So I’m still digging through Mysterious Stranger’s awesome reports straight from San Diego, and one his final reports involved a great conversation with the guys at Sideshow Collectibles that I will recap some of right here. Actually, forget recapping, I’ll just relay exactly what Chris sent along to me:
“I had the opportunity to speak with Matt Bischof who is part of the Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale design team. He provided some great insight and information regarding the G.I. Joe line and I’ve got the highlights for you right here.First, the line is doing very well. Some figures have sold better than others but Sideshow is very happy with how it has been doing thus far and are working to continue that success.One of the big questions I had was regarding female figures. This is something that Sideshow has been mentioning in their Q&A sessions but not much info has been revealed. I didn’t get many details but I did get an update. They are fine tuning their female body and working to get the proportions just right. The issue that was brought up was the way the body looks with and without armor. I’m taking that to be in reference to a Baroness figure because I can’t think of any other Joe female that wears body armor. They are making progress and as soon as the body is ready we can expect to hear some more news on female characters being introduced to the line.Also in regards to the female figures I asked about how hair would be done, rooted or sculpted. They are going with sculpted hair because it gives them more options for styles and the ability to swap out hairpieces for different looks (i.e. windswept, ponytails, etc). Personally I think this is the smart way to go. Rooted hair on female figures seems to be an industry standard in the 12″ scale but I find it to be too doll-like and the very few figures I have with rooted hair never look as good as the promotional photos. With sculpted hair it allows for more detail and texture to be applied. I’m glad they are going this way and I think its the right decision.The other big piece of news I got was that they still have Destro in development. As with the female figures they are working to get the body right. They are developing a new muscular body for Destro similar to the Hot Toys large muscle body and once that is ready they’ll get to work one putting him together.Something that was brought up in our conversation that I hadn’t even considered was the possibility of small vehicles. The example discussed was the Trouble Bubble and the fact that they are even thinking about vehicles blew my mind. I brought up the RAM Cycle and while there wasn’t any confirmation they would consider it, it is about the size they are thinking. But 12″ scale Trouble Bubble!!! Wow!In speaking about the dioramas, I confirmed that the Condition Red: Urban Threat diorama featured in their display case is indeed coming out in Q1 2012 and should be up for preorder soon if it isn’t already. Unfortunately that will most likely be the last diorama for the near future. They are giving them (and collectors wallets) a bit of a rest for now to concentrate on the figures.There aren’t any previously announced upcoming releases that weren’t on display. However the Desert Cobra Officer and Sniper production figures were shown in the same display with Dusty and both should be available by the end of the year. There is also another Cobra trooper that is coming out later this year that they are very excited about. They want to focus on and play up the sci-fi aspect of G.I. Joe as well as keep that military aspect and we’ll be seeing more Cobras coming out down the line. The intention is to make figures that are unique and not just have this be another line of military figures. Along those same lines, they also want to focus more on environment specific Joes that have unique looks so instead of an alpine unit of soldiers there would be just the one alpine specialist. (I know I shouldn’t read anything into the use of the example being “alpine” but I’d like to think the Joe mountaineer should be on the short list). This is something that I think will really help this line grow in the long run. While the original 3 3/4″ G.I. Joe figures were essentially super-articulated green army men the line developed into a team of the best specialists from all across the military. Reflecting that in the 1/6 line is a great way to keep this as G.I. Joe and not “Sideshows military line”.
The design team has been learning a lot from working on this line and applying what they’ve learned to future releases. Some examples of this are the use of thinner fabrics to allow for more realistic folds and seams in the clothing as well as applying a stone washing technique to soften up some of the camo coloring and make it look more worn. The first figure to use this new stone washing technique is Hawk and it has been applied to his pants. Having seen the figure on display at the show I can say the technique works really well. An example of the newer fabrics in use are the Cobra ninjas. When you look at Storm Shadow and then the Red Ninja and Ninja Viper you can see more elaborate folds in the clothing as well as more wraps and straps with better seams and stitching. They are planning to put out another Storm Shadow at some point using the new fabric but there was no timeline given or any indication what version of the character might be released.
Speaking of characters being redone, Snake-eyes is another figure that is on the list to be issued again. This time they’ll be going with a sculpted portrait rather than the cloth mask. The intention is to be able to include the commando head in addition to the visor head and possibly release him as a deluxe figure that way collectors can use the commando head on the first figure and display them both. Personally I’m all for the sculpted mask. Seeing how well the Firefly and Storm Shadows head sculpts came out makes Snake-eyes look dated in comparison. I’m very glad to hear they are planning on something to remedy this.
When the subject turned to the upcoming Viper the exclusive alternate portrait came up. The reasoning for including the alternate head is to answer the question about why the Viper has goggles on his helmet. The goggles are made to work with that alternate portrait and finally give a logical explanation for why a full face helmet has goggles on it. The intention is that the Viper would keep the goggles on his helmet and pull them off for use when he has his helmet off. You can see how this looks in the photos of the figure on Sideshow’s site. I think this explanation is perfectly logical and I can’t figure out why I hadn’t heard this theory before. Regardless it works and shows the kind of thought and attention to detail going into this line.
With the DC license being awarded to Sideshow and the intent to put out 1/6 scale DC figures we might be seeing a decrease in the number of G.I. Joe figures released to possibly 1 every quarter. With Star Wars, G.I. Joe and now DC entering the 1/6 world they want collectors that want to buy from all three lines to be able to afford to do so without having to choose between one or the other. They recognize that these are expensive figures and want to do what they can to help collectors get everything they want. As someone who has seen 3 G.I. Joe figures (Stalker, Dusty and Ninja Viper) as well as 2 Star Wars releases come out in the last 4-6 weeks I can completely understand this logic. While I’d like to see them release as many G.I. Joe figures as possible I also understand that some restraint is necessary to keep the line healthy and continue to perform well and perform well it has.
Overall the Sideshow G.I. Joe 1/6 scale figure line is in great hands and I’m very excited about what is coming down the line.”