Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 2009 Recap

Below is a recap of all the post we've covered in January 2009. If you missed any, or simply want to see them again, click on each "title" to be taken directly to that post. As always, thanks for reading.

G.I. Joe 1982
G.I. Joe 1983

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Monday, January 19, 2009

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 1983 (Hasbro)

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

In 1983 the popularity of G.I. Joe grew ten fold. Demand for the toys was way higher than the supply could ever keep up with. The first series was virtually impossible to find.

Though what was cool about Hasbro was that the mail away figure released with the first series would find its way to store shelves on a card back. While they did this for a little while with some of the other mail away figures, they eventually became just that, and were not offered in stores. But, this wouldn't happen for while.

The second series launched with seven new "grunt" figures which included; Airborne, Destro, Doc, Gung Ho, Major Bludd, Snow Job, Torpedo and Tripwire.

Backed by the cartoon series, kids were being introduced to new characters with each episode, so while some of the figures were virtually unknown just yet, this didn't stop children from high tailing it to the stores to swoop them all up.

New to this series was also the swivel arm battle grip. Meaning that the arms were now capable of swiveling not only up and down, but also side to side, giving the figures a more realistic “feel” to them. Kids ate this concept up, and over time, every toy making company went this way for their action figure lines. The swivel arm would be in place from now until the series end.

Seven vehicle drivers were also released with this series and also introduced fans to the second female character in the series, Cover Girl. The seven figures included were; Ace, Cover Girl, Grand Slam (sporting a new silver chest plate as opposed to the original 1982 version with the red), Grunt (now sporting a tan pair of fatigues as opposed to the green ones from the original 1982 version), H.I.S.S. Driver, Viper Pilot (essentially a Cobra Soldier with a silver Cobra insignia as opposed to the red) and Wild Bill.

Again most were only available with the purchase of specific vehicles, but some were available carded by themselves.

New to the mail away game was the Joe leader himself, Duke. While Duke would later be available carded, and in the more rarer JC Penny and Sears "bubble" versions, this particular release was sent in your usual mail away bag which included his stat card.
An accessories pack and figure carry case was also made available this year. But, the downside to the case was that it only held 12 figures - Far from enough space for all your toys.

Hasbro released a wide variety of vehicles this time around. A Joe base was also produced for the second series of toys.

The vehicles released in 1983 are as follows; A.P.C., Cobra Viper Glider, Command Center Headquarters, Dragonfly XH-1, F.A.N.G., G.I. Joe Falcon Glider, H.I.S.S., Polar Battle Bear, Skystriker XP-14F, Wolverine, J.U.M.P. (rereleased with Grand Slam figure), PAC/RAT (flame thrower), PAC/RAT (machine gun), PAC/RAT (missile launcher), S.N.A.K.E. and Whirlwind.

Hasbro also did something that many children loved. They re-released the entire first series, but updated them with the new swivel arm concept. Not only did this make those hard to find figures easier to obtain, but also made them fit in with rest of your Joes. Not only that, but Hasbro also included the mail away Cobra Commander on a card.

They were all back for another go (left to right, top to bottom); Breaker, Cobra Soldier, Cobra Commander, Cobra Officer, Flash, Grunt, Rock N Roll, Scarlett, Short-Fuze, Commando (now officially dubbed "Snake-Eyes"), Stalker and Zap.

While they didn't fly off the shelves as quickly this time, supply was at least able to keep up with demand. With most action figure lines, one could always find an abundance of female characters on the shelves, but some of the cooler male looking figures were always a little tough to get a hold of. That's just how it was back then. Guys played with guy figures.

To add even more icing to the delicious Hasbro cake, Hasbro also re-released all the original vehicle drivers and vehicles.

It basically felt like while the first series came out in 1982 that the series didn't begin until 1983. All the figures were readily available, and children could pick and choose with glee. It also helped that at this time in the world, collecting action figures was still a child's joy, so kids could find what they were looking for without paying outrageous prices or more than likely, doing without.

But, now-a-days, collecting action figures has become more of an adult hobby. Toys are marketed specifically towards adults because toy companies know that they're the ones with the money...or credit cards.

For the rest of you who have moved on from plastic toys, you'll always have our memories, and that's really what counts.

Stay tuned for our look at Masters of the Universe!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 1982 (Hasbro)

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero

Welcome to our first (of what will hopefully be many) posts. We launch this blog with one of the most iconic toys from the 80's, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The roots of the Joe team can be traced all the way back to 1964 when Hasbro produced the first line of 12” dolls. Though a the time it was determined that boys would not play with dolls, thus a new term was created for the series, and since the first produced character, Joes around the world have been known as “action figures.”

The 12” line ran strongly throughout the 70's, though by the early 80's the G.I. Joe toy line was given a major overhaul, and a new era of boy’s toys was born. Under the helm of Larry Hama, who also wrote the majority of the newly launched comic book series through Marvel Comics, the series went on to be an iconic staple of childhood toys of the 80's.

Reduced from their 12” size to the smaller 3 ¾ size of the now commonly known action figure, the first series spawned an incredible line up of toys. They were available via several avenues, such as through local department stores and/or catalogs and via direct mail away offers from Hasbro. Some were available carded, others were only available as boxed vehicles, and then there were those pesky mail away exclusives that came in a simple clear plastic bag inside of a white or tan box, or bubble sealed on top of a colored piece of cardboard.

No matter how you got them, the G.I. Joe craze was set in motion once again, though hands down it was larger than ever. Children of all ages were eager to nab these plastic joys off shelves in order to recreate their favorite G.I. Joe versus Cobra battles.

The first series had eleven carded figures - Nine Joe members, and two Cobra members. They were; Breaker, Flash, Zap, Rock 'N Roll, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Grunt, Short-Fuze, Stalker, Cobra (Trooper), and Cobra Officer.

For those children out there who were particularly organized with their toys, a reward was to be had for keeping the cardboard backings of your figures or boxes of your vehicles. Flag Points allotted kids a certain amount of points for each G.I. Joe related product they purchased. These points could then be used to get exclusive mail away figures. The mail away concept would become a staple in collecting every G.I. Joe figure as several more would come about over the years.

The first mail away promotion included the highly coveted Cobra Commander. Two versions were available, both different by way of the “Cobra” symbol on the front of the figure's vest. The figure was mailed in a bubble package mounted to a red card backer, and included; a gun, file card, an invitation to join the G.I. Joe Fan Club, and a catalog. Our photo also shows the original order sheet for the figure.

Hasbro produced a fair amount of vehicles and playsets to coincide with the figures. This ensured that the line not only launched on a high note, but stayed strong, ensuring that the series would continue.

Before the series got out of hand, the vehicles were actually sensible. They ranged from tanks to motorcycles, but were based on current styles of actual army equipment. The series would later get more creative and produce all new vehicles created strictly for the show (which launched in 1985).

Four items came packaged with exclusive figures, but unfortunately due to the price of the vehicles and accessories, many parents were not eager to purchase them. During this time, a standard figure cost roughly $1.99, while the vehicles were upwards of $19.99.

The figures/vehicles were as follows; Vamp with Clutch, Mobat with Steeler, MMS with Hawk, and HAL with Grand Slam.

Hasbro also produced three smaller items that didn't come with figures. This enabled children, or rather the parents who bought the toys for their children, who didn't have as much money to still enjoy the world of G.I. Joe, but at a fraction of the cost.

The three items were; RAM, FLAK, and Jump. While prices varied, the average cost was $3.99 per item.

Hasbro also produced a two pack of the Vamp and HAL, which came out to just slightly less than buying the two together. It was available exclusively at Sears department stores, and typically was easier to find in their seasonal catalog then on the shelves.

The most difficult item to find intact from the first series is the Sears exclusive Missile Command Headquarters. It included all three Cobra figures from the first series, Cobra Trooper, Cobra Officer, and the mail away Cobra Commander. What makes this particular item difficult to track down these days is that it was made of cardboard. The majority of those that got played with were destroyed by your average child being "rough" with his toys.

All these great toys encompass the first series of what would run for the next thirteen years.

Without question, G.I. Joe is one of the greatest toy lines still sought after by collectors. Now that we children of the 80's have our own money, a lot of us want our toys back, or to simply complete the collection with the ones we could never convince our parents to buy. Whatever your reason, I'm sure G.I. Joe will live on forever.

Join us next time for G.I. Joe 1983!

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

About The Toy Box

Welcome to The Toy Box. If you’re here, we speculate that you found something on our site that holds a lot of memories for you, or you’re researching a particular toy line, and are using us as a reference point. Perhaps you just stumbled on to us by blind luck. Either way – WELCOME! You can find us here at our blog ( or on Facebook at

One of the things we strive for the most here is completeness. There are a lot of websites out there that contain great lists and archival photographs of toys. Unfortunately the majority of them are incomplete. Be it time, lack of interest, sudden noninvolvement in collecting, or other facets that contribute these links often times fall stagnant. Rest assured if we are posting about a specific toy line, it has been thoroughly researched to the best of our abilities. But, we’re realistic. If we ever miss anything, let us know. We’re happy to credit any additional findings to the people who bring them to our attention.

We also strive for 100% perfection in our photography. When we initially launched we would use various photographic sources for our articles. As a result several collections contained a combination of opened and sealed items, varying in overall picture quality. Over the course of 2012, we’ve been working to “renovate” our older posts that contained these varying photographs, and have since set the standard for our sites above what we consider average. Each article is embedded with only the finest compilation of mint in package photographs (when applicable). We feel that this is definitely an aspect that makes us stand out among the rest. Most importantly, (once all our older posts have been updated) the photographs all belong to us, and don’t infringe on anyone else’s work.

As our disclaimer at the bottom of each page implies, this site is designed for educational purposes only. We’re not in a seller’s market, so we’re not here to push any particular toy line onto anyone. We will never flat out tell anyone to buy any particular line, and unless it is for charity, have never offered any toys for sale. We’re not here to advertise for anyone, we simply want to share with the world as many toy lines out there that we can.

Sharing our toys with the world is an amazingly fun thing to do, but honestly, we do it for the love of toys, and because we ourselves enjoy reading our posts over and over again. Having additional readers from around the world is icing on the cake. Whether we have zero readers or ten million, we will still be here every week posting something new. However, with that said, we are very grateful for our readers, and really appreciate their comments and suggestions. We are especially grateful for those few who have chosen to follow us as one of their weekly Blog stops.

If there is ever any suggestions you have for this site, please feel free to contact us at We’re always happy to hear from our readers about the toys that you love, and when we can, will even compile an article on them. Please note that we cannot give a time frame on when any one specific article would be posted as we compile month’s worth of posts in advance. Our Blog is an ever growing site that is constantly being contributed to. If there are any readers out there who would be interested in becoming weekly contributors to the site, let us know. We’re always looking for people as passionate about toys as we are.

Unfortunately we cannot police the entire internet, and as a result of having our photographs stolen in the past have had to impose certain copyright protection aspects for our site. Each photograph is watermarked, partially covering some of the items in the photographs to deter thieves. We’ve also disabled any ability to right click on the site, which while it is a slight inconvenience for folks who like opening things in new windows, gives us added protection against those who would attempt to save our photographs and upload them to other sites without permission. If you would like to use our photographs, please contact us at If it meets with our minimal requirements (mainly giving credit where credit is due), we are happy to share.

We have very few rules here, the most important being about what we said above about our photographs and content. The rest pertain to commenting on the site. Please see our sidebar for further information on both of these under the following sections;

1) “Tell Us What’s On Your Mind”
2) “Please Respect Our Photographs”

Thank you once again for stopping by. We hope our site entices and entertains you enough to come back weekly.


The Toy Box

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All logos, products, names, and descriptions are the property of their respective copyright and trademark holders. No infringement is implied. Photographs and articles (unless otherwise noted) are copyright of The Toy Box, and may not be used without prior written consent. This website and its pages herein are designed for educational purposes only. No items shown are for sale.

Market prices fluctuate daily, and the prices as listed herein are not intended to be a set point, but rather a benchmark of where prices were noted at during the time period in which the article in question was written/posted. The value of any item shown here is always subject to change based on supply and demand, as well as seller/buyer preference. We are not affiliated with any buyers/sellers, and have no influence on prices set by secondary market dealers or individual sellers.