1993 Backblast

ARAH GI Joe Cobra vintage action figure Sci-Fi FLAK L.A.W.With 90‘s Joes, a lot of them were either great, or just okay. Backblast falls into the later category of being just okay, but a little forgettable. Looking at, this is a fine looking figure with perfectly rational, maybe even great colors. He just somehow fails to stick in my mind.

I think it’s partly just that Backblast isn’t the most memorable character in the first place. He already did have good colors, so it’s not like this repaint improves on him much there. In fact, a few nice details are actually lost, like the little map on his leg. He makes up for it a little with the camouflage on his pants, and I do like the big army logo on his chest.

Another appreciable aspect to me, is that the arms of this figure have been swapped from the original sculpt to Topside’s. I never liked the way the knife holster looked on the original, and this improves his look to some degree.

So all in all… This isn’t a bad figure. Not really great, but definitely a good figure to come from 1993. I think he just doesn’t do anything to stand out like other figures however.

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1985 Airtight

Airtight Dusty Flint Quick Kick ARAH vintage action figure 1985 Cobra GI JoeAh, Airtight.One of the guys from GI Joe’s golden year of 1985. I’m always a tad more appreciative of figures with interesting specialties. In ‘85, there weren’t as many chemical warfare/hazmat figures running around, which made Airtight all the more interesting on his own, though I do find he’s better complimented by said later figures.

Airtight was one of the first figures to include a more intricate load out, with a unique hose that connected from his head to his backpack, and a chemical detector that hooked up to his backpack as well. It does mean the figure comes unarmed, but that wasn’t his role. I kinda miss when figures could come out with a focus on unique accessories, and not the same set of guns, knives, axes and whatever else have you.

I’ve always wondered what a Night Force Airtight might look like, but I suppose that curiosity will be left to the world of customs. Unfortunately, this mold never appeared again after it went to Funskool. He did get a Brazilian release as Ar Puro in Tiger Force colors, who was pretty nice looking though.

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Funskool Toxo Viper

Funskool Toxo Viper GI Joe Cobra ARAHThis figure is what makes Funskool figures fun to me. You take an already good figure like the V1 Toxo Viper, put it in the V2 Toxo Viper’s colors and have an even better figure. It’s interesting as a novelty collectible and as an upgrade to the vintage figure.

The V1 Toxo Viper was a unique and interesting entry into the Cobra hierarchy, though I feel his near pink color coupled with teal bits held the figure back some. Later versions improved on this, but didn’t have the same charm as the V1 sculpt. Only this Funkool version has the best of both worlds with good colors and the original sculpt. I even think the green backpack fits with the figure, despite that I’m not usually a fan of brightly colored parts.

Mind you, you still have all the flaws associated with Funskool figures. Inconsistent quality control and poor plastic quality being mainly that. The Toxo Viper doesn’t seem to have paint that is as generally poor as other Funskool figures, so at least there’s that.

Back when these were cheap, it really was a must-have of what Funskool produced. It’s sad however, so many of these figures have attained value they really aren’t worth now. These guys now routinely go for $10 to $15, which despite my appreciation for them, I really can’t say Funskool quality is worth that much. They are cool novelties and collectibles, but not something I really think is worth a fortune (excluding the incredibly rare figures like blue Snake Eyes).

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1989 Alley Viper

Alley Viper Stinger Driver ARAH vintage action figure hasbro GI Joe CobraOne of my all time favorite figures. The colors might be bright, but they’re attractive to say the least. It matches up with the kind of look Shockwave had. When it comes to late eighties Cobras, this guy, the Night Vipers and Range Vipers reign supreme.

Something I’ve always appreciated about this figure was the real commando look the sculpt has. There’s so many little, pouches, knives and grenades all over this figure. In a way, he’s like a neon POC figure that snuck into the late eighties.

The visor and shield are integral parts of this figure as well. I love that he came with a riot-shield before you saw those so much. Plus, the sculpted Cobra symbol and sharp edges gave it a needed amount of flare.

I’m no purist though, as I’ll admit the Battle Corps sculpt brought a lot to the table too, as well as it’s 2000’s era repaints. But this figure really is the best as far as Alley Vipers go. I still get sad this mold couldn’t be used for the 1997 release though.

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Chinese Major Bludd

Chinese Major Bludd GI Joe ARAH vintage international Snow Serpent Cobra Action FigureNow this one’s a fun figure. Another quirky international variant, but this one’s great in all the right ways! This Major Bludd was a completely new figure made for sale in China. He’s an amalgam of parts from V2 Major Bludd, the Lampreys, and General Flagg. It all comes together pretty well as an entirely new outfit for Bludd.

With the big, bulky coat, this figure comes across to me as more of a cold weather version of Bludd. He’s not really wearing winter colors, but I think Bludd’s the type to not always wear perfect camouflage, so it works. Of course, you could use him in plenty of other settings as well, which is all part of the fun with figures like this. You can use him as practically anything you want.

If this figure had a downside, I guess I should mention his only part is a little lame. It’s that strange laser riffle Dodger came with, an awkward and clunky weapon. I suppose it does look a bit like some kind of RPG, so perhaps that’s why they included it. For me though, this guy’s always going to be equipped with some other gun.

All in all, this is hands down one of my favorite Major Bludd toys, and perhaps the best Major Bludd as well.

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1990 Lampreys

1990 Lampreys GI Joe ARAH Vintage Sonic Fighters CobraAnother forgotten figure, and a novelty one as well. I’m a big fan of the original Lampreys, but these guys have something interesting going for them as well with their colors. I could easily see these guys being like a coast guard for Cobra Island, or maybe having some role as hazmat troopers. Despite the orange, I could think of a lot to do with these guys.

It’s also nice a Cobra symbol is present on the figure’s chest, a detail that isn’t there on the original. Though, while I’m comparing them, I do wish this figure had included the original’s gun. That was a really cool vintage weapon, while this figure comes with a smattering of parts from other late 80’s figures. A few okay guns, but I really, really hate Blaster’s gun, which was included with these.

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Funskool Barbecue

Funskool Barbecue Skydiver GI Joe Cobra ARAH vintageWhat a strange little figure. I can’t really say this one’s good; on the contrary, I think he’s actually rather bad. Funskool put figures in some curious little color schemes back when they had the license to produce GI Joe toys. Sometimes, this worked out in awesome ways (Toxo-Viper), other times however, you got figures like this guy.

Barbecue’s colors aren’t all that different from his Hasbro version on the surface. He’s still orange, and swaps gray for blue, and silver for… flesh tone. Flesh tone! Some variants had yellow masks which made more sense, although they still look pretty ugly. This figure could have some good custom potential, but other than that, he’s not too great.

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1994 Cobra Viper

Battle Corps Viper 1994 GI Joe Cobra vintage ARAHFor these troops there’s no place too dirty, or too dangerous. When the leaky suit brigade fails to accomplish the job, Cobra can send these Hazard Vipers into any environment and expect results. With their superior equipment, training, and a real desire to do Cobra’s dirty work, these soldiers pose a serious threat to GI Joe…

More or less how I use the Battle Corps Viper. To me, they’re Hazard Vipers, and they’re more competent than Toxo-Vipers. The colors are perfect for the role, and the sculpt adds to that as well. As normal Vipers I don’t like this figure so well, but like this they’re far more usable in my collection.

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Tiger Force Roadblock (1988)

Tiger Force Roadblock Duke Flint ARAH Vintage action figure GI Joe CobraThree of my favorite figures here. The original Tiger Force color schemes were so vibrant, yet cohesive. It also helps that they often recycled excellent sculpts, just making the figures all the better. Given, I think some are nicer than others. Duke’s colors seem a tad more bland to me than the other two.

Most of the later attempts at the TF weren’t so great. I’m not a fan of the UK figures, and the Spy Troops set that was inspired by those was pretty weak too. I’ve not seen many ME figures do Tiger Force with much success either, so for me, these guys are where it’s at.

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1991 Toxo Viper

Toxo-Viper Sludge Viper Eco Warriors GI Joe Cobra ARAH vintageI’ve always been a big fan of both Toxo Vipers and the Eco Warriors. While the original is a classic, this one is an improvement in ways. I like the colors better on this figure, and it’s much less clunky feeling. I do think the original had a nicer backpack, and the helmet just looked good too. I suppose both are nice in different ways.

Though on the topic of Toxo Vipers, the Funskool version uses the original sculpt in colors closer to these. I should take a shot of that one sometime.

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