Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Village 2020

America's Daring, Highly Trained, Special Mythion Force
Fights for Folklore Wherever There’s Trouble
It’s fitting that 2020 marks the lucky thirteenth version of this foolishness.  

With what everyone is going through, we could all use a little fantasy in our lives.

As an introduction, Anabelle presents the Marvel Legends version of the Nutcracker, starring:
Snowbird from Alpha Flight as the Snow Queen
Stinger (alias “Bugga Pym” in our house for reasons only Anabelle can explain) as a Fairy or something [Anabelle-the Sugar Plum Fairy!]
The ever-popular Mule with a Hat, as a Bon Bon
Dagger as Clara
Cloak looking mysterious as Drosselmeyer
Kid Nova as the Prince
Baby Groot as the Nutcracker
Scarlet Witch as some other fairy [Anabelle- No you fool, the Kissing Doll, my favorite part!]
Lizard as the Mouse King, with ears by Anabelle
Symbiote Scream as yet another other fairy [Anabelle- *currently yelling at me* A Flower!!!]

Now, onto the annual combat:
Cobra has stolen the Joe’s “High-Speed Extra-dimensional Search Ship” and used it to pierce through the dimensional vortex and bring back creatures of mythology to aid in their quest to rule the world.  Any resemblance between some of these creatures and the ones involved when the Enterprise crew brought robotic ones from the “Shore Leave” planet is purely coincidental.
In addition, the fact that Safari Inc. had an enormous sale when lockdown first started is also purely coincidental.
Wild Weasel is performing maintenance on the futuristic craft after its return.  Destro, while supplying technology for him, is also working with the Baroness and one of his Iron Grenadier guards to insure the Battle Android Troopers are in top shape as a backup plan. This is because he’s worked with Cobra on a number of their schemes “that can’t possibly fail” over the years.
As evidence of this scheme risk, we have the Dreadnoks’ Swamp Truck in a bit of a pickle.  They brought creatures to the battle that came through the vortex in their swamp, and are now facing issues.  Crock Master and his pet/ sidekick gator, Señor Twinkles McFluffernutter, had no trouble taming the Merhorse Zartan is astride. Figuring out how this steed will possibly help in a battle on the snow-covered plateau above them is the minor issue they face.  The Major Issue they face is that the rest of the Dreadnoks are about to be consumed by the Kraken that has unleashed itself on the hood of the truck.  Their only hope is Zanya and her plumb scented (for reasons it continues to not be worth going into) Chainsaw gun.
With the mythological attack in progress, Barbecue is using his firetruck to stage a rescue of those Joes that were behind enemy lines.  Sergeant Flash, Roadblock and Gung Ho are fixing to lay heavy cover fire as they back toward the truck.  Duke has flown down with his jetpack to assist in the retrieval operation.  Yes, for the first time in the history of battles on Sluttbordet Plateau, the Joe field commander is commanding from the field.  
I really need to think about this stuff more when I set it up.  
Flint, Lady Jaye and Beachhead were trying to sneak up the ladder behind the Cobra Force on the Plateau. However, an attacking Minotaur that has broken through the the heavy weapons line and gotten on the truck is doing the same to them. Beachhead leaps down to attack it, and totally did not fall off the ladder when I put him in a climbing position. Meanwhile, the inexplicably appearing large monitor lizard has joined the side of good again, and is chomping on the bull creature's hooves.   
Generic Cobra Ninja 57-B tried to creep behind the truck and learned why Barbecue carries an axe.  Delightful.  
Grunt is putting all of his engineering skills to work inside the truck, modifying it to make it fly, since that’s really the only hope of getting back to the rest of the G I Joe force atop the plateau.
Again… I really need to think about this stuff more when I set it up.   
The Cobra command vehicle is full of activity as usual, and securely able to be used by them as Anabelle was too thrilled by HESS finally making an Ambulance this year to want to use this old one.   Scrap Iron, who has as much experience with plans “that can’t possibly fail” as Destro is busy supercharging the command vehicle for a hasty escape.  
The hooded Cobra Commander and Cobra Officer Bertram are overseeing the details of the assault while Crimson Guards stand in their usual positions. This time the CeeGees are augmented by their leaders, Xamot and Tomax astride black and green Dragons!  Whoah! Isn’t that cool?  Hopefully it’s so cool, no one will realize I still have no idea which twin is which, and did this so I didn’t have to put them on their labeled stands.  
Two Cobra Vipers are impressively running down the ramp to lead the charge on Barbecue’s fire truck. That is, they were, until they fell down sixty-five times and my wife told me to stop swearing.  Now, two Cobra Vipers are less-impressively standing next to the ramp to lead the charge on Barbecue’s fire truck.  
Serpentor, immune to her gaze due to possible shared Cobra-Laa heritage, is discussing world domination with Medusa.  He’s going for the casual, off the shoulder cape look this year to be more accessible to his men, and not because that stupid little snake clasp fell off, my big fat fingers can't get the little peg in the hole, and I think I lost it in the bag of extra parts.

Up on Sluttbordet Plateau, the main Cobra ground assault is led by Major Bludd riding a Draco-lich. (Whoah!) The mixed arms group consists of a Cyclops, a Centaur a Cobra Bazooka Trooper and a Cobra Claw wielding the U.L.G.  Firefly rides the Centaur, not because he’s the only figure with hips that bend that way, but because he’s trying to teach the boisterous horseman some stealth. Similarly, the close formation is a specific battle tactic, and has no connection to the fact that the Claw is a crappy Spy-Troops figure who won’t stand unless propped up on all sides.  
But what’s this? It looks like the Joes' abilities to bond with animals has come into play.  The defensive charge is being led by Mutt riding Cerberus with Junkyard at his side! 
Woof Woof Woof! (woof)
A Cobra Air attack has brought down Wild Bill’s “Helicopter Extraction Shipping Service” en route to support (and maybe lift…Hey, there’s an idea!) Barbecue’s fire truck.  After years of laying beaten in the snow, let’s hear it for the Cobra Desert Trooper’s amazing triumph as he rides a Chimera into the fray!   
Billy Mac and Blaine have been taken down by Storm Shadow riding a Manticore as they tried to help Wild Bill in the fight. Either that or they were rescued by Storm Shadow.  I think the comics rebooted again and I forget which side of “He’s a perfect foil for Snake Eyes” and “It’s a terrible idea to have the only Asian original character be a bad guy” Storm Shadow landed on this time. 
Luckily, other help is on the way, in the form of the Joe Ninja Air Cavalry. Since Spirit is a Native American with an Eagle (Freedom) and a rifle that shoots arrows, we’ll continue that unfortunate trend of stereotypes with him riding a Hippogriff Eagle / Horse hybrid.
Jinx, Snake Eyes and Scarlett lead the way on winged stallions. 
[Note for Mythology geeks like me- Only Jinx is riding Pegasus, which is a proper name, not a species. The others are Areions. Thank you.]  
Scarlet has taken down the Cobra Tele Viper in the Trubble Bubble, which has nothing to do with the fact that it fell apart to an irreparable extent in the storage bin over the summer.   
In a similarly unconnected attack, the Harpy already took out Bazooka before the JNAC got there, because he ran into battle against difficult odds, not because he’s so top heavy he fell over before I figured out what was going on. 
On the other side of Sluttbordet Plateau, The Snow Serpent brings his White Dragon up against Snow Job (yes…Snow Job) with a more heavily armed Combat Snow Plow.  
[And yes, I still know the Dragon is blue. Years of Dungeons and Dragons will make me call Ice Dragons “white” for the rest of my days. So there.]
On the Joe Command Vehicle, General Hawk leads from atop a Griffon because, WOO HOO!  As always, Breaker is by his side to convey orders via communication channels. I guess the Griffon will scoop him up in its claws when Hawk surveys the battlefield. Fun for him. 
Bombstrike is communicating her artillery spotting through Breaker as well, and that choice has nothing to do with the fact that I didn't notice she fell under the end table and I had to wedge her in somewhere after I set everything else up.  
The RAM cycle is tearing down the ramp to help block the attack and is driven by Clutch, who is totally not an extra Breaker figure that I gave sharpie stubble to.
Ace is safely positioned behind the Hiss Elimination Sky Striker to get it ready for battle.
[Okay, it’s possible he fell under the table too, and I didn't notice until after I took this picture.] 
Alongside the JNAC, Cover Girl drives (and Shipwreck maintains his insanely fun yet highly unsafe position on) the Wolverine Missile Tank. 
Stalker usually looks awesome running and leading troops into battle on foot, but this year, he gets an awesomeness upgrade by riding on an armored blue Dragon, far too noble looking to work for Cobra! Because, again, WOO HOO!

Will the battle get a lot shorter once they all remember everyone has guns and are standing only a couple of feet apart?
Will the connection to Cobra-Laa, due to the choice of basing one of the Myth figures on a 1980’s Ray Harryhausen classic make next year’s battle even stupider?
Will I need to buy even more toys to continue having new and varied set ups every year?
The anguished scream in the background is my wife.]
Tune in next year to find out.
And remember
“Knowing the Power of Myth is Half the Battle.”

Yes, Anabelle has kept Bob the Ghost properly decorated, (and responsibly masked) for over a year now as he hangs on Frankie the Ficus.

Merry Everything Everyone!

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