It’s the second day after the Nor’easter Stella reeked havoc on the East Coast. It ultimately wasn’t as bad as first predicted, but it was still bad enough. Especially for someone like me that has to work out in it. I was outside in the driving wind, freezing rain, and snow for 13 hours on Tuesday…YAY me!! Even the next day I was outside dealing with the drifting and re-freezing from night before.
Anyway, while dealing with all of this snow I thought about the things I love to stop me from going crazy….well more crazy. At the top of my “happy thoughts” list is always toys….and of course my wife and kids. I also thought of the joke, “It’s too near Easter for a Nor’easter”. No one thought it was funny.
1. Cobra Wolf w/ Ice Viper ( Hasbro, 1987)
What was there not to love about this vehicle set? For it’s lower price point you got a totally awesome snow vehicle (oops, sorry a Winter Operational Light Fighter) for COBRA and a kick ass COBRA figure that could double as a ninja.
The Ice Vipers always confused me. They were the mechanical division of the Snow Serpents which like all Snow Serpents were first trained as Eels, than as Techno-Vipers, and then trained in artic survival and combat. The Ice Vipers than got additional training in vehicle maintenance, feed a special high fat diet, and had their faces depilated to prevent frost from building up on their beards .
To me that sounds like a ton of work to get a few guys ready to be Ice Vipers for a privately funded military bend on world conquest. It would’ve been easier to just call them Snow Ninjas, like I did. Hell, they came with sais and a cool helmet. And may I also point out that on the box art they had Croc Master riding shotgun, WTF? Why would you put a guy who specializes in reptiles on an artic mission?
2. Snowman of Hook Mountain & Snowmeow (LJN, 1986)
Thundercats had some of the best supporting characters out of all of the cartoons of the ’80s. Snowman and his trusty steed Snowmeow are some of the best, EVER. Like most of the Thundercats support players, they came into the story with a back story of their own, which made them feel very fleshed out and “alive”.
Hailing from the Castle of the Snowmen on Hook Mountain, Snowman is an armored knight who charges in to battle atop his fierce feline steed Snowmeow. Armed with a shield and lance, Snowman is a skilled warrior who is very honorable and jovial. Due to the usual miscommunication heroes suffer from, Snowman and Snowmeow first saw the Thundercats as foes and attacked them. Soon they all realized they all fought for the good of Third Earth.
With his intimidating helmet off, Snowman is a furry and gentle looking fellow. He was always one of my favorite Thundercats characters next to Hachiman. While I was experiencing snow madness while out in the storm I have to admit I had fantasies of riding Snowmeow into combat against unseen foes. Man, that would be awesome. Sadly Snowmeow only had a small PVC figure released and never received the full fledged Thundercat toy treatment.
3. Wampa & Taun Taun (Kenner, 1980)
This two may be mortal enemies (?) but they go hand in hand. Nothing is more artic than Hoth and these two inhabitants of the ice planet were some of my most favorite toys as a kid. The Wampa has changed a lot since I was kid but this “jack ‘o’ lantern” faced version will always be my favorite. The Taun Taun has faired better and hasn’t changed much in its 37 year history.
With its more gruesome and ghastly redesign in the 1997 re-release of The Empire Strikes Back, it’s hard to remember that the Wampa use to look like this. To a whole generation of kids in the ’80s the Wampa was the stuff of nightmares. I talked a little about it in my post “Wampa Me, Wampa You”, but the Wampa, Taun Tauns, and Hoth in general helped foster the love I have for Star Wars today.
As far as Taun Tauns go, I always wanted a real life one as a pet and to ride around town on…hell, I still do. The toys were the closest I could get and I treasured them greatly. Everyone from my G.I. Joes to my M.A.S.K. figures rode the Taun Taun around, even though the M.A.S.K. figures were smaller and sometimes would slip inside. The Wampa was just the right size to hang out or fight with my He-Man and Thundercat figures. Mostly he was a swell dude but he was prone to attack without warning with his big meaty paws. Come to think of it, the Star Wars figures and vehicles were pretty damn versatile.
4. Snow Job & Snow Serpent (Hasbro, 1983 & 1985)
Sorry to put another two together on the list but these two G.I. Joe figures share an awesome trait…a lot of accessories. In the world of kid-dom what accessories a toy comes with can really make or break a purchase. You always want to feel like you got your moneys worth and a bunch of stuff that you can share with your other Joe figures was worth its weight in gold.
Snow Job was the Joe’s first “Artic Trooper” and came out during Hasbro’s second wave of G.I. Joe figures. The first wave of figures Hasbro released were great but the second wave moved away from the Army Green uniforms that most of the Joes wore and started the more unique and personalized attire the Joes became famous for. Outfitted with skis, poles, a laser rifle, and a backpack Snow Job had the most gear for a Joe at the time. One of the best parts was his backpack was designed to hold his skis and poles, and to an imaginative kid that meant it could double as a little sled to sit on.
The Snow Serpent was another first, he was COBRA’s first “Polar Assault Trooper”. Like the Ice Viper, the Snow Serpent goes through rigorous training in COBRA’s navy before undertaking the sub-zero temperatures of artic combat. Outfitted with snow shoes, a very detailed back pack, Ak-47, fanny pack, and an anti-tank missile pod. Like Snow Job, the Snow Serpent came with awesome gear that could be shared with other Joe or COBRA figures. On top of that the Snow Serpent has an awesome and intimidating look that had me searching the peg hooks of all of my local stores.
5. Imperial Attack Base (Kenner, 1980)
One of my first and only playsets, the Imperial Attack Base was another versatile Star Wars offering that benefited all of the action figures in my toy box. This chunky white plastic play set looked great with its ice block aesthetic of the Echo Base trenches.
The Imperial Attack Base offered some great analog features like break apart walls and small fort. Using levers and catapults like mechanisms to accomplish the actions, the play set was simple but it got the job done. There was also a large turret gun that clicked when it swept back and forth. Another feature that is so small but showed a great attention to detail was foot prints that marked the bases walls and base. The only problem was that none of the figures feet actually fit the prints and it caused my fledgling OCD to flare up.
This was a toy that I have very fond memories of but sadly have no idea what happened to it. I was very fortunate (?) to have pack rat parents that let me keep a lot of my toys in storage over all the years. But for some reason this one either got sold at a yard sale or just tossed at some point. I really wish I had it today to display all of my “Artic” action figures.
This was just a little list to commemorate the (hopefully) last snow storm in these part before Spring arrives on Monday. I wish I had more time to write this week but sadly snow removal is part of my job and this snow just won’t quit. It has reared its ugly head for the past 3 days due to drifting and freezing because of the high artic winds.When snow pops up on the forecast it’s a high alert and I can be a bear to be around. Today seems to be a step in the right direction…so come on Spring!!