Monday, April 6, 2015


Cobra was introduced in 1982 as the enemy of the Hasbro GI Joe A Real American Hero toy line. Cobra was invented by Archie Goodwin, a writer working for Marvel comics. Hasbro asked the Marvel to work on a comic book to promote the toy line. Hasbro, thinking villain figures wouldn't sell well, had not created an enemy for the Joe team. According to Marvels greatest Editor in Chief of all time, Jim Shooter, the villains, despite having less figures, vehicles, and playsets, account for 40% of the A Real American Hero line's sales.

The story makes me wonder how Hasbro has stayed in business since 1923. Villains don't sell?

Yeah, that Darth Vader figure was a mistake. Then again, Hasbro did wind up buying Kenner...

This list will only include individually carded Cobra. I won't be including any Cobra that came only with a vehicle or playset.

The pictures of the figures, carded and loose, were borrowed from WWW.YOJOE.COM. It's a great website to check out if you are a fan of the A Real American Hero 3.75" line.


COBRA OFFICER/SOLDIER
Debut: '82 Original

This figure is one of the original carded 11. That makes it OG! It's such a simple, yet cool design. I have trouble deciding whether I like the Officer or the Soldier figure the best.

The biggest differences are: the Officer has a silver Cobra logo on his chest, has molded binoculars, and comes with an AK-47 rifle

The Soldier has the common red Cobra logo on his chest, has knee pads, and comes with a Dragunov sniper rifle. While writing I have come to the conclusion that the Soldier is my favorite. That classic red logo wins me over.

I decided to show the carded Officer, but you can see both figures down below.

It was always tough to buy Cobra soldiers. Whenever I had any spare cash to buy GI Joe figures I wanted to buy figures I didn't already own. This is natural. However, without an enemy for GI Joe to fight, they would grow bored and terrorize my Star Wars and Lego figures. I won't even get into what they might have done to my tender Care Bears. So, the inclination to buy multiple enemy, be they Cobra or Storm Troopers, is a strong desire. I think I owned 2 Officers and 5 Soldiers back in the day. Well, honestly, I still own them. I just don't know where they are at the moment.

DESTRO
Enemy Weapon Supplier
Debut: 1983 (Series 2)

Destro's body is taller than the normal 3.75" standing almost 4". Like the Baroness (see below), the Destro mold contained all new parts. According to my research, none of the pats were ever used in other figures. That makes the first version of Destro virtually unique in the GI Joe world of action figures. My biggest peeve from this build is the figure's feet. They are tiny. hardly what one would expect from dude in a steel mask that refers to himself as Destro.

With this sculpt Hasbro managed to combine imagery from antiquity and modernity. The mask harkens to the novel The Man in the Iron Mask , but this version has friggin' rockets on his gauntlets. New world charm!

The design of the mask is nice. In Destro's back story the mask is forged from beryllium steel. The head mold for the figure is a silver, vacuum-metalized head with a sheen that closely resembles chrome.

As the Enemy Weapons Dealer, Destro should come with some impressive accessories. His backpack is cool, it opens to reveal molded rockets, grenades, and other weapons. His pistol, while a laser pistol, well... it's not really all that impressive. I always had Destro make good use of those rockets on his wrists though. If you were a good guy in my universe you had to watch out for Destro wanting to do a fist bump.

BARONESS
Cobra Intelligence Officer
Debut: 1984 (Series 3)

You know she's smart because she wears glasses.

Larry Hama, the writer of the GI Joe comic book, stated that he created the Baroness because all of the other Cobra operatives had masks and he wanted someone that showed their face. Thus the nerdy, yet seductive, Baroness was born. She has been a regular cosplay conventions ever since.

The figure doesn't quite live up to the promise of the picture on the card, but it's not a terrible build. In fact, it was an original mold, so I'm surprised that Hasbro did that good of a job.

The biggest issue I have with this figure is the bulk. The Baroness figure is very manish. The mold has some impressive shoulders.They might be larger than Destro's. Nothing wrong with this, of course, I'm just not sure that's the look they wanted. It's definitely what they got.
Even with that issue of her bulk, the sculpt is really amazing. The way her bodice and leggings show off the scaling of the armor is impressive. I also really like the small cobra logo embossed on her gloves. The picture on the right shows her right hand with the cobra logo. It would have been cooler if the logo had been red, but I give them points for just including it in her build. The Baroness also get points for her awesome backpack.


FIREFLY
Cobra Saboteur
Debut: 1984 (Series 3)


Firefly was cool because he immediately reminded me of a German commando. A World War II German commando. Maybe it was his sub-machine gun. It kinda looks like the Maschinenpistole 38. It's more likely that the grey that was reminiscent of the Waffen SS uniform.

Either way, Firefly was a must purchase. At first I wasn't sure if he was supposed to be an individual named Firefly or if he was a type of specialty Cobra agent called Firefly. In the end I realized that he was a unique butterfly. He was a grey camo'd Cobra who looked like a ninja who blew stuff up. He was perfect and a much needed boost to my small Cobra force.

On his Command File it states that Firefly's primary specialties are: Sabotage, Demolitions, and Terror. Anyone that has a specialty in terror has got to be a badass.



If you liked this post on Geexplosion's favorite Cobra figures be sure to check out the post about Geexplosion's .


COBRA OFFICER COBRA SOLDIER DESTRO BARONESS FIREFLY

Saturday, April 4, 2015


For those of you only aware of GI Joe based on the terrible movies from 2009 and 2013, please allow me to drop some knowledge. The GI Joe line was produced by HASBRO. The original line was released in 1964 and featured a handful of 12-inch tall action figures. My generation knows of this original line from older brothers, uncles, or weird neighbors that wanted you to come into their basement to see their toys. However, we played with much smaller action figures. In 1982 Hasbro revised the GI Joe line with the "A Real American Hero" line, a 3.75 inch toy . This decision was based on the popularity of Kenner's toy line, also based on the 3.75" scale. The 3.75" line ran from 1982 until it was canceled in 1994.

New versions of both the 12 inch and the 3.75 inch have been released on occasion, but overall the line has not been revived by Hasbro. They have leased the name to a toy company known as Sideshow Collectibles, but these figures are not really toys. They are pricey and designed more for the collector trying to capture their youth by maxing their Amazon Visa.

A bit of trivia: The term Action Figure was coined to describe the original GI Joe. It was used to differentiate the toy from the doll. Hasbro, wisely at the time, guessed that boys would not want to play with a toy called a doll, since dolls were exclusively for girls. That is why your mom always called your cool action figures dolls .

More trivia: If you are reading Geexplosion in another country, it is likely that you are now familiar with GI Joe because of the movies. GI Joe was more commonly known abroad as Action Team, Action Force, or Action Man.

Left: Basic Arm      Right: Swivel Design
Even more trivia: The original '82 series included 16 Joes; 11 individuals (2 are Cobra), 4 included with a vehicle, and the mail-in Cobra Commander. These figures were somewhat limited because they had straight arms and the head could only turn left and right. Swivel arms were introduced with the 2nd series. It allowed a greater range of motion for the arms, so the figures could actually hold their weapons. Ball joints were added to the heads with the 4th series allowing for increased head articulation.

Again even more trivia: During the twelve year original Hasbro run, the toy line produced over 500 figures and 250 vehicles and playsets.


As a child, I obviously had a limited amount of spending power. I had to make the right choice among a dozen, at the time, or so Joes. I did my research. I stood for about half and hour in the K-Mart aisle reading the back of each card.

Did I mention each carded Joe came with a GI JOE COMMAND FILE. The pic to the left is from the original card back for Breaker. The Command File listed the figure's code name, real name, military specialty, home town, a brief profile, and even the weapons in which they were considered an expert.

Following the Kenner Star Wars line they offered a group listing with pics of all the Joes in that particular series. The one on the left is from the earliest A Real American hero releases. You can tell because it only lists the 9 Joes, without any images of the 2 Cobra agents that were also included in Series 1.

It was not only a check list of the Joes you owned... but of the one's you didn't own and desperately needed. It featured images of the Joes that weren't at the K-Mart and made you want them all the worse. It taunted you to go and purchase until you had then all. Each card was like the Poke Ball of it's time.


I would like to start this little love-fest by commenting that this list will only include individually carded GI Joes. I won't be including any Joes that came only with their vehicle or playset.

At least, not in this post. Stay tuned!




BREAKER
Corporal Alvin R. Kibbey, Communications Specialist
Debut: 82' Original

I bought two figures at K-Mart the day after seeing the first commercial for the 3.75" line. One of the figures was Snake Eyes, but he is the Wolverine of the GI Joe world and so cool that I could devote an entire post to his action figures... and I might, one day. But that day is not now. The second figure was Breaker.

Is Breaker really all that cool? No, neither as a character or an action figure. I'm not even certain the figure came with a weapon. It's also hard to believe, with the amazing leaps in technology, that he was really carrying a clunky, old piece of crap radio on his back that was linked to his helmet.

Why did I make this purchase?

Breaker is from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While I was not born in Gatlinburg, I was born in Tennessee and I am very familiar with the Gatlinburg area. Buying Breaker was like giving a thumbs up to my state. I had to show favoritism and pick Breaker over Scarlet. I mean, c'mon.

STALKER
Master Sargent Lonzo R.Wilkinson, Ranger
Debut: '82 Original

Why would I buy Stalker?

Why wouldn't I buy Stalker is the better question. This dude was an Army Ranger, the near 80s equivalent of a ninja. I know First Blood, the movie that introduced Rambo, was released in 1982. John Rambo was an Army Ranger. While, I am certain that I didn't get to watch Rambo in 1982, I was most definitely aware of the movie and the character. I'm not sure how I would have known about Rambo being a Ranger... but trust me, it was very important to add Stalker to my growing collection of Cobra killing bad asses.

Stalker appears to have the same body mold as the '82 line, but he looked different from the other Joe figures because Hasbro painted the mold in camo. It may not seem like much, but it was pretty cool at the time and really set Stalker apart from the others.

Also, with a name like Stalker, how could you say no?


GUNG HO
Gunnery Sargent Ettienne R. LaFitte, Marine
Debut: 1983 (Series 2)

What's not to love about this figure? Well, maybe the powder blue uniform and backpack... But Gung Ho is a marine, dammit!

Above, I wrote how cool it was that Stalker was a Ranger, right? Well, the Rangers were kinda mysterious in that you didn't really know what they were all about. The U.S. Marine, on the other hand, you knew exactly what he was about. Discounting Gomer Pyle's USMC background, the Marines have a well documented movie history for being tough as nails, no nonsense, first on the ground in a conflict, and their theme song is pretty kickass.

Looking at the figure you can see that he is completely bare-chested. What kind of mad man goes into combat without even wearing a shirt? Obviously, a Marine. Also, take a look at the weapon Gung Ho is sporting. What is that? Well, friends, that is a friggin' grenade launcher. Gung Ho doesn't screw around. He ain't protecting the free world from Cobra with a little pistol! He's gonna do it right with a damn grenade launcher!

MUTT
Army Specialist Stanley R. Perlmutter, Dog Handler
Debut: 1984 (Series 3)

Mutt was interesting, not only because of his mold, but because he was the first Joe to include an animal as part of his accessories. The Mutt figure came with a hard molded dog named Junkyard. Spirit, also part of series 3, had an animal but it was a stupid bird and doesn't count.

You can forgive Mutt's Village People mustache because he comes with a Mac-11 pistol, a night stick for beating down Cobra when you didn't feel like wasting a bullet, and a really sweet face mask that was supposed to resemble a muzzle.

For some reason, I thought the figure was really cool because of the glove on the left hand. It's a protective glove that dog handlers wear when training their animal, but Mutt decided to wear it like a fashion accessory. And I don't fault him one iota. Mutt's body is an original mold not previous used.



Junkyard!


RECONDO
Corporal Daniel M. LeClaire, Jungle Specialist
Debut: 1984 (Series 3)

Recondo has the coolest hat. I will admit that the hat was a major selling point when I decided on purchasing the Recondo figure.

I was enamored with any character, action figure or otherwise, that carried a shotgun. In retrospect, I think that his weapon was just a rifle, cause that would probably be more useful in a jungle situation. What did I know? I was just 9 or 10 years old.


I often carried Recondo to school in my pocket. I was in elementary, so it was cool. Anyone having read this site for long might suspect I still carry this Recondo figure with me. I do not. Recondo was lost in 1999 and I now carry an old Stretch Armstrong head that I bought off Ebay.

We were allowed to play with our toys during recess. Of course, I played with mine while at my desk. Probably why my grammar is terrible and my knowledge of science is limited to mixing Kool-Aid.


The following pictures, and many of the carded figures, were borrowed from WWW.YOJOE.COM. It's a great website to check out if you are a fan of the A Real American Hero 3.75" line.

BREAKER STALKER GUNG HO MUTT RECONDO

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I usually give some sort of rambling preamble before a video. I think Harry Callahan's presence speaks for itself. The man is okay with rape, murder, murder rape, and grandma killing, but he'll be DAMNED if he eats a hot dog with KETCHUP!

This clip made me think... why do people have a problem with ketchup on their hot dog? Not everyone mind you, but some people (Chicago and New York, I'm looking at you) get red hot when you defile your dog with ketchup, fancy or not.

I went to the source (I guess they are the source. They have the word hot dog and org... that makes you reputable on the internet, right?) of hot dog information: The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and examined their rules on proper hot dog handling.

http://www.hot-dog.org/culture/hot-dog-etiquette

Don't...

Put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. Always "dress the dog," not the bun.
Condiments should be applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper.

GEEX: Notice they didn't mention ketchup?

Do...

Serve sesame seed, poppy seed and plain buns with hot dogs. Sun-dried tomato buns or basil buns are considered gauche with franks.

GEEX: Gauche... yes. Pretentious much?

Don't...

Use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth when eating a hot dog. Paper is always preferable.

GEEX: I'll wipe my mouth with my undies if that's what I want to do. Etiquette be damned!

Do...

Eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.

GEEX: I got four words for you - CHILL LEE DOG. Sometimes you get sloppy eating those badass mofos. Gotta use cloth napkins and you gotta use a fork.

Do...

Use paper plates to serve hot dogs. Every day dishes are acceptable; china is a no-no.

Don't...

Take more than five bites to finish a hot dog. For foot-long wiener, seven bites are acceptable.

Don't...

Leave bits of bun on your plate. Eat it all.

Don't...

Fresh herbs on the same plate with hot dogs over-do the presentation

Don't...

Use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.

GEEX: A direct commandment mixed with an insult. Stay classy hot-dog.org!

Do...

Condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog should be licked away, not washed.

GEEX: Hmmm. Lolzers. Wut?

Do...

Use multi-colored toothpicks to serve cocktail wieners. Cocktail forks are in poor taste.

Don't...

Send a thank you note following a hot dog barbecue. It would not be in keeping with the unpretentious nature of hot dogs.

GEEX: I think instead of Don't.. . this should have said Duh...

Don't...

Bring wine to a hot dog barbecue. Beer, soda, lemonade and iced tea are preferable.

GEEX: Yeah! Dammit! Don't be an obnoxious jerk!

Don't...

Ever think there is a wrong time to serve hot dogs.

Any rules on eating my damn burger?!

Definitely some food for thought. I have been breaking more than a few rules all these years. Who knew? Apparently the hot dog council dudes, that's who. I'm surprised they were able to type out these commandments since they were so busy licking their fingers.

Let's look at some interesting facts from Wikipedia.

Ketchup is also known as red sauce or tomato sauce. It is a sweet and tangy sauce, typically made from tomatoes, a sweetener, vinegar, and assorted seasonings and spices. Seasonings vary by recipe, but commonly include onions, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, garlic, and sometimes celery.

Heinz tomato ketchup, which contains 23.7g sugar and 3.1g of salt per 100g, is the market leader, with an 82% market share in the UK.
Some of the complaints I have heard about ketchup and hot dogs involve ketchup being too sweet and distracting from the taste of the dog. I don't know about you, but I grew up putting ketchup on everything just to distract the taste. What I'm saying is.. we didn't have the fancy hot dogs around these parts. We had hog leavings that were ground down, mushed into paste, and then funneled into a sausage casing. The best part of the hot dog was often the ketchup.

But, let's examine... ketchup is too sweet to put on a hot dog. Okay. What toppings are acceptable again?

Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.

Relish... let's go back to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge.
The North American "relish", a pickled cucumber jam eaten with hot dogs or hamburgers.
Let's compare 100g of hot dog relish to 100g of Heinz ketchup.

Sugars:  Ketchup 23.7g           Relish: 20.9g

3g of sugar per 3.5 ounces is not a difference that I would define as an OMG! moment.

Maybe some places just don't have the tradition of eating ketchup on their hot dog. In the end it's not really important. More of a first world problem that people like to argue about on the internet.

What do I prefer on my hot dog? Actually, I like salsa.

The war for mayonnaise dogs will be fought another day!