troops afraid to fall without parachutes! No guts!”
I enjoyed reading that in my worst Yakov Smirnoff accent.
Anyway, Big Bear was released with Hasbro’s 1992 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series. Like the rest of the figures in that line, he was packaged with a spring-loaded weapon — a missile launcher I’ve misplaced.
In case you’re wondering, it took almost 20 years for the rest of the Oktober Guard team to get their own action figures. I think they were sold at a convention. I’ve seen them on eBay, they go for beaucoup bucks. Too bad for me.
This is another one of those unfortunate Ninja Force figures added to Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series in the early 90s.
The character’s name is Nunchuck, but that’s not really important. Because what’s really important is the figure’s “Real Ninja Action” — in this case the “Samurai Smash” movement of Nunchuck’s right arm.
If you lift it up, it swings down. It’s that simple.
Simple, and, as I’ve said, aggravating. These spring-action movements made it difficult for the figures to hold accessories and limited their play value.
Ninja Force would continue for a couple more years, until the original Hasbro line met its end in 1994.
The ninjas are not missed.
Here’s another figure that turned 20 years old in 2012, G.I. Joe’s “bunker buster” Barricade.
I don’t get why he’s named Barricade. If his job is to break through barricades, why isn’t he called Breakthrough or Knockdown? Actually the second name is already taken by another Joe.
Turns out there was another Barricade too. A character from the Hasbro toy series C.O.P.S. had the same name, had the same “door buster” weapon and even had a dumb-looking helmet.
The C.O.P.S. version of Barricade is above.
Are these two Barricades related? Or did Hasbro think they could just slap old C.O.P.S. names on new Joes and no one would notice?
The same year the Joe Barricade was released, another character named Bulletproof debuted. That was also the name of a C.O.P.S. character.
I guess since G.I. Joe and C.O.P.S. were both products of the same company, Hasbro could do whatever they wanted.
You know, now I kinda want that C.O.P.S. figure. Maybe I’ll go check out eBay.
It’s 30-something degrees in Las Vegas right now, so I’m continuing with the “cold weather G.I. Joe” theme.
Posted above is Snow Serpent, Cobra’s Arctic infantry trooper from Hasbro’s 1991 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series.
This is the second version of Snow Serpent. The 1985 version came with snow shoes.
For the 90s update Hasbro went with a snowboard. But not just any snowboard, a snowboard with rockets!
This figure also has the “weapon really shoots” feature in the form of a spring-loaded rocket launcher attached to Snow Serpent’s backpack.
I don’t know about those colors for a villain. Purple and yellow really don’t make him look threatening. But they do make him look 90s.
Fortunately, Hasbro went back to the original Snow Serpent design for its newest figures. You can check em out over at YoJoe.com.
Here’s another figure from Hasbro’s 1993 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series: Firefly.
Firefly is a fan favorite. He’s introduced as the mysterious Cobra saboteur, and later revealed to be a ninja! I never saw it coming.
This figure is the third version of Firefly, released as part of the Battle Corps line of Joes, which all came with a gimmick, er, fireable weapon. His was a blade launcher that ran off a zipcord.
He’s also armed with a green rifle to match his green uniform. It was around this time that all the figures came with brightly-colored weapons.
It was never clear to me why Hasbro started producing figures this way, but I figure it’s one of three reasons: a) It was the early 90s and fancy bright colors were in, b) It was cheaper to make all accessories the same color.
It’s possible the third reason was to make them look less like real-life weapons. Up until this point, most G.I. Joe figures would come with guns that were black or gray. Maybe Hasbro was following the trend of all those squirt gun companies.
Back in the 80s you could buy a whole arsenal of squirt guns that looked real. By the time I turned 13 toy companies had replaced them all with Super Soakers, which were awesome, but couldn’t be mistaken for the real thing.
Anyway, back to Firefly. I hear he’s in the new G.I. Joe movie, the one that was supposed to come out last summer. He’s played by the guy who played the Punisher in Punisher: War Zone.
That’s all I got. Unless you want me to start talking about the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie.
Here’s another one of the last figures I bought from Hasbro’s original G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series.
This is Mirage, another member of the Mega Marines, those figures that came with Play-Doh armor.
As I mentioned before, the Mega Marines concept was kind of a last gasp for Hasbro as the popularity of the G.I. Joe series was waning.
By this time the cartoon had been off the air for some time, the comic book series was nearing its end, and the action figure line was breaking up into these subset “teams.”
There were the Mega Marines. There was also Ninja Force and the space-themed Star Brigade.
Hasbro even jumped on the Jurassic Park trend and packaged two Joe figures with dinosaurs for the Dino-Hunter Mission Playset.
Actually, I probably should have picked that up, I’ll bet it’s worth a ton of money on eBay.
As for Mirage here, he became a favorite of mine. I think I dug his awesome body armor and color scheme. It just screams early 90s.
One thing that changed about G.I. Joe toys in these later years was the addition of spring-loaded weapons. Hasbro was packaging the figures with missile launchers that actually shot little plastic missiles.
Mirage came with one. A big blue launcher that I seem to have misplaced.
That’s okay, he’s still got his machine gun. I never cared much for the missile launchers anyway. You could shoot your eye out!
You can’t tell by looking at the figure, but the cartoon version of this character looks a little bit like the alien beings in John Carpenter’s They Live.
It’s the eyes.
Who knows if he could take Roddy Piper in a fight, but the Range Viper was one of my favorite in Cobra’s Viper corps.
This figure is from Hasbro’s 1990 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series. He’s yet another of the enemy forces given the aforementioned Viper designation.
According to Range Viper’s file card, these soldiers specialize in “long-term operations deep within unfriendly territory, completely cut off from communications or supplies.”
The card also says Range Viper’s survive on a diet of “snakes, grubs, roots, berries, nuts and whatever slow rodents they can catch.”
This was one of four single-card figures I got from the 1990 series. At about this time my interest in G.I. Joe was waning. In a couple of years I would completely move on to X-Men.
But I still dig the Range Viper, mainly because of that face.