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So apparently folks have started receiving their September newsletter for the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club, which has the pre-orders listed for their upcoming release of DTC Wave 4.  And hysteria reigns.  Joe fans?  Hysteria?  No WAY.

For the record, the price and release breakdown is this:

Airtight vs. Cobra Officer- $28.99 Ships October
Outback vs. Night Viper- $28.99 Ships October
Lt. Falcon Vs. Munitia & PP Copperhead- $40.99 Ships January

The first complaints are about the price.  Well, on that point, it’s tough for me to argue.  Thirty bones for two figures is a powerful punch on the wallet, especially when Anniversary figures are scattered about at $6-7 a pop.  Yes, the figures are collector-grade and expensive.  To many folks they will be prohibitively expensive.  However, considering how small the run is and the quality of the items, the pricing does not surprise me.

But the larger issue at stake here are the people slamming the club for poor decisions, for not knowing what “the fan” wants, and for delays in production which are going to cause this to fail, and many folks think it deserves to fail.  This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but the way the public fandom in general has handled DTC Wave 4 is the epitome of how ridiculous the internet toy fandom can be (not just Joe fans, but fans in general).

When DTC was originally listed for release, it was universally panned.  Repaints, rehashes, and figures not resembling their original counterparts caused rampant freak outs throughout the internets, and threats of boycotts and the inevitable “deth of teh line”.  Then, the line DID die, and Wave 4 never came out.  Almost immediately the fickle fandom immediately determined that these now unreleased figures were the “best DTC figures evah” and how much Hasbro failed for not releasing them, and how we as a fandom deserved these figures.  We could not conceive of how our beloved 3 3/4″ was going away and why Hasbro would dare not release these “awesome” figures.

Enter the Collectors’ Club.  Demand was high, fans were outraged, so the Club stepped up and agreed to get these figures produced.  Keep in mind that toy production runs on a one year cycle.  From concept to production for a very large production order, there is normally one year that goes from beginning to end to get these figures out on store shelves.  With tooling already done, obviously that time should be much less, and normally I’d think it would be.

But keep in mind that the Club essentially has three full-time employees who are responsible for these figures.  These three employees also had back-to-back-to-back-to-back conventions over the last 2 years to get toys produced for, while constantly dealing with our outrage that convention exclusive pictures weren’t being shown fast enough.  All the while having to deal with production factories who barely care about 2000 piece orders and who have no idea where the tooling even exists in their own building.  This is a challenge that not many Joe fans can appreciate.  The Club employees cannot pick up a phone and simply say “yeah, get me Falcon in green” and it magically gets done.  There is a ton of legwork and a ton of effort that goes into each and every decision (and I haven’t even begun to talk about what happens when Hasbro gets involved).  Factor in overseas shipping back and forth just to perfectly color match a COBRA logo or camouflage pattern, and a “quick production cycle” suddenly turns into a multi-month endeavor.

Bitch about the pricing all you want.  That is your right.  The figures are more expensive, much more than mass-retail product (because of a much smaller production run).  But lambasting the club for production delays (that are not all their fault) and for “choosing” to release DTC Wave 4 when that is exactly what the fans were asking for seems disingenuous at best.  No one knew how popular the Anniversary figures would be.  No one could possibly anticipate how much the Joe fans would embrace this new style, and to their credit the Club was trying to give the fans what they wanted and what they were asking for.  It’s not their fault the toy fandom’s capricious opinions fluctuate as the “latest and greatest” becomes the next big thing.