The Road to Retaliation continues with my daily reviews, and we start off this Monday morning with the “Running Change” version of Shipwreck! The Navy soldier dons green and brings the fight on land! Check out the latest review on my 30th Anniversary Review page, or just by hitting the link below.
Whatever you think about the state of G.I. Joe throughout 2012, I don’t think anyone can argue that it was a slow year for news. Quite the opposite! Going from nearly daily reports of movie updates, to the downward spiral of G.I. Joe: Retaliation confidence, and finally finding some middle ground with the great regional gatherings of Joe fans and the countless great independent projects.
It was quite the interesting year for G.I. Joe, and in celebration of 2012, I’m picking the top 12 news stories for the year. They may be good, they may be bad, but the end result is a collection of events throughout 2012 that paints a pretty cool picture when we look back on it. Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below for the run down.
It’s been about a week, give or take, since I posted the SurveyMonkey survey asking for some input from Joefans about what figures they’d like to see re-released in single pack form at retail. The survey, as I hoped it would, has generated some terrific discussion.
Please take a few moments to share your thoughts on the survey and in the comments section. Some good stuff coming out of it.
Just a reminder…we’re still running the G.I. Joe Concept Case Survey, but it will wrap up on MONDAY. All responses will be gathered and sent in to Hasbro, even though they will also be running their own online polling somewhere down the line.
I gotta be honest… I was stunned at the turn out for Round One of the Concept Case Survey. I’ve always suspected that the online G.I. Joe community was fairly small, and while we’re obviously vocal and enthusiastic, I had my doubts about how many folks would be motivated to sit through a 10 minute survey.
Turns out over 1100 of you were, and I’m very thankful for that. Truth is, the more folks that vote, the more impact the votes have, and if Hasbro sees the fandom taking the time to let their voices be heard, the more likely they are to take our input into consideration.
Here we are. Number one. My most requested, most admired, and most longed after item that we saw in the Concept Case at the 2012 G.I. Joe Convention. I will admit something, though. If we’re talking about being impressed by a specific item itself, I would have to admit, the Coyote was probably the most impressive toy that I saw, standing on its own. But with the thought in mind that we will likely never see this thing at retail, I wanted to place the number one moniker on a more realistic goal. A figure with some new tooling (but not too much), and a figure of a character that I have loved for a very long time.
1 – G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary Hit & Run
In 1988 I was just starting high school, and trying to figure out what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. I bounced between being an artist, being a writer, and pretty much as far away from Information Services flunky as you can get. Back in those days, well before I ever heard the term “fanfic” I explored my writing by diving into the G.I. Joe universe. With it being 1988, and the last Sunbow G.I. Joe adventures being behind us, it felt kind of like a new start, even though I was a devout comic fan, and the comic was still going strong. One of the first figures I bought from the 1988 series was Hit & Run, and I was immediately blown away. As a 14 year old kid, I was especially impressed by his background on the filecard, involving the death of his parents, and it immediately gave the character an immense depth in my mind.
My own personal G.I. Joe universe developed over the next couple of years, and in 1990 I really dove into my writing, which involved the Joe team picking up the pieces after a massive battle had eliminated much of their leadership team. Stalker was the new commander, Bullhorn played a key communications role, and Hit & Run earned his spot as the trademark “lone wolf” being rather anti-social and angry at the world because of his rocky upbringing and his inability to stay in one place for too long. As a big fan of Wolverine and The Punisher back then, the whole lone wolf mentality was fresh in my head, and the character was without a doubt the focus of my entire G.I. Joe universe. He wasn’t a ninja like Snake Eyes, but he was fast, awesome with a weapon, and he just didn’t care about anything but killing Cobra.
The character has just always resonated with me, and continued to when I wrote my fanfic The Price of Peace (which is pretty different than what I was writing in 1990, but still had some of those elements in place), and then when I moved over to my Dio-Stories. Hit & Run has always remained a constant, and even as I’ve watched several other characters evolve through new designs and concepts, my trusty ’88 Hit & Run has maintained his place. Yes, we did receive a 25th Anniversary update in the Attack of Cobra Island boxed set, which both surprised and impressed me, but the end result, unfortunately, didn’t really give the character justice in my mind. I wondered if a new version ever would.
Turns out that yes. A new version could do the character justice. Justice in a huge way. As I walked to the Concept Case up ahead, after grabbing my parachute figures from the Sales floor, I had already heard the whispers of people milling around. No less than four people walked up to me in the 20 minutes I was in line, a couple of them practically jogging, to excitedly tell me there was a Hit & Run in the case. I almost couldn’t believe it.
After waiting in line I rushed over, and there it was. A newly tooled head, with the necessary green facepaint and camouflage. Lots of borrowed parts, but parts borrowed from as of yet unreleased figures (upcoming 3-Pack Firefly torso, upcoming 3-Pack Agent Mouse arms) and using the fantastic parachute rig that was never included with Lifeline…essentially the figure looks all new, but with lots of borrowed tooling. Parts choice was perfect, the weapons used were simply fantastic, and the new head, helmet, and goggles simply topped the whole thing off. This figure is freaking gorgeous. Gorgeous. Not only does it look amazing, but it does a perfect job of taking one of my all time favorite characters, as obscure as he might be, and planting him firmly in the modern era, capturing all of the old school spirit, yet making all of the right updates. If I was allowed to make the perfect update to Hit & Run myself, this figure would be the end result. I love this figure so much, I’m desperately trying to not imagine a world where it is never released. I’m trying to convince myself that fan demand will somehow prevail and this figure will end up at retail or as some sort of online exclusive somewhere, some time, and some place. I don’t care when, I don’t care how, and I don’t care how much, this figure must happen.
I’ve always said that the Concept Case Survey was designed to be site neutral, hosted on a third party site (SurveyMonkey) and designed to be used by anyone, regardless of their affiliation. But I did suspect that other sites would want to run their own surveys geared to their own membership, and that’s cool, too.
For those HissTank.com faithful, they’ve started rolling out “Concept Vault Madness” similar to their March Madness polls, where they pit certain figures against each other to try and pick a winner.
The way I see it, if we can pull data from many different sources for Hasbro to use, all the better. Take a look at HissTank.com’s Concept Vault Madness, but then also make sure you swing by the Concept Case Survey as well to make your voice heard loud and clear. ;)
If you are heading to HissTank for the Vault Madness, and need an image refresher, don’t forget the Identification Gallery. That might prove useful.
Just a reminder that the Concept Case Survey that has been available via SurveyMonkey will be closed on Monday July 23rd for the initial round results to be tabulated. I did post earlier this week that the survey would end today, but in rethinking that, I figured it might be good to have another weekend for folks to make their voices heard.
I’m surprised that the volume of responses has continued to come in pretty heavily. G.I. Joe fans are making their choices clear! Thank you!
I can already sense the rage coming… What?!? Number six?! How dare you!
Many folks might wonder why this guy got pushed so far back in my list, even though cracking the Top Ten is a great thing in the first place…and honestly, I can’t really explain it, other than to say that a lot of this figure’s tooling is appearing elsewhere in the line already, and even though this is a very cool new concept, I have found other things in the case that I feel like I want (or need) to see more.
That’s not to say I don’t like this figure, and I’m dying to see this guy released. Of course I am. He’s obviously very high on my list. But there are other figures that are higher. Judging by the responses I’ve been getting in the Concept Case Survey, I would say many of you would disagree with me, however. As a list designed to spark discussion, though, that works for me.
6 – G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary Data-Viper
Ahhh, yes, the Data-Viper. Anyone who says this new concept figure is amazing, I would not disagree. He has a very unique and captivating design with a perfectly sculpted uniform, a very interesting new concept, and some incredibly cool accessories. I love this head sculpt, I really like the helmet, and the Predator-launching backpack with control gauntlets are a work of brilliance.
So, why #6 and not cracking my top 3? Mostly because as we’ve seen with the Wave 2 3-Packs, much of the Data-Viper tooling is going to be used for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Sgt. Airborne, and the Predator drone is coming with the Wave 3 Ultimate Duke. That still leaves a lot of cool elements to bring to the Data-Viper, like the helmet, backpack, and gauntlets, but I still can’t help but want to see a few other things more.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a hell of a figure, and I will rejoice with the rest of you when he is released, but if nothing else, the concept case convinced me there are even better things out there that I’m also eagerly awaiting. Check out the images from JoeCon below.
Continuing my “Top Ten” countdown of the items we saw last weekend in the Concept Case at the G.I. Joe: Convention. With my number 10 entry, I focused on the G.I. Joe: Renegades Scrap Iron with his melted face and awesomely animated body style.
For my ninth entry, I went back into the archives… generally I’m not a fan of simply re-releasing figures as they appeared two decades ago, with only minor alterations, but the figure I saw in the case made me rethink that idea. Besides, I’m a huge fan of those crazy 1989 army builders, so I couldn’t help myself.
9 – G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary HEAT Viper
HEAT Viper is just one of those crazy figures you can’t help but love. Bright yellow, purple, and with his trusty missile-boots he has all the earmarks of the wacky Cobra Troopers of the late 1980′s. I was actually pretty amazed at just how well Hasbro translated that crazy design to the modern style.
Using the 30th Anniversary Airtight tooling and what appears to be a resin sculpted HEAT Viper helmet, Hasbro is able to replicate the look and feel almost perfectly. It does appear that some sculpting modification was done to get the purple strip down the front of the figure, but beyond that, this would be a pretty straight forward kit-bash. In talking to Dave, one of the genius sculptors for Hasbro, the HEAT Viper head was sculpted and appeared in his display case at the Convention, but it has not been “tooled” yet. However, he also had sculpted a Crimson Guard head for a tour in Providence a few years back, and that head ended up getting tooled and used.
Anyway, since we have Alley-Viper, and will soon have Night-Viper, it seems only appropriate that we add HEAT-Viper to the growing ’89 trooper ranks. Can Frag-Viper be far behind?