Finally 6 inches

Now, before you click away thinking this is some erectile spam message, just keep on reading. This post is dedicated to the first G.I.Joe 6″ Classified figures that made it to Belgium.

I originally has a pre-order for the Exclusive Snake-Eyes figure with zavvi, but they canceled the order. I’m not going to rant on that again, but it still stings. The other figures I had in pre-order, I canceled myself after that. I don’t want to be their client anymore after they canceled my Snake-Eyes. After some serious browsing the web, I found InDemandToys.co.uk,  who also accepted pre-orders and so I ordered Duke, Scarlett, Destro and Roadblock with them.

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They got shipped early August and I finally got them delivered to my home last week. Check out the pics below. I’m still in the process of getting the new man-attic built, so I’m keeping them MOC (or MISB really), but recently I must admit that I’m thinking more and more about opening up my MISB vehicles and MOC figures. They are toys and shouldn’t they be played with? Well, with ‘played’ I would mean setting up some dio’s or something like that for display, rather than having them hanging on the wall. I’m still considering all the options, but having the new figures in hand, I’m really considering opening them. Anyway, for now, enjoy the pics below from the boxed.

First off, here’s #01, Roadblock. While, we’re at it. Why the fascination with Roadblock? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great figure and character, but in my perception of the Joe world, he’s not that big a player to warrant 2 figures in the first wave of toys. Is it because of the movies and thus The Rock or am I missing something here?

Next up is #03, Destro. The first Cobra (is he though? The man is CEO of the biggest weapon manufacturer in the world. I would have loved to see some MARS reference tbh.)

At #04, we have Duke. I really like that they kept his look close to his original look. He does look somewhat young. The artwork is a bit strange, he looks quite menacing there and older, more resembling General Hawk if you ask me.

Finally #05 is Scarlett. As deadly as she is beautiful. A detail I’m puzzled about is the fact that the figure has earrings, where her art is not showing any. Talking about the art, she has this real Mona Lisa vibe going, a mysterious smile.

That’s all of them for now… I have some other figures on the way. Still looking for the Target exclusive ones, I may end up buying from … scalpers… on eBay I’m afraid. I have some more shots below of them all together and the beautiful artwork on the back of the boxes. I really must admit that I really like the art. This was something that has always been excellent on the (vintage) figures and vehicles, and it’s keeping the legacy alive with this great art.

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I can’t wait for that Alley Viper. Oh, and the FANG and the Conquest. Will they release more vehicles? I truly hope so. The Dragonfly would be cool too, and a HISS tank. Let’s face it, we won’t be saving any money in the coming weeks/months/years, but we should be glad there are so many toys coming out. I only hope that they don’t forget about the international fans. We could use an EU exclusive Tiger Force line or something like that.

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

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!

Equipment update

Yo Joe! Just a short update this time. I had mentioned being in the market for a new laptop to work on at home and well, I’m typing this on my brand new Microsoft Surface Pro 7. As it turns out, in January, there was a great deal where you not only got a discount on the Surface, but you also got a free Type Cover. Sadly, I couldn’t get the Signature Type Cover because someone at Microsoft decided that they don’t ship those in QWERTY to Belgium. They do have the regular Type Covers in International layout, so I got that one. Make room for a – small, I hope –  rant here? You bet.

You see, in Belgium we officially have 3 languages: Dutch (Flemish), French and German. Our country also has 3 regions, each with their own governments and politicians. And then there is a Federal government and the European Counsil and Parliament as well. Needless to say, too many captains for a small boat and too much money down the drain – or worse, into the pockets of the politicians. French had been the dominant language for years since the founding of Belgium way back in 1830. The aristocrats and upper echelon of society still hold on to French to keep a distance between them and the commoners, who speak Dutch. Can you imagine being a soldier in the WW I trenches and having a commanding officer (who got the position just by being from a particular family) that only speaks French, while you don’t speak that language? Anyway, the Flemish got sick and tired of being seen as second rate inhabitants and from the late 1960’s onwards, Dutch grew in prestige and it became the most prominent language. Officially though, we still have the 3 languages and our school directives still state that we should all know the 3 languages. In reality, the French speaking part still can’t speak a word Dutch and the Dutch speaking people still switch to French when we encounter someone speaking French. Since French was so dominant and they controlled the school system for so many years, when the typewriter came to life, AZERTY was chosen as the layout in our country. And the Dutch speaking half was forced to use it. Me too, I have learned to type on AZERTY and for years I had to use it because they just didn’t sell QWERTY keyboards. When I went to college, I shared a computer classroom with the Engineering department. They used QWERTY as that makes a lot writing code a whole lot easier. Since then, I have gladly switched and have been trying to convince every Dutch speaking Belgian to do the same. Typing English is easier on QWERTY and so it typing Dutch (The Netherlands use QWERTY so that’s a No Shit Sherlock moment for you right there). Still it’s very difficult to buy a new keyboard – seperate or as part of a laptop – with the QWERTY layout. Just visit hp.be, dell.be or any other manufacturer or store and try to order one. If you’re lucky, it’s an option, but most of the times is just impossible. Let’s end this cultural history lesson and rant here, if you skipped this part:

TL, DR QWERTY > AZERTY

Back to my new Surface Pro 7. I wasn’t really sure what to get. I looked at regular laptops (keyboard issues came to play here), desktop ones and hybrid forms of computing. I even looked at the new iPad, but in the end I went with a Surface Pro because it gives me everything I need. First off, it runs a full version of Windows 10 meaning I can use all the programs I was using. Next, it has a touchscreen with pen support, so I can actually really write on it. I haven’t gotten a Surface Pen so far. Still looking at the best one, should I go original MS or a different brand? Prices are very different to say the least, so I’m comparing and researching before making a decision. Third, it’s compact and light, so even though I don’t usually take it with me, I could, say take it along when I have a doctor’s appointment and work on the go.

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Bit of a crappy picture, I know. Trust me, it looks awesome in real life!

So far, I’ve been getting everything I need onto it. I’m using OneNote as a draft and research tool. Then the WordPress app to create the finished blog post. As for writing the longer stuff, I have Scrivener. I’m gonna try to not put too much stuff onto it, keeping it clean and somewhat free of distractions (no games!), but I do have a Shadow link on it just in case I need the power of a full blown desktop.

Well, that’s it for this short update, I’ll be back soon with the regular posts on the Impel Trading Cards.

Until then, Happy Collecting and YoJoe!

2020 a.k.a. the best Joe year this century?

Well, another year has come and gone so I guess it’s time to look back at 2019 and forward into 2020. To be honest, I haven’t been able to put as much time into the blog as I would have hoped at the beginning of last year. The first half of 2019, post were fairly regular, but the second half of the year I has less time to spend on the blog. Overall, the blog didn’t do bad last year. We got almost 30% more visitors and over 17% more page views and all this without any advertisements. We started the year with building an army and we made it through the Impel Trading Cards from #75 to #86. I hope you all did enjoy the posts and will be back for what’s to come.

We will be getting back on track with the Impel Trading Cards, continuing where we left off with the Special Missions’ cover themed cards. I can say now, that some really good stories are still coming. Off course, I’ll drop some random post in now and again to show off some new gear, book, comic or toy or whatever I feel like sharing and is remotely connected to G.I.Joe.

Now as for 2020, I’m hopeful that we will get a good new movie focusing on Snake Eyes. The man already has 68 figure releases, so this year will be memorable when figure 69 is dropped. And then probably some other versions as well, getting his total well above 70. I’m also hoping that we’ll get the new toys over here as well, though I still have a lot of vintage Joe to collect, so I’ll be busy either way. And besides, the world has gotten smaller over the years, so if the shipping costs aren’t skyrocketing, I’ll be a happy shopper across the globe.

As for the blog, I’m organizing and planning my time so I will have one evening each week to do some writing. I still have an idea for a story that I’d like to get out on the web someday (maybe even in print if there is interest), so that will be taking of too this year and of course writing blog posts. Related to that, I’m in the market for a new laptop/tablet hybrid for my writing as well. A Remarkable looks great, but in my opinion is overpriced. Same goes for Apple, although the new iPads are better affordable now. I’m kind off locked into Microsoft though (I work for a Certified Gold Partner) and have been using their programs for years now. I’m using OneNote to prepare the blog posts and do some research. For my story – it’s to early to call it a novel(la) – I went ahead and got a license for Scrivener. I had looked at the program a while back, but had been putting it off because I didn’t have the time to write. I pulled the trigger on getting it, thinking that on some level, having the license will give me more incentive to really start writing. I’m currently still working on my 8 year old HP Elitebook 8760w. I’ve used this one for work first and then later for personal use. It may be a laptop in name, but due to the size and weight, it’s not that practical. So, I’m looking at the new Surface Pro as my next personal laptop/hybrid.

Well, now that is out of the way. Let’s focus back on G.I.Joe. 2020 will be a good year. I’m pretty sure of that. The club may be gone (for now?), but the community is very much alive and kicking with Facebook groups, podcasts, YouTube and I hope this blog as well.

Let me end by thanking all of you for your support and views, likes and messages. I hope you and your family, friends and loved ones have a wonderful year, filled with happiness, good health, love, friendship and G.I.Joe!

YoJoe and Happy Collecting!