1987 Techno Viper

It’s wasn’t until 2019 where I actually purchased my first Techno Viper, the funniest thing about this figure, is it’s the first time I’d ever actually seen one in person. Mike T once said to me “You’ve got an Estrela Flash, but no Techno Vipers?” and right there I realized how ridiculous the whole thing was. I figured I better get myself the only carded army builder from 1987, the year COBRA Commander’s brain broke.

The Techno Viper is probably the first example of COBRA moving away from blue and into the glorious colour of purple, as their main battle togs. It’s something that happened, and might have even been done to color co-ordinate the Hasbro universe into Purple being the colour of evil. It works for the Decepticons, might as well work for COBRA Command, too. The combo of lavender and violet make up a visually appealing figure, even if it’s not what was typical of Cobra soldiers. It’s become such an iconic look I can’t actually imagine the Techno Viper in another colour scheme, that would look half as good.

Techno

The Techno Viper is one very nice sculpt, it’s not covered in interesting textures, like most of the 87 COBRAs were, but the details on the figure are quite nice. The hoses and belts are all raised. His head sculpt is what surprised me the most. Since I’d never seen a Techno in person, I’d always thought the silver on his face was a visor, and that his head sculpt just didn’t match up with the card art, so to see there’s beady little black eyes, is quite cool. Turns out, I wasn’t the only person who had that thought process, as there’s some 2 hour podcast with Plastic Battles where at some point we discuss that. I really like the colours on the figure, because they remind me of the Foot Soldiers in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. The best video game of all.

TMNTechnoViper

The ball neck figures and the swivel neck figures are two distinct camps in my collection. I’ve turned over a new leaf in regards to post 84 figures, as I’ve had the vast majority of the swivel necks in my collection at one point or another, so it was needed to expand. However I don’t daydream about the role the Techno Viper has in my silly little universe, like I would about some neon green COBRA Trooper repaint, there isn’t really a role for the Techno Viper. If I cared about the 87-88 figures more than the “G.I. Joes from a different era” I view them as, the Techno Viper would probably be a figure I’d look at as a basic COBRA Infantry, more than likely armed with Hit & Run’s machine gun. Unfortunately, I don’t care that much! The Techno Viper’s role in my collection is pretty much the same as Sneak Peek’s, a toy that doesn’t really interact with others. I kind of like that, though, as it allows me to appreciate what G.I. Joe became, without fussing too much, or having it detract too much from the true appeal G.I. Joe has to me.

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1984 Storm Shadow

The 1984 Storm Shadow is probably the most iconic G.I. Joe of them all. He looks cool as hell, and might have been a real driving force for the Ninja Craze of the 1980s. His design is timeless, and this version is the most iconic look for a top 3 character in the entire line. So of course he’s a figure often missing all of his accessories and yellowed to match the colour of used tea bags. Such is the state of the COBRA ninja.

1984StormShadow

Storm Shadow version 1 is an amazing figure. The sculpt includes lots of detail, and unlike the later Ninja Force figures, he doesn’t have grenades or guns strapped to his body. Just a couple of shuriken and a dagger. The white colouring is a classic, even if it’s the exact opposite of what one would think of when thinking of evil ninjas. One aspect of the figure that is hardly ever mentioned, is the unique eye paint app. Storm Shadow v1’s eyes are painted in a way that gives a far more Asian look to it. An under appreciated aspect of a great figure. He also included A LOT of really cool accessories, he has the opening backpack, the nunchucks, the bow and two swords. His swords and bow are probably a tad underscaled, but they still look great, and fit the figure well. His nunchucks are awesome, and probably the most brittle of all of his accessories.

The earliest years of the line placed an importance on accessories, every figure usually had some specific to them accessories that fit with their specialty. Some figures, could look okay when armed with other weapons, Storm Shadow isn’t one of those. His accessories are important to his overall presentation. Other ninja weapons don’t fit the figure the same way, even similar designed weapons like those of Quick Kick.

1984StormShadow

Storm Shadow’s figure being white is a serious flaw, because no matter what, he’s going to yellow. It’s lends creedence to the theory that everything in life corrodes. It’s a hard thing to accept, but there’s going to be worse tragedies in your life.

Storm Shadow as a character is a bit of an issue. He became a Joe fairly early on, which is a good Story Arc, but I’ve never liked him being a Joe. I think part of it is the fact that the ninja isn’t really a “good guy” kind of job in my opinion, considering they’re hired killers and spies. To me, Storm Shadow got into COBRA, much the same way his character in the old Battle: Action Force comics did, he’d been committing a lot of assassinations, and was running out of both clients and places to run to. He got in with COBRA, because his skills were in demand, and he managed to stick with the organization. After a while he became  enough of a presence that’d he be able to keep everyone honest, and upon the elimination of a few people in his way, found himself in the cushy role of Cobra Commander’s personal escort. Rather than going out and ventilating people, he gets to stand with the Commander, and ensure there’s no one thinking about starting any funny business.

I also feel, that Storm Shadow is kind of better suited as a villain, because he was portrayed as being of incredible skill, so it balances out the sides somewhat better. When there are two unstoppable ninja killing machines, it’s a bit much, but it’s even more ridiculous when they’re both on the same side.

Storm Shadow is a character and idea that had a lasting impact on G.I. Joe. He was shipped for longer than the average Joe figure, and was responsible for numerous other Ninja characters coming into the G.I. Joe line. Storm Shadow was also part of the 80s Ninja Craze, and being a visible and popular character of a highly popular toyline probably did G.I. Joe some harm when said Ninja Craze allowed things like Ninja Turtles to become a thing.

This figure benefitted from the factory customs. There’s a Black Major version of the white Storm Shadow, that’s pretty obviously a factory custom, just based on a couple design changes and the fact it’s a brilliant white. I think this is a great thing, because it allows a very important design and colouring to be accessible and usable by collectors. A 35 year old figure you’re afraid to bring out into air and light isn’t really the fate a character like Storm Shadow deserves.

Storm Shadow

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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2009 Snowjob

ArcticIn a way, it’s kind of fitting that the final Hasbro 3 3/4″ O-Ring G.I. Joe was Snowjob, because that’s exactly what a lot of what was aimed at collectors by Hasbro was. The Past & Present 2 pack was something I didn’t actually buy, I just ordered the Snowjob from China and wound up with a decent figure.

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On the surface, this appears to be yet another v1 Snowjob repaint, but they’d actually found the first version’s upper arms. Not the case at all! This figure is a new mold, recreated from the figure, not unlike the TBM or RLA figures. You can’t swap new heads on to it, the feet have holes that are pentagonal, and are set in a different spot on the feet. It’s a strange figure, because he doesn’t really feel “right”, though, I’m not sure if that’s because he’s made of a different style of plastic, or because he’s the final Hasbro Joe.

I like this figure because it’s done up to be a straight re-do of the v1, but it actually isn’t. The white has more of a blue hue to it, which is a neat look, and there’s a few paint app differences, his bicep pouches are now black (Good) and there’s skin visible between his hood and goggles (Bad). Either way, it’s nice to have a Snowjob I’m not afraid to use, and still looks good.

Snowjob2009

Snowjob is a very good design, except, he’s an arctic figure. Going out into the snow to play G.I. Joe was something that was always a far better idea in theory, than practice. So he’s a figure that, while actually a solid design, illicits some disdain from me, as he reminds me I have to deal with bad weather (and not a hell of a lot of Joe photography opportunities!) for 5-6 months!

Snowjob is a great character, he’s got an incredible personality flaw (He’s a con-artist), but is so good at his job, it keeps him on the team. He also gave up a plush gig to become a Joe, which is a neat aspect, considering he’s a character that once tried to get Cover Girl to go out with him, and she could pay! The arctic nature of the figure, also tends to overshadow the sniper aspect of the character. I tend to think his filecard involved a little bit of censorship and in Rock ‘N Roll’s quote at the bottom, “Something” was originally “Someone”. It appears we’re possibly going to be getting a non-Arctic Snow Job figure in the next Red Laser’s Army set, which would be a really nice thing, as he’s a character that I like, but feel that he’s too hard to bring into non-arctic settings.

This 2009 version of Snow Job is both a good figure, as well as a figure that has some relevant historical importance to it. So in a way it’s probably a little more important to a classic G.I. Joe collection, than one would originally think. This isn’t just some unoriginal repaint, it’s the last real G.I. Joe.

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He Maintains A Luxurious Lifestyle Around The World

Destro

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Perhaps There Is No Moral. Just A Bunch Of Stuff Happened

2010-2019 was not a good decade for G.I. Joe.

The line faced issues on many fronts, it died at retail, more than once. G.I. Joe’s strongest retail partner, Toys R Us, went under. It had a spectacular failure of a Live Action Film. Even the Collector’s Club reached the end of it’s tether. I’m not sure if that was a Hasbro decision or whatnot, I read about it once when it happened and didn’t actually bother to remember. I think there was also some nonsense that went on with IDW hiring some guy who trolled the G.I. Joe fanbase and called everyone as well as the G.I. Joe line itself, misogynist racists or something. I dunno, the fact that from day one, G.I. Joe was fairly blatant about it’s multiculturalism and inclusion, tends to say otherwise.

Overall it was pretty grim, and the dawning of a new decade isn’t looking particularly promising either. When a Snake Eyes movie is based off of Kung Fu movies, rather than just taking Snake Eyes and placing him in the role of Yojimbo, there’s going to be issues.

Even collecting the toys themselves has gotten to be less enjoyable. You see prices out to goddamn lunch, some of which is due to a definite lack of modern era G.I. Joes, and a likely encroachment of these new culture vultures that have arisen now that “Geek Culture is in”. New collectors are generally cool, but there’s been a societal shift where now that mostly bad Comic Book movies are highly successful, a new generation of pseudo Yuppies have gravitated to all sorts of this stuff, as a way to gain a personality. In 2006 these people were fake MMA fighters.  It’s annoying because it leads to having to listen to people generally ignorant of G.I. Joe, willing to OVERSPEND, and the hot takes.

There was another thing that I hadn’t really noticed, until Mike T. pointed it out to me, was that the amount of fan content had collapsed, especially in comparison to the early 2000s. Some of this I blame on the line’s issues, and the changing internet landscape. However nowadays it’s easier than ever to do a blog, take pictures or whatever.

I won’t say the entire decade has been negative, especially on the fandom block. I’ve met some very cool people, who are incredibly talented, and passionate about G.I. Joe. Being able to deal with these people has led to me being far more positive on G.I. Joe, in general, and also allowed me to do some expanding of my G.I. Joe hobby. From about 2003-2015ish, outside of a few select figures, I didn’t actually own any ball jointed neck figures. Now I take pictures of Ninja Force figures.

While, Factory Customs have started to price themselves out of the realm of what I find reasonable, there is still some quality stuff being made. There have been issues, some of the true holes in my collection have been filled by figures such as the General and the Gold Head Steel Brigade.

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The Attica Gazette will continue on, hopefully with fewer random gaps. I’ve also decided there will be occasionally more articles like the Case Assortments Of The 80s that are more information based than my typical posts. I’m sure some stuff won’t appeal to anyone but me and maybe three other people, but I think they’re fun to write!

So I hope this new year and new decade is good to all of the people who visit this blog.

 

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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