GeneralsJoes Guest Review – ComicCon Missile Command Center

Hi all, I’m back again.  I must be a glutton for punishment.  It’s either that or Justin in getting lazy.  Probably all three.  You read that correctly.  It’s that time of the year and we’re all a buzz about the new reveals and great exclusives at San Diego Comic Con.  I just wrapped up the Revolution crossover set review yesterday and now I’m onto the G.I. Joe-specific Missile Command Center.  I was at Joe Con during the i09.com reveal and this set took us by a pleasant surprise!  I was also close enough to see the set in the case, take it in as much as I could at con, and knew it was going to be a great piece.  FYI, I run around like Joe Con like a lunatic (or maybe I should replace “like” with “as”) and don’t really experience the new product until I get home so we basically have the same view.  Besides, if I really did take the view, I would be there for hours and in everyone’s way.  Well, more than normal.

So yeah, the MCC (I’m not typing Missile Command Center every time, though I could c ‘n p), let’s rap.  Nostalgia seems to be the strong, underlying current of many of our major brands and this set was a healthy dose straight down the hatch!  To recap, this set was a vintage, store exclusive that consisted of every Cobra The Enemy action figure produce at the time (all three) and a cardboard missile command playset.  Cardboard playsets seemed to be an easy exclusive to produce and were well received growing up.  Well received, that is, if knew the store sold it.  But who didn’t?  One of the greatest childhood memories for children of the 80s and before was staring for days at the toy catalogs of major retail chains.  We circled over and over the ones we wanted and checked off the ones we had.  And, on the other side of the coin, the fragile cardboard rarely survived the sands of time, thus creating a very desirable adult collectable piece.  You know this reviewer is always going to give you the straight talk (not what the internet falsely says 60s Iron Man gives) and say G.I. Joe is currently an “Emerging Challenger Brand,” which means a few things, but for this set means primarily adult collectors.  This notion of adult collectors being the focal point can only be reaffirmed by a trip to Joe Con.  And, like I said in the previous Revolution, I self-identify as a G.I. Joe-specific collector so this is my wheelhouse.

Packaging

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I do own a vintage MCC but I do not own one in package.  A google search can show you the differences but I don’t know the size comparison.   Your google search will agree with my point that this thing is almost indistinguishable!  I briefly wondered if this set would be considered 25th style or something similar and it’s close but not really.  I am dubbing it “hyper-vintage.”  I don’t care if it sticks or not, (I actually do, I’m sensitive like that) but I do think this set goes even further to gives us the nostalgic feel than even the 25th set out to do.  One can obviously recognize the 4” styled Cobra in the upper left tunnel but, other than that, any change requires some advanced insight of the vintage set.  Pawn Stars will have to call in their expert to confirm.  Derry DePriest introduced this set at Joe Con while systematically introducing the name Bobby Vala to the fans as the new guy on the Joe brand.  I will be crediting him for his awesome work throughout this interview and will start by saying his attention to detail is intense and his desire to recreate a nostalgic purity is so intense, weathering affects were even applied to the outer box.  Holding it really makes you feel like you’ve found a legitimate holy grail at the flea market.*  And for an MSRP of $50.  No coming home with a loose “Frankensteined” Lightfoot/Scoop, two dirty Sneak Peeks, and a gold Steel Brigade thigh for $50, we hit the jack pot!

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*Designer’s note:  I notice while absorbing the packaging and taking in the “weathering” application, the UPC is starch white (I’m confident for easy scanner readability if this was ever brought to retail).  This is by no means a knock, just a fun facet of the process.  We truly live in a digital era.

Action Figures

So, start with easy part.  The set comes with three characters, Cobra Commander, Cobra Officer, and “Cobra” Trooper.  These three characters laid the foundation for the terrorist cell…, err, enemy camp and have remained at the forefront of the Cobra The Enemy antagonist since.  And, reiterate what was stated before,  they were in the vintage set.  It is this reviewer’s opinion that early “A Real American Hero” is gaining an a bit of an uptick in popularity and these figures capitalize on this resurgence.  But let’s further state the obvious and say we live in a 4” G.I. Joe world and the new, sans O-ring, style reigns supreme.  All three of these action figures utilize tooling we’ve seen from the 25th Anniversary series up until the 50th (“50”) series.  However, these action figures each hold their vintage counterparts to a higher level of accountability and further dial in the “vintage accuracy” to a level not yet seen.

Cobra

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No, I didn’t forget the word “Trooper” in the title, this is an homage to his 1982 naming convention (on both the card back and file card).  Children of the 80s didn’t need everything spelled out for them, we read between the lines that this was the trooper.  This is the classic go-to for that nostalgia kick.  As a guy who’s dabbled in nostalgic card backs, it really boils down to the minutest details.  The action figure’s core derives from The Pursuit of Cobra series and, hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  It does, however, modify the legs to showcase the sleeker elements of the 1982 figures but including the pockets and slightly eccentric (for combat) boots.  The blue is even a richer, deeper blue that hasn’t been seen since 1982.  This blue output further convinces me the team was striving for accuracy.  Oh, and to nail down my point, the gloves are blue.  It. really. is. the .little. things.

Cobra Officer

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Cobra Officer follows much of what I said about the Cobra Trooper…, er…., I mean Cobra.  The blue is the same deep, rich blue and finds its foundation in the same The Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Trooper but takes his own steps to pull from his vintage roots.  The legs are a slightly different, yet just as sleek, configuration that more accurately tackles the vintage legs.  He is armed with a recently tooled AK-47 and has his respected silver emblem.  Honestly, when it boils down to it, what’s good about the Cobra is good about the Cobra Officer.

Cobra Commander

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The Enemy Leader rounds out the set’s trifecta.  He utilizes the “Ultimate” version’s foundation from Retaliation but is then modified with the 25th torso so he can put his laser pistol on his back.  The blue on him is a richer blue and, again, much more vintage accurate.  The biggest nod to the vintage Cobra Commander is the early logo commonly known as the Mic…, err, famous rodent that is very protective of it’s IP.  Don’t pick up what I’m laying down?  Here’s your internet search homework. Trust me, this is a hot little nod.  Again, little things (I’m think I’m going to say that a lot with this set).

To round it out, these core/founding members of Cobra have been regular occurrences in the A Real American Hero and, more specifically, the last ten years.   Oh yeah, it’s the ten year anniversary of the 25th Anniversary line that started this size off, I wonder if Hasbro new this?  Ok, squirrel, back on topic it’s very hard to impress the 1982 Cobra Commander, Cobra (Trooper) and Cobra Officer onto a guy who’s archived ten or more of these and this set passes the test.  If someone would’ve described just the idea of these three figures in a sentence or two, I would’ve been apprehensive; but, believe it or not, I like to be proven wrong.  It was really great to get back to G.I. Joe’s foundation and wouldn’t mind seeing some more strategic approaches to 1982-83.

Missile Command Center

To give a quick history lesson for anyone who’s not familiar, the A Real American Hero was originally designed to be a vehicle line but the action figures stole the show.  I always say we took that little tag line “collect them all” a little too literally.  However, in this case, I think the Missile Command Center is the star of the show.  Whether it’s nostalgia or rarity, reintroducing the MCC was a great idea and, without being in the boardroom, seems like a perfect product to surprise SDCC, appeal to that market, easy to produce (Bobby might disagree), and hit a specific price point.  This armchair wannabe toy designer is going to dub it brilliant!  These cardboard sets were always great for kids.  I’m forty years old, so I’ll try not to sound like I’m telling the kids to get off the lawn when I say I think we were drawn more towards assembly, cut out pieces that were, looking back, lower tech.  I wasn’t a model builder but I think that we’re the last generation actively embraced that (I’m not deeming the hobby dead but I recognize it is past its hayday.  Not hatin’, just statin’) and this set gave me that feeling.  I’ll be honest, it’s been so long since I put a cardboard set together, I was a little rusty. 

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The original set was ingeniously designed and very dynamic, considering it’s simply a few pieces of flat cardboard.  Once assembled, it really forms an intriguing piece.  It’s so simple, yet so intricate and so fun.  Whether you own one or not, I’m sure avid fans are all too familiar with the piece and probably have the image burned into their monitors due to extensive projection (do monitors still do that?).    Oh, and this set takes the piece one step further.  Like I said, Joe Con for me is like a whirlwind, I didn’t notice that all the art was recreated.   I thought it was a simple scan, clean-up, and then produce.  That’s not the case.  Bobby took the time to recreate every minute detail.  Both of Maxim Bady’s tag lines came to mind (look him up, I think he’s hilarious).  Everything is so crisp and yet the art and color palette makes you think this the vintage art.  I’ll say this, if you prefer the “imperfect” / hand drawn art by Ron Rudat, (the seemingly future-tech used on Castle Gray Skull, other card board sets, and other Heavy Metal inspired art), I think you’ll look at Bobby’s art and see it as your child mind thought you saw in the 80s.  It wasn’t when I put the two together that I could really pick them both apart.  Well, besides the decade of dust I had to remove and the now 35 years of cardboard aging that time has applied to my vintage one.   Real quick, I couldn’t find my vintage chairs.  I’m pretty sure I put them someplace where they wouldn’t’ be damage and that was seriously around the time I started the R.A.H.C. Guide (late 2005).  There’s a reason why I don’t showcase my collection, you can see a pile of tubs at Walmart anytime you like.

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So, we have nostalgia, check.  We have a contemporary update, check.  And we have a great pricepoint, check.  Some few points of interest and need to knows.  This is cardboard.  No, I’m not giving you sass.  Well, I am, but I really want to clarify you might want to think out putting yours together and study the blueprints if you do. This is especially important if you’re a picky collector like me.  Start by cutting the bags open, not trying to save them.  The bags are durable but will stretch when trying to simply remove the tape.  Failure to acknowledge this might close the plastic in on the cardboard and damage the cardboard.  Second, the tabs are meant to hold this thing together.  Not another “duh” moment, I say this because I am treating this piece like a one way street.  My tabs did bow, bend, and split when I inserted them.  It’s not a knock on the product, it’s just how cardboard is compared to the demand that’s being placed upon it.  However, most important, the “U” shaped console is very thing at the points where the center angles into the sides.  It almost seems like it’s supposed to fold there but it is not.  My impetuousness suffered some very slight folding but whatever.  Half way into assembling this thing, it reminded me that it is cardboard and not meant to last.  Cue “Dust in the Wind.”  These imperfections are not noticeable unless I point them out but I can’t help but notice every little detail on things once I analyze them.  Ask my shrink, he hears about it every Thursday.  Just kidding.  He dropped me as a client year ago.  If you are pickier than me, my condolences.  But seriously, you might just want to admire it flat and from afar.  I will, however, strongly encourage you to not only buy one but to just dive in and put it together. 

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I am not engineer-minded, though not engineering inept, it might help to start a conversation with the fans and figure out ways to refine the process and simultaneously reinforce the piece if you want to increase durability.  At this point, you’re asking cardboard not to be cardboard and I don’t know what to tell you about that.  However, I am extremely confident our fandom has the talent and the solution and, at this point, you’re asking this shirtless jungle reviewer to go on a mission in the arctic.  I’m not Gung-Ho (that’s not what she said).

File Card holder

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Have I mentioned it’s all about the little things recently?  Because, if not, it is.  This set even includes the foldable file card holder, meant to hold all original thirteen file cards.  This piece was originally in the vintage set so itz ghottztah be in this recreation.  This piece makes a great little knickknack to put on your desk or to round out your Joe area.  An interesting not, the file card holder has the vintage card art on it, not the 25th art.  Or, if it has 25th art, the thumbnails are so small, you can’t tell.  A quick interesting point of interest, the “Bazooka Soldier” is labeled the “Rocket Launcher Soldier.”  I wonder why that is. 

And if you think I forgot to mention the red back file cards, you’re crazy.  RED BACK FILE CARDS!!  We Joe collectors love our red backs.  I recently contributed to a fan project that wanted a file card and the group wouldn’t move past the file card being red back.  And why would they??  It’s just another simple, yet essential, aspect of the set that puts a nice cherry on a superb sundae.   The file cards are meticulously designed to emulate the originals, yet utilize the 25th card art and have a few missing details no longer used by Hasbro proper (flag points).  But c’mon, are we going to cut our red backs?  I think that’s a shunning from the hobby.  I don’t know, I’ll have to check the bylaws. 

Conclusion

If you haven’t been picking up on my enthusiasm towards this set, then you’ve been simply looking at the pictures.  I don’t blame you; I don’t read Justin’s commentary either.  And I’m totally a tl;dr reviewer.   If you’ve always wanted a MCC or wanted an nice crisp one than this is you set.  If you can’t get enough of the Cobra Command, this is your set.  If you already have a nice MCC…, well…,  forget you.  Just kidding.  You might want to put your vintage one in a hermetically sealed case and display this recreation.  I am confident you will get the same level of enjoyment.   I know you get four stars for showing up in a review around here so I don’t know how to rate this.  I tend to think you’re either in or you’re out so this one’s in*.

*Yes, guys who archive toys are biased because we own everything anyway, leave it be.

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If you are near Dayton, OH, I will be at the Ohio Toy and Comic Show and will have these exclusives there to view.  Find me or check out the What’s On Joe Mind? panel, I stand in for Justin (someone has to draw the short straw).  I have always enjoyed the SDCC sets more than most and this one keeps that spark alive.

GeneralsJoes Guest Review – ComicCon Revolutions Boxed Set

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Hi, all!  James “KuuKuuSon” Kavanaugh Jr. jumping in and I think this is my first review, at least first for GeneralsJoes.com.  Justin, is that correct?  Eh, he’s probably off hob-knobbing with all the other big shot toy reviewers.

Well, here I am, off to the good stuff (the review if you’ve listened to too much What’s on Joe Mind? and thought other ideas).  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the Hasbro/IDW San Diego Comic Con 2017 Revolution crossover set and, let me tell you, this. set. is. AMAZING!  If you’re out of the loop or kept your heads in your vintage Marvel Joe comics, IDW has merged their existing G.I. Joe and Transformers universes together and brought in the new classics Action Man, ROM, Micronauts ,and MASK (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand) to take action and adventure to new levels.  Children are notorious for mixing their various toy lines in their play (admit it, at least tried it) and this premise really helps to bring back that feeling.

At this point, I’ll clarify by saying I self-identify as G.I. Joe guy through ‘n through, though I own a copy of almost every Transformers comic and have picked up every IDW copy of every title listed above in the Revolution universe.  I’ve always felt review readers should know where the reviewer is coming from as well as where I’ll be going in regards to my preferred brands and explain why my perspective may not nail other brands.  I will say, seeing each brand come together certainly made me excited for everyone.  I was born in 1977 in the United States to round out my perspective.

So is this a review of the set or biography?  Why not both? (que the Old El Paso taco girl).  I am laying the foundation of “me” because the undertone of this set will seem like the overtone by the end of the review and that undertone is nostalgia.  At least half of this set hasn’t had much of a presence since the 80’s and it’s quite the welcome feeling. Of course I remember Joe and Transformers, I also loved watching MASK every day and the holograms on the Visionaries toyline were hypnotic.  My age tells you I was a bit too young for Micronauts but caught up when they made a resurgence in the early 2000s.  ROM was a new one to me but those I trust to have a well-rounded and educated understanding of comics were stoked to see his return.  Apparently, in a pop culture sense, the comic surpassed the toy in many ways and developed a devout cult following.  The final reason why I felt it was important to give a background on “me” is every 4” action figure in this set derives from 2007+ G.I. Joe tooling, which is almost like they designed the set to dangle in front of me.  Eh, they would’ve had me anyway. 

The set is $100 and I find that more than fair.  I put current 4” action figures at $10 a piece MSRP and there are six of them so divide the $40 between a mid-sized Transformer and nine Micronaut figurines.  You’re hard pressed to convince me that alone isn’t a win.  What those figures consist of makes this set worth waaaaaay more than $100 as we’ll discuss in the review.

Transformers

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I thought I’d start with, from my perspective, the easy one and that’s Jetfire.  I had the original Jetfire as a child so I’m biased towards him.  This one, however, is way more dynamic.  He is currently in more of the forefront (of a flashback) in IDW’s current story but a great character to speak for his brand.  When this set was announced, I was made aware that this mold has some fan demand to it, so I’m glad they’re able to have another chance to obtain him.  He’s a pretty straight forward Transformer.  The modern designs are structural masterpieces and almost puzzle–like.  My age also reminded me of the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” and that refers to my transforming skillz.  It took me a minute but I chalk that up to quality design.  I have every bit of confidence I could’ve tossed it to a kid and they would’ve transformed him as fast as a Rubix Cube champs works his cube.  The paint apps are solid, the plastic is durable, and the quality is fine.  I’ll take this time to clarify that, when it comes to action figures like this and we know this is a rare figure rerelease, I am more than confident there are better reviews of the toy out there and I would be doing the toy a disservice by expanding beyond the pictures.

Micronauts

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I’ll get the “bad” out of the way for you and clarify/state the obvious that all nine Micronauts are unmovable figurines.  However, I’m not going to say that’s a bad thing.  Micronauts are what their name implies (you’re going to have to educate yourself if you don’t know what I’m getting at) and they are just that.  I think the figurines are the perfect size for everyone to play with as is and within the crossover experience.  Plus they’re nine of them.  Reading the Micronauts comics, I find the designs to arguably be the most dynamic and perfect fusion of vintage foundation with innovative redesigns.   And that is a huge compliment from me as someone who thinks tweaking nostalgia can be a very slippery slope for vendor and customer.  I liked and agreed when I read the comment online about a potential figure/game combo coming from these figures.  They could certainly work as table top pieces.  The plastic is decent, slightly bendy, yet able to stand with little falling (something I’ve noticed to be a problem with cheaper figurines).  And to wrap this portion of the review up as a bad/good/bad clarification sandwich, I can take a step back see this set as a whole and dub the approach as using “strategic tooling” to hit a specific price point.  The review will round out this comment but, for now, I’m confident nine Micronauts fit in with six 4” figures and a decent Transformer guides the Micronauts into a figurine format and that’s fine the moment you have them in hand.  Micronauts forged the 1:18th scale action figure phenomenon, so I’m confident we’ll see larger and movable Micronauts in the near future.

MASK

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Onto the first of the six 4” action figures and I thought, once again, I’d start with an easy one.  Matt Trakker is easy for a “Joe guy” because we received Matt Trakker in 2008 and he was deemed a member of G.I. Joe.  The 2008 Matt Trakker suggests that the crossover universe was on Hasbro’s mind as far back as them and only helped us out now.  This version reuses previously seen G.I. Joe body tooling and accessories and, the parts choice more accurately reflects the stylized approach IDW is taking.  The reds are richer and the greys are darker.  This figure seems to really punch.  Side note, I understand the output of the 2008 version, he is a product of the tooling available at the time whereas the Revolution Matt Trakker had the advantage of a much larger tooling catalog.  Neither is better than the other.  Speaking of difference, yes, there is one very noticeable difference, the IDW version is no longer a blonde, white male but a black male.  I need to make a point to confirm this but I am confident the change derives from a certain team we all know already had a blonde, white leader.  Seemingly unrelated, early super hero costumes’ simple and bright tropes derive from easy recognition on the reader’s part.  I’m sure Duke will be interacting with Matt Trakker in the storyline and these minor tweaks will help move the story along for the audience.  This assumption doesn’t wash over the point that diversity has been actively addressed in all facets of modern society and sited as an important component of the shared universe going forward.  I think it’s safe to assume we will be seeing more gender and ethnicity changes in the future if we haven’t already.  Outside of that, the head sculpt is simply stunning!  This very charming head sculpt will certainly be appealing for expert customizers and LBC’s alike.  Yes, I can admit an action figure is handsome.

Action Man

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Another handsome chap in plastic form is Action Man.  If you’re unaware, Action Man was a direct cousin to the G.I. Joe 12” line and has been seeing a resurgence across the pond.  I seem to recall Action Man specifically hitting US shelves at a certain point but I’ve always been a 4” fanatic (except for MOTU, that’s another story).  Action Man in the Revolution set looks like he’s peeled right off the comic pages.  The body is familiar tooling but the blue with orange striping really makes Action Man pop.  Orange has been made a staple of Action Man’s color palette and the combination makes him look ready for action. I think you have to say action as much as possible whenever you’re having a conversation about Action Man.  His accessories are also familiar and the plastic and paint quality is the same for all the 4’ figures.  I am a bit of a stickler for paints and this entire set checks all my boxes (a big plus in my book).  The win for this figure is of course the head sculpt.  Another dashing head that has a slight comic/cartoon tinge, but a head sculpt works with the paint scheme.  His hair is tussled, his smirk is brazen, he’s a young James Bond ready to do the impossible mission and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

ROM

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Like I said, when IDW first announced the shared universe, ROM was a new concept to me.  Also, like I said, if my cadre of “experts” says it’s a go, I’ll give it a shot.  And (while I’m adding conditions) since the comic overshadowed the toy, ROM moved away from a blocky robot and gained a blocky/humanoid hybrid esthetic.  The designer accurately chose Battle Armor Cobra Commander’s legs to set the ground work and gave him muscular arms to bridge the gap.  FYI, ROM is a humanoid encased in the robotic armor and sworn to fight the Dire Wraiths, having an element of humanity in the character is important.  The chest and head sculpt (as well as his iconic blaster) are all new.  Plus he’s shiny.  Kid James liked shiny.  I’m going to leave for a bit and stare at the shiny.  Just kidding (or am I?  You’ll never know when this was stopped and resumed).  These parts are great and very accurately reflect the ROM seen in the comic books.

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The Dire Wraith also captures the pages of the ROM comic.  Dire Wraiths are aliens that kill humans and assume their form, typically assuming roles of those in powerful positions.  So, the underlying tone of the comic is you never know who is a Dire Wraith until they reveal their true form.  This figure in particular represents the point in the story when Doc is revealed to be a Dire Wraith.  Oh, did I spoil it for you?  Well, the bad news is you were spoiled the moment you looked at the figure because the satchel and body motif tells you exactly who it is…er, was… The arms are from the infamous Zombie Viper and do a great job to bridge the comic character to action figure form given the grand scheme of the set(see my budget comment in the Micronauts write-up).  The arms are great, the paint apps help punch up the tentacles and the darker approach to Doc’s uniform helps punch the Dire Wraith blue while darkening the overall tone of the villain.  The money on this piece is again the head sculpt.  This head wonderfully portrays the Cheshire grin that is the staple of a Dire Wraith.  They are an arrogant villain set on dominating Earth and ROM is intent on wiping that smile of their evil faces.

Visionaries

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This figure should’ve been last but, if you’ve read everything so far (my apologies), you’ve probably figured out my progression.  Why did I just waste your time there?  Because Visionaries are not yet in the IDW universe, nor do they have an active comic nor any press release announcing any plans.  Leoric certainly took us by surprise.  And, if you like Visionaries, he looks great!  Again, I leave the parts knowledge to the gang at joecustoms.com and other experts but, as far as I can tell, looks great.  The overall military (with a tinge of ninja) motif in G.I. Joe doesn’t leave much for sword and sorcery tooling, but the legs look great.  Besides, Visionaries had a bit of a modern take to them anyway.  Much like ROM, the big pay day is the chest, head, and helmet.  The head is fantastic and the helmet and body totally nailed his vintage look.  Did I say pay day?  Because this figure is money.  If the new parts weren’t enough, the staff is new and, along with his chest, have holograms in them!  I’ll be honest, that was my immediate concern when I first saw the press release and it is indeed a lot more holographic than the pictures assume.  They aren’t as holographic as the original (or how holograph stickers tend to look) but I have a feeling that it falls under my budget/price point commentary undertone in this review.  The blues are striking and accurately reflect the vintage toy and give it the 80s feel.

G.I. Joe

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So that’s all the new concept, some of which haven’t been seen since the 80s.  Everyone discussed above is enough to put this set on the “must have” list.   So why did I save the G.I. Joe last?  Biased, of course.  Yes and no.  This Joe isn’t just any Joe, it’s Roadblock.  Oh, huh… No, not huh, this isn’t just any Roadblock, this is the cancelled Renegades Roadblock head, chest, and overall build.  So, backstory, Renegades was a G.I. Joe cartoon in 2011 that, for reasons that are too long to write in an already long review, left Roadblock stuck in the “unreleased” queue.  The only member of the main G.I. Joe Renegades cast to be unreleased.  And, it’s argued that the cartoon Roadblock had the most personality out of the entire main cast.  This figure also had a second failing in 2012 when a Retaliation movie four pack was cancelled, a pack he was a member of.  Word that the figure was waiting in the wings has left collectors waiting in the wings for a future release and, after six years, the time has finally arrived!!  I need to ask around, but I am confident this is also his intended Renegades deco pattern.  It’s not exactly in sync with the comic palette but who cares!?  Long awaited Renegades Roadblock trumps crossover Roadblock any day.  This figure is so great, I am confident a more comic accurate version will sell just as well.  But back to the figure at hand, if the pictures don’t paint the picture, this Roadblock fits with the Renegades figures seamlessly!  I can’t say enough great things about this figure.  The weapons assortment appears to be the Pursuit of Cobra’s “Jungle” Duke but, again, who cares?  It was probably the set from his internal SKU number and there are plenty of “Ma Dueces” out there in weapons bins to load him up as you see fit.  The body is one we’ve seen a few times by now but it great to see it in its originally intended form.  Finally receiving this figure is as significant as finally receiving the characters above.  Big “KuuKuu” points (non refundable and I wouldn’t suggest you eat them) to Hasbro for providing us with this one.

So, if you’re still awake and reading, here we are.  Like I’ve eluded throughout the review, the set sells itself.  I hope these pictures satisfy those who can’t wait to see and obtain this set.  I’ll confess that mild mannered James is a bit helpless without his heavily artillery used for the Rank & File guides and I’m going to milk this “first review evah” crutch as long as I can.  If you picked up on my whimsical approach to this revue, it’s because this set did indeed make me feel like a kid again.  Archiving is probably the most “adult” think one can do with his toys (no, I’m not trying to convince myself I’m doing anything actually adult with my toys, though I probably should) and not very fun in the moment (first world toy guide problems).  It’s more of a delayed gratification.  From start to finish, this set was all about fun.  It was great to see these characters receive action figure form once again and the only way to accurately review them was to have fun with them. And, like I said, I am a G.I. Joe guy (mostly dictated by my wallet fyi) so getting a chance to transform a Transformer and pit my various toys against each other was a great thrill.  The Ohio weather isn’t polite to talk about, but being outside with my toys play working will be a highlight for this summer. I will be curious to see the overall reception of this set as well as what the results will bring in the future.  Joe Con told us something is changing for Joe and something can only change for every other property in this set beyond G.I. Joe.  But don’t wait for the future, live in the moment with this set and get it however you can.  This set jazzed me enough before I even received it to start the page layout for an upcoming guide.  Yeah, it’s not much but I thought this could at least double as an insight into where I start and where I’ll finish.  I am currently hashing out where these crossover action figures in the grand scheme of archiving but, again, I can’t stress enough that this set allows you to put all the “where does this belong in my ‘Joeverse’” malarkey and have fun.  Fun and action.  And action fun.

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GeneralsJoes Reviews Discount Store “Running Change” Snake Eyes

I remember like it was yesterday… the frantic post-G.I. Joe: Retaliation meltdown where everyone was convinced G.I. Joe was dead, the Dollar General exclusives were getting recalled, truly Deth of teh line!11!  Here we are a little less than a year later with a good chunk of pretty cool product to look forward to.  Included in that product is the “running change” versions of the aforementioned Dollar General figures.  So far being spotted in places like Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, these figures promise to be a bit more available than the previous ones.

I was able to get my hands on Snake Eyes, and you can either check out the review on my 30th Anniversary Review Page or the direct link below.

G.I. Joe Convention 12″ Last Man Standing Guest Review

A huge thanks goes out to JoeCzar, a G.I. Joe fan of all formats who stepped up and submitted an awesome review for the 12″ Adventure Team “Last Man Standing” Convention Set!  I was wow’ed by this set, especially with the obvious similarities between the Henchman and the Cobra Trooper.

You can find this review in the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club Exclusives section, or just linked below.  Again a big thanks to JoeCzar for hooking me up with the review and helping out!

GeneralsJoes reviews the SDCC Exclusive “Shockwave” HISS Tank

In celebration of San Diego ComicCon, which is quickly approaching, I completed my review of the soon to be released SDCC Exclusive “Shockwave” HISS Tank!  Kindly supplied by Hunter PR and Hasbro, I was extremely fortunate enough to get my hands on this a couple of days early so you SDCC attendees know what you’re getting into and why you’re waiting in that six hour line!

Check out the review on my 25th Anniversary Page, and also at the direct link below.  I know this doesn’t really belong in the 25th Anniversary necessarily, I’m still struggling to find a place.

GeneralsJoes Reviews Dollar Store Exclusive Cobra Commander, Trooper & Storm Shadow

The figures currently available at Dollar General stores nationwide are causing quite a stir in the community.  Hot demand combined with low quantities, and amplified by rumors of a recall (which I believe are totally false, for the record) has all jettisoned these figures towards the top of many fans’ want list.

But how are they really?  Once you look past the insane demand, how successfully are these as G.I. Joe figures?

GeneralsJoes gets to the bottom of it!  I’ve started with the bad guys first and will review the good guys tomorrow.

First, I do have to say I hope you all accept my apologies…I am still in mid-move, so as a result, my review station isn’t quite as optimal as it has been in reviews past.  I’m forced to use the Flash a lot more as I’m having trouble finding consistent lighting sources.  The result is that some images are washed out a little more than I would prefer.  Also, most of my figures are packed in storage, which has greatly limited my ability to do comparison shots.  I’m hoping once I’m settled at the beginning of July, I can straighten things out again and get my reviews back to the level you all expect, but I appreciate your patience until that happens.

Check out the first three reviews on my 30th Anniversary Review page, or linked below!

GeneralsJoes Reviews BBTS Exclusive Falcon, Mercenary, Zanya and Zandar

Florida Everglades.  0330 Hours.

“Come in!  Dammit, someone respond!”

Falcon slammed his radio against the nearest tree in disgust as Mercenary roamed over his way in a low, stealthy crouch.

“What’s goin’ on, LT?” Mercenary inquired as he drew close enough to talk in a whisper.

“Wish I knew.  We’ve got flamethrowers, sniper fire, and I just heard at least half a mag of 5.56, but nobody is responding.”

“Well…if no one else is gonna take the fight to ’em, might as well be us.” Mercenary gestured his head towards the direction he had come from.

“Explain.”

“Saw Zandar over that way.  He took cover after all hell broke loose.  I was ’bout to jump him, but figured I should get your say so first”

Falcon nodded and crouch-walked past the Renegades Mercenary, lifting his tactical shotgun out in front of him.  He couldn’t help but glance at the Cobra-issue Viper rifle that Mercenary still toted around from his past time in the Cobra Viper corps.  Falcon would be lying if he said he was totally comfortable with it.  But the Renegades were totally off the grid.  He could direct them, but had no say-so about their gear load out.

Falcon and Mercenary pushed through the brush as silent as possible, but stopped suddenly when they saw what appeared to be a young girl looking very worried at the surrounding chaos.  Flickers of flame shot ribbons of light throughout the thick woods, but they could still see the silhouette of the girl, but not much in the way of details.  Mercer used hand gestures to ask permission to proceed and Falcon nodded.  His face turned into a sneer as he set down the rifle, pulled out a pistol, then screwed on a silencer.

Slowly he pressed forward, reaching out to the young girl with a consoling hand.  Before he could bring her in to protect her from erupting gunfire, she whirled around and drilled him in the temple with an elbow, breaking out in laughter.  Mercenary stumbled backwards, squeezing off a trio of silenced shots, but they went wide even as the green-haired girl in the Zartan t-shirt pulled out her own large caliber Magnum.  Two thundering blasts rang from the thick barrel, glancing off of Mercenary’s appropriated Alley-Viper body armor as he stumbled to the ground.  Even though the shots were not direct impacts, breath exploded from his lungs and he was gasping as he dropped into the grass.

Zanya sneered and moved in, her pistol training on the fallen soldier, but Falcon was right in her path, lifting his shotgun.

“Don’t do it little girl –“

But before he could finish, an arrow drove deep into his right side, sending blood spraying from his lips and staining his green uniform.  Zandar leveled his crossbow and loaded another arrow.

“Did you forget about me, G.I. Joe?  That’s okay… everyone does.”

Finish your own adventure on my 30th Anniversary Review Page or click the links directly below!

Pre-Order this set at Big Bad Toy Store today!

GeneralsJoes Reviews BBTS Exclusive Red Dog, Bull, Thunder and Road Pig

Florida Everglades.  0325 hours.

Red Dog cursed under his breath as sniper fire rang out not too far away.

“Blast it”! He shouted as reinforcement.  “Where was that comin’ from?”

“Don’t ask me, ‘Dog”, Bull replied in his thick Turkish accent.  He lifted his rifle.  “Let us see if we can find out, eh?”

Normally operating as the Renegades, under the auspices of several layers of black ops protocols, their connections to the Slaughterhouse sometimes put them on operations in tandem with the Marauders, who were certainly a shade below gray themselves, but not quite as deep as the trio of Renegades.  While the Marauders were known for their quick strike ops against domestic and international targets, the Renegades were not.  In fact they were unknown completely.

Often times used in assassination plots and other unspeakable purposes, the unusually dressed Renegades chose to let their actions speak above their wardrobe.  Red Dog lifted his Desert Eagle pistol as he turned East in another flanking attempt, with Bull close behind.  They didn’t get far before the stench of motor oil mixed with sweat permeated the air.  But they could not see any vehicles…

The lacrosse stick club pounded Red Dog in the back of the head, though he had sensed it coming and was already shifting his momentum, so the blow was just a glancing one.  Bull spun rattling off gunfire from his silver machine gun.  Rounds drilled Thunder in the chest and tossed him back, but the funny looking lacrosse pads weren’t just for show.  They were reinforced with ballistic battle armor, and the Dreadnok motorhead rolled backwards into a low crouch, his teeth bared.

Bull was unfazed and started towards him, but was interrupted by a massive frame of a “man” slamming into him broadside.  Bull was no small person himself, and being the well trained acrobat that he was twisted effortlessly and landed on his feet, facing off against the mountainous Road Pig.

“Nice dodge, baldy,” snarled the monstrous white-haired Dreadnok.  Easily the strongest, most powerful, but least stable of the whole lot.  “But lessee you dodge THIS!”

Road Pig charged forward, his cinder block hammer swinging in a low, ferocious arc.

Red Dog had recovered and turned to help his friend, but suddenly, Thunder was upon him, wrestling him to the ground.  Red Dog’s Desert Eagle barked loudly, but only hit air as he felt himself being drilled into the swampy muck.

Finish your own adventure on my 30th Anniversary Review Page or click the links directly below!

Pre-Order this set at Big Bad Toy Store today!

GeneralsJoes Reviews BBTS Exclusive Spirit, Low Light, “Gnaw” and Zanzibar

Florida Everglades.  0310 Hours.

Already things were going South.  Desperately attempting a covert approach, the Marauders had been spotted and Burn Out had razed their team with his flamethrower.  As Barbecue separated to take on the aggressive Dreadnok, the team split apart, hoping to flank their disorganized enemy.

Only it turns out the enemy was not so disorganized.

Spirit wove seamlessly through the brush, almost becoming one with the jungle as he paced himself South, trying to find a way around the cackling Dreadnok.  His movements were smooth, slick, and silent, but even the quietest of hunter gives off heat amongst the cold leaves of the surrounding trees.

A quick shot rang out, which Spirit was a bit too slow to avoid, and took a bullet at his left hip as he dove to the ground.  Low Light, who had been following close behind, immediately dropped to a crouch and raised his rifle to his eye, quickly spotting the familiar curled hat of Australian poacher Dreadnok “Gnaw”.  The snarling ruffian let his rifle slope a little towards Spirit as he moved away.  The Native American Joe caught Gnaw’s scent now, and silently chided himself for not noticing it sooner.  He also quickly noticed amongst the thick brush, he had no immediate outlet, and could almost feel the heat of the infrared scope on his forehead.

Low Light squeezed off a shot, striking his target, the broad side of Gnaw’s rifle, shattering it.  The poacher shouted profanity and spun around, whipping a knife from a sheath in the small of his back.  Low Light jacked back the magazine, loading another round in the chamber, but another shot rang out to his right and struck him in the shoulder.  Grimacing, the sniper slammed to the thick jungle ground as the Dreadnok pirate Zanzibar was on him, casting aside his old school pistol for a blade of his own.  But Low Light was ready.

Ten yards away, Gnaw gracefully eased forward, his knife glinting in the moonlight, but suddenly his prey was upon him and Spirit descended like a jungle demon.

Finish your own adventure on my 30th Anniversary Review Page or click the links directly below!

Pre-Order this set at Big Bad Toy Store today!

GeneralsJoes Reviews BBTS Exclusive Barbecue and Burnout!

The Florida Everglades.  0300 hours.

Team Marauder silently eased through the underbrush 46 miles deep into the Florida Everglades.  Covert Military Operations are deeply frowned upon on domestic soil, so Hawk had elected to send in the team that could most easily be written off, should anything go South.  Joined by the Renegades, Falcon led Barbecue, Low Light and Spirit deep into the swampy glades, on the hunt for the Dreadnoks.

Over the past several months, the Dreadnoks had ramped up operations, turning to domestic terrorist groups for weapons transport and grunt work.  They were obviously planning something big.  The Marauders were there to stop it.

Just as Low Light’s infrared goggles flared to life, orange flame roared through the trees ahead, halting them in their tracks.  Burn Out roared a bellowing laugh as he trained the flamethrower on the infiltration team.  Barbecue surged forward.

The adventure awaits on my 30th Anniversary Review Page or click the links directly below!

Pre-Order this set at Big Bad Toy Store today!