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I’ve been debating on whether to even pull these images and host them here, since they’re pretty much everywhere, but I figured why the heck not?  And why not add some of my totally unsolicited (and possibly unwanted) .02 while I’m at it?  By now, everyone knows where these images came from, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least give some credit to JoeReloaded, the GI Joe Collectors’ Club, JoeBattleLines, YoJoe, and HissTank for bringing these images to the masses.  Awesome work, it’s cool to see the fansites all working in concert with each other.

Check out the gallery of all 10 figures below (but please hit those links up top as well, credit belongs to the above forums for communicating with Hasbro and getting these images for us all):

Of course, the entire reason for this blog is so I can infuse my sometimes unwelcome opinions on the masses, and why should this be any different?  I will say right up front that I’m pretty mixed overall.  A lot of these figures are repeats…prior to the debut of the latest COBRA and G.I. Joe 5-Packs, I think reaction for some of these figures would have been huge.  But with a repeat Flint, Snake Eyes (w/ Timber), COBRA Viper, Zartan, and Storm Shadow, a lot of fans are feeling a bit let down, I think.  I would fall into that category, I think.

  • B.A.T. – Well, we’ll start with the good first.  This figure is absolutely beautiful.  The new Anniversary style suits this “character” very well, and with a nice clean paint job, the B.A.T. looks a lot less “battle scarred” than the previous version, which is actually ironic, since this version comes with a battle damaged head.  I know a lot of folks are a bit concerned because we were supposed to get a Battle Damaged B.A.T. in Wave 14 of the single packs, and I think some fans are more than a little concerned about the potential future of that wave.  Suddenly we’ve been thrust into “movie territory”, so I think that’s a valid concern.  Still, the figure itself is VERY nice, and I love that battle damaged head sculpt.
  • Beachhead – Err…  not sure of the point on this one.  Yeah, I know about the “Fan’s Choice” and everything, but I have a feeling the fans didn’t know we’d be getting practically this exact same figure in a Comic Pack only a few months ago.  Granted, the accessory compliment is a bit better, more in tune with the original figure, but honestly, having the Comic Pack one, I feel no urge or desire to own this one.  The paint apps are very nice, don’t get me wrong.  In fact this entire series is very, very nice, but the only issue is, it’s “more of the same”.
  • Crimson Guard – Again, a really nice figure with a great homage to the vintage, but again, it’s more of the same.  Nothing really new, nothing really exciting.  People are launching complaints about the color difference between the helmet and the uniform and I can see where they’re coming from, for sure.  I would love it if the final product ends up a bit more consistent (with the uniform color the same brighter red as the helmet) but as it stands, there aren’t many differences between this figure and the other scattered versions of the Crimson Guard.
  • Firefly – The ultimate in vintage homages, this version has much darker paint apps, more in tune with the vintage version, and the light green accessories are a tribute, too.  I’m going to start sounding like a broken record, but again, we’ve already gotten various versions of Firefly, and while I absolutely love the more traditional darker colors,  this still feels like we’re not getting a whole lot of new stuff.  This figure does still serve to be a nicely definitive version of the character and a good tribute to the original.  It’s nice also that Hasbro at least mixed up the parts a bit…I like the Viper torso, though I’m not too sure on the Snake Eyes arms and legs, part of actually preferred the others.
  • Flint – This figure really suffers from the fact that the 5-Pack version is nearly identical.  Fans would have been ecstatic for this rendition of Flint, except for the fact, that for $15 more, they get this Flint, plus four other figures with some nice tooling and paint changes.  If you have no interest in the 5-pack, than this version of the Joe Warrant Officer will fit nicely into your collection, and is a very nice figure, all told, but with the 5-Pack hitting BigBadToyStore just this week, this seems somewhat redundant, even if it is pretty cool.
  • Snake Eyes (Commando) – Been there, done that, several times, in fact.  On the surface, this figure doesn’t look much different from the “Snake Eyes Black” that we got way back in Wave 5.  Perhaps there are some subtle differences not visible in these pictures, but not much, from what I can see.
  • Snake Eyes (w/ Timber) – This would have been another fairly desirable figure, if the exact same one, once again, wasn’t hitting a 5-Pack at online retailers this very moment.  Timber has the same new tooling as the one in the 5-pack, and while the mold for this version of Snake Eyes is fantastic, the Battle Pack it was originally released in is only 2 months old, and this will be the third time we’ve seen it, and the second time in almost this exact color scheme.
  • Storm Shadow – Again, tough to really tell the difference between this one and several other ones we’ve received over the last year and a half.  He’s got the sleeveless look, which is great, but again, the COBRA 5-Pack has the sleeveless look, too.  Storm Shadow looks great on this vintage single card, but the Storm Shadow from Wave 4 looked great on his vintage card, too.  I do like the new weapons, but I’m fairly sure the 5-pack version comes with them as well.
  • COBRA Viper – Awesome, awesome, AWESOME.  But yet again, the awesomeness is dulled by the fact that this figure hit the COBRA 5-Pack this week.  Not only that, but it also serves to remind fans that we still have a Toys “R” Us 5-Pack to look forward to with the substandard Vipers included.  That 5-Pack would have flown off the shelves with the corrected (and chrome plated!) Vipers, and selling the fixed Vipers in a more standard single pack would have been a gold mine as well, but in this more expensive “commemorative” style fans won’t be likely to bulk up their COBRA forces.  An absolutely fantastic figure, in my opinion, but again, we got it in the 5-Pack, and this version does not lend itself to army building.
  • Zartan – I actually really love this Zartan.  The slightly dinged up and scuffed armor plating is actually a very cool addition, though there isn’t a whole heck of a lot else to cheer about.  He looks much the same as the Wave 11 version, only with some added detail work, which makes a nice difference, but enough to warrant a $12.00 purchase.  Ultimately I’m not sure there is.

Yeah, I know I was pretty overly negative as a whole on this series of figures, because it simply lays the groundwork for what fans have been complaining about, and that is repaints upon repaints, upon more repaints.

As for me…well, I like what they’re trying to do here.  A commemorative edition of some of the most popular characters in a very vintage themed deco with some awesome gold trim packaging and beautiful display work.  I can see it, and I think it works amazingly well.  The only issue is, the vast majority of Joe fans that I’ve encountered are mostly “play with their toys” guys, and paying $13 for essentially fancy packaging may not win a lot of folks over.  If this was the first time we were getting these fixed figures like Flint, Snake Eyes w/ Timber, COBRA Viper, etc..  I think much of the fandom would be on these like white on rice.  As it is, I anticipate a lot of “luke warm” and not much excitement, especially if this is to be the Anniversary’s “last harrah” before diving head first into movieland.

The presentation is fantastic.  The concept is sound.  The paint work, detail work, and everything involved just works on so many levels, but with a rash of repeat characters and with so many rehashes that fans have already been patient through, I can just see these causing more grief than pleasure.  We’re a full month into 2009, and so far every single newly announced product has been 100% repeat characters, and that’s gonna wear on people.  Hasbro would do well to consider finding a way to release some new characters and more “new” product as the lead up to the movie…  this upcoming film has many fans in a negative state of mind as it is, and if all we get in ’09 for Anniversary product is “more of the same”, those negative feelings are going to spill over into movie sales, and nobody wants that.