GeneralsJoes Reviews GIJCC Marissa Faireborn w/ Afterbreaker

Do you like your peanut butter in your chocolate? Some do, some don’t, but whatever your preference, the G.I. Joe and Transformers Collectors Clubs have taken steps to offer exclusives linking together the universes of G.I. Joe and Transformers, and their first entry into that world is Marissa Faireborn w/ Afterbreaker.

Actually released earlier last year, I only got the opportunity to pick this figure up a month or so ago, and am now getting around to the review. You can check out the review on the G.I. Joe Collectors Club review page, or the direct link below.

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GeneralsJoes Reviews the GIJCC Wave Crusher w/ Sub Viper

I continue to play catch up from 2015 today, this time covering one of the membership incentives from last year, the Wave Crusher w/ Sub Viper! Using a great figure from 2001, the Collectors Club continues to pay homage to previously untouched corners of G.I. Joe history and does a pretty bang up job of it as well.

Check out the review at the G.I. Joe Collectors Club review page, or the direct link below.

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COBRA Wave Crusher w/ Sub Viper

One of the most overlooked parts of G.I. Joe history is the Real American Hero Collection, a short run of mostly re-used parts that went from 2000 – 2001 and heralded the “next stage” in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.  Introducing some new characters while revisiting plenty of classics, all in the familiar o-ring style, it was the RAHC that put GeneralsJoes on the map and truly reignited my love for G.I. Joe.  I’m glad to see the Collectors Club examining that crucial part of G.I. Joe history.

This set is available for sale now at the G.I. Joe Collectors Club store.

Sub Viper

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One of the more unsung releases of the early 2000’s in my mind was the Wave Crusher w/ Sub Viper. Not because of the Wave Crusher necessarily, in my mind, one SHARC repaint is more or less like another, but the Sub Viper was a very cool figure, and an excellent update using the old school Sludge Viper tooling.

Interestingly, the Club did a version of the Sludge Viper in 2014 (though they named him Repulsor) yet when they developed the updated Sub Viper, they used a different parts formula entirely. I’m actually okay with that, as I think this Sub Viper looks more like an underwater operations specialist and manages to look a lot like the classic Sub Viper, too.

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There are no new parts here. He’s got the head (and helmet) of the Rise of COBRA Aero-Viper, the torso of Barbecue, arms of Techno-Viper, and the legs of Rise of COBRA Snake Eyes. They are relatively recent parts with some excellent sculpting and great range of motion, which I always enjoy seeing.

Where this figure really excels, though, is in the color scheme. The blue base uniform is bright and vibrant just like the original, standing out amongst the darker and duller COBRA Troopers. The silver trim throughout the figure is striking, a very stark and almost chrome finish that looks excellent and is quite eye catching. The combination of colors is quite different than most other figures we’ve ever seen, and is a great update to the 2001 original figure. The thing I liked most about that figure was its paint scheme, too.

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For accessories, Sub Viper comes with a knife, underwater machine gun, flippers, and a pair of mines to plant on unsuspecting G.I. Joe watercraft. This makes him much more than just a glorified SHARC pilot, which I love. This figure is a lot of fun.

Wave Crusher

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On the other hand, the Wave Crusher itself just manages to be pretty much any other SHARC repaint. I really enjoy the spirit of the SHARC. A vehicle that’s a combination of submarine and aircraft is a really neat concept, and the flip-up cannons provides some fun play value.

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Unfortunately, while the SHARC was innovative in 1984, it’s received countless repaints and re-releases over the years, and at this point, there’s little to remain excited about. Even utilizing some new tooling for the 25th Anniversary line left us with a vehicle that’s more or less the same as its always been. I do like the shade of blue here, which matches the Sub Viper (but does not match the 2001 vehicle). The applied decals are a nice touch, and the Club has managed to give this a very “COBRA” feel. I’m glad they elected to match the Sub Viper colors, but in the end, this is still the SHARC, a vehicle that I enjoyed over 30 years ago, but offers little in the way of newness now.

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At the end of the day, I love the figure, don’t much care for the vehicle. If the Club could find a way to release the figure at a better price without the vehicle, I’d probably grab a handful. As it is, I’m happy with one, but won’t seek out many more.

Once again, you can buy this set right now at GIJoeClub.com.

GeneralsJoes Reviews GIJCC Arctic Dr. Mindbender

It would certainly seem as if 2015 kind of got away from me when it comes to my G.I. Joe reviews… I managed to stay on top of the 50th Anniversary releases fairly well, but several of the G.I. Joe Collectors Club releases lagged a bit behind.

Interesting that now that I’m tackling them, we’re dealing with the distinct possibility that the G.I. Joe Collectors Club as we know it (as well as the G.I. Joe Convention) may be coming to an end after 2016.  A real shame to be losing them as a resource as I dive into several of their really fun exclusives from 2015.  I truly hope Hasbro has some kind of plans post GIJCC to bring the G.I. Joe brand to collectors, as I believe we’ve been the driving force in keeping the brand alive over the past several years.  That will be considerably more difficult with an annual convention gathering or a Collectors Club offering exclusive toys geared towards us.

I will be cautiously optimistic that Hasbro recognizes our value and isn’t going to just leave the collectors who have been supporting the brand for over 50 years high and dry, but I suppose time will tell.

On that note, you can check out my review of the Arctic Dr. Mindbender at the link below, or on the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page.  Hopefully we still have many years of exclusives like this to look forward to.

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G.I. Joe Collectors Club Arctic Dr. Mindbender

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I find it strange to admit that there are a number of things I’m really not crazy about in the G.I. Joe world that everyone else seems to love… two of the highest items on that list are arctic figures and the character of Dr. Mindbender.  That being said, you’d think that a figure of an Arctic Dr. Mindbender would fall down pretty far on my list of desired items, and I would have agreed.  But once I got my hands on the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club’s rendition of this figure, I immediately fell in love.

Well…fell in ‘big like’ might be more accurate.  I don’t quite LOVE the figure, but I like it quite a bit, thank you very much.

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For this particular figure, the Club worked with Boss Fight Studio to add a newly sculpted head and fur collar in order to accentuate the newness of the figure, and it works really well.  The first Mindbender was a part of the Defense of COBRA Island 7-Pack, and as such was sculpted in the aesthetic of the times, which looks a bit dated compared to more modern offerings.  He was certainly due for an updated head sculpt, and he got one heck of a nice one here, looking as if it was pulled straight from Sunbow concept art.

The fur collar also adds nice variety to the figure, which is otherwise a mixture of the canceled Arctic COBRA Commander (with mostly comprised of Renegades COBRA Commander arms and legs).  The combination gives us a figure with a terrific arctic look (that happens to be pretty animation accurate) as well as maintaining at least some level of decent articulation.

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With the long coat, the legs are still pretty limited, but the arms at least have significantly unrestricted elbow movement, which was one of the major detractions of the Arctic COBRA Commander tooling (which was used for a Convention Iron Grenadier a few years back).

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Using the animation as a template, Mindbender is done up in a really nice purple and black paint scheme, following the queues from the vintage version, and you end up with a very nice looking figure that slides pretty seamlessly into any arctic environment, yet also looks unique and very true to Mindbender’s aesthetic.

Accessories

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Dr. Mindbender comes with a nice number of accessories, with a familiar pistol as well as his trademark “mind bending” device (stun rod w/ generator), and also comes with the black hose and a repainted version of Sci-Fi’s backpack. He also has a great COBRA-themed laptop and arctic display stand.

The accessories all fit the character well, and the inclusion of Sci-Fi’s backpack is a nice one, too, as it retains a nice technical look while not being immediately identifiable as belonging to someone else.

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Anyone who has been reading my reviews knows that I geek out over media-centric figures, and I love that this version of Mindbender is a true Sunbow homage.  It’s also pretty cool that the Club has been using him heavily throughout the comic.  While I wouldn’t have thought an arctic version of COBRA’s lead scientist would be appealing to me, the reality is this is a very fun figure that suits the good doctor remarkably well.  Kudos on this one.

What’s to come from the G.I. Joe Collectors Club?

Well, it’s still a mystery, for the most part.  Folks are still suspecting that Fun Publications’ license with Hasbro will expire (and not be renewed) at the end of 2016.  So far we have neither seen nor heard anything to contradict this.

Over on the GIJoeClub Message Board, a thread has opened up with an inquiry into this, but still no information is imminent.

At this point the most succinct reply is to “Check the January newsletter” for more information on their membership plans.  This does continue to sound ominous, however, there is also a post on the forum there that mentions 2016 Club members being eligible to purchase FSS 5.0.  That, of course, begs the question… will there be an FSS 5.0 if the license expires in 2016?

Perhaps Fun Publications will just not be able to hold a convention, yet can still produce product?  Or if they launch FSS 5.0 within the 2016 calendar year, does that still fall within their license period?

Still many more questions than answers, though it sounds like once the January newsletter hits, we should get at least some information and some idea of what’s to come.

One thing is clear, and it was especially evident as I ran down my list of Top 10 figures for 2015, from a product standpoint, the Club going away would be unfortunate.  There was some great figures released through the FSS and Convention in 2015, and with the G.I. Joe fandom especially grasping for any crumbs, this seems like a bad time to take away whatever morsels we might get.

Stay tuned.

GIJCC-Question

Top 10 G.I. Joe Toys of 2015

The last couple of years as I sat down to write this up, I think ‘oh, this will be easy this year…there was barely any product’!

Then I go through all of my reviews over the past 12 months and realize that for a line that is supposedly on prolonged life support, we still got some GREAT stuff in 2015. Really great stuff.

Now, I migrated to a new review system in 2015, one that makes calculating review scores a bit more granular. But, I’ll be honest… I still went by the seat of my pants on this rundown, and looked at these figures from the perspective of a 100 mile view. It can be tough to write up a review “hot off the presses” right when I get a figure in hand, because honestly, that’s often when I’m in love the most. It can be tough to be impartial that close to the newness of that toy for the first time.

So I whittled down the list and ultimately looked at figures that I could step away from for a little while and gauge my appreciation.

The results are after the break.

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Top 10 G.I. Joe News Stories of 2015

At any given time throughout 2015 it felt like a pretty slow news year for G.I. Joe, but as always, when you stop and look back, suddenly things don’t look quite so small.

Granted G.I. Joe product at retail was pretty much focused to a singular burst in late summer as the 50th Anniversary exploded, then faded, even though we got Convention product and FSS figures earlier in the year. With all that being said, it still feels like there were plenty of “banner moments” in G.I. Joe news for the year that was.

News was breaking right up until the last moment, and I’m actually a bit worried that if I post this prior to December 31st I might end up missing something!

Click the “read more” link below to check out the full list!

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What does the future hold for the G.I. Joe Collectors Club?

A few months ago word emerged that Hasbro had signed a deal with an International convention holder focused on developing a worldwide “Transformers Experience” and many folks feared what that meant for an annual Botcon. I’ll be honest, I kind of glossed over it myself, thinking that it was probably an entirely separate type of thing.

I might have been wrong.

According to AllSpark, word has emerged that the G.I. Joe and Transformers Collectors Club may be ending their agreement with Hasbro by the end of 2016.

There is no official word on this, so take it with a huge grain of salt right now, but a look at the Terms and Conditions on the Collectors Club membership renewals reveals the following:

Please note that at this time we are only accepting memberships and renewals for the 2016 calendar year.  All memberships will end with the December 2016 issue.  For example:  if your  membership renewal has a February start date, you will receive the FREE membership figure in the late spring along with 11 monthly issues.   If your membership renewal has a March start date, you will receive the FREE membership figure in the late spring and 10 monthly issues.  

You read that right, all memberships, regardless of when they were signed, are destined to expire at the end of 2016. That certainly seems to indicate 2016 as some cut off date for the joint agreement between Fun Publications and Hasbro.

As I said, there is NO official word on this yet and likely won’t be for a little while, but some puzzle pieces are starting to fit together, and the picture they’re painting isn’t a great one.

I know what a lot of people will think. A lot of people will think that this is great news, they’re tired of Fun Pub, it’s time to move on. But I think those same people need to stop and think ‘what are we moving on to?’

Whether you like them or not, Fun Publications was reponsible for over 30 G.I. Joe items in 2015, more than doubling Hasbro’s own Toys “R” Us exclusive product. Once that agreement ends (if it indeed does) what does that mean for future product?

I don’t think it means anything good.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

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What’s on Joe Mind Special Edition 47 – JoeCon in Loveland!

Seems strangely appropriate that the next G.I. Joe Convention would be in “Loveland” Colorado…and the guys (and girl!) from What’s On Joe Mind have finally recorded some new content to talk about JoeCon’s 2016 location!

A warm welcome to new contributor Joe Colton as well as Colorado native (and kickass artist) Troy McKie who comes on to talk about his home state and what to do in or around Loveland.

Check out the latest special edition at our Podbean site, or embedded below.

Whoa! What happened to Special Edition #46?! Well, we’re still working on it.  In the meantime, we moved on to #47 to react to the GIJCC’s JoeCon site announcement. This year we are finally headed back west as a tiny burg named Loveland will enter our lexicon next to such cities as San Francisco, Dallas, New Orleans…and yes, Indianapolis.  What is there to see and do in the area? As always our intrepid crew tracks down a local to fill us in with the info that only locals know. So sit back, relax and listen to the gang re-assembling to talk about JoeCon 2015 – in Loveland, Colorado…and as always, sharing dirty stories about one Noted Author. You don’t want to miss it!!