Friday, March 21, 2014

The State of the Hobby

This post is going to be primarily a long drawn-out rambling mess of thought on the State of the Hobby - at least from my perspective.

For anyone that doesn't know by now, I'm a fan of GI Joe - in almost any form. Sorry, GI Joe Extreme - you suck. I played with the classic, original GI Joe when I was a child, got into the 3 3/4" GI Joe when I was 19 in 1982 and have been a fan of nearly everything since then. I've got a little bit of Sgt Savage, and yes, just a couple Extreme figures. I've got a couple Sigma 6 figures also. And tons of the Modern Figures from the 25th Anniversary onward.

There are certain divisions or sections of the GI Joe brand that are important to me. I don't know the exact dates, so I'm just estimating on some of this stuff. 
  • The original GI Joe ran from 1964 until 1976 in two primary forms - the military figures and the Adventure Team. I never had a Bullet Man or Mike Power. I'm over this era. Nostalgia, sure; collect, no.
  • The Real American Hero o-ring figures started in 1982 until 1994, another 12 years of GI Joe dominance of the action figure aisle. Slowly reducing my collection, selling off many of the figures.
  • Those characters took a break for a while, only to return in the new sculpt era, largely odd proportioned figures, moving into the 25th line, two movies and some other sub-sets. Weird stuff, eliminated most of them.
  • Along the way, in the late 90's and early 2000's, there was another run of 12" figures, beginning with the Target Duke figure and moving into the Hall of Fame figures to the 30th Anniversary of the big GI Joe and onward through the 40th Anniversary of GI Joe. For me, that was the most important time period of the 12" GI Joe - the modern era.
  • The modern era of GI Joe - from the 25th Anniversary through Retaliation - some of my absolute favorite toys, really cool stuff
The modern era of the 12" GI Joe is what confounds me. I don't have the timeline, but from 1994 to maybe around 2006, there was some serious growth in this market. The resurgence of the 12" action figure, beginning with that initial Target Duke created the market now occupied by the likes of Hot Toys and Sideshow Toys. The late company, 21st Century Toys, kicked serious amounts of ass with much of their 12" offerings. Hasbro did a damn fine job as well, moving from the awkward 30th Anniversary figures, progressing to the amazing 40th Anniversary reproduction figures, and on into the other various Classic Collection, Timeless Collection, and Adventure team re-releases. But most of it, besides the 40th and some Timeless, weren't those damn repros of the original nose-picker body. 

Even with the much superior super-articulated body, there seemed to be a lack of connection to those awesome new figures. Personally, I loved them and have a ton in my 12" collection. I've got maybe two or three of the repro original style Joe bodies; I made a few customs by remounting the 40th vintage style heads onto the modern super articulated bodies.

The biggest gripe that I have heard from 12" collectors is that there's nothing in it for them. Hell, there's barely anything in the 50th Anniversary line for anybody. Hasbro's offerings are almost an afterthought, a collection of previously shown, unproduced figures with a 50th Anniversary label stuck on them. Wow, thanks for the effort, Hasbro. Yeah, in my mind, this "anniversary" line is a just some table scraps tossed to the collectors by a company that no longer appreciates the brand that saved their corporate asses at least twice.

Rumors are out there that Hasbro has eliminated the GI Joe design team and GI Joe seems to be basically dead in the water. Shit.

and then again, so what...

I have enough.

I have over 100 12" GI Joe's and several hundred 3 3/4"-4" Joe figures, plus assorted oddball 4" figures from other lines. I have enough. I'll still pick up some of the 50th figures, but if there is no more GI Joe product to be had, then somehow I'll manage. If the Club is still able to access molds from Hasbro and they offer decent figures, I may stick with the FSS offerings. Time will tell.

Depending on the product for the future GI Joe 3 movie, I may be done with GI Joe. Some people have said, "Well, what would you buy if there isn't any Joe product on the shelves?" Nothing? Maybe actually save my money? 

The new Acid Rain product looks insanely bad-ass and is a little tempting, but they're just so expensive. I don't know that I can justify those kinds of costs for them. Yeah, they're probably worth it, I guess, but for me, I just don't want to spend that kind of money. Okay, I know, the Club's FSS figures are expensive as well, but I have limits.

Hell, I'm 51 years old. My near-vision gets blurrier and blurrier every year. Maybe it's time to just be satisfied with what I have and be done with it all.

The State of the Hobby? For me, it's just chugging along in my own little weird world and I'm just fine with that. I have enough.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wait... What the hell?

Shameful, right? Posting pics of these tiny little GI Joe pretenders. Shameful!

But aren't they just so cute!

I'll get back to the big guys again. One day...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

XM-29 OICW - 1/6th Scale Review

So what's the point of reviewing a canceled weapons system? I guess because it is still a cool looking weapon?
I picked up this item a couple years ago at Joelanta, I think maybe 2011. I've always loved the look of these new weapons that have been in development for US military forces. I had previously purchased one of these, but I was fortunate enough to just leave this one on the card. I imagine that it was during a time when I have been more focused on the small GI Joe line and less focused on the big guys.
The XM29, also known as the OICW, is a pretty cool looking weapon. I must make the disclaimer that I don't know much of anything about weapons - mainly just what looks cool and the XM-29 looks cool.
Hasbro actually created a 12" soldier around this weapon. In the early 2000's, they created the "Experimental Weapons Specialist," or something like that. That was probably my first exposure to the XM-29. 
Currently, I have two of Hasbro's versions and two from Dragon Models. I was also able to find another example of prototype weapons built in 1/6th scale - the XM-8. The XM-8 is a really cool looking weapon, much more compact than the XM-29.
Unfortunately, the XM-29, in this configuration, has been cancelled. But the toy is still pretty dang cool. So let's take a look at it. Lt. Falcon will be helping with the demonstration.
Lt. Falcon swears that this is the way that the weapon was to be actually delivered to US forces - on a giant blister card. I kinda' doubt it.
The packaging is very crisp and clean, with the card having sharp graphics. There are just a few parts to the OICW, so the blister is uncluttered. I will go into the elements of the weapon once Falcon opens it up. 
There's a nice feature of the package that is collector friendly. The blister is actually taped to the card, rather than being glued. A simple cut and the blister is free of the card. The weapon can then be stored back in the blister and slid back onto the card.
Here is some official information regarding some of the history of the OICW.
"The XM29 OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) was a series of prototypes of a new type of assault rifle that fired 20 mm HE airbursting projectiles. The prototypes were developed as part of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon program in the 1990s. The term SABR (Selectable Assault Battle Rifle) was also used at certain points, but is less common."
The top scope is a combination 6x scope, video camera, laser rangefinder, and fire-control computer. The middle section is a 20mm launcher that launches High Explosive rounds. The lower section is an assault rifle using 5.56mm kinetic rounds. The single trigger can control both functions of the weapon. I haven't found explicit details, but I believe that the buttons on the outer edge of the trigger guard act as selectors for the different functions of the XM-29.
This particular 1/6th version comes with two clips for the HE rounds, three clips for the 5.56mm ammo, and two loose HE rounds.
There is an amazing amount of detail in this replica. Each of the 5.56mm clips have detailed bullets sculpted and painted at the end of each clip.

This great attention to detail began, in my little GI Joe collecting world, with 21st Century Toys. In their glory days, 21st was revolutionary in their weapons and uniform sets. Amazing, amazing stuff - from WW2 to modern era. Dragon and BBI were two of many companies that expanded into the 1/6th realm with amazingly detailed equipment. Sideshow and Hot Toys are two additional companies of note, especially Sideshow, since they are creating some incredibly detailed and incredibly expensive GI Joe 1/6th figures.

The 20mm projectile clips are even more detailed than the 5.56mm clips with one notable difference. The top most shell can be removed and the one below it is painted. Really quality attention to detail.
Once the weapon is fully assembled, you really get an example of a quality product. The flat black paint on all the components adds to the look of the weapon - nothing shiny or glossy.
The drawback to actually using this weapon with a 1/6th figure such as Falcon, who is using the Hasbro super-articulated body, is the fact that this weapon uses a "bullpup" configuration for the 20mm clip.
The clip lies behind the trigger of the user. This gives an added element for the figure to try to grab around. I think that Sideshow and perhaps Hot Toys may have addressed this issue with body construction. I don't know, I use the Hasbro S-A body for nearly all of my 1/6th custom figures.
In a relaxed position, the weapon looks just fine in Falcon's hand.
But he can't stay that way, he has Cobra soldiers to fight!

When Falcon uses a two-handed grip, it is difficult for him to get his right arm around the end of the weapon and allow his left arm to reach up and support the weapon. The limitations of the shoulder joint doesn't allow him to extended even more forward.
Falcon's two-handed grip works well enough. This is really not a toy, it's more of a display piece and Falcon can be displayed well enough holding the weapon. Perfectly? No, but I'm okay with that.
Overall, I think that this XM-29 OICW made by Dragon way back in 2002 is an excellent piece. If you want to add it to your collection, I would highly recommend checking out a local toy show, specifically one that includes GI Joe dealers. You may still be able to find one and pick it up for a decent price.
Lt Falcon approves this weapon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: 2004 Force Recon Marine

So what am I doing posting a review of a 8 year old toy? Because it's frikkin' cool, that's why!

Hasbro was really cranking out some seriously awesome 1/6th scale GI Joe figures back in the early 2000's. The Force Recon Marine is no exception. This guy came equipped with some decent accessories and an amazing special feature that very few other 1/6th scale Joe's had.

Click the link for the review and more pics!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

So this blog stinks right now...

Yeah, this blog stinks right now.

I am too engrossed in the little Joes right now. With GI Joe:Retaliation just a couple months away, I'm going to be full-on bat-shit crazy about the little Joes for the foreseeable future.

But the big guys are so damn cool! 

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Hasbro isn't releasing 12" Retaliation figures? Good - because I can't afford both scales. Bad - because I was hoping to add the Rock and Bruce Willis to my big Joe collection. Oh well, stop whining, I guess.

I do have an idea for an update to this blog. It will take time, but I'm going to work on it, slowly, but surely. 

I have this other website - - yeah, how original, i don't even have a decent name for it! This was one of the first places that I really put in some effort to showcasing my 1/6th scale G.I. Joe figures. It's really not that bad of a site, but the problem is that I don't know if I can still access it! Damn it! it has been so long since I have updated it!

So I'm thinking about recreating it here - to some degree. There are some recent updates to Blogger that may make it possible to showcase the individual file-card type pages that I had created back on

At least I hope so. We'll see. 

So here goes another goal - let's see how long it will take to make it a reality!

Monday, December 12, 2011