GeneralsJoes Toy Fair 2012 Coverage – the Kwinn situation

Kwinn is a name I heard quite a bit throughout the G.I. Joe show room area, which I think is a good thing, because I’m not entirely convinced everyone within the Hasbro design team realizes just how much the fans want this figure.

I spoke with Derryl DePriest at length about Kwinn today at the Hasbro event, and he remained adamant that Kwinn was tooled up and that they are determined to find a place for him in the line.  Toy production is always a give and take process, whether you’re in finance, manufacturing, management, or design, and sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot.  I’m under the impression that they are still in “give and take” mode with Kwinn and sort of battling to figure out where to get him into the line.

Obviously, looking at the new figures we saw today, Kwinn just doesn’t seem to fit among mainstream retail offerings.  He doesn’t have next gen body armor, he is clearly from a different era in G.I. Joe’s history, and he really doesn’t mesh with the whole G.I. Joe: Retaliation concept.

That being said, there is still the possibility that we’ll see Kwinn at New York ComicCon as an NYCC exclusive.  That rumor has been going around quite a bit over the past several months, and the fact that GIJoeClub.com mentions an NYCC Exclusive only seems to confirm the possibility.  Time will tell, but rest assured, folks within the G.I. Joe design team are trying like heck to get Kwinn to retail, hopefully they will succeed.

Articulation and G.I. Joe: Retaliation – the elephant in the room

It was immediately obvious when I approached Derryl DePriest and began speaking that they knew articulation was an issue that was going to arise today.  Between Mr. DePriest and designer John Warden, there were a lot of articulation questions flying around, and as many of us suspected, it all boils down to cost.

Yes, of course there are costs associated with new tooling for figures that are 5 points of articulation, but as explained from Mr. DePriest, it’s more than just the new tooling.  Manufacturing costs for figures with that many joints and movement points are extremely expensive above and beyond the tooled parts, so even using existing tooling was cost prohibitive in most cases.

They weighed this fact with the idea that many of these vehicles were being geared for children, who would do little more than slam the figure in the cockpit and drive it around, and the decision was made…if they had to cut articulation, the drivers were the best place to do it.  It is a constant battle between quality of the product and the costs that can be absorbed creating that product, and in a year when they are trying to build the brand back up, they have to be extremely prudent.

John Warden also brought up some interesting discussion points in regard to costs of vehicle production.  As a fandom, we’ve been complaining pretty heavily about vehicle size, and they’ve taken that into consideration.  By reducing articulation and reducing costs associated with the vehicles, they can balance things out and end up producing vehicles that are a bit larger than we might be used to.  The Ghost Hawk II is a perfect example.  This vehicle was surprisingly large I thought when I was in the showroom, and I honestly didn’t think Hasbro would be able to make it the size I would have wanted, but they did, and some of that is due to costs saved with reduced articulation.

So even though it seems to many of us that the trade off isn’t worth while, we are getting a somewhat larger vehicle, and some other very nicely designed vehicles to go along with it.  Mr. Warden confirmed that the heads of the driver figures are totally swappable to normal figures and he even name dropped Rock n Roll as being an inspiration for the Clutch figure.  It sounded to me like there was much careful consideration and financial analysis done, short term and long term, and the articulation changes are going to save money, which could mean better things in the future.  I’m not happy with the way the driver figures look, but the vehicles are excellent, by and large, and the toyline is very nice as well.

As for the single pack figures…John Warden also confirmed that some of those figures have reduced articulation, but as I deduced on a recent episode of What’s on Joe Mind, it’s due to form and function.  Articulation is given on an “as needed” basis, so generic troopers might not get the full range of motion, but the ninjas do.  Another example was that the first release of Roadblock won’t have double knees or ankles, but the Wave 2 “Battle Kata” version will, because he’s got more training.

Cutting articulation is not something anyone wants.  Not the fans and not the Hasbro designers.  But financial justifications seemed to warrant it in this case.  Don’t worry about it overtaking the line, that is not a concern.

GeneralsJoes Coverage of Toy Fair 2012 – Quick shots and images

Good evening!

Well, I tossed up a massive clump of images a little over an hour ago on the train ride, and I’m here now to refine things a little bit and make a little more sense of what we saw today.  This information is all cobbled together from various notes and speaking with some Hasbro folks at the show itself.

While G.I. Joe seemed a bit out of place among the Transformers, Marvel, and Star Wars brands, the Joe team folks were quick to give reasons for that.  While those three brands are enjoying consistent years of build up, G.I. Joe is sort of “resetting” with the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film.  While those other brands are building upon already strong foundations, the Joe brand is trying to create that foundation this year, so they have things to build on going forward.

G.I. Joe is scaling back, but there is still a healthy presence this year with over 50 figures and 9 vehicles, which is pretty impressive, all told.  30th Anniversary probably only gave us around half of that, or perhaps a little more.

Figures will start hitting beginning of June.  Official “Street date” is May 29th, but as retailers catch up, some might fall behind that just a bit.

Because the movie was moved up, Hasbro didn’t have a lot of time to get movie accurate figures in stores, so the actual movie accurate product will hit retail around July with Wave 2.

Now for pictures!  Click the read the rest of the entry link below for all of the image goodness.

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Toy Fair 2012 Initial Image upload

Quite a whirlwind day today at the Hasbro Toy Fair event as usual, but with a bunch of very cool G.I. Joe: Retaliation stuff revealed! Here is a quick image dump of various items that were on display today at Toy Fair. I will be working throughout the night tonight to refine and get a much more organized, cohesive look at the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation toys.

Enjoy this quick slam of images, and keep your eyes peeled to GeneralsJoes as I rotate images, organize them, and plan on getting the Retaliation toy SuperPage completely updated for Toy Fair!

Toy Fair news begins with images flooding into GIJoeClub.com

As I sit here in NYC getting ready for the Hasbro Toy Fair event, the GI Joe Collectors Club has already begun posting some images exclusively to their website.

New figures abound, including Joe Colton, Blind Master, and a brand new Roadblock.

Check out the site right here.