2000 Whiteout

Whiteout GI Joe ARAH ARAHC Snowjob vintage action figure repaint 2000 hasbro

Hasbro made some strange choices during the early 2000‘s with the Joe line. Snow Job’s mold was one in particular we saw quite often despite that I don’t think there was ever any real demand for it. Snow Job’s a niche character. He has a place in everyone’s collection, but he’s not something you want more than once or maybe twice.

Whiteout is essentially Snow Job with an altered pallet. In particular, he reuses the entire mold from 1997 Snow Job, who borrowed shoulders from 1983 Breaker. Every other aspect of the toy is exactly the same as Snow Job, including his accessories. It’s really a shame, because with a few alterations or part swaps this could have been a far more interesting figure. Even if it came at the cost of this figure instead being Arctic Duke or Arctic Snake Eyes, it could’ve provided something newer and more interesting to consumers than a straight repaint of Snow Job.

Like the Big Ben included in the set, Whiteout’s deco features beige, and cream colors. It’s not all bad, but strikes me as being slightly more on the random side, the weathering specifically. The creaminess of the colors just don’t seem well suited to a cold-climate oriented figure. There is a nice contrast on the trim of his costume, with some of the darker colors they opted for. Still, the figure does little to differ from Snow Job, and with so many stronger uses of this mold, I can’t recommend this one.

In my collection, this figure provides me a few novelties. I do think he’s an alright Clutch or Breaker when swapped with either of their vintage heads. I also do enjoy collecting Snow Job repaints for whatever reason, so he has some appeal to me there. His lack of uniformity with most other cold-weather figures does severely impact his usefulness to me, ultimately.

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2005 Cobra Trooper

GI Joe Direct to Consumer Cobra Soldier action figure new sculpt VvV Hasbro vintageNew Sculpt era figures aren’t held very dear in the Joe community, especially nowadays. I’m a bit of a fan of the era, as some of the figures are truly excellent, especially the one’s from the Direct to Consumer Line. The Cobra Trooper from that line is one in particular I’m fond of, despite how it does display a few problems figures of the era were prone to.

With GI Joe collecting, it’s easy to grow tired of the endless barrage of Dukes, Snake Eyes’s, Fireflys, Cobra Commanders and the constant stream of better versions of those characters. When you look back through the many different versions of a single character, I’m always drawn to versions that bring something different to the table, with unique sculpts and character designs. In the case of the DTC Cobra Trooper, you pretty much have just that. A figure that may not be as good and modern as say the newer POC/30th Cobra Trooper, but offers an alternative design instead that gives the figure more merit. Put simply, I like this figure because it looks different.

The Cobra Trooper is made mostly of reused tooling, sharing parts with Ghost Bear from Valor vs Venom. His head was shared with the DTC Range Viper who came out about the same time, and his helmet and bazooka are both new. This provides a rather unique look for a Cobra Trooper, with a more tight fitting outfit, unique looking gloves and boots, and other little details. It’s nice how he wears a bandolier instead of the same web-gear, the helmet deviates nicely from the classic bucket as well. I think the only downside is that the figure looks a bit scrawny, but compared to other figures from the time the proportions aren’t too bad.

I find this design really striking. If I had a “Joe-verse”, I’d see Cobra as an organization that has lingered for a long time causing problems of different severity, and I think overtime they’d change their gear and equipment quite a bit. As such, this is the 2000‘s Trooper, and the guy I imagine all of the 2000‘s Joes fought on a regular basis. It’s a niche idea, but it shows how the figure is at least interesting enough to represent something.

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1984 Copperhead

The 1984 Cobras were the characters that really stuck with GI Joe for a long time. Although many more underrated characters would come out in the later eighties and into the nineties, there wasn’t a single year with so many classics of the same quality as there was in ‘84. It’s really appreciable how at this point in the line, even the vehicle drivers were nice, desirable figures, as is the case with copperhead.

Copperhead has a cool character with his gambling addiction that partially keeps him in Cobra. It gives him a sort of darkness and a bit of grit that makes him a more interesting character. I always saw Copperhead as more of a crook than the average Cobra, with a fair amount of skill to compensate. It seems like he’s one of those characters whose just a bit easier to imagine in a story than some others. It’s a real shame how the cartoon wrote him out early on, or at least until the DIC episodes (But no one cared about those, honestly.).

Copperhead is fairly buff for a figure from the earlier portion of the line, which gives him a little extra character and really helps to break him apart from the other figures that shared a similar build. I never really knew what was going on with that mask of his, but at the very least I like the look of it. His silver Cobra symbol really finishes the figure off nicely, with a nice contrast to his green color.

This version didn’t include any accessories, although the later Python Patrol repaint chose to pair him with parts from Leatherneck. Although the backpack was perfect, I’ve always really questioned him having an M-16. It could just be that I really hate the particular M-16 included with Leatherneck, but Copperhead just looks better to me with different guns. I’ve paired him with an AK-47 in the past, though thinking about it logically a smaller gun would probably be easier for him to handle while in the water. A Marauder’s G36c seems to fit the bill rather nicely, but when I want something less modern the AK-74U also looks pretty good.

Do you like V1 Copperhead? Feel free to drop me a line on Twitter.

1984 Vintage action figure GI Joe Cobra Hasbro Piranha 1984 Vintage action figure GI Joe Cobra Hasbro Piranha

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10 GI Joe Figures that are Surprisingly Bad

With how much fun collecting GI Joe can be, I sometimes forget about the little oddball figures that really just aren’t up to par. There’s some obvious choices that could be considered worse than these, but I wanted to avoid going for cheap-shots like Armor Tech figures. So without further ado, here’s ten figures I’ve acquired that are really bad.

10. Flaming M.O.T.H Chuckles

Flaming MOTH Chuckles ARAH Vintage action figure GIJCC Cobra Hasbro 2007

What a surprise, a figure from the official GI Joe collector’s club. Usually these guys are a little more on point, but this figure serves almost no purpose. It’s sad because a set of collectors have always mocked Chuckle’s classic attire and it would have been a great chance for them to release the character in a more grounded looking outfit. Instead, they chose to recreate his classic look, only from the very buff Heavy Duty mold. Really?

9. T’Jbang

T'Jbang ARAH Vintage action figure Ninja Force Cobra Hasbro 1992

I’m a fan of the outlandish side of GI Joe, but this guy does some things wrong. First, he suffers from the same obtrusive gimmicks many of the Ninja Force figures suffered, restricting his torso articulation. His color scheme is rather ugly and makes me think of Dr. Fate if he were a luchador. The tiger mask comes off as chintzy, as do his bright blue parts. His bio also mentions he’s taken a vow of silence … Because that’s very original when it comes to GI Joe, isn’t it?

8. Dr. Link Talbot

ARAH Vintage action figure Valor vs. Venom VvV Cobra Hasbro 2004

This one makes me pretty sad honestly. Link is actually a pretty decent character with a unique specialty as a veterinarian. Neither version of this figure includes any sort of animal however, which is a huge missed opportunity. The figure really doesn’t include any sort of nice parts. His sculpt and overall design are both extremely boring, featuring minimal gear and equipment. What you end up with is a cool character represented by two toys that are highly lackluster.

7. Funskool Barbecue

ARAH Vintage action figure funskool international Cobra Hasbro

Funskool has been known for making a lot of cool and strange little variants during their run with GI Joe. With this one, I sadly can find no place for him. Normal Funskool Barbecue figures came with a yellow mask that was at least slightly more attractive looking, but this variant replaces that color with flesh-tone. It’s so ugly! It goes a long way to make a mediocre figure simply inferior. For added insult, some of these were shipped as random vehicle drivers with no parts, such as this figure.

6. Windmill

ARAH Vintage action figure Cobra Hasbro 1989

Aspects of Windmill seem like the makings of an average Joe pilot, but the execution on this one comes off so bad. I have no problem with bright colors, but the way this figure mixes orange with bright green makes him hard to look at. His head sculpt irritates me too, what’s up with the cat ears? To round it all off check the size of that revolver of his, that thing is HUGE.

5. Long Range

ARAH Vintage action figure Cobra Hasbro 1989

This figure might have made an alright Iron Grenadier in different colors, or with a little paint. As he is, this figure truly puzzles me with what he’s supposed to look like. He features almost no paint and is cast in an ugly, prototype gray color. His helmet is goofy looking, and even the small pistol he includes leaves much to be desired.

4. 1997 Duke

ARAH Vintage action figure Cobra Hasbro 1997

1997 was another strange time for GI Joe. While many nice repaints came out during this year, the figures were plagued with quality issues. This Duke has said issues as well, but is also just a terrible looking figure! Albeit, he does brandish a nice amount of paint applications, they’re all so random. Why is Duke’s hair brown? Why are his shoes red? And, of all things why would they paint his pockets and not the flesh colored watch on his wrist?

3. 1993 Muskrat

ARAH vintage Action figure Hasbro GI Joe Cobra Battle Corps 1993

What on earth … this Muskrat is a strange and terrible figure that makes no sense at all. His colors are incohesive with a navy blue, orange and some sandy color. His sculpt has terrible proportions, just look how low his arms sit on his shoulders. He also features one of the most mind-boggling launcher accessories in the entire line. It’s a missile launcher that mounts on his helmet. Screw practicality, it’s not even cool looking.

2. Wild Card

ARAH vintage Action figure Hasbro GI Joe Cobra 1988

Not only does Wild Card have a bizarre appearance for a Joe, he also offers very little as a figure. He brings little in terms of sculpted detail, and his head is extremely generic. He looks almost just like every other mustached GI Joe. Sadly his generic head sculpt is one of the better things about this figure, when the rest of him is both so random and bland at the same time. I think he looks like a homeless guy to be honest.

1. 25th Anniversary Gung-Ho

ARAH vintage Action figure Hasbro 25th anniversary GI Joe Cobra 2007

25th figures are easy to pick on because so many of them haven’t aged well, but let’s face it: Gung-Ho was bad even when the figure first came out and everyone was hyped for the new construction. That alone says a lot, but in my observation this is the worst Modern Era figure to date. First, the figure features a bland deco with a horrendous, zombified looking skin tone. As you can imagine, the figure is as narrowly articulated as the other original 25th figures, Gung-Ho’s arms barely bend 45 degrees at the elbows. He has an awkward neckline that looks awful at even the slightest profile view. His cap doesn’t feature a marine logo, but instead an anchor in its place. His legs had a universal problem of being extremely loose and flopping all over the place. Oh, and lastly I almost forgot his grenade launcher, the one almost no figure can hold and won’t stay together at all.

Disagree with my picks? Sound off @MW_Nekoman on twitter.

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2002 Big Ben

GI Joe vs Cobra GIJvC 2002 new sculpt vintage ARAH Hasbro action figureAlthough Big Ben was originally a great figure, collectors tend to see his GI Joe vs Cobra iteration to be a junk figure. While I can’t say I think it’s the best figure, nor is it better than the original Big Ben, it’s still certainly an underrated figure.

The early 2000‘s were a hectic time for GI Joe collectors, for the typical reasons you could imagine. One frustration of the time was poorly picked two-packs, such as the set this Big Ben was sold in. Like today, the Alley Viper is an ever popular army builder and collector’s hadn’t had as many chances to get them then as they have had now. As such, it’s easy to imagine the demand for the Alley Viper, and the apathy carried towards Big Ben.

This Big Ben really isn’t a bad figure though, and does nothing glaringly wrong. While the Original had excellent colors, I find this one has a decent pallete as well, using more rusty browns with a little ivory green. It’s an alternative, and as such it works pretty well. It is worth mentioning that Hasbro placed a GI Joe tampograph on the figures thigh, which doesn’t look particularly well, but I don’t think it ruins the figure either way.

For accessories, Big Ben includes the entirety of his original loadout, with one exception. He has the same pouch with grenades, the same backpack, and the same LMG, only this time without the bipod. It’s a shame for the gun to be missing the piece, but in it’s place he has an extra Snow Job riffle. It’s a nice inclusion that probably made some cartoon fans happy for the extra gun.

If this Big Ben had a problem, it’s simply that he’s outshone by other figures. All around it’s a solid toy, but it’s perhaps not as nice as the original. With as many of these that still float around eBay and such at cheap prices, I think he’s worth considering for ARAH collectors who still don’t have him.

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1990 Range Viper

GI Joe Cobra A real American hero 1990 ARAH vintage action figureThe Range Viper seems to have become somewhat of a love/hate figure among the Joe fandom. The DTC version from 2005 improved the character’s popularity by a good deal, with it’s updated design aesthetic. I like that version as well, but I’ve also always been a fan of the original here.

There’s not always as much imagination with other figures that’s as apparent on this one. Range Vipers are Cobra’s skilled and brutal survivalist, an exciting niche among the myriad of questionable Cobra specialists. The figure is nicely detailed with a bandolier of bullets, various belts, a scarf, and a very distinct and detailed helmet. I think the helmet is where fans tend to become split, with a group not finding the “brainy” look so cool. Personally, I think it helps give them a scary, tribal look that would work with their specialty.

Accessories are both pretty nice and a little iffy on the Range Viper. On one hand, really anything works with the figure because he’s a scavenger. On the other hand, it’s mildly frustrating that a figure that bears a bandolier of bullets doesn’t include a gun to fire them. He has a fairly nice grenade launcher as far as ARAH goes. There’s not much competition among vintage grenade launcher’s, and I definitely like it better than Hardball’s. He also comes with a knife that has a good amount of personality, a backpack with more ammunition, and a hand-held launcher with a little missile. The launcher is by far his most forgettable part, as it’s bland and he usually can’t hold it too well either.

For me however, I could never bear to equip two Range Viper’s the same way. After all, a big part of the fun with this figure is his bio as a survivalist.

GI Joe Cobra A real American hero 1990 ARAH vintage action figureGI Joe Cobra A real American hero 1990 ARAH vintage action figure

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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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