Monday, August 19, 2013

GI Joe Retaliation Alley Viper

GI Joe: Retaliation spawned an interesting odd set of figures. The early waves ranged from nearly tragic to odd and peculiar to incredibly awesome. The Alley Viper falls in the odd and peculiar category.

I have always liked the Alley Viper concept even as far back as the neon orange original O-ring version back in the 80's. Throughout the life of the small Joe figures since that initial figure, the Alley Viper has been around in various styles as well various colors.

The modern Pursuit of Cobra series produced an excellent Alley Viper, but I found fault with its pin head. The head under the helmet just seemed too dang small for an actual human being. That resulted in a mash-up of the POC Alley Viper and the red Cobra trooper from the aborted GI Joe:Resolute line. (Argh!) 
Hasbro once more brings back the Alley Viper name on a new version. Does it have all of the coolness of the POC version? Not quite. The pin head is still there, so that is strike one!

The primary differences between the POC and the Retaliation versions are the vest/webgear and the torso. Okay, yeah, the colors are different, but Alley Vipers are all about the wild colors! The original vest that came with the POC Alley Viper just kicked serious amounts of ass. Bulky and loaded with gear, it was still constructed in a way that allowed for excellent arm movement.

As you can see with my custom Alley Vipers, the vests just really look so much better.

The Retaliation AV's come with the web gear from the Jungle Duke figure from the POC line. Which is okay, because that web gear kicks ass too! It just doesn't seem to work as well with the concept of the Alley Viper - at least not to me. I've always considered the Alley Viper as an assault troop in need of some solid heavy gear. The web gear just seems to leave the AV too exposed.

The torso is new for the RET version, using the torso from the 1st versions of Duke and Flint. Less said about them is better. The torso works for the AV as an armored body, but it's just not bulky enough. 

I've only bought two of these guys and really don't feel strongly enough about them to do any serious troop building. They just don't work with my custom AV's. Their fate seems to be destined for the fodder box. The web gear has already been surrendered to the Joes. Unsure what to do with them right now. I just need some toy time to play, I suppose. 
The RET AV also comes with the AV two-part helmet, the shield w baton, and the small submachine gun. Oh yeah, and one of those crazy-ass rope thingies. I believe that is the official terminology.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

GI Joe Microforce!

Seriously? I'm going to review those silly little G.I. Joe Microforce figures? But they are just so frikkin' cute!
I suppose I should explain why these silly figures have entered my collection. I bought a couple packs a few weeks ago - just because...
I picked up Duke, Hit & Run, the Dark Ninja Master, and a Red Ninja. First thoughts - kinda' cute! And I was pretty much done at that point.

Fast forward a few weeks and Target clearances their remaining stock. Fine, whatever. Then the next round of markdowns and prices reach the point of zero resistance. I picked up all of the two-pack blind bags and, the next day, I go back and pick up the three five-packs. Cleaned that store out!

I picked up a couple doubles of just a few and got a decent selection of a variety of figures. I'm really surprised by these guys, because most of the designs are based on concept case figures from Hasbro. The 2012 G.I. Joe Convention featured a spectacular concept case from Hasbro featuring some wild designs of figures. You can check out a write-up of the case at General's Joes - (Stupid browser is acting up, can't use Blogger tools properly. I'll get my NSA caseworker on it.)

Oversized heads, short, stumpy bodies. What's not to love?

Ninjas, ninjas, ninjas. Enough with the ninjas!

Lowlight - one of the more amazing figures. These guys are tiny, okay? There's a butt-load of detail in these tiny figures.

This is Grunt and an amazing Grunt he is. Sure, he's just a tiny little thing, but the potential in just the character design makes me want him in the regular scale.

This is a Beast Ninja Soldier, whatever that is supposed mean. Arashikage nonsense, but still cool.

Shockblast? yeah, whatever - he's Shockwave. Coolness!

Duke - not a favorite of this line, but pretty well done. I don't like his face, but then, who does?

Roadblock - one of two versions. Very nice! I really like the headsculpt on him. Looks almost scale to 4" figures. If I had an extra, I'd cut his head off and try it out on a standard Joe body.

Cobra Viper! You know I'm digging this one! I'm always psyched about the Cobra Viper. My favorite Cobra troop builder ever!

Cobra Commander in all of his battle helmet glory.

This guy is refered to as Cobra Trooper Big Blaster. I guess because he has a rocket launcher? Fair enough!

Red Ninja - nice!

Lt. Stone? Looks kind of like Falcon to me, but I guess he'll do as Lt. Stone.

Snake Eyes in commando gear. Sweet!

Zombie Cobra Commander? Very cool!

Dark Ninja Brawler. Why is he a brawler? Doesn't matter, still cool.

This is the Snake Master. I wonder what the back story Hasbro had in mind for all of these new ninjas?

Hit & Run. Yeah. paint his face green and call him Hit & Run.

Another Red Ninja.

Arashikage Samurai. Looks more like the new version of Budo from wave 3.5 due out any minute.

Dark Ninja Master. Okay...

One of two Ghost Ninja Henchmen. Yeah, right...

Gold Ninja Assassin. Do we have a rainbow assortment of ninjas yet?


Lady Jaye - maybe based on concept case version? Looks cool!

Timber! Snake Eyes' pet wolf gets all cute and shit. Very nice!

Snake Eyes v2 with his trusty wolf buddy!

I've got a decent chunk of this first, and possibly only, wave of the Microforce figures. If I can get by another Target that still has them on clearance, I'll probably take a chance and pick up some more. But then again, if the awesome wave 3.5 "Ultimate" figures show up soon, all my toy $$$'s are going to them.

Overall, I think this line is pretty cool, but it just didn't seem to have any traction in sales. Collectors of all things GI Joe probably bought them. I didn't go for them when they showed up because I would rather focus on the 4" figures. It's tough to resist Target's rock bottom clearance prices.

They are a decent part of my collection and if I don't get any more, I think that I'll manage to survive!