Great Moments In G.I. Joe History


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What He Does Once He Hits The Ground You Don’t Want To Hear About

What he does once he hits the ground you don't want to hear about

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Diorama Trials & Tribulations

I take a lot of G.I. Joe pictures, but sometimes things don’t necessarily work out the way I want them the first time. Depending on how married I am to the idea, I’ll either accept it and move on, or occasionally I’ll persevere until I get something more closely resembling the image in my head.

One place I look for inspiration is old pictures of the Vietnam War. Mainly because a lot of the early G.I. Joe figures are based off of Vietnam era equipment. One common image is multiple soldiers hauling a wounded soldier off on a stretcher.

Carrying Wounded Comrade

Depending on when the fits of inspiration hit me, I sometimes attempt to draw out a schematic so that I; A. Don’t forget the idea and B. Spend less time fucking around to see if it’ll work.


Rough sketch with legend. Legend says “82 Characters, Doc Stretcher, Battlefield accessories as needed”


Eventually when I get time I attempt pictures, my first one didn’t do much for me; Stretchered

The second attempt wasn’t quite right either; Proto-Stretcher

The third and final attempt was more in tune with what I wanted; Stretcher Case

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Tiger Force Duke


The Tiger Force sub team was Hasbro’s first foray into mass retail repaints. Prior to that it’d either been vehicle drivers or Mission To Brazil. Looking at Tiger Force’s character selection, the figures who happened to be major players in the cartoon, which was on in reruns, tended to get the least garish color schemes. Not only was it a cheap and easy way to re-use molds, it also helped provide classic characters who hadn’t been available in years, yet were still major in the Joe media.

Duke is one of those figures, he’s also the only Tiger Force figure that had changes to his construction, as he is now outfitted with the 82 COBRA waist, and Hit and Run’s arms. Duke had originally been quite the Frankenstein, so the fact some of his parts were missing isn’t all that surprising. Hasbro however went quite far to ensure the pieces used were a close facsimile of the original figure.

I’ve always liked Duke. His figure was strong, and that cocky smile gave him an air of confidence, not every figure had. This and his “Man Of Action” portrayal, always gave him some form of recklessness, to me. He’s confident enough to make a low percentage play, but good enough at his job that he usually gets results. However when he fails, it’s usually in a spectacular fashion. I guess I always looked at him as sorta being like Captain Kirk.


The Tiger Force figure is decently coloured, yet different enough from the original to be a different look for our favourite man of action. The pants are quite a strange shade of peach, but combined with the green shirt, they actually work pretty well. It also beats the hell out of bright yellow highlights! Duke however suffers from one fatal flaw, and that is the fact he was painted up with brown hair. Most of the Tiger Force hair colouring changes were iffy to begin with, but Duke has the worst change of all. What actually kills the figure, and I hadn’t noticed this until I’d had a conversation with my favourite G.I. Joe Photographer; Plastic Battles was that Duke’s teeth aren’t painted. That’s what makes his face seem so off to me.

If you’ve got a spare Tiger Force Duke, one thing you should try to do is place a version 1 head on the body. It’s an easy fix, and it goes a LONG way in improving the overall look of the figure. Sometimes you don’t realize how much certain looks are integral to the character. DukeTigerForce




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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

Great Moments

That logo is factory.

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1989 COBRA Devastator

The 1989 Battlefield Robots are things I don’t remember seeing anywhere online, even when they were available from Funskool. Hell, Yo Joe! still uses catalog images for their pages in the archives. They look to be the late 80s equivalent of the PAC/RATS or Battlefield Accessories- The lowest price point vehicles available. There were two for the G.I. Joe team; The Radar Rat and the Tri-Blaster, as well as two for COBRA; The Hovercraft and the Devastator.

Why they’re called “Battlefield Robots” I have no idea, they all have a place for an operator, so it’s not like the PAC/RAT. Seems like a marketing ploy that wasn’t really thought out or finalized, but was copyrighted so might as well use it!


I picked up a Devastator at an antique mall, for $6. It’s antenna and two missiles were broken, but it was $6 and I’ve never seen one in person. For what it is, it’s actually not too bad. It’s a tad out there design-wise, but it’s still better than some of the stuff you’d be seeing in the 1990s. It also happens to have relevant COBRA colouring, the grey isn’t a perfect match for the SNAKE or CLAW, it’s still close, and an actual COBRA color. The crimson parts are nice too, since Crimson is a COBRA color, and since 1983 COBRA’s armaments have tended to be “LOTS OF RED MISSILES”.

While it’s a decently colored vehicle, it does have some pretty iffy design flaws. The seat is done so in a way that the figure’s feet just kind of hang there underneath. It’s straight up some Bedrock shit. Usually I can forgive things like that for practicablity, but you can’t even keep the legs upwards to hide it. Though a neat thing, is Hasbro decided to make both COBRA Battlefield Robots share parts, they did the same for the G.I. Joe ones as well.  Goes to show there was still some ingenuity left even by 1989.

If you find a Devastator cheap, get it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one, but it’s a relatively small vehicle with a decent design, surprisingly classic colours, and it’s different enough to break-up the sameness a lot of COBRA vehicles tend to have.


Devastator 2


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One of the nameless, faceless legions of COBRA Command

The Enemy#1.JPG

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