Monday, April 24, 2017

Aguia Comando - Carded Figure

In Brazil, a small series of Sky Patrol figures were released under the Patrulha Do Ar subset.  The four members of this group were all characters, figure combinations and paint schemes exclusive to Brazil.  Through the years, I've showcased three of the four members of this set.  The final member, Aguia Comando was part of my collection for a long time.  I got a carded version of him back when such things were easy to find and cheap to acquire.  I meant to open him just as I had opened the other members of this set.  But, I never got around to it.  And, the price kept rising.  He, ultimately, became one of the figures I sold in the great purge just because I figured I'd get a loose one someday.
Well, someday still hasn't come.  But, I have the images from when Aguia Comando called my collection home.

Aguia Comando, Patrulha do Ar, Brazil Sky Patrol, G.I. Joe, Estrela
Aguia Comando MOC

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Takara (Japanese) Cobra Trooper

As a foil to the G.I. Joe figures, Takara also released several Cobra characters.  However, they replaced the blue card color with a vibrant reddish orange hue.  This made it easy to spot the factions on the shelves in Japan.  And, it also gave modern collectors an interesting take on Joe figures from outside the U.S.  And, just in case the card color wasn't enough, there is a huge Cobra symbol preceding the G.I. Joe name brand to be sure kids were aware they were buying a bad guy.

The classic Cobra Trooper was one of the figures released released by Takara.  He features his classic card artwork from the original release.  The blue figure seems to explode off the orange and yellow background: giving him a nice visual difference from other instances of his release with the classic art.  The figure itself is the same as the Hasbro release and includes his rifle.  You'll see a sticker sheet behind the figure, too.  This was an add on for the Takara release.  Though, I'm not sure if it was a short lived promotion or these stickers were included with every Cobra Trooper.

Like all Japanese figures, the market has absorbed these Troopers.  Six or Seven years ago, you could still buy MOC Takara Cobra Troopers for only a slight premium over what you'd pay for a truly mint Cobra Trooper.  But, those days are gone.  However, the Takara figs are still cheaper alternatives for classic figures with standard card art when compared to their Hasbro counterparts from around the world.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Brazilian Vibora Card Art Vs. Python Officer

The Python Patrol Officer was released in the U.S. in 1989.  This repainted Cobra Trooper utilized the card artwork from the original release.  But, Hasbro updated the colors to match their new subset of figures that were brought to retail as Python Patrol.  Around 1993 or so, the Cobra Trooper mold showed up in Brazil.  Here, he was released in Python Patrol colors as Vibora.  While the toy mold remained the same as an American release, Vibora was given brand new card artwork.

Vibora Card Art

Vibora features the classic Python Patrol coloring from the 1989 U.S. figure.  So, Hasbro sent those paint masks to Brazil for the swivel arm trooper mold.  But, this is the only connection to the U.S. release.  Vibora is in a completely different pose.  He also features his Brazilian exclusive weapons (a remake of Hit and Run's rifle and the Range Viper's grenade launcher) drawn into his hands.

Oddly, Vibor's name translates as Viper.  G.I. Joe fans know the Viper as the building block of the Cobra army and their successor to the original Cobra upon which Vibora is based.

1989 Python Officer Card Art
The biggest difference I see in the two artworks are the characters eyes.  Vibora's eyes are wide and somewhat crazy.  He looks worried and overwhelmed by his station.  The Python Officer's eyes, though, look very, very evil.  He has the hardened face of a career mercenary.  Each of them is cool in their own way.  But, the eyes seem to be the biggest characterization difference between the two releases.

Vibora Cardback and Filecard
Here is rough translation of Vibora's filecard:
He is extremely vengeful. And fast in your actions. Perfect for being the commander of the Cobra attack jets. His thirst for vengeance leads him to despise danger. And when it lands, its speed leaves the inmates unreacted.
Once, at school, Vibora needed to take ten to not be disapproved. He had no doubts: he took the test from the most intelligent colleague, put his name and called the teacher. For what? To accuse the unfortunate of wanting to take his test.

Vibora and Python Officer Card Artwork Comparison

Thursday, April 20, 2017

TNT - Argentina Exclusive - Around the Web

TNT is one of those figures that I just really like.  I shouldn't.  Yellow, blue and silver should not be the type of repaint that attracts my attention.  But, I find this figure fascinating.

TNT was one of three Plastirama uses of Blowtorch and he is my favorite of the three.  The figure was very common in 2000 and 2001 and would often sit unsold for cheap prices.  But, TNT was the third behind Ninja Ku and Satan in popularity and the supply slowly dried up.  These days, he's a fairly pricey figure.  Here's the little I could find on him around the web.

TNT Profile

TNT Diorama

TNT Gratis Card on Instagram

TNT Anniversary Figure Review at Mike's Collection

TNT at Gangusstars

Argentina, Plastirama, TNT, Blowtorch, 1982 Grand Slam, 1983, Rock and Roll, HAL, 2004 VAMP

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Korean Carded Gung Ho

In the late 1990's, foreign Joes that weren't the Chinese exclusives, later run Estrela figures or a few, select Funskool releases were rather scarce to come by.  You would see some displayed at conventions and there were a few pictures online.  But, information was incomplete.  One day, though, a bunch of Korean carded Joes showed up on online auction sites.  The figures themselves were Hasbro produced items from the early 1990's.  These generated quite a bit of discussion as collectors argued over whether to bid them up because they were Korean or to ignore them since the figures weren't exclusive: just the packaging.

The end result is that the figures didn't sell for much.  I think I paid $15 for the figure below and sold it for about the same a couple of years later.  But, I liked this Gung Ho.  I was drawn to him because I had bought a 1992 Gung Ho figure at retail and considered him one of my "return to collecting" figures.  But, I also liked the juxtaposition of the American flag on the packaging and with the figure, yet with Korean writing.

There were quite a few figures in this series.  But, the images I saved are long gone and I didn't save a scan of the cardback.  This Gung Ho is another one of those little oddities that I've owned over the years that I wish I had hung onto.  Not that it's overly valuable or rare.  But, the figure is interesting and is a fun way to show off just how influential the Joe line was around the world.

Korean Carded 1992 Gung Ho