Showing posts with label G.I. Joe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label G.I. Joe. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Awesome leftover toys

Chelsea and I made the long, long drive to Buffalo, NY this past weekend for a friend's wedding. It was actually a lot of fun, even if I did spend most of the time eating way too much food. One of the best things about visiting my wife's family, is we usually don't need to spring for a hotel room while we're there. Almost all of them have a room or two to spare, and they offer much better service than any hotel ever could. The last night of our trip was spent at Chelsea's aunt's house, in her cousin's room.

When my father in-law first opened the door to the cousin's bedroom, it looked like your normal spare bedroom setup. There was a desk with an iMac, a set of book shelves and a dresser, and a large futon mattress in the floor. Since I was pretty exhausted, it took me a few seconds to notice all the relics hiding in plain sight. The excitement I felt gave me the energy to stay up at least another hour, giving me a chance to document some of the cooler stuff before I finally passed out.
If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the treasures I discovered in that room. If not, then keep reading, and get a more detailed look at my findings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pop Culture League Assignment: Shelfie

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers is dead. Long live the League! The Pop Culture League has risen from the pile of cast out toys, comics, and movies to take its place. So, what's this week's assignment?

Shelfie! Snap a picture or two of your favorite shelf.

I'm sure I've posted photos of my display case before, and I'm sure that things haven't changed much since then. Some pieces have gone on to other homes, while I've welcomed a few new additions. How about we get a closer look of dem shelves?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stunt Zombie makes some crystal in the kitchen.

The past few years, I kept hearing about this science show, where two guys create crystals in their kitchen and get into all kinds of adventures. I thought it sounded like fun, so I went out and bought my very own crystal growing kit. Let's go do some science!

If the back of the package is any indication, this should be easy, as well as fun. It certainly doesn't sound too difficult. Basically, you just dissolve some powder in water and you're done. It's not much different than making Kool-Aid. Except, you don't use rocks when you make Kool-Aid. Well, you might, but I know I certainly don't.

Pictured is everything you need to make your own crystals. The rocks, popsicle stick, display tray and powder were all included. You also need some newspaper to set everything on, because this stuff looks like it will stain anything it touches. The glass of wine wasn't part of the experiment, but it was still necessary. After I read the actual directions, I discovered the process is a little more involved. It requires filling the display tray, measuring how much water was in it, dumping that out, refilling the glass to the same level and then you dissolve the crystal powder. Okay, so it's still sorta easy. I'm just waiting for the fun part.

This is the packet of magical crystal growing chemical. I'm not sure what monoammonium phosphate is, but now I'm wishing I had worn gloves while I was doing this. If I start growing extra limbs, we'll know why. Once you have your water measured out correctly, you use it to dissolve 3/4 of this package. Just pour it right in and stir away.

Using the included stick, I stirred this stuff until my arm cramped up and it still wasn't fully dissolved. I was starting to get a little frustrated by all of this "fun", so I decided to add a little more power to the stirring operation. Time for the frother!

Now that's more like it. I wish I had thought of this earlier. It would have saved me the trouble of cramping my entire left side. I still wasn't able to get all of the powder to dissolve, so I eventually just said "Screw it", and dumped the mixture in the tray. I probably should have cleaned the frother off too, but I'm sure it'll be fine.

After you've filled the tray, you drop your rocks in, and then you sprinkle the remaining magic crystal chemical on top of them. You did remember to only mix in 3/4 of the package right? If not, I doubt it would even matter at this point.

Other than the photo on the front of the package, there are no other pictures showing me what each step is supposed to look like. I can only assume that this is what everything is supposed to look like when you're done. According to the directions, I could expect to see crystal growth in just a few hours. So, every couple of hours I would go back to the kitchen and see if anything was happening.

 It might look like the same photo three times in a row, but I promise you, these were all taken hours apart from each other. Chelsea eventually got tired of me hanging around waiting for the crystals to grow, and she shooed me out of the kitchen. Of course, I immediately forgot about the whole thing for the next few days, until I was told to get it out of the kitchen. By that time, it looked like this:

Apparently the trick to making crystals grow is to set everything up and forget about it for four or five days. I'm a little disappointed though. The package promised at least 3-4" of growth, yet this is barely out of the tray. Now I know how all my ex-girlfriends felt. So there you have it. It wasn't particularly fun, not that easy, and didn't teach me a single thing.

It does look like the sort of thing Cobra Commander would have lusted after on the G.I. Joe cartoon, so, that's something.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Tale of Two Dukes

These two Dukes were part of the haul sent to me by John of The Clawful Punch. The Duke on the bottom is from the Tiger Force line up, and I came close to owning him several times. He was the lone G.I. Joe figure hanging on the pegs at the local Five and Dime store. Sadly, most of the toys there were marked up quite a bit, so he never made the trip home with me. It's a shame too, because I rather like the look of the Tiger Force Duke compared to the original figure. One thing I find interesting, it looks like Duke was hitting the hair dye when he joined the Tiger Force. Maybe that blond hair of his stuck out too much in the jungle.

The one up top there is from 1992, the first year that all the main line figures came with a missile launching accessory. It's also the only version of Duke that I actually owned. He was my go to figure when I needed someone to lead the troops, then one day, he was just..gone. You see, it was really windy outside, and a friend of mine and I decided to attach shopping bags to our figures and toss them into the air. The wind would catch the bags and act as a parachute on the way down.  We had been doing this for a while, when my buddy tossed Duke up on another paratrooper mission. Unfortunately, it would be his last. A strong gust came up, and pulled Duke higher into the air. He kept going higher and started floating toward the creek. We started tossing rocks and dirt clods, trying to knock him down, but it was too late. The breeze carried Duke way, way out to the middle of the creek, where he finally crashed down. We were both amazed at how far he traveled, but that quickly turned to disappointment, and I lost interest in the game. Several years later, a friend of mine claimed that he found pieces of Duke washed up on the beach on the other side of the creek. I'd like to imagine he made it over there and survived for a while, before finally succumbing to old age and the elements.

Or he ended up in some guy's crab pots.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hasbro, you're pretty cool.

Many, many years ago, in the year 1994, I came across this insert in one of my G.I. Joe figures:

Photo from YOJOE.COM

An offer to buy the first guy to be known as G.I. Joe? Sure, I'll go for it. Something I find odd, the flier said to send in UPC's and money for shipping, rather than the usual flag points. I could have sworn I used flag points for this offer, but no matter. I quickly decided I wanted to get both figures. I already had a couple of the 12" Hall of Fame figures, and thought a 12" Joe Colton would look nice on the shelf next to them. He also came with that nice looking stand that had the plaque on the front. Just look at how dignified he looks in that picture. I could almost picture a 5 star general sitting in his office, looking at that figure and wondering, "What would Joe Colton do?". That's the kind of figure that an adult would proudly display in his study, next to the books on military theory and the model bi-plane. As for the 3 3/4" figure, I just needed someone that could boss around the little guys.

So I gathered up my UPC's (or Flag Points), wrote out a money order, and sent the whole thing off to Hasbro headquarters. The usual waiting period for these offers was 6-8 weeks,which in kid time is 10 minutes short of forever. I feel pretty certain that I pretty much forgot about the whole thing a few days after sending off the order. You would think I'd stake out the mailbox, waiting for any suspicious packages, but nope. Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I didn't feel some excitement over the prospect of getting G.I. Joe figures in the mail. I was turning 13 that year, but it's not like I had a lot going on in my life. I was getting to the point where I was starting to feel too old to want to play with toys, so maybe that's the reason for the lack of anticipation.

6-8 weeks later, I received two envelopes in the mail, both of them from Hasbro. The first one contained the 3 3/4" G.I. Joe, while the second contained this letter:

Photo from YOJOE.
I wasn't quite upset, but I was a little disappointed. Demand was too great, and rather than make more figures to fill all the excess orders, Hasbro decided to give the folks that missed out a refund. I always thought it was rather honorable of them to issue refunds, when they could have just kept all those checks and money orders. I'm sure they figured most people wouldn't have complained, since they were only out a dollar and a few pieces of cardboard. Hasbro did the right thing, but they weren't finished yet.

Not long after I got the letter from Hasbro, my parents bought a new house, and we moved. I had given away or destroyed most of my toys, and my mind was occupied with thoughts of girls, cars, and video games. The last thing I was thinking about were action figures. Then one day, I got a random phone call from one of my cousins. She had started renting our old house after we moved out, and she was calling to tell me I had a package waiting there. Since I didn't remember ordering anything, I was curious as to what could be waiting for me. My parents drove me to my cousin's house, and she handed me a rectangular cardboard box. Still puzzled, I opened it up to find this guy waiting for me:

Hasbro had sent a different version of Joe Colton to all of the folks that missed out on the original G.I. Joe offer. It still amazes me that they did something like this. Granted, this version used a standard body, and the arctic gear was already something they made, but I have to imagine this still cost them a bit of money. There really wasn't any reason for them to send these figures out, since they had already mailed people a refund for the other figure. Admittedly, it's not quite as cool as the version I ordered, but it's hard to beat a free action figure, especially one this size. It was a gesture that meant a lot to me, especially since I was entering those jaded teenage years. Arctic G.I. Joe Colton occupied a place of honor on my shelves for several years, until he went M.I.A.

So, if the person responsible for making the decision to send me a free figure is out there, all I can say is thank you. You're a pretty cool guy, or gal.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My childhood (adult) boredom survival kit

Not mine
I used to get candy in these cool little tins for Christmas and Easter, but I rarely put them to use. I'm thinking most of them were tossed out once I finished eating the candy. I think my mom may have put some to use a few times. I seem to remember seeing a beat up candy tin sitting on a shelf at some point. Anyway, I had my carrying case, I just needed to figure out what to carry. I went through my figures and picked out my absolute favorites, which happened to all be G.I. Joes. I was really into the toyline and the cartoon at that point, so it only made sense they would be my favorites. They were also smaller than Masters of the Universe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, so I could carry several of them at a time. Action figures weren't the only thing in there though. I used to include some of the smaller minifigures I got out of vending machines, as well as a Flipsiders game I got for Christmas one year. I had a few smaller Transformers that made their way in there as well. Sometimes, one of my smaller Lego sets would end up in there too. I would carry this thing everywhere.  It really was a childhood survival kit, seeing how it kept me from dying of boredom numerous times.

When Chelsea gave me the Star Wars lunchbox for Easter, it gave me an idea: I would build another boredom survival kit. It would contain everything I would need to keep me entertained for all of life's dull moments. 

Doesn't look like much, huh?  I could have packed twice as much in there, but this seemed like a good balance of interesting objects. Let's see what's in there.

Action figures! I had to include the G.I. Joes for nostalgia's sake. Normally, I wouldn't think Cobra Commander would be much of a match for Snake Eyes. I prefer to imagine that this C.C. has had some training in the martial arts, just so he can give Snake Eyes a hard time. As for the Star Wars guys, I had trouble deciding between Boba Fett and Bossk, or Luke and Darth. Luke and Darth won out because of that whole good vs. evil dynamic. What do Boba and Bossk have to fight about? Who gets to pick up the bill at Jabba's palace? Actually, that's not such a bad scenario..

Smaller action figures. I had a metric ton of small figures I would get from the vending machine at the local A&P. My favorites were always spaceships, monsters, and M.U.S.C.L.E figures. Sometimes I would toss in a Lego man as well. The purple mech and the Godzilla-type monster actually came from a vending machine, while the guy on the left is a Crayboth from Onell Design. Of course, everyone recognizes the guy on the right. Yeah these guys are small, but they're also simple, durable, and have no accessories to lose. 

Keychain Battleship, because I never know when I might come across someone that's up for a game. Surprisingly, most of the keychain games are actually playable. The downside is that the small size means there's no room for the pegs to register your hits and misses. Hence, the reason I included the next two items..

Pocket notebook and pen. Handy for jotting down where those pesky battleships are hiding, or what you need to pick up from the grocery store. It's also handy for those spontaneous games of tic-tac-toe or hangman. 

Monocular and flashlight. I had a secret obsession with spies as a youngster. I blame it on seeing James Bond films at an early age. I was a bit too young to understand that plot, but I always loved the gadgets. I never had anything quite as cool as 007's gear, but I did have a penlight and a pair of pocket binoculars. This is sort of an updated version of my childhood spy tools. Now I have all I need for some late night or long distance snooping. 

Plus, that pocket notebook will come in handy for jotting down any secret spy stuff.

*GASP!* Man, it's stuffy in there.

Aaron's thinking putty. I used to have a large tub of putty similar to this. It was the kind of stuff they gave to patients with hand injuries, to help rebuild strength and dexterity. I used to find dozens of ways to incorporate that into my play scenarios. Sometimes it would be a large, gelatinous creature out to consume the world, or it could be a moldable body armor for my G.I. Joes. Aaron's putty actually has the same consistency as the stuff I used to have, just in a smaller package. It also glows in the dark, and by default, anything that glows in the dark is awesome. The putty also has the faint aroma of bacon. Weird..

Sure I could have used the Star Wars tin to carry my lunch, but where's the fun in that?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What was in my pockets?

I posed the question on EDC forums a couple months ago, what would your 8 year old self have had in their pockets? Here's a pic of the sort of things you might find if I were to empty my pockets as a kid:

Going roughly from left to right:

1. Lip balm. I know there wasn't such a thing as Jolly Rancher lip balm when I was 8, but this is the only one I had at picture time. I seem to remember Chap Stik being the only option, and that came in two flavors, Regular and Cherry. Why do they make lip balms in different flavors anyway? It says right on the package that you're not supposed to eat it. Maybe it's to entice us to keep licking our lips, ultimately requiring us to use more lip balm. Those Chap Stik folks, they're smarter than you think.

2. Candy. In this case, a pack of Wrigley's DoubleMint gum. I almost always preferred gum to most other candies. It was always a tossup between Bubble Yum and Bubblicious, but they were pretty much equals in my eyes. The flavor never really lasted that long, but at least I could entertain myself by blowing bubbles. The great thing about those two gums is that they weren't particularly sticky, so if the bubble popped, it wouldn't take off half your face when you tried to pull the gum free. Sometimes I would choose Bazooka Joe, but that was only if I couldn't afford the other two. At least Bazooka got a little easier to chew after riding around in a warm pocket for a while.

3. Change. I was lucky enough to get an allowance for doing chores around the house. I could usually get $3-5 a week by helping to vacuum, wash the dishes, mow the lawn, etc..Eventually I started saving up my lunch money too, so by the end of the week I might have 6 or 7 dollars to buy myself something on our weekly shopping trips. That something usually ended up being a G.I. Joe or TMNT figure, unless I managed to save up for a couple of weeks, then I might get myself something bigger, like a vehicle or a Lego set. Course, now I wish I had just saved it all up and paid my way through school. Just one of the things to include in the note to my 8 year old self when they figure out how to send mail back in time.

4. Random keys. I don't know why, but I had this fascination with having a key ring. I would find random keys in our junk drawers,put them all on the same key ring and carry them around with me. Sometimes, when nobody was looking, I would try them in a lock, just to see if they worked. Fortunately, they never did.

5. Random gumball machine prizes. When I was in 3rd and 4th grade, my mom would take me to school and pick me up in the afternoons. On the way home, we would always stop at the A&P, and she would give me a couple of quarters to use in the gumball machines there. Most of the time I would get some random, cheap piece of jewelry, or a crappy sticker. Sometimes though, I'd get lucky enough to find a small plastic spaceship, or a knockoff M.U.S.C.L.E. (which will just be MUSCLE from now on) figure. At least I thought they were knockoffs. It seems I happened to find the only vending machine in existence that was stock with actual, real as can be MUSCLE guys. Purple mech and Possible Godzilla/Ultraman villain here would have thrilled me as a kid, and I would have carried them everywhere.

6. Paperclips. Along with random keys, I would always keep a paperclip with me. This was about the time I was first exposed to MacGuyver and his ingenuity with common household objects fascinated me. I wasn't old enough for a Swiss Army Knife at that point, but I had no trouble getting my hands on paperclips. All I needed was a rubber band and some toothpicks, and could make a tiny bow and arrow. Or, if I had just seen a spy movie, I would try my luck with making a lockpick. I think I managed to actually open one lock, though it was one of those cheesy padlocks on a tin full of chocolate. Still, I got me some of that chocolate.

7. G.I Joe figures. I always had a favorite G.I. Joe figure. Most of the time it was Snake Eyes, but every now and then, someone else would edge him out. Some days it would be Freefall, Big Ben, or before I lost him, Tunnel Rat. I would always leave their weapons at home, for fear of losing them. Thanks to those guys, I never had a dull moment at the grocery store, or at my grandmother's house. We would always find some sort of trouble adventures to get in to.

So that's the sort of stuff 8 year old Chris would have carried. What about all you other folks?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Airtight alibi

JBoy's post over at Revenge From the Cosmic Ark reminded me that I had the newest incarnation of the Joe no one wants to shake hands with..Airtight. This version came out in the G.I. Joe: Renegades line, and while other characters from the show looked like their cartoon counterparts, Airtight was done in the more realistic style.

As you can see, he's quite an improvement over the original version, and he comes with a ton of accessories.

Yeah, that smell is most definitely coming from you.
Airtight comes with his Hazardous Environment Containment Rifle and purification backpack, as well as the little gas chromatograph he's holding here. Hasbro actually gave us a choice of backpacks this time around. You can go with his purification backpack:

or you can us the oxygen tank pack.

Airtight also comes with a pretty wicked shotgun, for taking out any Compound Z Zombies he may come across.

Dude, not in the face!
One of the best things about the new style figures, is the updated articulation. I'd never be able to get the older figures to hold a shotgun like that. In the end, Hasbro took a character that I didn't have the slightest interest in, and made him exciting. Yo Joe!

I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum,and I'm all outta gum.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Specialist Trakker of...G.I. Joe?

Today I have yet another toy that I won from Eric over at Toyriffic.

 Specialist Trakker is actually Matt Trakker from the M.A.S.K. toyline, reworked for the G.I. Joe universe. If you don't know what M.A.S.K. is, then go to The M.A.S.K. Page, and lose yourself for a couple of days.  Basically, M.A.S.K. was a toy line that featured vehicles that were filled to the brim with weapons, and would transform with the push of a button. They all came with figures that wore hi-tech masks that had special abilities. The biggest selling point for me were that all the vehicles looked normal until you activated their action features.The vehicles were also in scale with each other, as well as the figures they came with. It was an amazing toy line, and I wish I'd owned more of them.

This has to be one of the most serious action figures I've ever seen. Most figures have a neutral expression on their face, but Trakker here looks like someone just insulted his mother for the last time. That's the sort of face that could be the last thing you see if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've actually read complaints on some message boards, that the sculpt and likeness on this figure are off. In my mind, that's coming from people that just like to nitpick. The fact that this figure was even made should be enough to make any critic shut their pie hole.

Specialist (Matt) Trakker also comes with a helicopter backpack that originally belonged to Annihilator from the original G.I. Joe toy line. The only difference is that Hasbro customized it with the same color scheme from Condor, a M.A.S.K. vehicle that changed from a a helicopter. See what they did there?

Altogether, this is one of the coolest figures I own. It's just a shame that Hasbro never saw the need to produce more figures from M.A.S.K .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cobra Commander....of Dollar General?

I kept hearing about Dollar General carrying a small selection of G.I. Joe's, but since my area is right next to B.F.E, they hadn't shown up in our local stores yet. Then, a couple days ago, I stopped by the local DG to pick up a couple items, when I walk past the toy aisle and had the G.I. Joe logo catch my eye. These guys have been written about in numerous other blogs, but if you're not familiar with them, basically Hasbro put out a line of 6 figures especially for Dollar General Stores. They have very little in the way of paint apps, and come with fewer accessories than their more expensive brethren. In the end, I couldn't help myself, so I ended up getting Shipwreck and this guy:

That's the good ol' car salesman turned terrorist organization leader himself, Cobra Commander. He's actually not bad for what is essentially a dollar store figure. He has very little in the way of paint applications,but I think all black kinda works for this guy. He also comes with a nifty sword;

a pistol;

and of course a figure stand. When I was examining his pistol, I happened to notice it bore a resemblance to a couple of real life handguns.

Cobra Commander's sidearm

AMT AutoMag

Wildey Magnum

It seems like Cobra Commander's gun is an almagation of the two, blending the Wildey's frame with the AMT's barrel. I just thought it was an interesting choice for a sidearm. I really wouldn't be surprised if CC's was in some fictional caliber, such as .42 Viper or 11mm Rattlesnake. Cause, you know..snakes and everything..

Hmm...did I fire 7 shots, or only 6?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Grocery shopping...

Bob is a stingy zombie, and rarely shares his food. That's fine really, I've never been fond of brains.

It would be nice if he at least offered though.

Meet the Stunt Zombie!

With a name like Stunt Zombie, I almost feel like this blog needs a mascot. Well, after many, many painful auditions, I've finally settled on one:

Huh..I don't remember him having that helmet before the auditions. Perhaps he's just a bit shy. He didn't give me a name, but he looks like a Bob to me. So let's all give a warm welcome to Bob the Stunt Zombie. Hopefully he won't tear our faces off too.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Unlucky for you, you've rolled....Snake Eyes!

As a child of the 80's, it's probably a good bet that I was a fan of the G.I. Joe toy line while I was growing up. Oddly enough, I can't actually remember which figure was my first, but Snake Eyes was always one that I lusted over. I'm not sure what the attraction was, since I never read the comics, and hadn't started watching the cartoon yet. Maybe it was the whole concept of a ninja with an UZI. I mean, ninjas are cool and UZIs are cool...COOL + COOL = AWESOME!. At least I'm sure that's how 8 year old me saw things.

An UZI and a sword? I think I hear Rambo crying in the corner..
My first Snake Eyes was actually the 3rd version put out by Hasbro. It was a decent figure, but it just lacked the character of the first two versions. Still, it was heads and tails above the next version, which I like to call 'Paintball Snake Eyes'. Of course, 1991 was a weird year for that G.I. Joe, as it started to usher in the era of launching missiles and neon colors that persisted until the line finally died out in the early 90's. There were a few lines released after that, but they never really had the same appeal to me as the originals. Fast forward about 10 years, and you have the 25th anniversary of G.I. Joe, accompanied by an all new line of figures. That's where this guy comes in.

This particular figure was a Christmas gift from my awesome girlfriend. It's the 25th anniversary take on the 2nd version Snake Eyes, which happens to be my favorite. Everything is there, from the grenades on his bandoleer, the iconic visor, to the UZI. He even comes with what has to be one of the most bad-ass accessories to ever come with an action figure:

A freakin' wolf.
That's right, a ninja that was armed with an UZI,  a sword, and a pissed off wolf. That's a combo that really gets the 8 year old me hyped up, and it's why this Snake Eyes will remain one of my favorites.

Those Cobra Troopers just insulted your mother. Go fetch!

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