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!

A deceptive act

The title of this story is the same as that of an ugly French MPV, it can also refer to techniques to by-pass network security devices or to avoid government mandate through specious means. Here though, it’s one Joe that is showing off his survival skills, his evasive skills and his cunning. It’s time to tackle the Impel Trading Card #88, featuring the cover art for the Special Missions story #6.

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The story starts in the middle of a story really and shows us an injured Snow-Job with Quick Kick and Stalker, all cornered in a Borovian alley. The Borovian military, under the leadership of Colonel Ratnikov, soon realize that there was a 4th man on the team and that he isn’t accounted for. Outback has slipped in the sewer – ordered by Stalker to seek help and report back to the Joes what really happened while the other Joes are sent to rot in a gulag prison.

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Outback is able to make it to the edge of town by using a compass and a Michelin guide. Luckily, some intersections have name plates. Meanwhile the colonel has deduced that Outback must have escaped through the sewers and he orders a truckload of fuel to be dumped into the sewers. Outback is sort of warned by a plague of rats screeching past him, but because of the stench in the sewer, he can’t smell the fuel. After it’s been lit, he realizes what is going on and is able to escape through a manhole, clinging to the bottom of a passing streetcar.

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He makes it to a local market and steals some clothes to disguise himself. He cuts a deal with a chicken farmer to buy his truck and sets off for the border.

Colonel Ratnikov has closed off the border and is still looking for Outback. They too come across the market and are able to convince the farmer to help find Outback. On his way to the border, Outback passes a hitchhiker and he thinks that it might be better to have a companion since the military will be looking for him, traveling as a duo might be a good camouflage. The guy soon pulls a gun on Outback, but Outback outsmarts him and unarms him.

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Colonel Ratnikov is still giving pursuit from a helicopter, bringing along the chicken farmer. They spot the crashed truck and set down. The man in the cabin is still alive, but they conclude that it isn’t Outback. One of the soldiers discovers a trail of blood, leading to a figure laying face down in the snow. As they get close, they discover that it’s just clothes, filled with snow and the dead chicken Outback bought from the farmer. Outback jumps out from hiding and catches them off guard. He takes Ratnikov’s uniform and instructs the pilot to fly on his orders after destroying the onboard radio and compass. Before he jumps  out, he orders them to turn around and stay above the clouds. Colonel Ratnikov orders the pilot to take the helicopter down through the clouds and find themselves on the wrong side of the border and get shot to pieces in no time. The border guards capture Outback and he seems relieved and asks to speak to the American Consul.

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Great story, that’s my short review. My longer review is that I didn’t get it at first. The first time I read this story was in a Dutch Special Missions Omnibus (TPB) that collected several Special Missions. Sure, the banner on top of the splash page did say that the story was a continuation of what happened in Marvel issue #61, but we didn’t get those over here and this was in a time before eBay and before I even got internet. How was I to know what had happened and more importantly, what was going to happen with Snow-Job, Quick Kick and Stalker. It took years before I finally got my hands on the complete run of Marvel comics and I could read the whole story. Talk about a frustrating time. All I could do in the meantime, was search for more comics (all they had around here were the Dutch translations of the Special Missions) and re-read them over and over again without getting the full story.

 

SM_06_troopersLet’s get back to the card. It shows the cover of the story, I presume drawn by Herb Trimpe. The rest of the creative team is also the same as before, with Larry Hama on script. The scene on the cover does not really show what happens in the book, but it’s a cool looking scene. Outback hiding, partially covered in snow, under a ledge where Col. Ratnikov, flanked by some very mean looking soldiers, is looking for him.

SM_06_eyesThe eyes of the first soldier especially are terrifying.

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The back of the card depicts Outback the way he appears in the comic book, disguised with a cap and pipe. This leads me to another thing, I only knew Outback from the Tiger Force figure we got here in Belgium, the only version I have of Outback to this day. He had white hair and a white beard. My thoughts were that the colorist made an error, but it remained constant throughout the story, so I didn’t know what was what. I later learned that Outback got 10 figure releases (not including the Tiger Force one we got), and all of them were ginger – safe for the 2016 Collector’s Club homage to the Tiger Force figure. Thank you internet 🙂 Some versions were a little strange though, the 1993 Eco-Warriors line has him wearing a cap and the 2014 head sculpt had a beanie and headphones. Slow down hipster. Read more about Outback on the post I wrote a while ago when we were discussing the Impel Trading Card #69 dedicated to him.

That’s it for this week. I’m going to go through my boxes and try and find that damned little flashlight. Next time we will look at card #89, unless I pull the old switcheroo…

Happy Collecting and YoJoe!