What’s on Joe Mind Episode 102 is NOW ONLINE

THIS IS NOT A DRILL.  THIS IS NOT A TEST.

Yes, G.I. Joe fans, a new episode of the What’s on Joe Mind podcast is available and online at Podbean.com!

This one has been in the hopper for a long time, but hopefully it is worth the wait.  Some of the news isn’t necessarily timely, but I hope you’ll come join me, Gary, Mike, and NEW FOURTH CHAIR Joe Colton to kick off the G.I. Joe podcasting whirlwind!

Check out the show notes below and you can either hit up Podbean.com or listen to the embedded player below.

SHOW NOTES

This whole episode will speak for itself.  New 4th chair, Joe Colton officially joins the rotation!  Zack Hoffman and Brian Cummings join us to talk about JoeCon 2015 in our first ever double-interview.  None of this episode is timely – AT ALL, but we hope you enjoy it nevertheless.  We have two more shows in the “can” that we will be working on in the coming weeks.  So, something to look forward to.  In the meantime, help the #savegijoe campaign and sign the petition by going to www.savegijoe.org or https://www.change.org/p/hasbro-save-gi-joe.

Thanks to everyone for their patience and understanding during our “hiatus.”  It has been a busy year-of-change for all of the hosts.
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GeneralsJoes Reviews FSS 4.0 Jammer and Pathfinder

The latest installment of the Figure Subscription Service arrived a short while ago, and I’ve officially posted my reviews on the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page.

Check out the direct links below!

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Pathfinder (Figure Subscription Service)

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I can’t quite explain why, but in my younger years, I couldn’t quite get my head around 1990.  Where the years leading up to then were a mixture of classic characters and new blood, the main line in 1990 was new blood soup-to-nuts.  Being someone that appreciates new characters now, I’m surprised that my younger self didn’t embrace that fact, but for some reason I didn’t.

It’s only now, over two decades later, that I recognize 1990 as perhaps being a “soft reboot” of sorts, giving us a whole series of new characters and taking play to a different level with many smaller, more intricate accessories making these figures unique.  Pretty much every single figure in that 1990 line came with elaborate and well detailed accessories that really enhanced the play value.  From Stretcher’s air sled to Bullhorn’s take-apart sniper rifle, not to mention Ambush’s camouflage tent and Topside’s backpack mortar launcher.  Pathfinder was no different, coming equipped with two hip-mounted heavy machine guns as well as a full blown weed whacker.  While parts and tooling restrictions made it so we couldn’t get the hip-guns with a modern release, I’m happy to say the updated Pathfinder is ready to go, weed whacker and all!

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The figure has Lifeline’s existing head sculpt, which matches the look of the original figure, and the removable hat does an okay job of replicating that look, too.  To copy the brim fold of the original figure, the hat is positioned in a way that doesn’t stay on the figure’s head very well.  Once I swapped the hat around it actually fit a lot better, though that small piece of vintage accuracy is lost.  I think I can live with that.

Pathfinder uses Kwinn’s torso and arms, which are a great choice, as they pretty accurately mimic the original, but are newer construction, offering very good range of motion.  If I have any complaints, the somewhat tight hand grip doesn’t fit the handle of the machine gun very well, but you can work with it.

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His legs are from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation era and also are excellently sculpted, with some great baggy effects, though the more I see these legs used, the more annoyed I get with the weird rocker ankles.  They end up pretty stiff and difficult to pose, and the footholes are becoming an increasing issue on existing battle stands.  This figure isn’t nearly as bad as the Night Creeper was with the last installment, but it can still be somewhat difficult to get him to stand.

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Paint deco is pretty fantastic.  Straight black on the upper body, and the camouflage pattern and colors on the legs are pretty close to spot on perfect.  Great articulation, effective parts choices, and the base figure for Pathfinder is excellent.

Accessories

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As we’re used to with the 1990 era Joe characters, Pathfinder comes pretty well equipped.  A couple of his accessories are pulled from the Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Strike Duke, which I’m completely cool with, including his backpack and flashlight.  He has a great pistol for the holster at his hip, a gray colored heavy machine gun, inspired by the original’s hip mounted weapons.  His removable hat works moderately well, and the removable vest does as well.  The plastic is a bit stiff, which makes the vest a challenge to remove, but it’s not insurmountable and the end result is a figure that looks much more like his vintage counterpart.

Of course the focal point here is the weed whacker, and I’m happy to say it fits his hands well, looks pretty nice, and ends up being a cool finishing touch to the figure.  If given a choice between the hip-guns and the weed whacker, I probably would have chosen the hip-guns, but I can understand the Club not being able to retool a piece (or a belt) to make that work.

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All in all, Pathfinder is a very effective figure.  The paint work is really nicely done, and he’s got a good number of fun accessories.  A pretty great installment for the FSS 4.0.

Jammer (Figure Subscription Service)

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Any day we get a modern update to our favorite European special missions force is a good day, and I’m a pretty big fan of Jammer.  Even back in the 80s, Jammer was a barely repaint of the original Stalker, essentially a slightly different shade of color with the trusty Zed Force logo in red on his chest as well as a red beret.

When the Club revisited the whole Action Force/Red Shadows conflict in the Convention set in 2010, we saw another update to Jammer, this time using the Comic Pack Stalker formula (o-ring version).  Now, for this final iteration of the infamous Zed Force Communications Specialist we get much the same, though with some interesting twists.  His head sculpt is from the Convention Tiger Force Stalker, which is nice for folks who might not have that figure yet (and it certainly helps that the head sculpt kicks all sorts of ass).  The torso is from the 25th Anniversary, which is a bit of an oddchoice, in my mind, as it makes the figure look somewhat short and misproportioned, and the torso is visibly less detailed than the rest of the figure.  I understand why they made that choice, to tie him into the vintage “original 13” aesthetic, but I would have loved to have seen something a bit different.

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His legs are the updated “Original 13” legs that were seen with Attack on COBRA Island Zap and the discount store Duke, which is a cool enough choice and fits the theme.  His arms are more modern, large and baggy with the updated wrist joints, which is all well and good, except they somewhat add to the misproportioned look, making the figure look somewhat top heavy and creating a mis-match between the exceedingly wrinkled arms and smooth torso.  As much as I love the Pursuit of COBRA Shock Trooper arms, I can’t help but think they don’t jive 100% with the rest of the figure here.  I am glad to see the increased articulation, though perhaps if the Club had used the Shock Trooper torso, the flow would have been a little better.

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Where this figure does really shine, however, is with the paint applications.  The shade of green and black is fantastic and fits well with the Zed Force look and feel.  The “streak” pattern of the black camouflage is exceptionally well done, and I love the striking color of red in the logo and the beret.  Great to see the Union Jack on his right shoulder, too, which blends him well with Quarrel, Big Ben and Blades, who both had that distinct patch on their uniforms as well.  Great touch.

ACCESSORIES

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Jammer comes with a removable beret and the same chest strap that Zap and the Duke came with, which is a departure from the vintage version, who shared the same torso as Stalker with the double-strap webgear.  I don’t mind the change, as this webgear fits the contour of the chest well and is detailed nicely, however it also covers up a big chunk of the great Z logo on his chest, which is a bit unfortunate.  I have to admit, though, that older 25th Anniversary double strap webgear does look a little dated.

He’s got Dial Tone’s backpack, which fits the communications theme as well as a nice machine gun and two holsters.  A nice touch is that one holster contains the traditional pistol you’d expect, but the other holster holds a smaller mobile phone to fit in with the communications motif.  Unfortunately the peg on Dial Tone’s backpack is a little on the large side, and doesn’t fit real seamlessly into his back hole.  You can generally rotate it and get it to sink in, but I’d be concerned about wear and tear on the peg of the backpack long term.

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When it comes to a figure trying to resemble the original 13 look, generally I love using that Zap template.  It retains the vintage look but with slightly more modern sculpting, and I am in love with the twin holsters and removable pistols.  Unfortunately, while I completely applaud the choice to use more modern arms for the enhanced range of motion, it does look a little off compared to the rest of the figure in a way that my eyes can’t quite reconcile.

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Jammer has great accessories, I’m a big fan of the character, and the paint apps are pretty terrific as well.  Overall, I approve of the figure in most ways, I just wish the parts formula looked a little bit more consistent and uniform.

GeneralsJoes Reviews FSS Barricade and Night Creeper

I’m running a little behind on reviewing the FSS figures, but I’m trying to play some catch up!

I have posted the FSS 4.0 Barricade and Night Creeper to my G.I. Joe Collectors Club review page.  You can also check out the direct links below.

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Night Creeper (Figure Subscription Service)

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I loves me some Night Creepers!  Even with the strange purple and gray camouflage of the vintage versions, I always really dug the overall look and concept of the Night Creepers.  Ninja assassins and saboteurs who leveraged next generation technology was always a really awesome concept, and Larry Hama executed it pretty nicely in the Marvel Comics throughout the 90’s.  The way the legs were somewhat thick but still moved really nicely, as well as the elbows on those classic o-ring figures just made the toys felt really “natural” for me and made the figures really easy to play with, which was important back in the day.  More modern repaints (specifically the COBRA Urban Strike Force version) made me love the figure even more, especially because the softer plastic for the hands made the thumbs a lot less breakable.  And before anyone says anything, no I don’t really consider the Rise of Cobra Night Creeper to be a proper “Urban Strike” repaint.

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When Hasbro revealed an updated build for the much maligned 25th Anniversary Night Creeper at JoeCon a number of years ago, I was pretty ecstatic.  I wasn’t wild about the COBRA Island 7-Pack version with those dated 25th Anniversary parts, and the more modernized parts combination was fantastic.

The Collectors Club seemed to take a page from that book, but instead of giving us just a new classic looking (or even better, an Urban Strike version!) they used the parts combo as a modern interpretation of the 1998 Toys “R” Us exclusive Arctic 3-Pack.  I’m pretty sure I could count the number of fans who wanted a modern update to that figure on one hand, but as a devout fan of the Night Creepers in general, I’m pretty happy to see any iteration of that figure in modern format.

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Replacing some of those dated parts with limbs from the Wave 1 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow makes a world of difference, giving us a more modern iteration of the arctic Night Creeper with parts that are better sculpted, larger, and have far better range of motion.  The seamless integration of martial arts and technology lives on in these Storm Shadow parts and suits the Night Creeper to perfection.  I am a big fan of this updated parts recipe, that is for sure.

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Looking at the deco of the figure, he certainly resembles the arctic 3-Pack version from 1998, and from a cost perspective, I suppose I can see why the Club went that way.  By eliminating paint masks for elaborate camouflage, they can bring costs down, fitting this figure better within their constricted budget.  If money were no factor, I would have much rather preferred an updated vintage deco Night Creeper or the Urban Strike.

ACCESSORIES

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The COBRA Night Creeper comes with a decent set of accessories, including a crossbow and the trademark wavy sword that initially came with the vintage figure.  He’s got a modern version of the Night Creeper backpack as well as the shoulder cape that originally came with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper.  Somewhat strange is that he cannot wear the cape and the backpack at the same time, so you have to pick and choose one or the other.  While the cape does have the backpack hole, the peg of the backpack isn’t quite long enough to accommodate for it. He also has the familiar head dress and chest armor that we’ve been getting on versions of the Night Creeper since the COBRA Island set.

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I love the Night Creeper.  I don’t necessarily love the arctic version of him, and desperately wish the Club had found a way to use this much improved parts combination on a figure with a somewhat more exciting deco.  Even as this figure stands, he’s got a great selection of parts and decent accessories, and is a fun figure overall.  I just wish his paint scheme was a bit more exciting.

Here is my YouTube review of the figure as well:

Barricade (Figure Subscription Service)

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While many a G.I. Joe fan will bemoan the Battle Corps era for its outlandish colors, spring-loaded weapons and plethora of sub teams, I remained quite interested in G.I. Joe even through those somewhat strange years.

It’s nice to see the Collectors Club pay some attention to the Battle Corps years within the Figure Subscription Service, though I have to admit, somewhat begrudgingly, that the execution leaves a little to be desired.

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Back in the day, Barricade was a “Bunker Buster” soldier, the guy who broke down the doors, took volleys of gunfire, but led the rest of the team into the breach.  The vintage version of the figure was very large and blocky, yet managed to maintain the great range of motion of those classic o-ring figures, a combination that I really loved, even if some of the colors of the time were questionable.

This version of Barricade seems to want to continue that philosophy, but ends up looking more cybernetic than armored (likely a result of a lack of parts choices that fit the aesthetic well).  Using parts from the Rise of Cobra Accelerator Suit figures, the parts are exceptionally well sculpted and have great articulation, and from a pure visual perspective, the figure parts look outstanding.  Instead of the Accelerator Suit arms, the Club went with Battle Armor Cobra Commander arms, which is a little unfortunate, as the elbows aren’t quite as flexible as some others, and the arms end up looking just a little “stumpy”.  They’re also pretty distinct for Cobra Commander and it’s tough to see them utilized in a different way.

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The head sculpt here is a re-use of the 25th Anniversary Chuckles  Rise of Cobra “Aqua Viper Officer” which has been used here and there (I believe it was also Dice’s head sculpt) but it works okay as a generic head that doesn’t look too much like anyone else.

In the past, the Club has had a tendency to take really bright figures and mute their colors somewhat for a more modern release.  Barricade is actually somewhat the opposite.  The blue used is brighter than the vintage version, and even though they added some paint wipe detail to the deco work, the gold ends up looking a little brighter as well.

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As for the paint applications themselves, that’s where I really struggle.  There is a ton of sculpted detail throughout these Accelerator Suit figures, but Barricade himself is just mostly gold with just a few hints of the blue.  He could have been much better served with some additional areas of blue deco where there was armor separation, even if it didn’t completely match the vintage paint masks.  Looking at Barricade from the front, it just looks like there’s way too much gold, and they don’t quite capture the “metallic” look of the original.

ACCESSORIES

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One thing I have to give the Club some props on with Barricade are the accessories.  The figure gets a nice spring-loaded grappling hook launcher, a great shotgun, very nice submachine gun, removable pistol and helmet, as well as a really cool breacher tool/battle axe.  There’s a lot of gear here, and a lot of it looks really great.  I love the blue pistol, even if it does look somewhat futuristic (either that or it’s some kind of taser).  Regardless, I really like the blocky barrel and how well it fits in the holster, even though the holster really struggles to stay flush with the leg.

He’s got the Accelerator Suit helmet which doesn’t jive real well with the original look of Barricade, but it’s still a neat helmet that I really like the design of.

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Barricade has been one of my favorite characters and vintage figures, and I was really excited to hear the Club was bringing him into FSS 4.0.  Unfortunately the end result isn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be.

Check out the YouTube video review below!

On the eve of G.I. Joe Club Registration – Club hits landmark numbers

Yes, I reported on Wednesday that the G.I. Joe Collectors Club would be accepting new members until the end of the day on March 16th, as they have every year.

However, they announced that this year they were expanding the deadline, and you now have until midnight TONIGHT to get your memberships in for 2016!  This will be the best way to get your hands on the 2016 incentive figures, Pythona or the 12″ Mike Power.

Apparently these two figures are in hot demand, as the Collectors Club announced today that they have reached a landmark number for memberships, their highest active member group ever.  Pretty exciting, and testament to the great looking exclusive figures that they’re giving away this year.

If you haven’t joined yet, you’ve got a small window of time, don’t lose out!  Hit up GIJoeClub.com and a hearty congrats to the Club on this great milestone.

Last chance for G.I. Joe Collectors Club membership – Ends TONIGHT

So it’s March 16th, and for the past several years that’s meant the cut off for signing up for the annual membership to the G.I. Joe Collectors Club.  This year is no different (though next year is looking drastically different).

One major difference, though, is that this year the Collectors Club is offering up Pythona as the incentive figure for signing up!  This is HUGE.  Pythona has been a long in demand figure since her first appearance in the 1987 G.I. Joe animated film and to celebrate the final sign up day, they’ve released some awesome new images of the upcoming figure over on their Facebook page.

I love that you can detach her ponytail to put the hood over her head, and I’m really pleasantly surprised at how effective the figure looks with paint deco representing the raised pattern of her uniform.  The new head, hands, and upper torso definitely help as well.

Check out the images below, and if you want this figure, I strongly recommend joining the Collectors Club!  After 2016 is over, I suspect this figure will be in MAJOR demand and will be very difficult to come by.

G.I. Joe Collectors Club rounds of Con reveals with Static Line!

Today the Collectors Club has posted their last 2016 G.I. Joe Convention reveal with none other than Static Line from Sky Patrol!

A fantastic looking figure with a nice new head and great parts formula.  It would have been nice for the helmet to be removable, but even as it stands, the figure is really impressive.  Check out GIJoeCon.com or take a peek at the mirrored image below.

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