POP goes the collection

My pre-orders of the Classified and Retro line are on hiatus. It’s been a while since I received something new, and to be honest, my wallet is glad it’s been calm the last few weeks.

The only new additions I got for my collection are some of the new Funko POP figures.

First up we have the Beachhead figure, (un-)lucky #13? At first, I had a hard time finding this one as it’s a Funko 2020 Fall Convention Limited Edition. But as always, perseverance overcomes anything and I was able to find one for a reasonable price through eBay. If you want to read the whole story of his travels, see this post.

Beachhead

Next up is Cobra’s evil genius Dr. Mindbender. He was fairly easy to get. I actually found him om Amazon. The German site that is. I pre-ordered him, but after a while I got an email that they couldn’t deliver it. I had to look around again to find him. The solution was again Amazon, the US site this time. A bit more expensive (due to the shipping costs), but still affordable. Not long after I pre-ordered them there, I found them on the Dutch Amazon site as well for nearly the same price. So, I canceled the US order myself – would this be good for the ecological footprint of the pops? – and placed the order in The Netherlands. A few days after the official release, the Pop landed on my doorstep.

Dr. Mindbender

Together with Dr. Mindbender, I also pre-ordered the Leatherneck figure. It was the same story as above, several pre-orders and cancellations later, it too arrived. Again, Leatherneck? Yes, again. After the 2 mini Retro Pops, this time a full scale Funko Pop one. But the question remains. Why Leatherneck? He isn’t that popular I’d say. My guess is that they had a similar mold and just went looking who fit the mold…

Leatherneck

Around the same time, I also was able to find the missing mini Retro Pop, Cobra Commander. This one was more difficult to find than the other ones. As you know (and we all know what knowing is…), these mini Retro Pops are sold in blind boxes, so it’s a surprise which one you get. Not so much for me, as I only bought them opened, but you get the idea. Shipwreck and the regular Leatherneck have a ratio of 1/6, Snake-Eyes is more limited to 1/24. The tan version of Leatherneck is a Target exclusive, but he too has a ratio of 1/6 (but only in Target). Cobra Commander has a ratio of 1/36, so there are lot less of him going around, making him more expensive and harder to find.

Cobra Commander – Funko Mini Retro Pop

There are a number of new Pops coming our way later this year. They will feature Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, Scarlett and The Baroness. These will be tied to the new Snake-Eyes movie. I’ve pre-ordered the regular ones, I’m still looking for the Funko Pop Exclusive Snake-Eyes & Timber.

More Pops will be released later this year…

I have one more order already on it’s way and it’s the Gamestop Exclusive Duke and Cobra Commander with the tin lunchbox. I found this set on eBay and really wanted it as a part of my collection, not just for the Pops, but also for the lunchbox. The package is in transit, so keep following my Socials (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) and this page to see the update when they arrive. They also come with four buttons (see bottom right of the image below), a Cobra keychain (center of the image) and a G.I. Joe logo sticker (bottom left). Can’t wait to get them in hand. The product image below only shows the Transformers side of the lunchbox. The seller provided me with an image of the G.I. Joe side (see below).

The Gamestop Mystery Box
The other side of the lunchbox.

That’s it for now. Until next time. Keep Safe.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Did I do that?

I’ve done something today what I didn’t expect to be doing but it was necessary. I sold a piece from my G.I. Joe collection. It’s not like I never sold anything before, but that were figures and vehicles I had bought in a lot to complete one of my own or to get something from the lot I didn’t already have. This was different because it was a MISB item I had since I started collecting as an adult, so about 20 years.

I wasn’t actually planning on selling it, but we encountered some trouble with the renovation of our house and if there’s no roof (or a very leaky one) above my Joe stuff, my entire collection could become damaged. I always said and I always will say that I don’t collect for the value, but selling this item has given us some breathing room in the budget for the renovations. With COVID, our total income has took a dip and it doesn’t look like this will end soon.

I thought about it a bit and slept bad for a few nights, but in the end. It wasn’t my favorite vehicle of the line and I can honestly say that it won’t cause me more sleepless nights. I don’t think I’ll miss it in my collection. And hey, you never know, in a few years, maybe I can buy it again if I really do miss having it around.

Keep fighting, keep safe and sane! But above all, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Saying goodbye to 2020

The year 2020 is over and I’m confident it will be a year we all shall remember for quite some time and a year that will make it into the history books. It was the year that saw G.I. Joe figures back in retail! There was a pandemic too, and some heated elections, forest fires and disappearing Chinese billionaires. But that doesn’t matter that much if you got hold of these new figures.

I must admit that – at first – I was very skeptical about the new 6″ Classified line. I’ve quite literally grown up with the 3.75″ toy line. Sometimes change can be hard, but sometimes you just have to accept it, I guess. I’m glad that the 3.75″ (or 4″) line did get some love, albeit that the figures we got were a bit overused. As soon as I got my hands on the first 6″ figure, I knew that I was going to get a whole lot more. There is more to love (1.25″ give or take) and the designs were recognizable and yet fresh.

As always, the hardest part was getting hold of the figures over here in Belgium. No toy stores are selling them. We have no online retailers that sell them. For a while, it seemed that I would have to go through eBay and pay scalpers’ prices + shipping to get them. Then I discovered In Demand Toys. They’re a UK based toy store (yes, a physical store as well as a webshop), but they ship to Belgium. I placed a few orders immediately – both for the Classified and the Retro Line. There are still some items that are pre-ordered. But now it seems, Brexit may be causing the prices to go up significantly. And not just the prices, but we’re facing Import Duties and Taxes when receiving goods from the UK. And of course, our local postal service will be more than happy to charge an increased handling fee (INSERT bPOST RANT HERE). Nobody can tell right now how it’s going to be, since even the transport companies don’t know how everything will work. We’ll just have to wait and see.

One more point I’d like to make on the new way Hasbro is distributing the new Joes. It’s killing us International Collectors. We love the brand and we are paying top dollar to get our hands on them, but if the trend of store exclusives and limited editions continue, it will become impossible for us to keep on getting the new stuff. So, if anybody from Hasbro is reading this, get the deals done to sell G.I. Joe back in European stores. Or let us purchase directly from Hasbro. There are a great many of us over here that collect and who go to extreme lengths to get our plastic crack, but it keeps getting increasingly difficult. I won’t beg (just yet, who knows what the rest of this year brings), but I will ask you with great urgency to keep us international collectors in mind.

As you may have read, I still shop on eBay occasionally and I keep a close eye on some of the local marketplace apps we have available. Most of the sellers think that some vintage Joes are worth ten times their weight in gold, but sometimes, I can find a good deal. I’m always surprised if I can find something I never knew existed. Even in French (Part 1 & Part 2). I don’t just want to collect the action figures (in assorted sizes), but also the – admittedly sometimes little weirder – stuff that has G.I. Joe branding.

I guess I also should take some time to look at the 2020 numbers. I don’t make any money from the blog, if you would like to support me in keeping the site online, check out the Supporter page. In short, 2020 has been the best year for the blog until now. There have been 65% more visitors and I averaged about 2 posts per month. I would have thought to have more time to write posts, with working at home, but I have been fortunate to keep my job as well as the workload it comes with. I guess for 2021, I’ll keep trying to find as much time as I can to write (I still have a novel idea in mind that I need to put to paper). The plan is to pick up the Impel Trading Card review and continue posting new additions to my collecting as well as some random posts about just about anything Joe related. Thank you for coming to the blog and taking time to read my thoughts and opinions. If you like, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Or just send an email to bjorn@europeanjoes.com if you have comments, suggestions, or remarks.

I’m hoping 2021 will bring us all a lot more Joes and joy. I hope everybody is safe and healthy, including your friends and families. We won’t let this virus beat us. We are all in this together and we need to take care of each other and the planet we live on.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

The tale of the well-traveled Mr. Sneeden

Last year, Funko released the G.I. Joe Beach Head figure as an NYCC Exclusive. At first, it looked like it would be very hard to find one over here in Europe. After searching for a while and debating with myself just how much money I was going to spend on him, I found one on eBay for a very reasonable price, $30 including shipping to Belgium. All the others I had come across were either cheap but with expensive shipping costs or they asked already more than $30 for just the figures. So, I didn’t doubt long and bought it. Paid with PayPal. Friendly contact with the seller. So far so good. And then started the waiting game. 

I waited a long time, but suddenly I got contacted through Facebook Messenger by some guy from Norway. He sent me pictures of the Beach Head Funko pop, papers with my name and address on them, and accused me of trying to rip him off. I explained that I did buy the figure on eBay, that my data was correct, but that the tracking information I got from eBay was still showing my figure in transit. We soon discovered that we both ordered from the same seller, and that most likely the packages got mixed up. The confirmation for that arrived a few days later, when I received ‘my package’. It contained the Norwegian’s Star Wars figure. 

I contacted the seller and he remained friendly and was quite upset with the mixup. He only had 2 international sales and it just happened to be these 2 that got messed up. He told me not to worry and just file for  a return through eBay. There the trouble started. There was no way that I could initiate a return shipping other than sending it back on my own initiative and cost. The seller tried to get it initiated, but couldn’t make it happen as well. I then contacted the eBay Customer Support. I must say, they were quite helpful and quite timely to reply. They told me that because it was an international sale, no returns could be initiated from eBay itself and I would have to arrange it through PayPal. So, I launched an inquiry with PayPal. Meanwhile, the Norwegian guy and I had come to an agreement, we’d ship the packages between us, if the seller would pay for the fees. We never heard back from the seller on that offer. And after escalating with PayPal Support, we got our money back in full. We could start the exchange ourselves.

I tried to register the parcel with our Belgian Postal Service, but they were asking $44 to ship the package to Norway! I wasn’t going to pay that much for the Funko Pop figure, and so I looked at other shipping providers. DHL, DPD, several others, they all charged more than that. It was insane. Since we don’t live that far from the border with The Netherlands, I thought to look with their PostNL. They offered the shipping for just $23. So I risked it – technically all non-essential travel outside of Belgium is still discouraged – and drove to the nearest Dutch post office. I filled in a few forms, paid the fee and the package was on it’s way to Norway. Due to the pandemic, shipping times are longer, but just a few days later, I received my Funko Pop figure and another few days and the Star Wars figure landed in Norway. Happy Ending 🙂

Let me end this post with some pictures of the Beach Head Funko Pop figure. I won’t go into another Belgian Post rant. Believe me, I want to, but I’m not going to. Enjoy the pictures.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Pardon my French – Part 2

Well, I did it again. I was browsing through a local second hand marketplace app when I came across this vinyl record with cartoon tunes from the 80’s in French.

This time, not just a 7″ single, but a full 12″ album with the tunes for G.I. Joe, Jem, Transformers, Bravestarr, Clair de Lune and Guerres Secretes.

The A side contains the tunes.

The B side has 2 stories, one of Clair de Lune and 1 of G.I. Joe.

The story is a 14 minutes radio drama where Cobra is making ships disappear with some sort of magnetic weapon. They have a huge base underwater and in the end G.I. Joe comes along and attacks it from all sides. Cobra Commander and Destro need to flee to try and terrorize the world another day. Sounds familiar, right? They stole this story and turned it into part of The Rise of Cobra script.

It may not be the best of stories, and certainly not the best voice acting, but even then, this vinyl album is a great little gem showing the international appeal of G.I. Joe. I’m very glad to add this to my collection. Now If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and listen to the rest of the album and maybe this holiday, I have to introduce my girls to Jem…

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!