Thursday, August 20, 2020

Of Cobra Commander And Positive Dental Habits

The commercial above has nothing to do with this story, but I thought it would be a good way to showcase some of the cool GIJOE toys in India. I'm taking a little time to lament a pretty cool toy score I passed on a while back. For the longest time in summer, there was a monthly antique sale that would be held near Atlanta. I usually went, it was a pretty good time. A small admission price to enter a city of vendor booths and food trucks. The sale was a mix of actual antiques, folksy hand crafted things (furniture, food, art), and a surprising amount of toys. This is a longer post, so I'm gonna use a break here. Walls of text are just the worst.

It was here that I learned the art of digging through boxes of loose hot wheels. I'd often find small Transformers in vehicle mode for under a dollar. They never knew! Then there was the booths full of random overpriced junker toys ran by the worst stereotypes. I was looking over a Stealth Voltron that the dealer had pretty cheap because he thought it was a bootleg Megazord. That's another thing I miss, dealers chalking robots they didn't know up as bootleg Megazords and selling them cheap. Well, as I was looking at this Voltron the dealer noticed my Autobot shirt and decided to strike up a conversation. He decided to tell me about the Dinobot combiner he just sold. Wait, what?

This was early 2000's before such a thing existed. I looked at him and asked if he meant Dinoking? He then told me no very smugly and said it wasn't that Power Ranger crap. Then informed me it was the entire team. Grimlock and all combined into a Shogun Warrior. I pretty much told him there wasn't a Dinobot combiner. It must have been something else. That's fair enough, robot toys are all the same to some people. But not this guy. This guy was a dick.

Pure arrogance washed over his face and he informed me that Transformers were originally made from Shogun Warriors and I must be a noob. I pretty much excused myself telling him I clearly wasn't good enough and left. It was during the exchange when I saw something I wish to this day I would have grabbed. I would have if not for a jerky toy dealer. He had a shoe box filled with toothbrushes. 

The toothbrushes were some sort of dentist office thing, you know the free one they'll give you when you get a cleaning? Inside each little baggy with the toothbrush was an individual GIJOE figure and small branding card. The obvious characters were there. Duke, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, etc. They were of shoddier construction with poor paint. Probably a cheaply produced run. 

I'd swear they were bootlegs if not for those small cards with all of the branding info. At the time I was seeing a ton of bootleg GIJOE regularly thanks to the 2 packs Hasbro had in stores using older molds. I loved those for the record. One bunch of bootlegs I regret to this day were Hispanic named Cobra Commanders, Snake Eyes, and Fireflys. These toothbrush figures though were legit by all appearances. Dude had them for $1 a piece, probably under the assumption they were bootlegs. To this day I can't find anything about them online either. I'm sure somebody knows something, but I sure don't.

Considering all the time that's passed since with me still remembering, I probably should have just played it dumb with the guy and got that Voltron and those weird GIJOE figures. I've smiled and nodded before with this type while buying 'bootleg Megazord crap' dirt cheap. Sometimes you get an asshole cashier at Target while buying something. Sometimes you go somewhere else and sometimes you shrug it off. Sometimes things just don't bother you and sometimes they do. Though a hot summer day in Georgia with an asshole dealer is generally a deal breaker.

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