Wait, what? It’s JoeCon time?

Never before has JoeCon weekend snuck up on me like it has this year.  It seemed like one minute it was months away, then suddenly I’m packing for a whirlwind 2,000 mile round trip car ride to Chattanooga.  Wow.

And yes, it’s true!  JoeCon officially kicks off tomorrow when the Golden Ticket holders can first pick up their boxed sets and get their comics, which invariably have some neat-o clues inside about potential convention exclusives.

I’ll be driving the long haul tomorrow so I can’t promise I’ll have 100% up to the minute news, but if I’m stopped and I get the intel quick I will certainly relay it.  Those dudes over at The Full Force will be ALL OVER IT I’m sure, too, so make sure you’re following their feed super close.

Meanwhile, if you’re attending JoeCon, snag me, stop me, say hi, I’ll be wandering around with a refreshed feeling of low stress enjoyment as I try to soak in every minute of this final convention without the typical rushing around of news reporting and exclusive hawking.  Also be sure to swing by the Kindle Worlds panel at 2:00pm on Saturday to hear myself, Bill Nedrow, Jim Beard, and Don Maue talk about the crazy rock star lives of G.I. Joe authorhood.  Good stuff.

This is always a fantastic, fun weekend, hopefully I’ll see some of you all there!

Until then…  I’m on to Chattanooga!

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Animal Warriors of the Kingdom DELUXE action figure Kickstarter is live!

Spero Studios is cranking again! Shortly after delivering some awesome figures from their first Kickstarter, the folks at Spero are back at it, seeking funding for a new line of Deluxe Animal Warriors of the Kingdom figures. Many of the figures within this second Kickstarter are 5″ tall (though still scaled for 1:18, they’re just big boys!) and we’ve got some pretty amazing looking stuff going on here.

Personally, I’m really digging Belarus, the crazy cyborg bear, but there’s a ton of potential for other incredible stuff as well. As with the first Kickstarter, there’s a ton of great basic sized figures, too with some excellent new gear, new heads, and new creatures.

Lots to love here, especially if you dig human/animal hybrids like I do. I can see half the cast of my Operation: Harvest novels right here. Awesome stuff.

He’s sitting at around $32,000 right now, with a goal at 50K, but I think all of us would like to see some serious stretch goals made. Don’t sit on the fence, hit up the Kickstarter and put your money where your mouth is. He’s proven he can get this stuff produced, I’m itching to see more.

Now available – The Joy of Joe (#1 New Release!)

As many of you readers are aware, recently I’ve been diverting my focus a bit more to my burgeoning independent author career, which has required more and more attention.  It’s always awesome when my interests can intersect, and thanks to Jim Beard and Bill Nedrow, I’ve been able to combine my two loves (publishing and action figures) into a new essay project – The Joy of Joe!

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that today’s fandom environment can be rife with hostility and toxicity for reasons that are completely alien to me.  I’m happy to say that the Joy of Joe is the absolute antithesis of that.  It’s a nostalgic and youthful look at the G.I. Joe brand and the awesome positive effects it’s had on our youth.  A collection of essays from some great contributors (including some names you will certainly recognize, including the co-creator of Marvel Comics characters Cable and Deadpool) really captures the fun innosense of what it was like growing up in the midst of the heyday of America’s Movable Fighting Man and Real American Hero.

As an added bonus, upon release yesterday it quickly became the #1 New Release in the Toy and Collectibles category which is a testament to the work that Jim and Bill put into this project.  Please grab a copy, if you’re reading this site, I know you’ll enjoy it.

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GeneralsJoes Reviews Bucky O’Hare Wave 2

Okay, before we get onto the reviews…  so far we’ve got three members of the Righteous Indignation crew… but no bad guys for them to fight.

That stops now!  Boss Fight Studio has just launched pre-orders for the new KOMPLEX Storm Toad figures, including single packs and two packs.  GO GET YOU SOME.

Then you can hop on back over to my Bucky O’Hare review page and check out reviews for the latest Bucky O’Hare figures:

As one might expect… they’re incredible.  Deadeye Duck especially feels like a new barometer set in toy engineering.  Wow.  More great stuff from the rock stars at Boss Fight Studio.

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Astral Projection Jenny

Order this figure now from BossFightShop.com!  And you’re gonna need some Storm Toads for her to fight!

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Once again, Boss Fight Studio reuses tooling from the first release of a figure to add some new life into an updated version of that character.  Jenny, a cat creature known as an Artificer Witch of Aldeberan has always been Bucky’s First Mate, and is also from a race of creatures with supernatural mystical abilities.  This race of creatures can fire psionic blasts, and also has the ability to project themselves into the astral plane.  According to Larry Hama (who wrote a spectacular new filecard for this figure) Jenny used her astral projection form to infiltrate KOMPLEX.  

This version of Jenny is reminiscent of version 1, only as an astral projection, is produced in semi-translucent plastic, a somewhat smokey clear color that looks impressive enough, only made more impressive by the addition of pearlescent plastic at the hair and tail, giving the character and the figure a fantastic spectral appearance. 

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The paint applications are similar to the original Jenny, but side-by-side you can really tell just how different they are.  Blue trim on the pearl hair and blue jewels instead of purple, she’s a vibrant color variation of the original release, which also serves a clear purpose in the story as well.  An amazing looking new version of an already great base figure.

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Along with the new colors, the figure maintains the flawless sculpting of the original, with an elaborately sculpted, dynamic hairdo that doesn’t impact posing thanks to the excellent counterbalance of the sculpted tail.  Like Bucky himself, she looks animated and full of character, yet is fully poseable.  She has incredibly narrow limbs, which are still nicely movable.

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Toy collectors (and certainly kids) can often miss the connection between action figures and art, but the fact is, for nearly every toy out there, there are strong influences of artistic ability and intrinsic talent woven within the design work of the figure.  Yes, sometimes budget and money gets in the way of a designer doing what they want, but Boss Fight Studio seems very able to cram as much unique artistic ability into each figure they produce.

Jenny is certainly no exception.  The combination of the fantastic translucent color pallet and the pearl shine on the trim is spectacular, and makes this figure a truly remarkable addition to an already impressive line up of cartoon animals.

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Accessories

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Like the Stealth Mission Bucky, this Jenny update comes with all of the same accessories, just in different colors.  The hands are semi-clear, the faces are all that great pearl color, and the energy projections are a vibrant clear blue instead of the pinkish/purple.  Beyond those aesthetic changes, they’re all just as fun and great as the originals and capable of enhancing the basic figure to great levels.

I still love how the energy beams and magical projections form together to look like she’s launching magic energy bolts at those nasty Storm Toads, and the facial expressions are unique and fun as always.

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As I continue to mention, the package art is really great.  Gorgeous artwork, and an always enjoyable file card update by Larry Hama himself.

What a neat update.  Striking, beautiful new paint scheme laid over an already impressive figure, gives us a great second version of Jenny.  Two waves into this new Bucky O’Hare line and already two more Jenny figures than the previous line could boast.  That’s progress! :D

“Stealth Mission” Bucky O’Hare

Order this figure now from BossFightShop.com! And you’re gonna need some Storm Toads for him to fight!

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It’s a fact of life these days that most action figures are sculpted and tooled with multiple uses in mind in order to offset the costs of creating the tooling, and Bucky O’Hare is no different.  What matters is how those parts are reused and to what effect.  With a line like Vitruvian HACKS, the parts are designed to be interchangeable, so being able to swap in and out various parts goes a long way towards giving the figures new life, even if there isn’t a whole lot of new tooling.  This is far more challenging with a line like Bucky O’Hare, which have characters very uniquely styled and sculpted, so repaints have to be done in an effective way.

So far, so good.

“Stealth Mission” Bucky O’Hare is a great looking update to the initial release of the Bucky figure.  According to the file card, Bucky’s suit contains holographic technology that allows it to be put into “stealth mode” with the various shades of green and black, including some really awesome camouflage on the green, furry flesh.

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Stealth Mission Bucky O’Hare is an exceptionally fun (and functional) repaint.  His base uniform is an awesome darker green/teal color which looks dark and looks as if it would blend with a stealth mission, but still has a fantastic shade of green that looks excellent and meshes with the lighter green of Bucky’s skin well.

Where the original Bucky is vibrant and bright, the Stealth Mission upgrade is more subdued, yet still very colorful.  I love the black trim and offset on the gloves, belt and boots, and I really dig the face camouflage as well, which helps bring the color pallet of the entire figure down into a more stealth aesthetic.  He looks really gorgeous, and I dig the idea of a tech oriented uniform that can shift in and out of stealth at a whim.

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Like the original figure, this update has immaculate sculpting, posing, balance and articulation, a perfect example of what an amazing toy design team are capable of.  He can stand on one large foot, move seamlessly, pose well, and the interchangeable hands and faces work very, very well.  You may have to use a little heat to soften the material, but beyond that, the way this figure moves and balances is close to perfection.  It’s incredible to me that a figure designed to be so animated in aesthetic manages to maintain such a supreme sense of articulation, but the capable folks behind Boss Fight Studio simply make it work, every single time.  Great stuff.

Accessories

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Stealth Mission Bucky comes with the same gear as the first release, only in darker colors (and with the appropriate face paint) and work just as well as the previous ones.  I love the different facial expressions along with the different posed hands, they are awesome conceptually and in execution.

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Like the original release, the packaging is spectacular with a really appealing layout and brand new file cards written by the man himself, Larry Hama.

What a great action figure line this is.  Each release is chock full of fun, character, personality, and style, all while being flat out greatly executed action figures.  Huge continued kudos on these, Boss Fight.

Deadeye Duck

Order this figure now from BossFightShop.com!  And you’re gonna need some Storm Toads for him to fight!

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When Boss Fight Studio first announced the Bucky O’Hare license, there was an almost immediate enthusiasm from the fandom and collector base, many of them inquiring as to when Boss Fight might tackle Deadeye Duck, the iconic four-armed, cigarette smoking Chief Gunner’s Mate of the Righteous Indignation.  Many folks were wondering just how well the figure could be translated at this scale.

The answer should be obvious – they absolutely killed it.  The first thing that strikes home about Deadeye Duck is the engineering, and somehow, someway, the folks at Boss Fight managed to engineer the torso to not be a whole lot larger or longer, yet still flawlessly maintain a four-armed  buck that is aesthetically pleasing and 100% functional.

Mind = blown.

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Each arm is individually pegged and positioned with their ball joint shoulders so they all move independently of each other, allowing for some amazingly flexible poses with the various pistols that Deadeye is packaged with.  Each arm moves freely with full articulation, or they can be positioned together in various action-packed poses, either concentrating all of his fire on a central location or systematically blasting away at four separate targets.

It’s pretty amazing.

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Colored in his trademark shades of orange and yellow, he looks like he stepped right out of the pages of the comic book or toy package, with an exceptionally emotive facial sculpt (with swappable beaks!) and like the Bucky figures, universal pegs that can hold the pistols in various ways.  I love the sculpting his head with the trademark eye patch and cap, as well as the tooth-filled smirking bill.

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Like Bucky and Jenny, the joints move freely, but are tight and rigid, allowing for posing and holding those poses very well.  The oversized feet give a great sense of balance and aesthetics, making the figure easy to stand in any number of poses.  Add to that, the character-driven alternate hands and bills, and you’ve got a ton of play value crammed into a very small, cost-effective package.  One heck of a great figure and the best Bucky figure to date, based purely on engineering.

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Accessories

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As mentioned in the review itself, Deadeye comes with several alternate hands (including one holding his trademark piece of chalk cigarette... (apparently I need to bone up on my Bucky -ed) and different expressive bills.  Also, he comes with four pistols, with three different sculpts.  It would have been easy to just put four of the same pistol in there, but they looked at the various weapon designs and actually gave him different, more accurate pistols.  Excellent work on the accessories, and they’re all easily swappable with existing parts.

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Do I have to keep talking about the packaging?  Well, when it’s as awesome as it continues to be here, yeah.  Larry continues to do great work on the filecards, and Brian Hickey nails the layouts.

Wave 2 brought us two repaints (both of which were still pretty amazing) and then absolutely blasted this figure out of the park.  Not just the best Bucky figure to date, but one of the greatest examples of engineering, accessories, and execution I’ve seen on a figure in this scale or any other.  What a terrific pleasure this one was!

Amazon’s Kindle Worlds preparing to tell their last stories…

Unfortunate news circulating in some of the author communities today as Amazon is expected to announce today that they are sunsetting the Kindle Worlds platform.

Originally launched in 2013, Amazon’s Kindle Worlds was a unique collaboration between the online retail giant and several IP holders which allowed authors to write in different universes belonging to licensed properties.  As most of you know, one of those properties was G.I. Joe.

This hits me especially hard.  As many of you know, I am currently an independent author who has written and published several novels and novellas.  The first thing I ever published as a G.I. Joe trilogy for Kindle Worlds, and if not for that opportunity, I might never have become an author at all. 

Kindle Worlds, quite simply, changed my life.

I won’t tell you that I still make a lot of money off Kindle Worlds, I don’t, and honestly it’s never been that lucrative at all, it was one of those things I did because I loved it, and while I haven’t had much time lately to write more G.I. Joe content, I had a pretty cool twelve episode series in the works that I really thought was going to be neat.  Now, it may never see the light of day.

According to reports, the rights for the published work will be returned to the authors, however that’s more or less meaningless without the conduit to the IP holder allowing us to use their characters and their universes.  From what I’m hearing, some folks who own these Kindle Worlds properties are considering their own solutions that might allow authors to continue writing this work, but at this point, Hasbro has not made any official comment or determination.

So I guess, if you love G.I. Joe fiction and you’ve wanted to check out Kindle Worlds, you’d best do it now because you won’t have much longer.  Reports are saying that submitting new content will be denied after tomorrow (May 17th) and all published works will be taken down by July 16th.

I’m disappointed, of course, but also extremely thankful that the opportunity was  there to begin with.  Huge thanks to Hasbro, Derryl DePriest and others behind the G.I. Joe curtain, and to Amazon themselves for making this available and allowing some of us creatives a unique opportunity to play in their sandbox.

If you want to check out G.I. Joe at Kindle Worlds, do it soon.

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The rumored letter going out to Kindle Worlds owners can be seen below:

As a valued member of the Kindle Worlds licensor community, we wanted to let you know that the Kindle Worlds program is closing. We will be notifying fan authors tomorrow, May 16th.
 
As of May 17th, Kindle Worlds will no longer be accepting new submissions. Previously published Kindle Worlds stories will no longer be available for sale on Amazon.com on or around July 16th. The Kindle Worlds website will be closed on August 29th; we ask that all Kindle Worlds participants update and validate their banking information, mailing address, and contact information by July 31, 2018 in order to facilitate a timely final royalty payment.
 
Your final royalty statement will include a proactive final payment for all remaining Kindle Unlimited borrows, including borrows that have not yet met the qualified borrow threshold. We plan to remove Kindle Worlds stories from Kindle Unlimited on May 16th.
 
Effective as of the date we remove each fan author’s work, we will revert the rights granted to us by that fan author. Our reversion letter to each applicable fan author will provide that such reversion is subject to the rights we granted to you in the Kindle Worlds License Agreement between you and us.
 
For five years, Kindle Worlds has been thriving, engaging writers and readers who enjoy writing in one another’s worlds, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done together. While we are closing Kindle Worlds, Amazon is constantly innovating on behalf of our authors and readers, and we look forward to continuing to do so.
 
We hope that 2018 and beyond bring wonderful things for you and your stories, and we appreciate your support over the years.
 
Warm wishes,
The Kindle Worlds team

 

 

GeneralsJoes Reviews Animal Warriors of the Kingdom

So I’ve had these figures in my hands for a short period of time, and wanted to be sure to do as thorough a review as I possibly could.  It’s obvious that Jason and the folks involved with this project put a ton of blood, sweat and tears into it, so it seemed only fair that I spend a fraction of that time doing the actual review.

You can find the AWOK Review right here.

The short version is – these action figures are a ton of fun.  The fact that he was able to put together this Kickstarter, get these things produced and shipped in such a short amount of time is astounding, and the end result on quality is really impressive.

There are some (very minor) areas of improvement, which Jason has acknowledged, but I think we can all feel comfortable those things will be addressed going forward, and to be honest, they’re so minor that they didn’t significantly impact my enjoyment of the figures.  These are really, really cool.  The Kickstarter is over, but all of these action figures are available at SperoToys.com.  Check them out, I think you’ll really dig ’em.

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