Look, there are toys of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. So of course I bought them. There was no other rational choice.
Entertainment Earth had an exclusive set of the pair (plus a fold-together version of the Weekend Update set) on sale at SDCC this year, and I'm not really sure there's anything more I could have wanted. (well, okay, maybe to-scale castmembers from both 30 Rock and Parks & Rec) Each of them has four points of articulation -- shoulders and hips -- and is ... I'd say probably original GIJoe:Real American Hero scale? Old Snake there outsizes them by a bit, but modern GIJoes are relatively huge. Amy Poehler's likeness is uncanny, while Tina Fey's is a little weird. It's probably the glasses. It's hard to sculpt glasses on something that small and not have it look off.
They sit on my VCR/Blu-Ray shelf, and I was dumb and took this photo at night when the light's kinda crummy. Every day I'm like "I'm gonna photograph these guys before it gets dark!" and then every day it gets dark and then it's a month passed and NO MORE GOD DAMMIT, HERE THEY ARE.
Finally Kre-O gave me what I've been wanting all along, a Destro Kreon. Everything else in the GIJoe Kre-O line exists merely to support this Destro figure. It's nice that they saw fit to put him with Baroness and a HISS tank, two other things I wouldn't mind having.
It's not nice that these three things came packaged with some giant-ass sprawling ninja dojo or whatever, including Snake-Eyes and some other ninja dudes. I have assembled my Destro and Baroness and HISS tank. Those other things remain in the box, perhaps for all eternity. They are surplus to my requirements.
Kreon Destro has a chrome head, as one would expect, and he comes with a rifle and a M.A.R.S. briefcase. The briefcase contains one single $100 bill. Destro's a high roller.
San Diego Comic-Con was pretty great for new Ravages! Two of them, anyway, between Hasbro Toy Shop's G.I. Joe Ravage and Entertainment Earth's offering of Masterpiece Soundwave. I like Ravages, so this was gratifying.
Masterpiece Ravage is also newly-molded, surprise! Like the other Masterpiece Recordicons, he still transforms into the same-sized microcassette tape as the original toys, and so he works in either MP Soundwave or either of the original Soundwave or Blaster toys. He looks great from the front, but the back isn't terribly great. It's kind of a mess back there, beyond what you usually expect from a Transformers Mini-Cassette guy. Usually it's at least flat back there, if not obviously an arrangement of animal parts, but here the backside is mostly a hollow pit surrounded by legs. MP Ravage does not have a very pretty backside, no.
It's in service of a fully articulated, as-cartoon-accurate-as-possible-at-the-scale jaguar mode, though! Like Buzzsaw and Laserbeak, Ravage's previously-removeable weapons are integrated into the transformation itself. He's pretty damn intricate! He kind of has to be, at the size he is. Lots of overlapping skinny parts and, really, he's a jungle of hinges. He's not bad, though, other than the aforementioned pit at the back of his cassette mode. He certainly aims to do what he aims to do. He's just not terribly fun, though, and despite how fully-articulated he is, he doesn't feel as fun to me as Universe 2008 Ravage (the guy who came with Universe Hound). I like transforming that Ravage back and forth, but this guy's got way more steps (and a foreboding feeling of fragility) that keeps that fun from happening. Maybe if he had a articulated jaw.
I'm almost always into the little GIJOE dudes we get at Comic-Con, but not so much the giant vehicles they come with. I am rarely into Joe vehicles ever. They're huge and they take up space and they're not characters. Now, the SDCC Joe vehicles for the past three years have been characters -- Transformers characters, even -- but even then I'm not really sold on them. I have versions of these guys that transform into robots and take up less space. But if you want to get, like, Decepticon Destro or a GIJOE-style Bludgeon, you also have to swallow the giant-ass rides they come with. The Shockwave HISS from last year is still the centerpiece of our kitchen table 'cuz there's no where else for it to go.
Currently, Harmony Gold is famously trying to sue Hasbro for this year's Jetfire, claiming it infringes on their ownership of Robotech. I don't know how that'll go down, but the stated terms of their suit is kind of over-reachy. They seriously want everyone to return their purchased toys to them. You do your best, guys, we'll see how that works out. But the event raised my interest in this Giant Thing I Happened To Buy With My Bludgeon enough to try to start putting it together Wednesday night.
Immediately I had regret. This thing is so huge. I mean, I have some huge toys, but there's this algorithm in my brain where the size of a toy needs to match my desire to possess it, and my desire to own this giant Jetfire thing was almost zero, but its footprint in my house was titanic. I actually started to feel a little claustrophobic as the damn thing took up half the couch as I stickered it. Halfway through the process, I texted my friend Ron to please remove this thing from my house for me. (He gladly accepted, but he's currently out of town.)
The jet itself is a Skystriker. A big thing! It's even bigger with the newly-tooled jet booster pack that you attach to it, which makes it look more like Jetfire. There's even room for a new seat in that extra part section. Seriously, this thing is large. The stickers are... well, they fall in line with Metroplex's stickers, but less fit-where-it's-supposed-to-go-y. There're some mislabeled things and some stuff that doesn't exactly fit, and the paper likes to come up along with the sticker part basically always, so it helps to have fingernails. Don't even try to get the striping around the cockpit to match up. It won't. You're just gonna have to agree with yourself that it's gonna be imperfect.
It's actually a pretty neat giant-ass Jetfire. If you have room for a giant-ass Jetfire.
I was out of GIJoe, I swear. I have a whole giant bin full of them in my basement, untouched. I've gotten all of the guys I'd ever really expect I'd want, short RoboJOE, who's never happening again ever. It's the only stuff I've ever bought where Maggie questions why the hell I care about these things. She understands robots. She understands superheroes. She even understands a few Marios and Luigis. But these assorted little army guys and the chrome-headed dudes they fight, not so much.
And I don't think I could answer her satisfactorily until getting this Battle Platform Attack Kre-O set. I think it does all the things I like about G.I.Joe better than the regular-sized figures. A huge part of this is the smaller scale. A giant collection of Joes and Cobras and their respective vehicles takes up a lot of real estate. Especially vehicles. But these little brick dudes and their equally-tiny helicopters and tanks? These are manageable. You can have an entire world on a shelf, rather than roughly about 10% of a world.
Another plus is that these guys are more play-friendly. I don't gotta reinsert a rifle into someone's hand every thirty seconds as I hop him around. Stuff stays together, even though everyone's made out of stuff you take apart. It's all less fiddly.
The last piece in the satisfaction component is that it doesn't take itself seriously. G.I.Joe has been trying to take itself super-seriously for years, and it turns me off. But these Kre-O guys embrace all of the goofiness. There are Trouble Bubbles and tiny little jails and everyone looks adorable and oh hey there's cans of JOE COLA in the refrigerator downstairs for reals.
(Anyone else thinks it's kind of weird that the Joe component of this set is armed up to shoot-to-kill while the Cobra component exists to take prisoners? Mmmm, dissonance.)
I knew that the Joe RAMand the Cobra FANG and Flight Pod were based on real 1980s Cobra vehicles, but I'd forgotten entirely the original Battle Platform that this Kre-O set is based on. I thought it was just a fun Kre-O-style playset, but no, it's also all vintage-y. Wacky. I looked around to see if the Cobra prison thinger was based on anything, but came up empty.
The set comes with Cobra Commander, two Cobra Troopers (one's an airtrooper), Duke, and Roadblock. Despite all these guys, plus the four blind-bagged guys I already owned, the playset still feels a little empty. This is extremely clever of Hasbro, because dammit now I need more blindbagged guys. My battles need to be a little busier. Foiled again.
Hey, why does Cobra Commander's Kreon have flesh hands? Shouldn't he have gloves?
Man, I expected to have this toy last year! Remember when the second G.I. Joe movie was coming out in 2012? Good times. But now the film is finally in 3D and/or has extra Channing Tatum, and unless the movie gets delayed eight months at the last minute to add a dimension AGAIN, maybe we'll actually get to see it at the end of the month. There's only so many more dimensions you can add! It already had time! What's next? Will we be adding Mr. Mxyzptlk?
Anyway, the movie's sudden rescheduling occurred just as the movie's tie-in toys were starting to hit stores. Awkward. And so we never got to the later waves with Bruce Willis in them. I mean, dude, Bruce Willis G.I. Joe toy. You gotta. And so I did.
It wasn't until I left the register that I realized, wow, so that's why this thing's so heavy. Buried in the packaging, basically entirely hidden, is Joe Colton's giant-ass missile launcher that's as big as he is. I'm not sure why you'd obscure half your product, but there it was. And what you do is attach this massive man-sized missile launcher to the top of a tommy gun so Joe Colton can sort of hold it, plug four missiles into it, and then pull the ripcord out of it, launching the missiles in turn. In theory. The thing that aggravates me about modern Joes is that NO ONE CAN HOLD THEIR WEAPONS, EVER. Now, couple that inability with a gun that weighs as much as the actual figure. That ain't happening. Even if you don't want to stand the thing up while holding its man-sized weapon, getting the thing to actually stay in his hand is a chore.
(The photo I included above is the result of about half an hour of trial and error. It fell over immediately thereafter. Retakes, to be safe? Hell no, I called it quits.)
It's too bad. I'd really love my Bruce Willis toy to have a hilariously oversized missile launcher, but it's more trouble than it's worth. So toss that stuff in the bin and resign yourself to only trying to get him to hold his normal-sized weapons.
I also got The Rock, because, hey, Roadblock. And this one doesn't have a gun handle molded into his palm. It does have an amazingly weird weapon set thing, though, that I didn't have the patience to figure out. It's not worth it. It's never worth it. Joe weapons will never ever ever ever ever fit into hands, ever.
Kre-O has slowly been branching out into other Hasbro brands. Last year there was Battleship Kre-O, and let me tell you, that sold just as well as you'd expect it to. Later this year we're getting Star Trek Kre-O. And, wow, finally, three years after Kre-O has been a thing, it's reached Hasbro's other big boys toy franchise, G.I. Joe. That it's taken this long doesn't say inspiring things about the strength of the G.I. Joe franchise. That they're entirely exclusive to Toys"R"Us doesn't help either. I think lately G.I. Joe has stopped being so much Hasbro's sugar daddy as it's started being that gross uncle who only calls up when he needs cash or is in jail.
And I see that Hasbro's really trying to milk the nostalgia on this stuff. I mean, they're just going full-blown Eighties on all this G.I.Joe Kre-O. There is zero pretense of it trying to be also a visual tie-in to this year's movie. G.I. Joe Kre-O is seriously a bunch of Real American Hero vehicles done in brick-style with RAH characters. I don't know if I want to... commit to all that, so I decided to get only a blind-bagged Kreon or few. For now, at least. We'll see.
I like Scarlett! So I figgered I'd get Scarlett. Plus she hangs around Transformers often enough, so she can join my other human Kreon guys from my Transformers Kre-O stuff. But there's also, holy hell, a Joe Colton Kreon. And I say holy hell because his little Kreon hairpiece is friggin' flocked, man. Like the original Adventure Team figure. For serious. So I can't not pick up that guy. And then I realize I have these two Joes, and they could probably use some Cobra to fight, and so I pick up a Cobra Trooper and a Crimson Guard.
They're exactly what you'd expect, other than some small creativity with the weapons. Sometimes they find interesting ways to snap other pieces onto the little rifles, like clipping a Starscream armgun to the top of a rifle to make a scope. Scarlett comes with a missile-launching crossbow. Joe Colton comes with... himself packaged in an Adventure Team box. All right!
Man, how the hell is there no friggin' Destro, man. They better be saving him to come with a Kre-O Dominator later or something. Nevermind, here he is! BOUGHT ON SIGHT.
I bought the BBTS-exclusive Slaughter's Marauders box set months and months ago. It feels like decades. They've just been sitting unopened next to my desk in a pile of other stuff. The problem was I couldn't find my goddamned Sergeant Slaughter. And I refused to let myself open up the box and take the dudes out until I found him.
I hadn't seen Slaughter since we moved to this new place. And I knew he was one of the last things to get packed, which meant that he probably wasn't with my G.I. Joes, but in a separate, unique spot all his own. And, indeed, I had torn apart all of my toy bins, one by one, several times just to look for him, to no success. And I have a loooooooooot of toy bins, and they are laaaaaaaarge. And so my Marauders went unopened.
Until I was digging through my photos and found an image from the middle of the move of just my Masterpiece King Grimlock and Sergeant Slaughter sharing an otherwise empty spot on a shelving cube unit near our television! Aha! This was his last location! This might be a clue! I checked my MP Grimlock box, no dice, but ultimately found Slaughter in the bottom of one of those canvas storage cubes, under a bunch of Wii crap. Huzzah! Opening time, at last!
Look, I don't know who most of the guys in this set are, but I am pretty sure they weren't all Marauders. Sure, there's Lowlight, Spirit, Barbecue... but who's this football guy? Was Falcon in the team and I'd forgotten? And some other folks. Naw. According to the Internet, these are just guys who hang out with Sergeant Slaughter in the animated film, retroactively considered Marauders, and taking up spaces that REAL Marauders could have had! I coulda had a Footloose and Mutt! Instead, I borrow my normal Mutt. I have no Footloose. (There's apparently only a movie-style one, but he came in another box set.)
So screw those non-Marauders. They can stay in the box. ...maybe I'll keep the football guy. For the football. We'll see. The rest need to stop taking up space in my house. This is a hollow threat, because I'm pretty damn sure I have a pile of other Joe box sets I've bought and taken one or two figures from and then abandoned.
But seriously! Slaughter's Marauders! These were THE EFFIN' GUYS when I was a kid. I realize I am probably fairly alone on this. But I latched onto these guys pretty strongly. I was already a fan of Sergeant Slaughter, and these were his dudes! And they were older dudes who I hadn't owned, so I built up this personal mythology about how they were so awesome just based on the strength that they were older toys who were so awesome that they got to be rereleased as Slaughter's posse.
Anyway, I'm happy, because I am the biggest fan of these guys. I was such a big fan I had to look up to see if Falcon really was on their team and who these other dudes were and who I was missing. ...yeah. Okay.
I started putting together a Dr. Biggles-Jones nearly 5 years ago. I got a spare Lady Jaye and a spare Scarlett, and I was gonna frankenstein 'em together, hoping I'd find a good labcoat to add to her later. But that labcoat wouldn't come until the GIJOE movie line gave us a white-coated Cobra "Rex" Commander, and Lady Jaye's hands had gloves on them, so I ended up buying a movie Cover Girl to use for arms instead.
And then the thing just sat in pieces in a tub somewhere since then.
But I've been doing a lot of toy-painting recently and I'd picked up Volume 14 of IDW's remastered collections of the original Marvel run, and I was reminded of my forgotten project and how easy it would be to finish it.
So I did!
I spent way too much time trying to x-acto knife open Cover Girl's torso to get her arms out of there. Half an hour of sawing. Eventually I gave up, grabbed some damn pliers, and with some very manly force, I crushed the torso, sending both arms flying behind the couch. Those were retrieved and their sleeves were painted white. I got some super-glue, put the body back together, and did some paint touch-ups. I also took the knife to the labcoat, trimming the shoulders and opening up the front of the coat a bit so you could actually see her.
If I may get a little Fazzy with you, Dr. Biggles-Jones is the hottest lady. I think in 1993 she was my ideal woman. Incredibly smart, good with giant guns nearly her size, interested in by Transformers, and she wears a leotard and knee-high boots under a damn labcoat. If only she wore glasses. She's still pretty ideal. Not as ideal as, say, that wife I married, but pretty close! Hey, Maggie, if you're reading this, it's my birthday this week, just sayin'. Y'know, if you find a spare leotard and labcoat...