All hail The Creator

It has been a long time since the Kickstarter project was announced. Production issues, incompetent Chinese businessmen and other issues may have caused a delay, but the team behind Fresh Monkey Fiction worked around and through all the problems to deliver this magnificent figure of Mr. Larry Hama!

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They kept us all informed throughout the whole process and always kept the supporters’ best interests at heart. I had seen the figure pop up all over my socials, but living across the Atlantic, I had to wait some more to get the figure in hand. I can tell you now, it was definitely worth the wait. Along with the figure, I got a metal card with the art work imprinted onto it, a signed Trading Card, a Hama’s Grape Soda sticker and an Arashikage cap. The blank space on the back of the card can be used to let Harry sign it on a convention. Something that is very high on my bucket list, but may prove to be impossible…

 

Now, the original Kickstarter campaign has ended, but there is a new pre-order campaign! Check it out on https://www.freshmonkeyfiction.com/larryhamapreorder and get your very own figure! Note that the v2 will be shipped out in Q1 2021 and will have a USS Flagg cap!

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This legend needs to be a part of every G.I.Joe collector’s collection!

YoJoe and Happy Collecting!

All hail Larry Hama!

A very long commercial break

You all remember the quote from the cartoon: ‘G.I. Joe will return after these messages.’. Well, it took a while, but it seems that the messages are over now. What a few weeks this have been. As a collector, I’m glad to see so much new toys coming our way (hopefully). I’ve been holding of on this post for a while now, but I guess I’ll have to get my take out on all the latest news.

To kick things of, we got the Snake-Eyes Deluxe which was a Hasbro Pulse exclusive. I happened to stumble across a European site where I could pre-order, only to have my pre-order canceled soon after… and too late to get it from anywhere else for a reasonable price. I’ve been following the prices on eBay for this set and they are going for $100 – $500, pretty insane and frankly too rich for my taste. I’ll keep looking occasionally, but I guess this one will be the Joe that got away… The figure itself looks really nice and the tons of accessories sure would make one hell of a display, but hey, I’m not one to dwell on missing out on this one (since they will release a regular version, more on that below).

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Next up we have Duke, Roadblock and Scarlett. Now, originally I pre-ordered them together with the Deluxe SE, but since they canceled that one, I canceled the others. I did find another EU (well, UK based actually, so that’s still Europe I guess, who knows these days) store that has pre-orders and good reviews! So I put in an order there for these 3 figures.

I think the Scarlett figure is the best one of the 3. I’m not quite sold on the headsculpts of Duke and Roadblock. The art for Duke is looking like it’s straight from an ARAH comic, a good thing if you ask me. Roadblock looks a bit surprised and Scarlett has some serious La Joconde (Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa) vibes. A very cute and mysterious smile, but probably very deadly as well.

As I was looking into pre-ordering the figures, the next figure was announced. Destro. He is one bad-ass looking figure. True to the original design from the 80’s, with his gold chain and golden gun. I knew at this time that I was going to invest in the 6″ line. The art is awesome (something that can be said for all the card art really, a tradition they set with the 3.75″ figures and I’m very glad to see it continues). I like the suitcase (although it could have been with a M.A.R.S. logo instead of the Cobra sigil?) and the futuristic looking laser gun (Han Solo vibes). Too bad the wrist rockets are not removable 🙂

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We then got even more news in the shape of a NTWRK exclusive Cobra Commander (I will not get started on that whole mess) and the regular Snake-Eyes, available through Hasbro Pulse. I tried to get the NTWRK Cobra Commander, but that didn’t work out. See, I kept it short.

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I do like the color scheme used on the Regal version of Cobra Commander, but those weapons are a bit over the top. I thought I was going to miss out on this one (the whole NTWRK debacle, seriously don’t get me started), but Hasbro later offered the figure on Hasbro Pulse and then I had to pull in some favors, but I managed to get a US colleague to order the figure for me. And not just this one, also the regular version of Snake-Eyes that was made available on Hasbro Pulse.

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So even though I missed out on the Deluxe version, the deadly mysterious Ninja will be a part of my collection. This version may have less accessories, it’s still very cool looking and has plenty of features.

The fun doesn’t stop here, oh no, the good people over at Hasbro Pulse then gave us the Profit Director Destro figure! They really need to give the person that came up with “Profit Director” a raise, a promotion, a lot of credit. This figure truly is a gift to the adult collectors. Where the other figures could be seen as toys for kids (if they ever could get their hands on them), this figure definitely isn’t a toy.

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The gold head, the sunglasses, the leopard skin cape, the burning money. What’s not to love about this figure? This is just awesome and a beautiful homage to the 3.75″ figures and the collector’s community. I was able to convince my US colleague to order this one as well. Me = very happy!

And the figures keep on coming. They also announced Gung Ho, a regular Cobra Commander, a Red Ninja and Storm Shadow. For some reason, the Hasbro Pulse video on Facebook wasn’t working on my phone and I couldn’t follow the whole thing live. Luckily the community came to the rescue, or on Twitter and so I found out that these figures would be available through Amazon. I’ve ordered some things from the US Amazon before and they have a clear policy on shipping rates and taxes, so I went online and put in my orders.

A special mention goes to the Storm Shadow figure. His look is based on his v3 Ninja Force figure, and probably his best look, although the v2 look with the digital camouflage is also very good looking.

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Just now, a new set of figures and a vehicle has been launched. These ones are Target exclusives and I’m afraid that I’m too late to get a pre-order with the UK store I have found. I’m quite gutted, because that Cobra Trooper and The Baroness are very cool looking. Beach Head is very true to his original figure (I love that beret) and the second version of Roadblock looks the part in his black and white shirt that incorporates the Joe’s star beautifully. Maybe I’ll get my chance on the waiting list or maybe these won’t sell for astronomical prices on eBay…

That’s it for the 6″ line. We then got the 3.75″ Retro line that kicked of with a bang to say the least. I guess we all knew they were going to start of with Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow. The Baroness is a great addition though. The card art on these figures are updated versions of the original art and I’m not complaining. The figures themselves are great, however, I do have some issues. Snake-Eyes web gear that hangs between his legs is a bit silly and probably very unpractical for a ninja. Storm Shadow has sleeves! The plastic bubbles are a bit big but I guess that’s because they crammed in a lot of accessories, so nothing to complain about really. I can’t wait to see which figures are coming next. I’m still hoping on an updated Scoop with laptop, vlogging camera and green screen…

To top it off, Hasbro also revamped (somewhat) 2 vehicles as part of the Retro line. The H.I.S.S. tank on Cobra’s side and the A.W.E. Striker for G.I. Joe. I never had the original ones, so they will make a great addition to my collection.

There has been a lot of discussion online on the fact that the Retro line should have the O-ring figures, and I guess that I agree to a certain extend. On the other hand, I’m just very excited to be getting spanking brand new G.I. Joe toys in 3.75″ and I’m just sitting here smiling like a kid just thinking about getting my pre-order in and being able to have them in hand. I have to say that I still like the 3.75″ line better, but the 6″ figures are growing on me and I’m sure that they’ll get a nice place in my collection.

That’s it for now, quite a lengthy post, but then again, we have lots to talk about. There’s the new Snake-Eyes movie coming out, the new video game (Operation Blackout – set for release in October), and I’m pretty sure that there will be more new figures and vehicles to talk about. See you next time!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

New specs (again)

Some of you that have been following the blog may remember these from a while back, but I’ve actually bought a second set op Knockaround G.I.Joe sunglasses.

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And here they are! Can you spot the difference between these and the ones from 2018?

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Now, the glasses themselves are the same, but the baggie they come with is new, this time around, featuring Snake-Eyes on the one side and Storm Shadow on the other.

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The bags feature the original card art of the figures, and I must say, it looks good.

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Now, it wouldn’t be a post about some exclusive Joe related item from the US without some issues with the postal services. This time though, I can’t really blame them. I bought the glasses with a discount code from Knockaround, so instead of paying $30 for them, I only had to pay $24. This is important, because our postal services don’t charge extra fees and duties on packages that have a total value (item + shipping costs) lower than €22 and it so happens that $24 was €21.16. So I thought I was good. I waited quite a while (with Covid and all, that was to be expected), and after about 2 months, I get a mailman ringing and asking for €35.80 ($40.60) to release the package. I was somewhat pissed and wanted to refuse the package, but then I would probably never have that bad-ass baggie, so I paid. I immediately launched in inquiry, both with the post office and Knockaround. As it turned out, Knockaround had put the original value of $30 on the custom papers, so the post office went with that. You could argue that they’re not to blame then. Well sort of, because they claim that part of the fee they ask to get the package through customs is that they open the packages and inspect the products. My package wasn’t opened and inside there was the invoice clearly stating the correct amount of $24. Long story short, Knockaround apologized for the mistake and gave me a refund on the glasses (massive Kudos to the Customer Service team!) and the postal services are asking for €85 administrative fees to correct the customs amount (so not their fees!). This would mean I’d have to pay another €85 to get €13.80 back from the customs amount. Talk about Kafka to the extreme.

It looks like the next few days will be sunny, so I’ll be taking out my sunglasses and enjoying some of the vitamin D.

See you next time!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Ambush

We’re back with another Special Mission. This one (#8) has it’s cover depicted on Impel Trading Card #90, Ambush. Let’s get into the story.

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The Joes are flying in a silent Dakota C-47 plane somewhere in Southeast Asia. CIA Agent Anderson is sending a team of Joes to extract Theron Portland, a traitor and spy who was working at a secret surveillance site.

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He stole computer chips and fled. The mission for the Joes is to return him to face trial or render him “unoperational” should he not be willing to come back. Anderson gives them the drop site and the site where they should set up the ambush. He provides them with radios so they can signal when they make contact with the target.

The team, Beach Head, Flint, Footloose, Leatherneck, Low Light, Tunnel Rat and Wet Suit, parachute down into the jungle and head for the ambush site.

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They investigate the radios that Anderson gave them and find an unfamiliar component. Low Light utters his concerns to Flint about the mission, but Flint orders them to prepare for the ambush as they are the guys who signed up to do the dirty work. They get into position and wait. And wait. And wait. In the blistering heat.

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And wait. And wait. And, wait, someone is coming!  A kid is riding a water buffalo down the trail, singing a song.

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Behind the kid, the convoy shows up transporting Portland. The convoy is actually an armored column instead of a small column as the CIA spook wanted the Joes to believe. The Joes are outnumbered and outgunned.

The leader of the convoy shoots the buffalo and the Joes give the radio signal indicating they’re making contact. As they turn on the radios, a loud screeching sound is produced. They immediately realize that the secret component in the radios is causing it and the CIA did set them up. They no longer have the element of surprise. They destroy the radio and remove the extra component from the other one.

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And the firing starts. Low Light spots Portland exiting the tank and chases after him as the Joes start their retreat back to the landing zone where they will be picked up. Meanwhile Low Light spots the leader of the convoy, who is about to shoot the kid from the buffalo and takes him out with one shot. He sends the kid on his way and goes after Portland.

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The Joe team manages to stay away from the chasing soldiers and reach the LZ where they call Wild Bill. Just as the Tomahawk is arriving to pick them up, Low Light is sprinting from the tree line, being chased by the soldiers. He makes it to the chopper just in time and get pulled on board. Wild Bill sums up the mission having ‘worked over’ Anderson. Portland was meant to defect with the chips. The ambush was to give him credibility as a turned asset and the Joes were set up and meant to fail. Anderson then informs what happened with Portland.

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Low Light tells him he refused to kill an unarmed man and that he just knocked him out with the butt of his rifle. Anderson laughs and says he knew this would happen because he studied all their profiles and he knew they wouldn’t kill Portland. What he couldn’t expect though, is that Low Light stole the chips. So the Joes actually accomplished their mission and the CIA’s scheme has failed.

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Again this Special Mission gave us an action packed and fun stand alone story. The dream team back at it, presented by the great Stan Lee.

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No sign of Cobra in this one, something we see quite a few times in these Special Missions, but that doesn’t mean the story isn’t good. The twist at the end is really surprising and shows that the Joes can get things done, even without killing the target.

The back of the Trading Card features Low-Light, who sort of is the main character in this story. My first memories of Low-Light are actually from the cartoon. We had several of them on VHS, dubbed in Dutch. Fun fact, in Dutch he’s called “Schijnwerper”, which translates into Spotlight. Quite the opposite of Low-Light. Anyway, one of the stories we got here is “Nightmare Assault” which features Low-Light as the main protagonist. When it comes to figures, we got the Slaughter’s Marauders version of Low-Light in 1991 and so it was a bit confusing to see him in his original outfit.

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While we’r on the subject of the figures, Low-Light was released 9 times between 1987 and 2011. Most notably are the Slaughter’s Marauders v2, the Dinosaur Night Spotter version 3 from 1993, the 2008 return to the original mold for the Dallas G.I. Joe convention S.W.A.T. pack, the 2011 Slaughter’s Marauders Battle Set for the 30th anniversary and then finally the double pack with the Night-Viper in 2014 (all that kit he got).

That’s all for now. I can’t talk much about the next post, the less you know, the better.

See you back soon!

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

Waiting on a few inches more…

Well I’m seeing all these pictures online of people showing off their new 6″ Joe figures. And I’m over here waiting for mine to arrive. I originally ordered the Limited Snake-Eyes version from Zavvi but they canceled my order without giving a reason. I then canceled my other pre-orders from them and found an online shop in the UK (In Demand Toys), that also did pre-orders. So I ordered Duke, Roadblock, Scarlett and Destro with them. Sadly, they didn’t have the Limited Snake-Eyes version on pre-order. Currently, they’re sticking with a shipping date somewhere in August, so I’m hoping to get them around my birthday.

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In the mean time, Hasbro has released the regular version of Snake-Eyes through the Hasbro Pulse site, which doesn’t offer international shipping.

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I did manage to persuade one of my US colleagues to initiate the pre-order for me and then ship it over here once it’s available. I don’t really like doing it this way, but it’s looking like this will be the only way I’ll be getting some stuff from the US over here. There’s so many stuff I’d like to buy, but I don’t feel comfortable asking them to ship stuff to me all the time, so occasionally I dare to ask it, but most of the times I just wait on eBay sales or until someone sells it on Facebook or – and this is a very big stretch – some store over here sells it or ships to here (for a reasonable price).

This being said. I’ll see you back soon for the continuation of the Impel Trading Cards or just another update on the collection.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!