2010 Plague (The Black Major)

2010 Plague (The Black Major)

It’s hard for me to think that it’s been thirteen years since The Black Major did his first run of Snake Eyes figures… Or so I say, but then again, everything with GI Joe collecting was so much better in ‘10 that it does feel like a totally different world now. Either way, TBM did his first run of Snake Eyes figures (Cobra Invasor) back then, and I noticed it seems as though information on them has virtually vanished, so here’s a blog post to help fill the void.

The TBM Invasor/Snake Eyes figures were a very odd, but good run. The casting came out relatively close to the original Snake Eyes sculpt, and the quality on them was serviceable. The bootleg guys later wore out the V1 Snake Eyes likeness, but at the time the sculpt seemed rather exotic in a color besides black. Here’s an old photo of the lot from The Black Major himself, where you can also see the name of each figure from his description.

Plague TBM Black Major Snake Eyes Cobra Invasor Bootleg Factory Custom

I don’t know if my imagination has dimmed a bit over the years, but when I look at this figure in particular, all I see is Snake Eyes. I think that’s partly because the figure isn’t that many shades apart from the color used for tan Grunt and Clutch. Of course, the good part of that is that Plague blends in remarkably well with Hasbro figures, which is not always the case for these figures. The most unique part of the figure is his insignia on his chest, a unique Cobra symbol with a gradient effect and some modifications that make it more of a plague symbol. I believe TBM invented this one himself, as it isn’t featured in my 1992 Department of Destruction Handbook (Cobra needs an update of that, a lot’s changed in the world since then.).

I never really knew if Plague is an individual guy or an army-builder, but I only bought one, so I went with the unique operator route by default. Imaging what he could be in the GI Joe world, he was probably a disposable Cobra agent from around ‘84 or so, who fought with GI Joe several times until he was killed by some other Cobra, probably Cobra Commander or maybe even Serpentor. But then it turned out he wasn’t dead, and he’s actually a ninja, and he used to hang out with Scarlet’s uncle, before he was drafted for Vietnam… I probably throw too much shade at the parts of the Marvel comics I like less. Jokes aside, I do see him as a less skilled, more disposable version of Firefly that was KIA in the mid-80’s.

This figure and the other figures from his run have the hallmarks you might associate with a lot of modern bootlegs. The shoulders are a little floppy, and the tension in the waist and legs is a bit off, but other than that, I think they’re okay. Most the ones I have feature solid castings with no odd dips or warped parts, which usually bugs me more than anything else with these. His backpack hole is similar to Hasbro ones, which I think makes this one of the first TBM figures to feature the standard hole (his first Troopers, Crimson Guards and BATs can’t use normal backpacks).

TBM really upped his accessories over time, with this figure all you got was a V1 Scarlet crossbow. The original Cobra Invasor came with normal Snake Eyes weapons, but the crossbow was given in reference to the Cobra Mortal’s gear. I assume he started upping the amount of accessories to increase the perceived value once these started getting more expensive, but when things started out, one weapon was all you got. I don’t have many of these crossbows, so some extras are an okay thing to have around.

These are very hard to find now, which is probably what you should expect for a 13-year-old bootleg that existed in very low quantities. It seems like the price-cap for TBM customs is a lot lower than normal Joes though, probably because the super-duper serious Major League Consumer types have no interest in them. I haven’t seen Plague here pop up for sale recently enough to know what he’s worth, but if I were to give a subjective opinion on that, I’d say one’s not worth more than $50.

Plague TBM Black Major Snake Eyes Cobra Invasor Bootleg Factory Custom Plague TBM Black Major Snake Eyes Cobra Invasor Bootleg Factory Custom

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One Response to 2010 Plague (The Black Major)

  1. Mike T. says:

    I really do miss collecting in 2010-2015. It was so much better. BM figures being $6 or $7 each helped, too. I think there were some Snake Eyes figures where the logo was removed or never applied. That was a figure worth getting just to get another tan figure for the early Joes.

    I got a blue one and the Red Shadows version. But, my blue one came with a Chromed head. I had a chrome head Red Shadows to accompany of the original seen in your photo, too. So many guys did after market alterations to the figures, it’s still hard to know, officially, if some things were BM releases or 4th parties dying, kitbashing or vac metallicizing the figures.

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