G.I. Joe Convention 2011 Brochure Online!

With JoeCon coming much earlier in the year next year, the Convention Brochure has already been posted online!

The biggest revelation, of course, is the announcement of the Convention Exclusive sets!  And would you look at this…  something that I mentioned on the GIJCC Club forums a while ago, and have been talking about on these very pages looks to be coming to pass!  No images, unfortunately, but enough details to make mouths water.

MISSION: BRAZIL II!  Check out this figure lineup and tell me the 25th Anniversary fan inside of you isn’t giddy:

“This updated fan favorite set includes 15 figures in the 25A body style including unique Brazilian characters and Python Patrol troop builders. Every collector will want these 25A style action figures from this set!

The G.I. Joe figures include Captain Claymore, Leatherneck, Wet-Suit, Mainframe, Dial-Tone and features the female secret agent, Sparta!

The Cobra figures include two Python Tele-Vipers, six Python Troopers and features the elusive Steel Cobra (Cobra de Aço)!  Each of these great teams comes with their classic weapons and accessories in this exciting 2011 fifteen figure boxed set. Mission Brazil II will be a great addition to your collection!”

My only real caveat is that I hope while the Club uses the Special Missions: Brazil concept, I hope they don’t mirror the exact paint schemes.  I’d love to see a classic Leatherneck, perhaps a Wet-Suit with the proper helmet, Mainframe with a better head sculpt, etc…  the only question I have lies with Dial Tone.  Obviously he got the classic homage with the 2011 incentive figure, so that makes me just a bit nervous that they might be going whole hog into the Special Missions: Brazil theme.  Time will tell.

I’m sure folks will be crazy for the Python Patrol soldiers as well.

One very intriguing aspect here has to be the addition of Sparta.  Released single carded in Brazil, Sparta was essentially a reissued Cover Girl.  So will this re-release give fans the 25th Anniversary Cover Girl figure they’ve been after?  It certainly appears that way.

Keeping my fingers crossed for some traditional paint apps, but beyond that, a terrific sounding concept.  Really looking forward to seeing some image reveals.  Check out the Brochure right here, and keep your eyes on GIJoeCon.com, this year (for the first time) we’re getting electronic registration, which promises to go up before Christmas.

Holidays and Convention Season…it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

There simply isn’t enough space here for the actual title of this article.

The only constant is change.

– Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, ca. 500 BC

The only constant is change, and people complaining about the Duke arms.

– Mike Irizarry, misadventurer, social critic and G.I. Joe collector, ca. May 2008

The world of G.I. Joe is about a year removed from the introduction of the Rise of COBRA canon, and is already poised to switch gears again into the world of “Pursuit of COBRA.”  Before too much longer, Hasbro’s new television network will launch and fans will be elbow-deep in product related to the new G.I. Joe animated program, “Renegades.”  Mind you, I’m not complaining.  I tend to be of the line of thinking that finding new wrinkles in the property keeps it fresh and invigorated.  If Hasbro hadn’t been willing to let G.I. Joe change with society’s tastes over the years, it would’ve died long before I got involved with the property as a seven-year-old in 1982.

One change that I really liked was the introduction of the 25th Anniversary line after the collapse of Sigma 6, and I know I’m not alone in that regard.  We’re almost two years removed from the end of that particular phase of the GI Joe property, but fans are still scouring Family Dollar and Big Lots stores trying to bolster their COBRA Eel, Bazooka Trooper and BAT armies for rock-bottom, close-out prices.  Hasbro’s still throwing some classic characters out there, too, like Heavy Metal (Rampage) and Thunder (Sgt. Thunderblast) in the Rise of COBRA line and Low-Light later on in the “Pursuit of COBRA” line, because they know that us old guys still haven’t seen some of our favorites make it back.  So before we completely close the book on the 25th Anniversary line and the glory years of G.I. Joe, I present to you, dear reader:

The Top Ten(ish) G.I. Joe Characters Who Still Need A Classic Interpretation Remade In The Modern-Style Sculpt

Wow.  That is one clunky title.  Oh, well.  The truth is very rarely pretty.  Onward and upward!

10.       Tan Grunt and Tan Clutch (1983 and 1984, respectively): I don’t indulge the urge very often, but the completist in me has been clamoring for these easy repaints for a long time.  Considering the amount of action the U.S. military is seeing in desert climates these days, I think gearing up these two classic characters in more desert-friendly colors would be appropriate as well as historically accurate.  If they could be used as an excuse to get a Modern Sculpt-compatible VAMP Mark II as well, I wouldn’t complain, either.  Just be sure to put Grunt’s head on one of the “Original 13” long-sleeved bodies (like the rest of Collecting America did after it picked up the Duke/Red Star comic two-pack) and the men in tan would be golden.

9.         Leatherneck (1986): As Maxwell Smart might lament, “Missed it by that much.”  There have been two versions of Leatherneck released in the modern sculpt, and while they both borrow from the character’s original representation, neither truly capture his classic look from 1986.  Granted, the first version matched up with the 1986 Special Missions: Brazil set (and perhaps more importantly, the tan AWE Striker it was packaged with), and the second one, packaged with the RoC Tiger Claw has a green uniform.  Sadly, neither really makes the grade.

The homage to Special Missions: Brazil was pretty unnecessary, considering how ugly those figures were.  Granted, Leatherneck was the best-looking figure in that set by a long shot (save it, Claymore fans… no Joe in leopard-print camo will get props from me in the looks department), but it makes about as much sense as a silver Wet-Suit or a red-trimmed Mainframe;  which is to say, none.  It’s probably for the best that the dark green, recently-released one isn’t true to its roots either, because it’s only available at retail in Canada.  First off, Leatherneck needs a proper torso, not a repainted Buzzer part that still screams “Dreadnok” regardless of how you paint the blatant and totally out-of-place metal shoulder guard.  Second, maybe reusing the dreaded Duke arms again wouldn’t be the best idea for a character that carries a machine gun.  (See, you were wondering what that second quote was at the beginning.  Turns out, it’s not just there to be funny!)  Leatherneck got a decent run on the Sunbow cartoon and even a few nice story parts in the Marvel comic, so his omission from the Anniversary in his classic togs is unacceptable.

8.         Footloose (1985): Not even halfway in, and controversy has been rearing its ugly head all over the place.  Mike, you idiot, I can hear you thinking testily towards your computer monitor (don’t ask how), don’t you remember the Footloose figure in the RoC “Troop Builder 5 Pack Set 1 of 2?” (Winner name on those sets, by the way.)  You’ve wasted my life griping about two characters that have already shown up!

Well, of course I remember it.  I like it, too.  It’s a got a good-enough facial likeness of the character, and except for the SWAT helmet, it’s a great re-imagining of the character.  However, re-imaginings are not what this article is about.

Footloose was the quintessential post-Vietnam infantry soldier, clad in his woodland BDUs and armed with the standard US military M-16.  The Sunbow cartoon gave him a decent amount of spotlight and a distinctive personality, so he’s hardly obscure.  Honestly, if Hasbro or the GIJCC repainted the 5-pack Footloose and gave him the proper helmet and gear, I’d be pretty happy.  Footloose is one of the characters I’m more passionate about getting re-done, but the fact that we’ve had a “close but no cigar” version pushes him down the list a little bit.  Honorable mentions go to Law & Order and Repeater from the same set, although they left a much smaller footprint in G.I. Joe lore.

7.         Roadblock (1992): A great figure hidden in a day-glo era, the ’92 Roadblock is my favorite incarnation of the character from the old days.  Okay, except for the leg bandanas, but still…it’d be a neat addition because of the history behind the figure, as well as a change to finally put a decent cranium on a Modern Sculpt Roadblock figure.  Since the first version of the ’92 Roadblock was recalled due to safety concerns on its spring-loaded whats-a-ma-doozit (yes, that’s the technical term), it’d be pretty funny if they gave the big fella some obnoxiously large missile launcher in modern times, too.  I imagine a whole slew of new parts would be necessary, since the real purpose of it would be to get a non-pinheaded Roadblock that’s worthy of display among the other great figures of the 25th Anniversary line.

6.         General Flagg and General “Iron Butt” Austin: How great would it be to see a Toys R Us three-pack with the real G.I. Joe command team in it?  How much more great would it be if one was a fat Joe that wasn’t E. Honda?

Here’s the recipe:  put together a mold for a figure in dress greens, put a repainted Short-Fuze head on one for Flagg and a Hawk head on another for, um, Hawk.  Then make a shorter, stockier version for Austin, which could be repainted and re-used as Admiral Ledger from the Sunbow cartoon in a later three-pack.  Yes, we’re spending a lot of Hasbro’s money on this entry, but you know what they say about omelets:  I like mine Denver-style.  Wait…

5.         Airtight (1985): I’m not entirely sure how this hasn’t happened yet.  Airtight would need a distinct helmet, chestplate, and gear, but wouldn’t a repainted Barbecue body with Flash arms work pretty well for the Joes’ hostile environment specialist?  Airtight is a longtime personal favorite and a fairly conspicuous absence considering his occasionally prominent role in the Sunbow cartoon and the comic books.  Like Footloose, Airtight was given an update back in the Direct-To-Consumer days, but that release left me pretty cold.

Okay, the real reason he’s here is because Justin wants to re-create “The Funhouse” in a dio-story.

Alright, no.  But admit it, that’d be a fun reason, too.

4.         Kwinn: Big kudos to the GIJCC for releasing Dr. Venom in its 3.75” Adventure Team offerings.  That figure made a lot of long-time fans very, very happy.  One can argue that Dr. Venom, despite dying way back in Marvel’s “G.I. Joe” #19, was one of the most important and memorable characters to the original G.I. Joe comic mythos.  Too bad he was only half of the equation.

Kwinn was Venom’s muscle, a mercenary whose strong sense of honor often clashed with Venom’s sniveling serf-servitude.  He was the most interesting character in the first two years of the G.I. Joe comic this side of Snake-Eyes before he met his end at the hands of Dr. Venom, but not before dispensing some justice of his own.  Unlike Dr. Venom, Kwinn was released as a figure in 2004 as “Tracker Kwinn,” as part of a comic-book three-pack.  However, that figure has Kwinn in his arctic gear, not the jungle khakis he wore in his other appearances.  Many collectors have long clamored for a “standard” Kwinn figure.

With our history lesson completed, I have no easy ideas for a Kwinn figure using existing parts.  But man, how great would it be to have an awesome Kwinn figure to strangle that great Dr. Venom figure on your dresser?

3.         Techno-Viper (1987): Techno-Vipers showed up in the G.I. Joe line at a tough time.  In 1987, the Sunbow cartoon ceased production after G.I. Joe: The Movie, so there was no camera time for them to be had, and as a faceless subset of the COBRA hordes, there wasn’t much of a cause for them to receive speaking parts in the Marvel comic book, either.  They just had to make due with being a great toy, with a distinctive look that positively swam in accessories.  If Justin were writing this article, he’d call them “bad-ass.”  (For the record, I am still not a ghost-writer for Justin.  I have friends and a blender and great hair.)

I remembered how much I love the Techno-Viper figure only recently, and thanks to “Alexx Shorts” on Joesightings.com.  Alexx uses them as the wise-cracking comedy center to some great G.I. Joe product reviews.  Considering the collecting community has been presented with COBRA Air Troopers, Para-Vipers, Stinger Commanders and a host of other army-builders that didn’t exist in the ARAH world, lending a hand to the humble Techno-Viper shouldn’t be too much to ask.  I can envision a purple-clad COBRA Trooper body (with a HISS Driver torso) with some original gear doing the job fairly nicely.

2.         COIL Infantry Trooper: Along the same lines as the Techno-Viper, this would be a great army-builder… aaaaaaaand yes, I figure I’ve stretched this inside joke long enough.

2 (actual).        Cover Girl (1983): Cover Girl in her traditional togs is easily the most glaring omission from the G.I. Joe ranks.  She’s the oldest character that hasn’t been recast for the Anniversary line.  Let me add that I don’t have any great love for Cover Girl as a character.  In my mind, she held a lot more potential as an armor specialist than anything else, if for no other reason because she was the only woman in the motor pool.  She was in the quasi-leadership position that all the female characters were in on the Sunbow cartoon, she got lost in the shuffle a bit in the Marvel comic, Devil’s Due re-routed her to intelligence and as such turned her into a not-ready-for-prime-time Scarlett, and IDW seems intent to shoehorn her in as Shipwreck’s girlfriend.  I won’t pretend to have any answers as to what would make her more interesting, but she’s been making me yawn for over a quarter-century now.

That’s also the heart of the issue: she’s been around too long to be ignored.  The Wolverine was one of the first ‘Joe vehicles I got, so while Cover Girl maybe didn’t have the biggest hand in my early adventures, she was around an awful lot.  I suspect I’m not the only fan in that boat, either.

She’d be pretty easy to put together, too.  She’d have to have get a new head and probably arms, too, but attaching them to a re-colored Lady Jaye body would do the job pretty well, if she got a brown vest to finish her “jacket.”  They could even release a repaint somewhere down the line in her green-togs-and-blonde look from “The MASS Device.”  Just please, please don’t use the RoC Cover Girl head again.  For a figure depicting a woman who’s an international supermodel… well, arf.  “Arf” is really all I can say.

1.         Zarana and Zandar (1986): Zarana’s a character that I always felt was force-fed to us in both animation and print.  She brought more to the table than Cover Girl, but for a while there it felt like Zarana was everywhere.  After her introduction, it seemed like she was on every episode of the cartoon, tearing masks off her face like so much toilet paper off a roll, and then getting written into an awkward semi-romance with Mainframe.  The Marvel comic treated her more like the vicious mercenary she was (despite her becoming the unrequited love object for Road Pig), and like many of the more major characters in the book, she hung around much longer than her action figure was in retail stores.  However, despite my feelings towards Zarana, that doesn’t change the fact that for whatever the reason for her inclusion, she was there for some pretty important stuff.  (She was around for a lot of unimportant stuff too, as she popped up a few times in the awful DiC cartoons of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – again, well after her figure was gone from the shelves.)  The Dreadnoks have been largely glossed over in the Anniversary offerings, but not having Zarana is a huge oversight.  I’d even accept a not-particularly-‘80s-accurate version, as I don’t have a great desire to spend eight dollars on a female action figure with a pink Mohawk.

As for Zandar?  Honestly, I could care less.  I don’t think I’ve ever owned a Zandar figure.  I just figured I could save Hasbro the trouble and advocate him now, too, since fandom will immediately cry out for a Zandar to finish their Zartan Family set after receiving a Zarana.  Maybe the three siblings could make another exclusive three-pack?  Hmmmmm…

There you go, folks.  It’s the end of another long-winded list article.  Go forth and discuss with your friends, family and fellow collectors.  Admit it, though… mine tick you off a lot less than the ones you read in Wizard magazine.

Sgt. Slaughter pics aplenty as SDCC approaches

Some enterprising Joefans have jumped on a few eBay sales offering early releases of the Sgt. Slaughter SDCC exclusive, and some pics are starting to emerge.  Over on Hisstank.com, both Bionic Commando and Gyre-Viper have posted some images, mint on card and loose both.  Old friend of GeneralsJoes cmderinchief has also posted a couple of images on his Facebook page as well.  I’ve mirrored the images below.

I know some folks are a bit on the fence, but I dig this figure.  He looks cool, old school, but still accurate to Sarge’s physical…  prowess.  Sure, it would have been cool to have him stacked and jacked like he was in the cartoon, but there’s something humorous about this figure, and appropriately cheesy.  Of course the mid-torso joint does disrupt some of the flow, which is an issue.  But articulation must always come first, in my opinion.

Regardless, I’ll be looking forward to at least trying to get my hands on these figures when SDCC comes around.

GeneralsJoes “Top 50” G.I. Joe figures of the decade

Last week, Mike and I posted a Top 15 list for the last decade, outlining our top 15 figures of the past ten years, and I let readers know that my initial list was actually a top FIFTY, but for obvious reasons, we pared it down simply because…well…a  top 50 list would have been long and probably insane.  But mostly just long.  But a few readers showed an interest in seeing the Top 50 list, so I’m going to post what I was originally starting.  I won’t go into gory details with each and every entry, though, and just leave it as a list, so folks don’t go homicidal halfway through it.

Continued after the jump…

Continue reading

HasbroToyShop has MARS 3-Pack in stock, and free figure with purchase deal

HasbroToyShop.com reports that they now have the MARS Trooper 3-Pack in stock for $24.99 plus shipping.  You can find that item right here.

They also have a special deal going on right now where if you buy a DVD Battle Pack, you get to choose any single figure for FREE.  Check out the details here, and shop their DVD Battle Packs here.

EDIT – Don’t forget to use gijoe10 as a discount code to save some cash!

In hand pics and mini-review for Scarlett “Quarrel” homage

Roadblock Recall from the Terror Drome has uploaded some nice pics and did a review for the so-far unreleased Scarlett done up in an homage to the Action Force Quarrel figure.  Check out the full review here, and I’ve mirrored some pictures below.

COBRA Troop Builder 8-Packs on HasbroToyShop.com

HasbroToyShop has updated their stock with some interesting “Troop Builder 8-Packs”, retailing for $49.99.  Check out the links below for the various offerings:

Wave 5 vehicles in stock at SmallJoes.com!

The fans have been waiting, and it seems as if the wait just might be over!  GeneralsJoes sponsor SmallJoes.com appears to have the Wave 5 vehicles in stock (with the exception of the Stinger sold singly).  Check out the links below!

Thanks to Fast Draw of HissTank.com for the intel.

Great new images of upcoming COBRA Island 7-Packs

Taking a bit of a break from the great “Rise of COBRA” debate, the Terror Drome has found some images that I think almost everyone can agree on…  these are some great images of some fantastic looking toys.  I’ve seen lots of complaints lately about Hasbro’s distribution and marketing philosophy, but anyone at all who has any doubt whether or not Hasbro listens to the fans or has our best interests at heart just needs to look at these two 7-packs.

Hasbro did NOT need to do these.  The retailers are full steam ahead with the movie…Hasbro is full steam ahead with the movie…  yet, purely as a bone for collectors, they put together 14 figures that are, by and large, tops on many collector lists.  Not only did they put them out, but they did some beautiful work.  Yes, there’s a lot of existing tooling, but done in such creative ways that it almost doesn’t matter.  These figures are looking great.  What a fantastic send off to the Anniversary line as the property moves forward.

Check out the Terror Drome story here, or just sit and gaze at the images below.

Potential upcoming Wal-Mart exclusive Combat Heroes pack on TaoBao

While the fate of the Combat Heroes line remains firmly up in the air, another item that is potentially in the wings has been uncovered on Asian auction site TaoBao.com.  HissTank.com forum member elkkthunder has stumbled across an apparent Wal-Mart exclusive “COBRA Pack” containing a repainted Destro, Baroness, COBRA Commander, and…  Tomax and Xamot!  A very cool looking set, but with the future of Combat Heroes so murky, who knows what will come of it?

You can find the auction here, and the image is mirrored below.