Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Villiage: 2010

Duke the Halls
Cobra-La La Laaa- La La La La !

Additions: No, I didn’t buy the limited edition Golobulus figure, as even Larry Hama thought that whole storyline was too silly for a laser gun, weather dominator, and ninja filled military comic book.  But a new Hess Truck DOUBLED the size of the G. I. Joe Air Support Force!

Therefore, it is that time of year again for the fourth (mostly) annual return of the little violence filled Christmas village.

For a change, this year the Joes are defending the snow covered plateau near the Sofa Mountains.  They apparently set up a secret airbase after routing Cobra last year. However, it’s hard to keep a, if not good at least entertainingly goofy terrorist organization down.  Once again the battle is joined.

The Joes are here to test out the brand new F-22 “Hiss Elimination Sky Striker” supplied to them by Anabelle Industries (who gets a big bonus thank you for giving up her awesome new truck for a month.)  Cobra has, of course, decided they need to capture it, as all of their terrorist activity tends to be focused on pestering G.I. Joe rather than, y’know, trying to rule the world or something.

Ace, thrilled to finally have a reason for his silly looking bubble hat, is attempting to rapidly get the jet sky worthy.  Lady Jaye is providing assistance, though since she’s only holding a weapon, she’s also providing protection.  In addition she’s updating Flint so he can coordinate with the rest of the defense.  (Yes, the woman is multi-tasking while the men do one job each, this should come as no surprise.)

Back near the foothills of the Sofa Mountains (or, more accurately, the Armrest Hill); the Wolverine missile tank driven by Cover Girl provides cover fire. (Ooh! The name of this ex-model has a double meaning. It only took me twenty-five years to figure that out.)  Bazooka kneels nearby to add to the barrage. (Yes, I know a bazooka is a direct fire weapon, but he looks much cooler than the Short Fuze mortar trooper figure, so there.)  Shipwreck is also riding on the tank to provide some protective fire…although actually he looks like he’s yelling, “Woo-hoo ROAD TRIP!”  (I may have bumped that table.)

Heavy Duty, Roadblock and Rock and Roll once again lean their large machine guns on the transport to lay down a hail of bullets across the battlefield. They do this not because if they didn’t they’d pitch unheroically onto their faces, but because it is a sound tactical decision. Speaking of unbalanced figures: Beachhead makes his way under the truck to launch his own surprise counter attack. Unless of course they need to reposition the vehicle before the plane takes off, in which case he will launch his own impersonation of a camouflaged pancake.

As always, General Hawk stands proudly atop a vantage point firing his pistol in the air and barking orders and inspirations to the troops.  Nearby, the much more sensible Breaker keeps his head down and relays all the orders of his probably soon to be picked off commander. (Kind of ironic that Breaker’s the one that got killed in the comics, eh?)

The formal countercharge is led by Duke (as it should be)

Carrying the flag (as it should be)

Wearing a jet pack (as it should be). 

I probably don’t even need to mention that he’s yelling, “Yo Joe!” now that everyone’s forgotten the new movie, do I?  Stalker, Gung Ho and Grunt all stand or, (sadly because I still can’t find that bag of figure bases…rats) mainly crouch in readiness to follow.

Wild Bill has just realized that he will never be able to actually fit into his helicopter, and decided to forego his primary area of specialization (helicopter pilot and mechanic) to implement his secondary area of specialization (firing his pistols wildly while making cowboy noises).  Bombstrike lies prone beneath the chopper using her spotting scope to snipe at Cobra. Unfortunately, her first shot seems destined to be point blank into Stalker’s Government Issue posterior. (Really starting to think I bumped that table.)

The Cobra assault is hitting its first major inconvenience by the RAM Cycle driven by Clutch, who after an appointment at the Sharpie hair salon is looking much more like himself this year than, say, an extra Breaker that came with the bike for some strange reason. (Nothing to see, here, move along.)  Since we couldn’t possibly show a dog getting shot in a scene of mass human death and carnage without risking angry letters, government actions, and excommunication, Junkyard has managed to capture a highly trained and heavily armed elite Iron Grenadier, while Mutt looks on approvingly.

The frighteningly futile foe of furry friends was leading the group assigned to steal the F-22 H.E.S.S.  Destro and the Baroness managed to deliver Wild Weasel very close to the new craft by deploying from M.A.R.S.’s latest technological breakthrough, the Stealth Night Raven. This craft is completely invisible to radar, thermal, sonar and visual targeting methods, making it excellent for undetected arrivals. (And even better for saving me a bundle in the toy aisle, let me tell you.)  On the off chance that yet another Cobra plan fails completely, the ever present Trubble Bubble has also been dispatched to pull Mr. Weasel’s fat out of the inevitable red while and blue fire.

Nearby the first couple of Cobra is an advancing red Mini-Hiss tank. (Really, that’s an “I” not an “E”. It got smudged in battle. Would I lie to you?)The Mini-Hiss is also lending valuable support to the Cobra Claw trooper attempting to wield the U.L.G. (That would be the Uncomfortably Large Gun, first introduced in the 2004 edition of these insane holiday ramblings.)

The motorized attack group is completed by last year’s addition - the C.S.P. (Combat Snow Plow for those playing the home game.)   Hmmm, Cobra got a snow plow and G. I. Joe got an attack jet. Now you know why the good guys always win these things. 

And knowing… is half the battle

(While the other half appears to be blowing the spittoons out of the enemy from the air.)

The Snow Serpent trooper is gearing it up for assault with the help of a B.A.T.T. (Apparently auditioning for Fiddler on the Roof…yeah, that’s a bumped table.) Snow Job (Really, Snow Job.) tries to hold them off using his expert arctic, um, something or other. He’s hoping to delay action until Duke finishes his “Yo Joe”ing and flag waving and finally leads the countercharge.  After somehow gymnastically clearing the lip on the table; Major Bludd has just arrived on the plateau in the rear leading the Cobra infantry.

Cobra has infiltrated this location by stealing Barbeque’s fire truck, as HESS has yet to release anything else with a ladder. (Let’s get with the program guys, this is getting monotonous.)  A Cobra officer leads two Vipers up, as they pray for another sale at TARGET on troop builder figures so they can be part of a safer sized army. The Cobra Anti Armor trooper follows, ready to clear the way ahead. He appears to be planning to clear the way by firing his rocket propelled grenade into the middle of his cohorts on the ladder. (Bumped…Table...)

Barbeque, however, has already been rescued from the back of his truck by the G.I. Joe Sneaky Trooper force.  He can make his escape, because Scarlet has dropped the door to his cell pinning his guard (an unfortunate figure from the Spy Troops line. The poor guy is so ugly he’s spent almost every holiday season face down after being shot, captured or otherwise battered. Maybe next year will be his turn to shine.) Storm Shadow may leap down to make things more interesting, or he may change sides again, or he may run off and make a soufflé. The guy’s been brainwashed so many times; your guess is as good as mine.

Firefly’s attempt to stop Scarlet was obstructed by Snake Eyes, proving yet again the advantages of being a ninja who carries an Uzi in addition to archaic weapons.  The Cobra ninja on the floor is having a similar problem.  He must have been sick the year when I couldn’t remember if that guy was Nunchuck or Quick Kick, so he became Billy from Predator.  This is why Mr. Ninja is now staring up at the over/under M-16/shotgun from that cinematic classic. Between the armed ninjas, Spirit would probably appear much sneakier without the eagle on his shoulder, but then who would deal with the giant lizard that is yet again sitting atop the fire truck for no explainable reason?  Jinx peers around the corner partially to see if they’ve been spotted, but mostly because if they all line up facing the same way they look like they’re about to burst into a show tune (which may be a good idea for next year.)

Jinx is looking directly at the arrival of Zartan and the Dreadnoks, once again hanging out in their pickup truck.  This is because they, Croc Master, and the Cobra liaison Desert Trooper are unskilled at arctic combat, not because their insane weapon choices and goofy costumes make them completely unbalanceable on cotton without the missing figure bases.  (Once again, nothing to see here people, move along.)

Scrap Iron learned that his armaments were incompatible with the C.S.P. after about thirty minutes of me swearing as they kept falling off, so he has decided to set up his launcher at the rear of the Commander’s mobile base before my wife made me sleep in the garage.  On top of said base, Serpentor (not wanting to be outdone in the awesome pose category yet again by General Hawk) directs the assault.  Meanwhile, in the base itself, Cobra Commander confers with Tomax and Xamot to determine if it is really valuable to keep bringing the Crimson Guard (who are accountants and bankers) into battle situations just to look cool standing around him.

Can Cobra finally win one?

Will HESS ever pay me a royalty?

How many little plastic guns will I lose this year?
Tune in next Christmas, and find out.

The battle is being watched this year by a gang from one of my favorite Christmas movies.  Thanx to my daughter for this present.  They look so cool; they got to stay there year round. (So, even bigger thanx to my wife for putting up with me yet again!)

There’s even Christmas spirit over on the rotating Monthly Marvel shelf.  Instead of the original unimaginative, if colorful, plan of bringing up a mix of red and green heroes for the festive season, we went literary. In honor of my daughter’s first exposure to the original story: Marvel Legends presents Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. 
The parts are played by:
Marley – The chain wielding Ghost Rider
Ghost of Christmas Past - The winsome, fairy like Wasp
Ghost of Christmas Present - The inexplicably cheerful Hercules
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – The suitably spooky Moon Knight
Scrooge - Tony Stark (The real reason he changed his mind about the superhero registration act.)
And, of course:
Impossible Man as Tiny Tim 

God Bless us Every One, and Excelsior!

My daughter made her own village this year too.  It’s a mix of HESS Trucks, Lincoln Logs and Disney Cars. I asked her what was going on and she said, “Nothing, it’s just a village”.  So there’s no story; simply a mix of random pop culture references (much like her Dad’s brain).

There’s no holiday reason for this last picture. This was set up in her playroom all year. I’m just full of all kinds of nerd pride that she wanted these and plays with them.
So instead of ending with a military themed Christmas wish, I’ll take my cue from this display as we approach another New Year and say to everyone…

Live Long, and Prosper!

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