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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review Time! 2008 Target Cobra Rattler from Hasbro

After getting off my butt and finally doing the HAVOC that's been sitting in my line of sight for half a year, I got the net and decided to start reviewing some of these bigger vehicles.  My first review was in fact on the Cobra Night Raven fighter which is among one of my favorite aircraft but today I'll be focusing on my absolute favorite aircraft.  It was also the very first eBay buy I made when I started rebuilding the collection and boy is it a beaut'!  It is none other than the 2008 Target exclusive Cobra Rattler! 


This is just an absolutely beautifully designed vehicle.  It is a perfect copy of the original release from Hasbro in 1984's series 3 Joe wave.   This was touted as the Cobra answer to the Joe Skystriker even though the Rattler was clearly modeled after the real-life U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt which was a ground assault aircraft. (a carpet bomber, essentially) Throughout the comics and the cartoon the Rattler was ubiquitous with Cobra air combat until the Night Raven came along.  We also had other Cobra aircraft over the years such as the F.A.N.G., Mamba, Condor and F.A.N.G. II respectively but nothing really is such an iconic piece of Cobra weaponry as the Rattler. 



The vehicle design features a Vertical Take-off and Land (VTOL) system a la the Harrier, removable engine covers along with removable engines, a two piece opening front canopy, three functioning hinged landing gear, twin stabilizers with a third rear jet engine on the tail, a rotating and pivoting twin gun turret on the top of the plane with a opening top canopy to seat a second crewman, a rotating "jaw-breaker" 7 barreled Gatling gun on the nose, 4 air to air missiles, 6 cluster bombs on two racks of three, 2 anti tank missiles and a second set of anti tank missiles with removable warheads.  Phew, talk about features galore!  It is a mother with the decals as well and it took me over 2 hours to apply all the decals properly.  It makes such an amazing difference once the stickers are in place though.  Also, if you want to do some battle damage, you're in luck because two interchangeable damage panels are included with various entry holes peppered throughout.

The paint job is pretty standard.  Cobra deep blue for the plane, silver engine turbines, black rubberized nose, black cannon, black bomb racks, air to air missiles and warheads while the rest of the missiles are grey. (Here's the quick way to tell the difference between the 1984 and 2008 models because all of the missiles are black on the original.) 


The box art on the new one has some nice artwork of Wild Weasel (the included driver) in an action stance and possessed a clear plastic window showcasing the toy while a cardboard insert features a battle scene with Water Moccasins, Firebats, Morays and various other vehicles going at it under the plane in the supposed foreground.  The back of the box features a nice promotional photo of the plane and pilot highlighting the mechanical specs and has a small corner featuring the other Target exclusive Joe vehicle, "the Conquest X-30 with Slipstream".  On the side, you've got two new illustrations for the file cards of both Wild Weasel and the Rattler.  Compared to the amazing art on the old 80's box, I wish we went full head-on retro.  It did, however, contain a nice retro feeling schematic for the decal instructions. Oh well.  Good effort for Hasbro to try something new.

Included with this great toy is a driver...imagine that, a driver packed in with a vehicle in the modern toy line.  Kudos to G.I. Joe for not really straying from this plan.  One thing I loved about Joe toys was that especially with the older vehicles, it was a way to get some of the absolute best figures produced.  I'm not going to lie, mainly for Cobra's side.  Ice Viper, Strato Viper, Motor Viper, and in this case, Wild Weasel are among my top Joe figures.  The 2008 version is a nice modernized rendition of Cobra's flying ace who not-so-coincidentally had a long time rivalry with the Joe's ace, "Ace."  Nice name, not.  haha.  

His file card paints him as a mercenary who fought in various foreign civil wars to cash in and received a facial wound causing his speech to be altered and even Wild Bill shoots him some respect.   Nice back story, I'll give them that.   The modern version has a removable pistol from his side holster (standard fare for modern Joe's)  and his paint is very well applied with his leg data and maps with fine black and white detailing, he has a nice flight suit with loose belt and a well sculpted knife on his left side.  He also has removable goggles from his headgear showing a portion of his face.  Nice touch but I still prefer the 1985 model of his with the bigger head and bulkier flight suit.  Even as a kid I loved him and called him the "fat crimson guard."

All in all I managed to score this wonderful item new in box for 33 dollars last September (September 9th actually - almost a year to the day) which wasn't that huge of a price bump from the 24.99 it retailed for on Targets shelves but hey still is quite a bit more than the 9.90 you could have paid originally for the version 1.  Also, if you are a Rattler enthusiast, there are massive amounts of variations.  There's a Red remake (with electronic features) from 2002 and a G.I. Joe: Tiger Force Tiger Rat remake from 2008 or if you wanted some original Ratter action, you could go for the two original Joe versions of the Tiger Rat in 1988 or the green A-10 Thunderbolt repaint from 1997.  So many Rattlers so little time...and money....and space.   Take a look at the Rattlers over the years.  I want them all....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

League Assignment: Ninja Assault Draft Team!

Fantasy football season is upon us and I know not everyone is a fan of football, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone is a fan of ninjas. This week’s topic was suggested by UnderScoopFire’s Howie Decker, and it is sure to put hair on your chest…

Who would you take in an 80′s character fantasy draft? Your team’s goal will be to defeat a shady conglomerate of Russian businessmen and their team of hired ninjas. It’s go time.

The 80's offer up the ultimate listing of big time and small time ass-kickers of all varieties...I was thinking of going all blockbuster heroes going at our comically generic yet fascinating foes (Honestly, these antagonists seem like we stuck the Leathal Weapon series into a blender, added some camp and there you  have it)  Hell, I was thinking in assembling a team of all Stallone characters or, better yet, all Kurt Russell characters.  Even for better obscurity yet hilarious results look no further than Bill Paxton characters. God knows there are  plenty of them.  

Anyway, as homage to this summer's blockbuster "the Avengers", I'm assembling an Avenger iniative of my own to take on these villains of the Eastern Hemisphere.  Try to guess who stands in for who.

Sarah Connor:  Starts off pretty meek and mild mannered in the beginning but boy does she find her psychotic, armed-to-the-teeth stride by the second movie.  Ninjas, you're terminated.
Officer Tackleberry:  For the man who is allowed to carry everything but hand grenades in his locker, I think this friendly peace officer would definitely bring some decent hardware to this party.

Jack Torrance: Because everyone needs an insane writer turned caretaker who hates his family and is struggling with alchoholism...I think he'd do a fine job just freaking the ninjas out.

Ed-209: He may have been an enemy but is still is a robot and thus can be reprogrammed.  I wouldn't mind having this guy in my corner.  "Ninjas, lay down your swords.  You have 20 seconds to comply."  I think you better do what he says.

Sloth:  We never really got to see Sloth on full on Super Sayan mode...at any point in the Goonies I always was half-expecting him to yell something along the lines of "It's clobberin time!" or "You won't like me when I'm angry, ma!"

Adolphus:  Who could forget the eagle-eyed rifleman from the Adventures of Baron Munchausen?  Apparently everyone since this movie did horribly and nobody really remembers it but I always liked this character and as a sniper, he could definitely just surpass the ninjas and get the dozen Russian headshots needed to blow this popstand.
Check, one, two for some fellow League-sters.
Green, Plastic Squirtgun teams up Ash, Predator and Link...not bad.
Memories of Toymorrow fights fire with ninjas!
Lair of the Dork Horde crosses his T's with Eternia, noice!

That Figures blows my mind with factional heroes...honestly, why hasn't this movie been made?

Monster Cafe Saltillo googled 80's Ninjas and here's what he found!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Toy Review: G.I. Joe HAVOC

Some action packed box art as per usual.

This is a review of the G.I. Joe H.A.V.O.C. (Heavy Articulated Vehicle Ordinance Carrier) Vehicle released from Hasbro Toys in 1986 as part of G.I. Joe's fifth series.   It's Cobra counterpart was the Cobra S.T.U.N. as both of these vehicles were prominently displayed in the Sunbow animated feature along with nearly every other series 5 vehicle and character. (Didn't see the Cobra Hyrdo Sled though)  I know the show was to serve as a vehicle to hawk toys but didn't you think they at least could have put a Cobra WOLF or Joe Snowcat in the arctic battle for the B.E.T.?  "Hm...we have cold weather vehicles...bah, leave em at the base."

This was always a major favorite of mine ever since I saw the movie.  I loved how it had such a neat, boxy feel to it with the overhead gunner's port and lay-down front controls.  This, by no means, means I think it's a practical military vehicle in any sense of the word as exposed driver and gunner would probably result in 100% death rate on the poor sods who have to pilot this thing.  It also has a killer hovercraft that deploys from the rear gunner's position.  It operates on a double set of pivoting half-tracks and has the look to it crossing between a German Sdkfz 251 from WWII and a modern U.S. Armored Personnel Carrier.   It's colored in classic G.I. Joe olive drab and has 4 bright orange missiles (2 on each side) and 4 guns (2 front, 2 rear).

This vehicle also came with Cross-Country as a pilot, the southern fried Johnny Reb of the Joe team.  This version is my favorite though as he looks a little more soldierly than his later rendition putting him in a hunting vest and blue jeans...ugh. The vehicle can hold up to 11 (pushing it) figures with 3 on each side running board, 2 in the rear, a top gunner seat and 2 pilots.  It does have an variant that has glossy, brighter missiles that look redder than the duller orange-ish colored ones that were standard.  This mold was reused for the Sky H.A.V.O.C. for the Sky Patrol Line in 1990.  Also, a great vehicles.  One things I'll note for the Sky Patrol and the Python Patrol, they may be reused molds but these were perfect examples were paint jobs created practically brand new vehicles.

Articulation-wise, this vehicle has a ton of movable parts with a lifting canopy, double hydraulic lift for the gun that can position and lock in various shooting positions, two opening doors to release the rear hovercraft which has a sliding set of twin jet propulsion engines in the bottom.  Underneath the chassis, you have two triple tread wheels on the rear and two double tread wheel sets on the front both of which can rotate 360 degrees.  The missiles are removable and the four guns can all move (rear 360 range - front 45 range)  Can you believe this beast retailed for less than nine bucks?  God, how times have changed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

League Assignment: Saturday Morning Cartoon Fun!

saturday cartoons
This week’s topic was suggested by Poe Ghostal, so send all complaints his way…

You’ve been hired to program the ultimate Saturday morning experience for kids across the nation–create your own ideal Saturday morning cartoon schedule.

Well what an amazing melange of awesomeness!  Now this is what I call a mixtape...So many shows with relatively so little time.   We'll pull so stuff from weekday afternoon stuff here for this cornucopia of animated fun.  Here goes! We can all start with the quintessential into bumper!  When you say this logo, you knew something awesome was coming up!

6:00 - 6:30: New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – You’ll notice it’s not all boy shows on here…This Disney show really tugs on some sentimental heartstrings for me. The storyies were really well done, every character was totally likable. This always would be a winner for me…and it is the epitomizing show for the “After these messages we’ll be right back” Promo bumpers… Bah, I’ll show it after the theme song.

6:30 - 7:00: Garfield and Friends - Super funny show that most people don’t even think of.I actually watched it for the “Friends” (or U.S. Acres) portion to see Sheldon, Orson, Booker and Lanolin just to name a few.  Crazy to think Megatron voiced half the farm!

7:00 - 7:30: Duck Tales - The best and maiden show of the Disney Afternoon… Many a weekday was spent singing along to the Duck Tales.  Launchpad McQuack, Gyro, the Beagle Boys…what a kickass show with a coinciding kickass video game to go along with it.  Hubba Bubba!

7:30 - 8:00: Exo Squad -  Great, innovative show.  We didn’t get enough Macross Saga in the States and this was a very nice incorporation for kids who wanted to get their mech fix.  I always was a Mech Warrior and BattleTech fan so this show really touched a sweet spot for me.  I’ve talked about the amazing toys this cartoon produced by Playmates and this is something I wish was still alive and kicking

8:00 - 8:30: Bucky O Hare -   A tragically short-lived show possibly due to crappy supply decisions from Hasbro (cough cough Vintage Star Wars collection) which flooded the market with one character thus decreasing sales, stagnating the line and making kids lose interest in one of the most clever and ahead of its time shows around. Kind of like Ninja Turtles with guns in space but so much more to it, I loved watching this show and would love to see it back on the airwaves!

8:30 - 9:00: Inhumanoids - Now here is a show that probably would get some hate mail from angry parents. Super dark and very well written and animated, the Inhumanoids just had so much awesome stuff packed into each well rolled episode with some gruesome takedowns, hideous monsters and every type of freaky creature you could think of taking up the fight for both good and evil. This was an intense show that only lived one brief season. Every kid deserves the chance to witness Tendril or Decompose for themselves!

9:00 - 9:30: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - No Saturday would be complete without this gem of a cartoon show.  I remember this being the ultimate product placement show as I played with my Turtles, drove them around in the Party Wagon, launched the Pizza Shooter and had epic clashes at the Sewer Playset (Best Playset everrrrr) as I watched these guys kick Foot Clan ass all over the screen. Sorry for the low rent "intro"... 

9:30 - 10:00: Transformers -   With the rekindled interest in the more classic version of the series through the Fall of Cybertron game, I think it’s only fair for kids to get a refresher on the epic struggle between Autobot and Decepticon…(Also, it’d be awesome for this to be a reason for Hasbro to reignite the true G1 renaissance) Autobots, roll out!

10:00 - 10:30:  The Real Ghostbusters - This made my morning in the most absolute of senses.  Killer intro, terrifying ghosts, awesome scenery.  Some of these episodes were so creepy, they stayed with me though the weekend.  Check out my previous post on scariest Ghostbuster Ghosts to see what I mean!

10:30 - 11:00: Muppet Babies As James Rolfe said, “It is the very embryo of life itself, we are all the offspring of...the Muppet Babies!This show incorporated everything you could think of into a seemingly innocent show aimed at the littlest demographic.  There are more nerd shout-outs and fan service than you can count with stories that still hold up to this day.  I remember loving the one were Rolfe loses his voice or the one where They are climbing Fozzie’s family “Tomato”Tree.  How about when they go to the "Wierdo Zone" or Gonzo steals all the animal crackers?  Animal Color!!!!  Good times!

11:00 - 11:30: Pee Wee’s Playhouse - Not technically a cartoon show but it had tons of puppets, animation, claymation so it works for me. Hell the show had a guy called the “King” of Cartoons, dammit! It gets on the list just for the 3 minute long Cindi Lauper theme song and having Devo do the music!

11:30 - 12:00: Bugs Bunny and Tweetie Show - This wrapped up my morning as it did with many kids I'm sure for the late 80's. I always remember this being the last show on "ABC's Saturday morning" usually followed up by an animal show, or a golf tournament. It was such a great way to have the actual day officially begin. For some reason, many an appointment at the dentist's office was spent watching this in the waiting room at 11:30. P.S. This would air the Mel Blank, Friz Freleng Toones...none of the crappy stuff with Bill Lava.  I would probably kill someone to be able to see the Wabbit of Seville or Fast and the Furry-ous on prime pre-afternoon television again...sigh.  The into says it best and if Jerry Seinfeld agrees, you know you can't go wrong!

Well, there you have it!  Make your rounds around the league to see what other lineups our fine affiliates have planned for your fictional viewing pleasure!

Monster fan?  head to Green Plastic Squitgun!

Action fan?  Shezcrafti is the one for you!

Memories of Toymorrow has Dragon's, Mr T and Voltron to say the least!

Rediscover the 80's has got GoBots, PacMan and MASK! Hoo Yeah!

Goodwill Hunting for Geeks has got a little bit of everything!

Monday, August 13, 2012

League Assignment: "90 Minutes? That's only one Mixtape!"

This week’s assignment from the League: Mixtape


Normally, we’re writing and talking about TV, movies, toys, and collectibles, but this week, the League’s assignment is going to have some of us treading in unfamiliar waters: Music.

What songs were forever being looped on your car’s stereo back in high school. A cassette could only hold a dozen or so songs, so that’s the magic number of songs to list. If your car didn’t have a cassette deck in high school, go ahead and pretend it did, you punk.

Oh baby! I was a mixtape freak in my high school years.  Way back when in the last years of the millennium before i-tunes, napster, and youtube when you actually had to buy the original pieces of work on disk, record or tape to dub on a physical cassette.  Jesus, what a pain in the ass!  But it was all worth it to cruise down the open road on a full tank of gas at less than 20 bucks and just blast the freshest tunes you could muster!  The Gallery of Sound Record store definitely walked away with a ton of my disposable income back then. 

Anyway, here is what you would hear from some of my better tracks on my usually disjointed and all-over-the-place musical tastes.

Bonus Points to anyone who can I.D. the title quote. :)


Weezer - Mykel and Carli

Rentals - These Days

Radiohead - Iron Lung

Minor Threat - Stepping Stone

Beastie Boys - Pass the Mic

Ben Folds Five - Video

Cake -  The Distance

Smashing Pumpkins - Soma

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Righteous and the Wicked

Beatles - Tax Man


Rollins Band - Alien Blueprint

The Pixies - Motorway to Roswell

Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia

The Breeders - No Aloha

Joan of Arc - This Life Cumulative

Brian Eno - Deep Blue Sea

Cap'n Jazz - Little League

Beck - Fume

Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing

The Doors -  L.A. Woman

Three Dog Night - Just an Old Fashioned Love Song

Head over to Green Plastic Squirtgun to check out some Cure and Blues Brothers for starters, good picks!
Memories of Toymorrow cites Boston, MeatLoaf and Sabbath, Noice!
Flashlights are Something to Eat is Kickin it Old School! Pass the Mic, Indeed!
See the rest over at Cool and Collected, especially Brian's, the ringmaster of this pop culture flying circus.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A couple awesome G1 and Star Wars finds!

Like I said two posts back, last week was quite a week for my collecting.  I lucked out on two separate collections and am really having to exercise some major willpower to not jump at the last two Nick Turtles or the new series of MVCapcom 3 Minimates OR the new Lego Tatoonie Skiff just to grab the Lando and Boba minifigs OR the Fall of Cybertron Shockwave who is notoriously hard to find since I put him down in my local TRU a month ago, rrrr.  Needless to say, I cannot wait for subbing to start back up in 3 weeks to be reintroduced to some nice hefty disposable income!  By that time, the Beast Saga figs should be floating around Bigbadtoystore as well as the new Speeder Bike, K-Mart exclusives and other remnants of the final Star Wars Vintage Collection (not holding my breath)...

But speaking of the Vintage Collection, I made some actual finds!  8 months late but nevertheless, finds in their own respect.  I managed to find two older figs on Amazon for ten a piece so I snagged Luke Skywalker in Hoth Gear as well as Wedge Antilles. THEN, I joined up on yardseller.com at the recommendation of Flywheels post on his Sixshot find (good call Mr. Hopper!) and got a Nikto figure (Unpunched mind you) for 8 dollars after the 5 dollar entry discount, Then randomly, I was driving along Rt 11. and decided to make a random stop in K-mart kind of as a joke since they rarely even have crappy figures to choose from...and low and behold, the had a ton of new Star Wars guys!  They had Ayyla Secura, Clone Commandos and other stuff that I haven't seen yet on shelves but most importantly, they had Kithaba and Dr. Evazan!!! SCOOOOOORE!

These figures are absolutely amazing and totally worth the wait.  The detail on them is breathtaking from expertly crafted sculpts, great accessories and some of the most detailed paintwork I've ever seen on any figures.  Luke in the Hoth Gear was someone I've been psyched about for over a year since I heard about him at SDCC 2011.  He was my absolute favorite rendition of Luke and this edition improved on everything I already loved. I just kinda wish they included his scope goggles since they were one of my favorite pieces of equipment in the whole movie.  I love the application of his wrist communicator, rank insignia, translucent yellow goggles as well as all the nice detailing and sculpting on the ammo pouches and utility components on his belt.  One extra pair of goggles for his visor to attach would have been nice to include too (a la the Saga Legends Han Solo in Hoth Gear) But I'm overall very happy with this figure.  One confusing thing I noticed was Luke's mold had all of his detailing on the opposite of the production still on his file card making me think the production photo was printed backwards...I wonder who goofed?

Kithaba (Barada) and Nikto and figures that I couldn't wait for when I hear about them.  These are truly amazing builds.  You know they are great figures when you notice detailing on them that you never even noticed in the movie like the lacing on Nikto's tunic or the perfect detailing in their facial molds with exceptional noticed paid to the eyes which are spot on representations of the real characters.  I always thought they had black eyes over the masks and not contact prosthesis that the actors wore so after all these years, it was really something to find out new about two of my favorite skiff guards.  Trivia: Up until this point, I never realized that Nikto here wasn't driving the prisoner Skiff but another Nikto all entirely.  A lot of mix ups occurred in these guys I guess since Kithaba was erroneously named Barada who actually was wearing an orange headband and was on the other Skiff along with blue tunic Nikto.  Whew...These guys can't help but make me mad though because I wanted to see more of these Skiff and Jabba guards produced (EV-9D9, 8D8, Amanaman, Squid Head (Tessek), Yak Face (Saelt Marae), The Rebo Band, Ree Yees, Klatuu in Skiff Guard Uniform, Bib Fortuna from the old school figs that could be proper vintage redesigns or new unproduced figures like Sgt. Doallyn (The guy Chewie throws down the steps), Ishi Tib (Starfish Head), Pote Snitkin (Second Skiff Driver), Ephant Mon, Herme Oodle.  Look at this! Like 3 waves right here and that's just scratching the surface but I guess we can just hold out till 2015or 16 before Return of the Jedi gets it's proper attention paid to it.

Also Wedge was someone I'm glad I got around to grabbing.  He was always a guy who seemed to get the shaft in the Star Wars figure-verse mainly because he was so similar to the pretty generic Luke X-Wing Pilot Fig which could have stood in for any rebel pilot.  I do like the detailing on his helmet and the facial scult looks pretty right on.  He'll go nicely with my other pilots and the upcoming Battle of Yavin Pilot Set.

Last but not least is Dr. Evazan.  The foul mouthed fool who picked a fight with the wrong Jedi knight.  All those death sentences and he gets hacked by an old hermit.  The detailing is pretty nice and he comes with a standard Cantina cup and plaster.  I have him up on the shelf reunited with his poor buddy Ponda Baba (Walrusman).  It always annoyed me that so many Star Wars guys were overlooked.  As far as I saw it, If you spoke a line in the movie, you deserved a toy.  I'm just glad we got figure editions of Dak, Biggs and Grand Moff Tarkin to say the least.

In addition to these awesome Star Wars finds, I also managed to majorly luck out on a G1 Transformers lot on Ebay.  I scooped 4 very nice conditioned bots for a mere 24 bucks with shipping included.  I got Blurr with Weapon, Kupp with weapon and booklet and the Decepticon Clone set of Pounce and Wingspan with perfect transformations, tight joints and flawless decals.  Kudos to this seller who kept these great figs in such pristine condition!  Take a look!