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G.I. Joe on track to reclaim its glory

G.I. Joe on track to reclaim its glory

I’ve been a G.I. Joe fan for a very long time– in fact I’ve been a fan since day one of the Real American Hero brand launch four decades ago this year. And when I’m not reflecting on how damn old I am, I’m thinking about the ebbs and flows G.I. Joe has gone through within those forty years and I can’t help but think we may be on the cusp of the next thrilling resurgence of our favorite modern military army man.

Ignoring the fact that the latest mass media launch was a mixed bag, everything surrounding G.I. Joe from a collector perspective appears to be coming up Millhouse. The launch of G.I. Joe: Classified, by all accounts, has drawn the attention of an entirely new generation of fans, who grew up or matured alongside Marvel Legends and have an affinity for the 6″ scale. In spite of some rampant distribution and supply chain issues, I see far more excitement throughout social media for G.I. Joe at large than I’ve seen in a very long time, most of it centered around a renewed focus on classic aesthetics for the latest six inch figures.

While there are times I’d prefer to see something new and different, it’s tough to argue with a successful formula and based on collector reaction to each and every announcement, I’d say the Hasbro design team has their finger on the pulse of what the collectors want.

That’s not to say things are perfect– the constant stream of supply chain and logistical issues has impacted release schedules and has forced Hasbro into a slightly different mechanism for character reveals and announcements. Mixing in some digital renders alongside actual product shots and pre-orders has gone a long way toward increasing the frequency of fan interactions and keeping engagement going, even with dramatic, extended lull between product releases. We can only hope things get better as time goes on, though there seems to be little concrete evidence that things will actually improve any time soon.

In the midst of all this resurgence in G.I. Joe attention, we have the latest HasLab product– a G.I. Joe: Classified COBRA HISS, which looks at the classic, venerable COBRA vehicle and reimagines it at the Classified six inch scale. The cat was released from the bag on this one a little early, and I’ll admit, I was a bit concerned that perhaps that might deflate the balloon a little bit. As it turned out, my fears were wholly invalid because not only did the G.I. Joe: Classified HISS sprint out of the gate, and not only did it fund in less than twelve hours, but it was the fastest HasLab project to reach its funding goal ever.

By all accounts, even this early in the process, the G.I. Joe: Classified HISS has to be considered a resounding success and that success may, quite possibly, set a standard for future G.I. Joe items, both at retail and through the HasLab crowd funding system.

Although I’ve been a fan of the brand for forty years, it’s tough to argue that throughout a lot of that time, G.I. Joe played a bit of a second fiddle to its compatriots like Star Wars and Marvel Legends. But it seems like, with each passing moment, thanks in part to G.I. Joe: Classified, the brand is once again establishing itself as a cornerstone of the collector market and is poised to reignite fan fever not just now, but in the years to come.

I am one hundred percent here for it.

Check out the G.I. Joe: Classified COBRA HISS HasLab Project Here

Hasbro PulseCon 2021 is HERE!

Hasbro PulseCon 2021 is HERE!

Yes, I know technically it started yesterday, but as G.I. Joe fans we all know the good stuff is coming today! At 11:00am eastern this morning, you’re going to want to scream over to the Hasbro PulseCon page and check out the livestream– who knows you might even see some familiar faces.

Just this past week, I actually received a fantastic surprise in the mail as Hasbro sent along a great PulseCon fan package, which was, no doubt, the absolute highlight of my week! Any time I get toys in the mail I’m happy– but FREE toys? Dopamine-city…

Yeah… fan-freaking-tastic!

This box was chock-full of all sorts of fantastic Hasbro goodies– from Star Wars to Marvel Legends to Ghostbusters and Power Rangers– it was a great reminder of just how many fun collector-geared toy lines Hasbro is working on right now. I gotta tell you, the new Fortnite stuff looks really, really fun!

Of course, there were a couple of highlights in this box… first, as a huge Beast Wars fan, getting the PulseCon exclusive Ravage absolutely blew my mind! This is a figure I’ve been waiting for for nearly 25 years. I still remember watching this sequence on television when it first aired, my mouth hanging open as I realized Beast Wars actually took place in the G1 continuity… mind– blown.

But I think we all know what I was REALLY waiting for in this box– I wasn’t sure he’d be in there, but imagine how ecstatic I was to see him. That’s right — Master of Disguise ZARTAN.

Based on the spectacular Classified Zartan tooling, the Master of Disguise version is like Zartan on steroids. Spare Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow heads, plus masks for Gung Ho, Soft Master, Hard Master and a fun Skull– very, very cool. But of course, I think we’ll agree the neatest touch is the actual COLOR CHANGE SKIN. This requires exposure to cold temperatures to work instead of sunlight, but the effect is the same. Purely awesome.

The packaging is amazing as well.

Once again, I cannot thank Hasbro enough for this amazing gift box. As I write this, we are in countdown mode, with a little more than an hour left until the G.I. Joe stream on PulseCon 2021— I hope I’ll see you there!
GeneralsJoes Reviews Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe: Origins) Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow!

GeneralsJoes Reviews Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe: Origins) Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow!

It seems only appropriate that on a week where we saw the release of two new trailers and a behind-the-scenes featurette that I’d also get my hands on two G.I. Joe: Classified figures straight from the Snake Eyes movie!

I know fandom opinions are a bit mixed on the movie aesthetic, check out my G.I. Joe: Classified Review page to see my thoughts on Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from the Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe: Origins) movie!

I know folks have been waiting on a few other reviews, too… I should have more coming of Flint, Lady Jaye, Major Bludd and my first ever review of G.I. Joe Retro figures! Keep posted!

Hasbro Fan Fest April 9th, 2021 – Are you ready?

First and foremost, it’s always a great day when you get a free package from Hasbro in the mail. Huge thanks to the folks at Hasbro for sending along this great gift box of free product!

As awesome as this stuff is, though, to me, the best gift of all is going to be seeing what Hasbro has to share April 9th. They’ve promised that Snake Eyes himself, Henry Golding will be in the house to share some exciting news about the Snake Eyes film, and we’re more or less guaranteed to get our first look at Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins movie figures!

Recently it’s also been revealed that Major Bludd, one of the most anticipated figures in the Classified line, may be revealed this week as well, but will likely be revealed as a Target: COBRA Island exclusive.

I will, of course, be celebrating Fan Fest with my good friends at The Full Force Podcast, so make sure you’re following them over on Facebook and subscribing to their YouTube channel to get our opinion on the sure-to-be-exciting reveals to come.

Meanwhile, check out some of the really fun contents of this awesome Gift Box.

Thanks, Hasbro, now I’ve fallen in love with Power Rangers Lightning and Star Wars Black Mandalorian figures. You get me. You really get me.

Star Wars Black Bo Katan

Yes this figure is just as amazing as Katie Sackhoff herself. Two pistols, removable helmet (with flip-down scope!) and a removable jetpack… SOLD.

Marvel Legends House of M Cyclops

Love the vintage feel of this Cyclops and the energy beam? Chef’s kiss.

Power Rangers Lightning Dino Thunder Blue Ranger

I have never ever in my life cared about Power Rangers until this very moment. I was absolutely shocked at just how damn fun this figure is. The accessories are great, articulation is spectacular. I don’t have a clue what Dino Thunder is, but I’m for it!

Transformers: Kingdom Paleotrex

I’ll admit– while I’ve dug deep into Kingdom figures mostly out of a love for Beast Wars, I hadn’t sampled this one yet. It’s really neat! The transformation gimmick involves taking the dang thing apart and putting it back together– differently. I really dig how the dinosaur ends up strangely larger than the robot. What kind of sorcery is this?

G.I. Joe: Classified Zartan

What else do I need to say that I didn’t already say in my review. BEST CLASSIFIED FIGURE EVER.

At least until Major Bludd comes out.

G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page Updates

G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page Updates

For folks who have been following along on my social media pages, you know that I’ve been working my way through the Classified review backlog a bit. I’m happy to say I’m (more or less) caught up. No I haven’t reviewed Profit Director Destro, Arctic Storm Shadow or Snake Supreme COBRA Commander yet, but I’m not sure I’ll get those done or not. I love ’em, just– gotta prioritize, you know?

At this point, I’ve added Zartan, COBRA Infantry, Firefly and COBRA Viper to the G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page. If you haven’t checked them yet, now’s your chance!

G.I. Joe: Classified – Zartan

Yes, I know, I’m pretty unabashed in my love for the G.I. Joe: Classified line and I’ll readily admit that I’ve enjoyed pretty much every figure they’ve released so far.

But, from time to time, one figure rises above the others, and evven in a line full of great toys, there is a new one that stands above the crowd. The G.I. Joe: Classified Zartan is just about as close to a perfect G.I. Joe toy as you can get.

Zartan has always been one of my favorite characters in the G.I. Joe lore. The way he walked a narrow line between good and evil (he was always better evil, however) his near-supernatural shape shifting abilities, his twisted sense of honor and loyalty, as well as the way Larry Hama interwove his backstory into Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

Zartan was the epitome of everything I loved about G.I. Joe. Just the right hint of supernatural, just the right hint of futuristic sci-fi–a mix of weaponry and martial arts skills. I love Zartan and I really, really love the G.I. Joe: Classified representation of him.

DESIGN

Very much like Destro, the design for Zartan leans heavily into his vintage look, giving him the familiar brown hood, eye make up, layered chest armor, etc… But also like Desro, they’ve gone an extra step in adding some really interesting modern flair throughout a pretty familiar looking design.

In some cases, the changes are subtle, like the layered texture throughout his hood that really gives it a third dimension. Other changes are more obvious, like the reinforced armor on his forearms and the spectacular snakeskin texture on his gloves.

The figure is a nice, solid size, though not as big and bulky as Gung Ho or Roadblock. I thought at first he might be built on their buck, but in fact it appears as though his bare torso and arms beneath the armor are completely new tooling. Paint applications are very familiar, with brown pants, black armor (though some of that armor has a great, understated metal “sheen” to it).

Again, the benefits of the larger scale really show through with the vast amount of sculpted texture that really bring the figure to life. You can see where there’s metal, where there’s fabric, and even the different changes in fabric texture. Though the figure is mostly two colors – brown and black, the variant shades and sculpts beneath those textures tells a really great story.

Like most Classified figures as well, Zartan can carry every single accessory he comes with, between a great sheath on his belt and a peg on his backpack (more on that awesome backpack later), not to mention the snake’s head and monkey’s paw that adorn his belt as well.

From a design perspective, Zartan is an absolute home run.

ARTICULATION

As with the other Classified figures, Zartan’s articulation is pretty much perfect. The armor is sculpted in a way to not hinder the way he moves and he’s capable of achieving almost any pose you’d want. His large shoulder pouldrons are een designed in a way to move with his arm movements so he can look imposing standing still, but also stretch his arms out in nearly any fashion.

ACCESSORIES

My goodness, the accessories Zartan comes with a pretty close to perfect. No, he doesn’t come with a ton of gear, but he comes with just enough, and you get a fantastic combination of warm nostalgia and cool new touches to go along with it.

The backpack is, just as it should be. Very evocative of his original 1984 version, it even holds the mask just like that previous figure did. The mask fits perfectly and while of course it won’t fool anyone, it really leans heavily into that classic toy functionality and I love it. Zartan comes with a pistol that’s very much like his original version as well, plus the bad ass knife that slips into his holster.

New additions are both the monkey’s paw and the snake head, which are elements that tie him into his swamp background and give him a bit of a cool “voodoo” edge. Such a neat touch. He comes with the same scarf as the COBRA Viper, only in brown instead of gray, which is removable if you don’t like it. The hood also comes off, yet it stays on his head perfectly well, too, for some added variability.

CONCLUSION

How much praise can I heap on this figure? It ticks every single box you’d want it to tick. You like the vintage look? We got it. You like the modern “G.I. Joe: Classified aesthetic”? Got those bases covered, too.

I honestly cannot think of a single complaint about this figure. In a line that has already impressed me with nearly every single offering, somehow they just managed to one-up themselves. Not only that, but this is a standard release figure, which should make it easier to acquire. I know when first announced there were pre-orders across the board at Pulse, BBTS, Entertainment Earth, Gamestop and others. Word is that the figure can already be found at Walgreens as well.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come as far as avaialability goes.

Meanwhile, I am thrilled to add this figure to my growing roster of COBRA agents. Classified is once again gaining ground as perhaps my favorite iteration of G.I. Joe since the classic days. Watch out, Sigma 6, it might be gaining on you!

General Gallery

G.I. Joe Classified COBRA Infantry
  • Sculpting
  • Paint Applications
  • Articulation
  • Accessories
5

Summary

This figure is just about as perfect as you can get. A great, timeless character, some nice vintage throwbacks, but with some really great modern twists. The perfect allotment of accessories, fantastic articulation– yeah, Zartan is where it’s at.

Pros

  • – Amazingly detailed sculpt
  • – Increased scale provides opportunity for nicely layered paint and sculpt techniques
  • – Right mix of vintage and modern
  • Cons

  • – Love the accessories — would have REALLY loved a compound bow