It’s Official – Transformers Collectors Club to move on from Fun Pub, G.I. Joe’s future uncertain

I think “uncertain” is putting it kindly.

Brian Savage from Fun Publications sent out a pair of emails tonight on the subject of BotCon and JoeCon, each email serving a couple of purposes.  There were some updates on the respective conventions in each message, but most importantly, he appeared to take an opportunity to thank the communities and say “good-bye” signaling the first official confirmation that Hasbro appears to be moving away from Fun Publications for their Collectors Club and Convention licensees.

However, sharp eyed readers might have noticed a distinct difference in the two emails.

While the Transformers oriented email contains the following text:

“All memberships will end December 31, 2016.  Hasbro looks forward to sharing new plans for the Collector’s Club with you in the future.”

Meanwhile, the G.I. Joe one has the following:

“All memberships will end December 31, 2016.”

Yeah, that’s it.

Nothing about any kind of Hasbro announcement or any sort of indication of future events to celebrate the G.I. Joe brand.  Some might say that’s a sign of bad things to come, but I think the G.I. Joe community really needs to take this as an opportunity.  We need to show that we really want some kind of G.I. Joe Club or Convention representation.  We need to prove to Hasbro that our fandom counts, too, even though we don’t love a billion dollar franchise like Transformers.

The fact is, Hasbro would not exist as a company right now if not for G.I. Joe.  Do they owe us something?  Of course not.  But I feel like they owe the BRAND something, and for once maybe we should look past simply the bottom line and do something for the fans who have supported them for not just years, but decades.

Let Hasbro know how you feel.  Write them a letter:

Hasbro, Inc.
1027 Newport Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02862.

Ping them on Twitter.

Most important thing is to BE RESPECTFUL, but I think it’s pretty clear to me that Hasbro at large doesn’t think G.I. Joe is even worth considering the future of, and that doesn’t sit well with me.  Hopefully I’m not alone.

I have hundreds of friends in the G.I. Joe community that I would have never met without JoeCon.  This isn’t just about toys, it’s about friends, family, and a little bit of joy in our lives.  It’s just one small weekend a year where we ask that G.I. Joe maybe be one of the priorities for a change.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but we need to convince Hasbro of this fact.

It’s on us.  However you can do it, DO IT.  It’s evident from that email above that plans don’t appear to be set in stone for 2017 for the G.I. Joe side of the house.  We may be able to change some minds.  If you’re passionate about it, do something about it.  I know I will.  Let’s try to come together on this!

COBRA-Troopers

G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Brochure Revealed – SKY PATROL… and MORE!

It’s JoeCon brochure day!  The most magical day of the year…

It’s the day when speculation of the upcoming G.I. Joe Convention Set can officially begin, and looking at the brochure, there’s going to be plenty of speculation to go around!

01-Sky-Patrol

Check out the brochure over at GIJoeCon.com and see that the Sky Patrol convention set has been confirmed!  But not just Sky Patrol.  The G.I. Joe Collectors Club also mentions the COBRA ADDERS featuring Sky Creeper, Air Devil Troopers and Night Vultures!  COBRA Air Commandos!  SWEET!

02-Figure-Lineup

The Air Commandos are some of my favorite obscure 90s G.I. Joe characters, and I am beyond thrilled to see them included here.  Not only that, but it also looks like the Club is dipping into the International Sky Patrol figures, Abutre Negro (Black Vulture) and Escorpiao Voador (Flying Scorpion).  Looking at the parts for these great international figures, you can see the club could easily repurpose their Cesspool head and other parts.

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Plus, just looking at the brochure, it immediately becomes clear that G.I. Joe fans are pretty damn handsome.

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So Loveland, Colorado, June 16th-19th.  Will I see you there?

Keep watching GIJoeCon.com for the latest details!

The Regular Joes podcast addresses concerns with JoeCon future

Please bear with me today as I try and power through some post Toy Fair recap and news reports, both within and outside of the G.I. Joe realm.

First and foremost, for any G.I. Joe fans who are concerned with the recent rumors of the future of the G.I. Joe Collectors Club and JoeCon itself, the folks from the Regular Joes podcast posted an episode discussing this very event.

Anyone who has listened to this podcast before knows that these guys are long time G.I. Joe fans and collectors who really have their fingers on the pulse of things when it comes to the G.I. Joe Collectors Club. I’m not saying this episode has any sort of secret inside information or anything, but Barry, Dave, and Todd certainly know their stuff, and any insight they provide here should be considered quite valuable.

Check out the latest episode of Regular Joes here, and keep tabs with them on Facebook as well.

Regular-Joes-Episode-130

JoeCon Exclusive hint in Diamond edition of the Comic?

Last year, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club strongly indicated that they would provide a hint to the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention set in the Diamond Solicitation of their convention comic.

Sure enough, in the comic, an ad for the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention appeared, complete with a tiger pattern on the background. As we all know, last year’s set had Tiger Force elements.

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Fast forward to this year… the Diamond Solicitation of the JoeCon comic hit shops last week, and there is another G.I. Joe Convention advertisement… but the background is different:

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That’s right, it’s the clear blue sky.

Now, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club never stated this year’s comic would contain a hint to the JoeCon set, but if we’re to go by previous years, they could be throwing us a bone here.

Could we be seeing Sky Patrol in 2016?

And if so, who would they be facing off against? The G.I. Joe newsletter has been featuring Action Force pretty heavily, but I’m not sure how Action Force dovetails with Sky Patrol (especially considering they’re both good guys).

Who knows, the whole thing could be a red herring, but it’s certainly going to make for some interesting speculation. Hopefully we’ll hear more details about the 2016 G.I. Joe Con set soon! Keep watching GeneralsJoes and GIJoeClub.co for the latest info.

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!!

GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe Convention “Peril in Paradise” Convention Set

It’s taken a long time, but finally, the reviews are complete for the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention set “Peril in Paradise”.  Featuring Tiger Force versus the Iron Grenadiers, this combined review features a look at over 20 different items with in depth break downs of each.

The format is a bit different this time around, falling more in line with some of my recent Masters of the Universe Classics and Transformers reviews, so hopefully you like the new layout.  Same number of images, same star rating system, same in depth look, just with some new wallpaper.

Check out my G.I. Joe Collectors Club review section, or click the link directly below:

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G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Kre-O Six Pack

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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With G.I. Joe Kre-O all but gone at mass market retail, it was questionable as to whether or not we’d even see a Kre-O set at the Convention this year.  I’m happy  to say the Club came through with one, and it’s pretty nice to boot.

Like previous year’s, we got a multi pack of good guys vs. bad guys, this time featuring (appropriately) the Tiger Force vs. Iron Grenadiers.  Unfortunately the Iron Grenadiers side focuses on the Undertow crew, which is a shame, as I would have loved to have seen Metalhead’s crooked smirk and funky goggles in Kre-O form.

We’ll look at the Tiger Force set first.

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Stalker leads the Kre-O Tiger Force crew, and they did a great job approximating his Convention look.  I really like the painted green webgear, and I was nicely surprised at the expressive look on his face.

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Recondo was the second Tiger Force figure included, and I fully expected it to simply be the same retail release Recondo tampos on a Tiger Force deco, but it’s actually totally different.  The holster placement is completely new, and it doesn’t rely on previous deco at all.  Very interesting choice.

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Wreckage is the third Tiger Force member, and like Recondo, I immediately compared him to Firefly, and while he’s a very close comparison, he’s also not exact, with a slightly tweaked collar.  I’m not sure how Kre-O deco’s work, maybe they have to be more individualized, but I do find it curious that tampos that could have been reused weren’t.

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For the Iron Grenadiers, we have the Undertow Officer, who looks neat enough with a separate masked head and unmasked head as well as a separate hairpiece and a ton of accessories (including a fish!).

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The two Undertow troopers came out pretty well, too, and all three of these figures have great little Iron Grenadier logos on them to boot.  The bad guys are loaded down with separate heads and gear.

I was quite surprised to see the Collectors Club doing a Kre-O set this year, and was pleasantly surprised that it actually sold out at the show as well.  The character choices are nice (though as I said, I’d have loved a Metalhead/Iron Anvils team on the Iron Grenadier side) and the execution is certainly Hasbro level.  Whatever is happening with Kre-O at retail, I’m glad the Club is continuing it and giving those of us who love it some outlet for more product.  I also really like the new display stands they went with, a lot lower profile and more functional than the old blocks.

Pretty good set.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Tiger Sting w/ Sgt. Katzenbogen “Bazooka”

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I think most of us saw this coming, what with the release of the 50th Anniversary VAMP Mark II last year, but it’s still pretty neat to see it in production.

Like the previous VAMP and the Stinger, Hasbro added some key parts to make the VAMP MK II for Toys “R” Us retail last year, and the Club has now leveraged that into the Tiger Sting, a Tiger Force version of that same VAMP.

Like the retooled vehicle, this one is bulkier and has more “bling” than its vintage counterpart, plus a nicer rocket system with tubes and other tooling adjustments to make it stand out from the original.

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Step-for-step this updated Tiger Sting is painted like the vintage version with the yellow and black stripes as well as the unique faded white towards the nose of the jeep. The technique is pretty flawless, and one has to wonder if that was part of the “complicated deco” that lifted prices a bit higher this year than they have been in the past. It’s a great look, even if those of us in attendance did have to fork over some extra bones for it.

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The vehicle feels solid and sturdy, and I’ve been a big fan of the modern retools of vintage vehicles since they started doing them. On the surface, it’s tough to tell many differences between this vehicle and a much less expensive vintage counterpart, but if you’re using modern figures and getting your hands on the vehicles often, you will certainly notice the difference.

BAZOOKA

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Then of course, we have Sgt. Katzenbogen, AKA Bazooka behind the steering wheel. Both Bazooka and Roadblock were rumored 25th Anniversary figures before the line phased out in 2009, and so you had to think they would make an appearance here somewhere. I’m actually a bit surprised that Roadblock didn’t appear somewhere in the Con set, but considering his new role as Hollywood icon in G.I. Joe land, it probably makes sense that Hasbro wants to keep him in their back pocket for future use.

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Bazooka simply uses the same base figure as the 25th Anniversary version, which is fine, because he was a later generation 25th Anniversary figure and looks pretty good. He’s got a very unique appearance with his baggy football jersey and moustached face, so rather than reinvent the wheel, it totally makes sense to carry that look forward into Tiger Force.

His deco is spot on for the vintage, with the new white jersey and green pants, though it’s an odd departure compared to the rest of Tiger Force. It actually speaks to some of my issues with Tiger Force to begin with… I mean what are they really? They’re supposed to be a cohesive subteam, but there are so many different looks, colors, and decos going on… I struggle with it.

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But Bazooka maintains that vintage look nicely into a modern format, and part of me smiles at the fact that they put him an Alpine together in a Con set. It makes sense.

Accessories

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Pretty much the typical stuff here. He comes with his helmet (mine has some unfortunate black splotches on it), rocket launcher, with four rockets, and his familiar backpack which holds the rockets. He’s got everything he needs to have.

The rockets feel a bit soft and “gluey”, and I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s a minor little issue, I suppose.

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For vintage fans who are looking for new versions of their Tiger Force favorites, congratulations, the Tiger Sting does that for you. It’s not necessarily what I’m into, but the Club executed it really nicely, so fans who are looking for that (and I understand that many of you are), go crazy. It’s a fun vehicle with a great paint scheme and comes with a really nice looking rendition of Tiger Force Bazooka.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Tiger Shark w/ Felino

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I’ve never been a huge fan of the Water Moccasin in general, though I know it’s considered by many to be a vintage classic Cobra vehicle. For my money, I’ll take the Moray Hydrofoil over the Water Moccasin every day, and yes I realize they perform different functions, but the Moccasin was just never real high on my “must play with” list, even as a kid. In fact, I never even bought the 25th Anniversary re-tool, nor did I buy the Rise of Cobra update, OR the Convention exclusive from 2011. Weird. I don’t think it was even by design, it’s just kind of worked out that way.

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So, even though they started re-releasing Water Moccasins like 6 or 7 years ago, this is the first one I’ve really gotten my hands on. I think Hasbro did a great job on the retool for this vehicle, giving it a bit more bulk and more functional rear wind vanes, as well as a larger cockpit and the general modern robustness that you can expect with these newly tooled vintage inspired vehicles.

Honestly, I like this vehicle more than I thought I might. It feels larger, heavier, and more solid in my hands, especially compared to the old school Water Moccasin, and there is a sense of feel component to toys that is important.

The deco is inspired by the vintage Tiger Shark, which was a repainted Water Moccasin, something that both Tiger Force and Python Patrol were known for. While they didn’t exist purely on vehicles from the other side, they certainly made liberal use of them. Tiger Force had the Tiger Rat, Tiger Shark, and Tiger Paw, while Python Patrol had the Conquest. In that frame of reference it’s not too difficult to see where this updated Tiger Shark fits in.

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Looking immaculately like its vintage counterpart (for better or worse) the Collectors Club translated the retooled vehicle for Tiger Force quite well, honestly.

FELINO

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As for the driver… the Club has said many times that they try and squeeze in some foreign characters whenever they can, and instead of giving us Dusty, they gave us Felino, who is a South American repaint. Unlike Dusty, Felino has the unique green Tiger Force pattern from neck to ankle (kind of like the Toys “R” Us Jinx) instead of the plain green pants. The result is a figure that could pass for Tiger Force Dusty in a display if you wanted to, or you can just use him as Felino, however you so choose.

It’s an interesting choice, and honestly, part of me wonders if they went this route because of the fabric on the helmet. I can imagine that might be a difficult manufacturing technique, and while Tiger Force Dusty has it, Felino does not, so maybe that played into their decision to go with Felino instead? Who knows, but ultimately I don’t think it’s a huge deal either way.

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The figure is fine overall. Dusty is a decent 25th Anniversary figure, though the lack of range of motion in the arms has always bugged me. Felino’s legs are not the same legs as traditional Dusty, instead looking to be Ace’s legs, which is okay, they still match fine and don’t stand out too much.

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As mentioned, Felino has the full uniform deco, which works fine for me as well, an appealing green and yellow triped Tiger Force look that is a nice departure from the more traditional vintage deco. It’s funny, but the similarity between this figure and Jinx never really resonated before, and now that I see this I can get a much better idea of Jinx’s place on the team as well. Nice touch.

Accessories

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Felino comes with many of the typical Dusty accessories, including the harness, machine gun with bipod, and removable helmet. Nothing staggering, but a nice group of functional weapons that suit the character well.

Listen, I’m not a huge fan of the Water Moccasin, and I’m not a huge fan of Tiger Force, so I think folks can understand if I’m not a huge fan of the Tiger Shark. You can buy a vintage one on eBay for a fraction of the price.

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That being said, I cannot argue with the execution, and the Club did what they set out to do. Their mission was to make a new version of the classic Tiger Shark, and they did that well. Spicing up the driver by making it a foreign character was icing on the cake. I’m not sure it’s a Convention item I feel like I have to have, but for those folks who are into it, they did a nice job and I can see it drawing some after market interest.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Tigerhawk

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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This thing. Huh.

The Tomahawk has been one of my all time favorite vehicles ever since it was first released. I was a lucky kid, and by and large, I got most of what I asked for during my formative Christmas years. The Tomahawk and Terror Drome were highlights of my 1986 Christmas season and I clung to that damn helicopter for over 20 years. My childhood version of this awesome aircraft finally met its end probably about 10 years ago when I accidentally tipped over a lamp in my garage, which in turn knocked the copter from its perch and smashed half of its rotors. I managed to salvage another Tomahawk from somewhere, and then when Hasbro released the newly tooled version, I finally felt contentment in my need for a fully engineered and capable dual-rotor transport copter.

So, do I really need another one?

Well, no, but let’s be brutally honest here… out of any of your items in your collection, how many do you truly NEED. Collecting is about wants, ain’t it?

So did I really WANT another one?

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Again, the answer to that question is probably no, especially at a Convention price point, but a funny thing happens when you end up in a congested line with a few hundred other collectors and see a new and sparkly item for the first time. Your lack of interest suddenly gets flopped around and all of a sudden you become VERY INTERESTED. VERY INTERESTED INDEED.

The Tiger Hawk helicopter obviously uses the same tooling as the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Eaglehawk from two years ago, but with a unique new Tiger Force deco. It is eerily reminiscent of the vintage deco to the point where one might believe this was a vehicle designed back in the 80s aliongside the Tiger Rat. It looks gorgeous. The yellow, black, and faded white are picture perfect vintage throwbacks, with just the right hints of faded red/orange to match the other Tiger Force vehicles.

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If I have any complaints about the deco it would be the infamous smiley face that these Tiger Force vehicles all have. The face here looks a bit too far up-turned like a goofy, toothy grin much more than the sneer that is supposed to inspire fear in the Cobra enemies.

Beyond that one odd deco choice, though, the Tiger Hawk is a pretty great looking updated Tiger Force vehicle. It’s got great color matching and style matching with the existing vehicles, and unlike other Convention exclusives, it actually presents something new. Where the Tiger Shark and Tiger Sting are mostly just redone duplicates of classic vehicles, the Tiger Hawk brings something pretty new to the table, you just need to be prepared to pay for it.

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I also enjoy how the Club leveraged the Tiger Hawk into a meaningful place within the confines of the Con set. Building the three pack around the helicopter makes sense, with the pilot (Skystriker) and two operatives (Alpine and Frostbite) dove-tailing into the vehicle placement nicely.

At the end of the day, buying the Tiger Hawk is a decision that you have to take seriously, as it’s one of the most expensive Convention vehicles we’ve seen to date. But if you’re a Tiger Force fan, it would be tough to consider your Tiger Force collection complete without this vehicle at the head of the table. It really is executed nicely and would fit in a modern or vintage collection quite well.