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!

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