The written reviews are on their way! We stand at about 90% complete and hope to launch very early next week.
While you wait, Chris from The Full Force and I worked together to get some video reviews done to take a quick peek at the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention boxed set! These videos have been broken up into two parts, one looking at the Sky Patrol members, with the other digging into the COBRA A.D.D.E.R.S.!
Head on over to my YouTube channel to check them out, or they are also embedded below. Full written reviews are on the horizon, expect them very soon!
In spite of what you may think of the movie, I think it’s tough to argue that the G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra era was a turning point for the toy line, finding an awesome balance between aesthetics and articulation and cranking things up as far as accessories and detail work. The period from 2009 – 2011 encompassing the Rise of Cobra and Pursuit of Cobra lines gave G.I. Joe fans a lot to love and even more to look forward to. For his landmark Rank and File series, James Kavanaugh, Jr. is exploring this period of time for his second volume and it’s available now!
The adventure continues to evolve in Rank & File — A Guide to Third-Generation 4” G.I. Joe Action Figures!
After a brief hiatus in 2006 that allowed G.I. Joe to flourish in other areas, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero went in a new stylistic direction that is still predominately used today! Not only did fans get to revisit some of their most cherished icons within the G.I. Joe mythos, they were also introduced to new characters that are now known and loved.
The Rank & File guide volume 2 displays every G.I. Joe action figure produced between the The Rise of Cobra and The Pursuit of Cobra series, complete with every accessory and variation produced. Not only are the accessories shown, they were carefully cataloged in an upcoming section that will guarantee the proper shade of accessory goes to the appropriate action figure. To top it off, every vehicle and play set released in the 4″ era is documented and every easily removable piece is shown individually photographed, ensuring collector completion.
This full color, 52-page resource manual beautifully illustrates the two series’ 180 action figures, 55 vehicles and every accessory, including all known variations. Not only is every accessory present and accounted for, they have each been assigned a unique number and identified throughout the resource guide. Each action figure was carefully examined between its initial run and any further re-releases to ensure accurate samples are clearly and concisely presented, perfect for the collector who is identifying individual action figures or sorting through unorganized lots.
Whether you are a seasoned or rejuvenated collector, enthusiast, or toy vendor, the Rank & File series is the decisive compilation for G.I. Joe action figures, vehicles and play sets produced between 2007 to today. Let the Rank & File Guide serve as a reference for completion or a scrapbook to the next big turning point of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
The MSRP for The Rank & File Guide Volume 2 is $20 and available at www.rahcguide.com. Buyer will pay all additional shipping and handling costs. If you have purchased the R.A.H.C. guides before, the process will be very similar. This guide was self published and produced in quantities reflecting previous sales so do not hesitate in ordering if owning a guide is a priority.
Is this real life? Only two weeks ago I got done posting my review for Billy, a figure G.I. Joe fans had been waiting for for nearly thirty years. Now here we are taking a look at Pythona, Cobra La’s notorious infiltrator and assassin, a character who made her debut in 1987 and just barely received treatment in plastic form.
My history with Pythona is a weird one. While I actually enjoy the 1987 G.I. Joe animated movie more than most other people I know, at the time of its original airing, I absolutely hated Pythona. I still remember watching cartoons after school as I always did, when an advertisement for G.I. Joe: The Movie came on. Completely out of the blue, not something I knew was coming at all (back in those innocent pre-Internet days) and I was immediately enraptured. I’d already seen Transformers: The Movie and was still living off that high, and my mind went crazy with all the possible angles they could take in a G.I. Joe movie with the same production values.
The opening sequence blew my 13 year old mind, and afterwards, the entire infiltration scene with the Terror Drome was absolutely amazing. A dark cloaked figure tearing through the COBRA ranks, burning dudes with acid, tearing open walls with nasty claws and being just a general bad ass. Again, my mind went crazy considering who this could possibly be and what awesome character was doing all of this cool stuff.
When it was revealed to be Pythona, my initial reaction was pretty much… “who?” Here we had COBRA the most nefarious terrorist organization in the world essentially decimated by one person, and it was someone I’d never heard of and someone I couldn’t own as an action figure. Back then, and still to this day, my love for G.I. Joe and many toy brands is tightly focused on how the surrounding mythology supports the characters, and here was someone who had zero action figures I could play with to live out these incredible adventures happening on screen. It kinda made me mad.
My opinion softened over the years, and I’ve grown to really appreciate Cobra La and Pythona, and she became a figure that I really and truly wanted almost above all others. Her and Billy pretty much stood atop a drastically shrinking mountain of G.I. Joe and Cobra characters who never got action figures, and now within the span of a month, both of those check boxes have been checked.
I’ve said many times throughout the years that I didn’t think the Club would ever do Pythona simply because they wouldn’t be able to do her “right”. The texture of her costume would require significant new tooling and would be prohibitively expensive, but thankfully last year I was proven wrong when the Club announced that she would be the 2016 incentive figure. Now, when I heard they would be mostly mimicking the pattern of her uniform with paint, I was pretty dubious as to how well it would work. I’ve seen plenty of customizers try that over the years (myself included) with iffy results.
Holy crap was I proven wrong.
Now, the Club did invest in new tooling here, going with a new head sculpt, new hands, and what looks like a possible new upper torso for Pythona, but they went with paint for all the shaped circles and ridges in the uniform and it works spectacularly well.
Pythona herself is a mixture of existing parts for the legs and arms, with the Reactive Armor Scarlett lower torso, but the new upper torso, new head, and new hands go an incredibly way towards making her a very unique and deserved update to the missing Cobra La member. Her head is a gorgeous sculpt and features a removable ponytail so you can tuck the cloak’s hood up over her head, a little touch that is really awesome. The ponytail does have a tendency to fall out of her head, but the look of the figure is terrific, and that feature is a welcome one.
Her slim build and impressive articulation allow for all sorts of great poses and movements, allowing us to put her in all sorts of great “infiltration” positions. The newly sculpted hands are terrific, too, and while she can’t really hold anything, the trade off of those long fingers and fingernails is well worth it.
I’m happy to say her paint applications are nearly perfect as well, with dozens of those shaped circles all throughout the paint of her body, very closely matching the color pallet of the animated model and managing to look extremely realistic, even though the mold of the figure isn’t textured to match. Color changes are subtle throughout and excellently applied, really bringing the figure to life nicely. I can’t think of too many complaints at all when looking at the figure’s build, paint, and articulation.
I will admit there isn’t much here as far as accessories go, though I suppose Pythona doesn’t need much. She comes with a great cloak, which may be a newly developed soft good, and it works nicely, fitting over the figure, with the hood coming up tightly around the head (once the ponytail is removed). It adds some great aesthetic to the figure and in some ways I’m really glad Pythona was made now instead of 1987, because I seriously doubt the same effect could have been maintained back then.
She also comes with a foot stand and the same tentacle accessory that Nemesis Immortal came with several years ago. It somewhat replicates one of her nasty hand-held weapons, so it seems like an okay choice.
I had my doubts that we’d ever see Pythona as an action figure, and even if we did see her, I suspected the end result would be less than ideal. I was proven 100% wrong on both counts, and I’m exceedingly pleased with this figure, and am now firmly in the “Modern Era Cobra La please” camp. Like with Pythona, I can’t really think of any way Golobulus or the Royal Guard could be done without some significant new tooling, but maybe, like Pythona, the Collectors Club will find a way to surprise me. Considering the news from JoeCon that their relationship with Hasbro has been extended until at least 2018, that would be a terrific capper to their illustrious convention career.
Phil from YoJoe is KILLING IT today grabbing images from the Hasbro booth. Tons of pictures are streaming in, and they’re going up at the YoJoe Photo Gallery, while I’m also mirroring them below. These figures are looking great, and between Stiletto, Shooter, and Tombstone, I’m feeling like we’ve got some NEW BLOOD to play with here. Excellent!
While package pickup was late last night, the first official day of the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention is today! Already we’ve seen the parachute drop and panels by Adam Riches and James Kavanaugh, Jr., and some great updates are over at the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook. Dave Tree’s Action Man panel is hot on their heels.
Hot ticket item for the Con this year appears to be the carded Pythona, which was apparently sold without limits and burned through very quickly in the Club store.
G.I. Joe Con attendees will be getting their first sneak preview at the sales floor today at 2:00pm Mountain time, which includes the Hasbro booth, but don’t be alarmed if there isn’t much to look at there yet. Generally Hasbro puts out most (if not all) of their new product AFTER their panel, which happens tomorrow morning at 11:00am Mountain time.
It does look like someone got an advanced sneak peek at the Hasbro booth, and so far they’re just showing the SDCC set (priced at $99.99) but as I said, we can anticipate seeing much more than that tomorrow after their panel.
It’s Con Set pick up day! That means a first look at all of the various Convention exclusives (aside from the boxed set items). Several different folks on the G.I. Joe Discussion Facebook page have posted images from the pick up line, and the extra exclusives are as follows:
G.I. Joe Glider 2 Pack w/ Cloudburst and Skymate ($75.00)
COBRA Heli-Viper 3 Pack ($85.00)
Sky Patrol JUMP 6 Pack ($55.00)
COBRA JUMP 6 Pack ($55.00)
Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper ($68.00)
COBRA Hydra w/ Aero-Viper ($85.00)
Sky Patrol Skystriker ($160.00)
Paradrop Freefall figure (loose $35.00 and carded $45.00)
Pythona Carded ($38.00)
Free Attendee Air Raid
The Skystriker and Sky Sweeper are in the familiar Sky Patrol metallic colors, while the majority of the other items are reminiscent of their vintage look and feel. Interestingly the Aero-Viper is very similar to the version released during the Rise of Cobra line, but with some different parts to remove the Neo-Viper-esque ties. Check out all of the images below.
Hold onto your butts… What’s on Joe Mind is here with Episode 104, just recorded last week and ready to roll for JoeCon 2016! We cover the latest news, talk about the Joes of 2004, and lose track of what we’re saying consistently for nearly two hours. Just another day at the WOJM studio.
You can listen to the episode on Podbean, or the embedded player below.
We talk about the Joes from 2004, catch up on the news, begin to set the table of what will happen at JoeCon…and generally get side tracked – A LOT. Download it now and listen to it on your way to JoeCon!
Speaking of JoeCon, be sure to catch Mike, Gary, Joe and Chris McLeod from the Full Force at our JoeCon panel on Sunday, June 19th at 1:00. It will be the last ever panel at JoeCon. Join us as we turn out the lights…forever (maybe, maybe not, we will see – we’re looking at you Hasbro!)
If you have not signed it already, be sure to sign our petition to Save the GI Joe Convention! If you want a Joe-only convention like us, make sure you sign the petition and let the powers-that-be know what you think! More than 2500 people have signed. Sign on the campaign today!
EDIT – Original source of the images (as I should have guessed) is ACToys here. I’ve mirrored a bunch more images and added them to the gallery below. This set is looking even better!
Labeled as only coming from the “Chinese Web” new images of what is believed to be the upcoming G.I. Joe ComicCon set have emerged on the G.I. Joe Discussion group on Facebook.
This year’s SDCC exclusive appears to be a Rattler repaint as Powerglide, with Scarlett facing off against a HISS repaint as Soundwave, with Zartan! Very cool looking repaints, for sure, and I’m loving that Scarlett build, though not really wild about the 25th Anniversary head sculpt.
I really loved the Retaliation Zartan as well, it will be interesting to see what the differences are between this one and the previous.
Choosing the repaint the Direct to Consumer HISS Tank is an awesome idea, too, and I’m digging those Soundwave missile launchers at the turret. Really creative stuff.
Not only is it cool to see these, but there are two slots in the crossword puzzle to fill in! Check out the mirrored images below, and hit up the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook to join in the talk!
This feels like it should be a momentous occasion, and in truth it is. As rumors swirl around us about what the future holds for G.I. Joe, and as the years have marched on, that long list of figures that needed to be done slowly dwindles.
In the early 2000’s we finally got our Oktober Guard (then again from the Club a handful of years ago). Several years later, again courtesy of the Collectors Club, we got our Dr. Venom. Another couple of years after that, Kwinn finally appeared in the Retaliation line of all places. Now this year the Club hands us both Pythona and Billy, all while standing on the precipice of their own final surge with the Hasbro license. Something about it seems almost poetic.
Ever since his first appearance in G.I. Joe #10, curiosity has surrounded the character of Billy. Though we didn’t find out he was COBRA Commander’s son until Destro pointed it out in issue #38 (I believe…). Shortly thereafter, Billy was taken in by Storm Shadow shortly before being caught in a rocket attack and gravely wounded. He managed to escape with a lost eye and leg and rejoined Storm Shadow, becoming immersed in the Arashikage culture and greatly evolving his ninja prowess. Devil’s Due took the ball and ran with it where Billy was concerned, bringing him on to act as a foil between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, and that’s where this version of Billy comes in.
I’m really happy that the Collectors Club elected to go with this more combat ready version of COBRA Commander’s son rather than a boy scout or another iteration of the ’84 Storm Shadow. This is how he appeared in the Devil’s Due comic, and this is really where his training came to play, in my mind. His appearances in this guise in Devil’s Due were some highlights of that run, and I’ll remember that Mike Zeck penciled 21st issue very fondly.
The Club made some interesting choices with this figure. His head is a new sculpt, because it pretty much had to be, though doesn’t appear to be Boss Fight’s work. Most of the figure is based off the Rise of COBRA Snake Eyes, which is okay, I suppose, and that figure actually ends up being sculpted a bit smaller than more modern figures, so it makes sense for a younger operative. I will say the arms and torso don’t blend together especially well, and the shoulders look very “ball” like compared to some smoother flowing parts.
Speaking of his arms they’re the short sleeves that we saw with many figures throughout the Retaliation era, I believe, rounding off the t-shirt look. Colors here are very straight forward, with a simple black for the t-shirt and olive drab for the pants. They are plain colors, but match the comic look, so I can’t complain too heavily. Overall, it’s an effective design that is relatively comic accurate and blends nicely with other PoC era figures as well.
They didn’t load Billy up with too much gear, giving him a submachine gun, sword, grappling hook, and the same sheath/strap that the original Snake Eyes had, which holds his sword (though just barely). Billy doesn’t need a whole lot of gear, and the weapons he comes with here do make some kind of sense.
Fans have been waiting for Billy for a very long time, and I’m glad that the Collectors Club was able to get this figure out to folks before losing their relationship with Hasbro. As I said above, it seems almost poetic that as the Club is forced to halt this product, they’re checking off a bunch of desires that the fans have been asking for. It makes me pretty excited to see what might be planned for the real last hurrah of FSS 5.0.
For me, in a way, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Figure Subscription Service has felt like my home away from home and a place that dovetailed really nicely with my own little view on the G.I. Joe universe. Over the past two runs of the FSS we’ve gotten Hit & Run, Vypra, and now Interrogator, three characters who play huge roles in my own G.I. Joe universe, and characters who I’m thrilled to see modern updates of.
Interrogator was such a minor character in the Marvel Comics, practically a non-entity until Devils’ Due made him part of the Plague, and in a way really put him on the map. I also featured the character pretty heavily in my dio-stories, mostly due to his striking design, awesome helmet, and really cool specialty of being COBRA’s chief torture master. Interrogator has been revisited a couple of times now, and probably my favorite update to him is the Direct to Consumer rendition that we saw in the early 2000’s, which really modernized him nicely and made him look a little more official.
The G.I. Joe Con exclusive in 2011 was a pretty great take, too, with a neat removable helmet.
That brings us to this particular FSS update, which I will admit, I struggle to get my head around. The torso and arms appear to be from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation COBRA Commander, a pretty neat figure, and those parts look pretty neat here, too. His legs are from Arctic Destro in the Pursuit of Cobra era, and I have zero issues with those parts either. They give him a great bulk and some really awesome design aesthetics that are somewhat evocative of his vintage look, but also nicely updated.
His head, however, leaves a little to be desired. The Club chooses to reutilize the removable helmet, which was okay back in 2010 but looks a little dated these days. It’s covering the head from Rise of COBRA Sgt. Flash, which also doesn’t provide a heck of a lot of excitement. Considering the Club used the torso and arms from Retaliation COBRA Commander, I’m almost shocked that they didn’t just use that head as well, since they should know it would fit, and I’d think it would be in the same tooling library. If they’d used that head with red paint on the faceplate, this figure would look 100% better.
Looking at the colors, the Club sticks with what works, a gray shirt with dark blue pants and lots of black and silver trim to spice things up a bit. On each thigh we also see the familiar red stripes as another tribute to the old school version. From a pure aesthetic perspective, the figure looks like an update to Interrogator, and works moderately well from that regard, but could definitely use some fine tuning.
As mentioned above, the Interrogator comes with a removable helmet (though it stays pretty firmly on that more modern larger head. He also has a snake-handled knife, pistol with silencer and twin nunchuk type things that actually look more like some kind of electronic cattle prod. Law’s handcuffs are included, too.
Along with this, he also comes with the same tactical vest that the MARS Trooper came with back in the Rise of Cobra days, and unfortunately I think that’s the biggest hang up I have with this figure. I’m not a huge fan of that overly flat and bland looking webgear as it is, but especially on top of a relatively cool modern figure it looks especially underwhelming.
The good news is, of course, that webgear can be easily swapped out, but as it stands, the figure does not look especially good with it on him.
Interrogator is a character that is pretty near and dear to me, and I desperately wanted a modern update to knock my socks off. Unfortunately the FSS version does not quite hit that milestone. I think with a few minor adjustments, like the Retaliation COBRA Commander head and fresh web gear, the figure could be drastically improved. I’ll take steps to do that, but it would have been really awesome for him to come out of the package that way in the first place. Not bad, but not the Club’s best.