About Fred Meyer

Digital strategist by day, hack writer and photography by night - this long-time figure collector still thinks that he can string words together and form meaningful entertaining sequences. He is obviously mistaken.

G.I. Joe Convention Exclusive Reviews Coming Soon!

G.I. Joe convention exclusive reviews are coming!

Gi joe convention exclusive reviews

You’d never know it by looking at the front page but it’s actually been a busy few weeks here at JBL.  There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work as JBL migrated from our existing (and failing) server to a brand new virtual location.  Now it’s time to get back to work and that means add more new reviews to the site!

Chris and I’ve been frantically writing away these past few weeks and we’ve got a slew of new reviews coming.  We’ll be looking at both the G.I. Joe Convention 2015 “Peril in Paradise” (Tiger Force vs. Iron Grenadiers) and the 2016 “Operation Downfall” (Sky Patrol) sets.  In addition, thanks to a hassle-free sale at HasbroToyShop.com there’s also this year’s G.I. Joe vs. Transformers set to cover! (Hello new Scarlett figure that’s still available!)

The order of publication is still up in the air but it’s about time that we got back on track here at JBL.  No excuses… while this is a hobby site and not a full-time job, it’s about time that the admin got off his butt and got back to work.

Do you have a preference on the order?  Are you more excited about Powerglide than Tiger Force Big Brawler?  Does Flying Scorpion rate higher on your priority list than another Zartan release? Let JBL know in the comments below or over on the JBL Facebook page.

 

Support the Girls of the Finest 2017 calendar

The Girls of the Finest are back with a brand new 2017 calendar!

Girls of the Finest

Each year the talented Girls of the Finest put their costuming abilities to work to raise funds for a worthy cause by producing an amazing G.I. Joe themed calendar.  This year is no exception and the 2017 Calendar drive is fully under way on IndieGoGo with just 15 days remaining!

K9s for Warriors

This year the lovely ladies of Finest are raising funds for K9’s for Warriors, an organization dedicated to providing service dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and/or military sexual trauma as a result of service post 9/11.  The organization recognizes the healing power of animal therapy and how the emotional bond formed between a veteran and a therapy dog can help these brave warriors overcome the trauma they incurred while in the line of duty.

I’ll admit it– we’ve been remiss in our duties here at JBL when it comes to this project.  There are only 15 days remaining to support this endeavor on IndieGoGo and this is the first time that any news regarding the Girls of the Finest 2017 Calendar Project has been featured on JBL.  Ladies, I wholeheartedly apologize for that omission.  Your work this year has been stellar!

Seriously folks– I’ve supported this project for the past two years and the calendars are always top-notch!  The photography is fantastic, the costumes flawless, and you sense the passion that these ladies have for their work in every image.  Plus, each year the funds raised from the calendar project help support our troops.  A simple donation of $25.00 secures your printed copy of the 2017 calendar.  Those who donate $50.00 receive a set of trading cards AND a calendar!  Plus there are even MORE perks available at other financial levels!

Support the Girls of the Finest 2017 Calendar Project today!  Plus follow these costumers and track all of their appearances over on the Girls of the Finest Facebook page!

Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek

Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek!

Star Trek 50th Anniversary

 

On September 8, 1966 on the NBC television network a new TV series saw its premiere. Originally billed at a “wagon train to the stars” by its creator, this new science fiction adventure propelled audiences to the furthest reaches of the galaxy and spawned a phenomenon that would endure for decades. Today is the day that Star Trek, the original series, premiered!

While the series wasn’t a ratings hit and often struggled to find an audience, Star Trek proved to be ground-breaking many ways. During the racially-charged 1960’s, the crew of the Enterprise was the most ethnically diverse on TV at the time. Even more importantly, there was little differentiation between men and women on the series– with both genders being treated equally. (Yes, there was that whole “Kirk effect” on the female guest stars but that’s another story.)

Star Trek Original Series

 

Even better– Star Trek featured stories that made the audience think. The stories featuring William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, and Leonard Nimoy were on the surface classic sci-fi adventures. However, looking deeper it was obvious that the writers were striving for something more– chock full of social commentary on equality, human rights, and even genocide. (Remember the horta in “Devil in the Dark“?)

I won’t lie– I’m not old enough to remember the actual first airings which occurred years before I was born. I was however fortunate enough to grow up in the late 1970’s and 1980’s– a time period in which this series saw HEAVY syndication. As a result, the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov were very much a part of my formative years. In many ways, the television adventures of these characters helped shaped my beliefs on tolerance, diversity, exploration, and more.

Star Trek fight music

 

Over the years, Star Trek has spawned a total of 6 spin-off television series (including the animated adventures that aired in the 70’s) and 13 feature films. It has inspired individuals from all walks of life to aspire to be scientists and astronauts. Even better it has encouraged us to become more tolerant individuals. It taught us that there truly is infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

Happy 50th Anniversary Star Trek! Live long and prosper for another 50 years.

G.I. Joe FSS 5 new Salvo build? Let’s hope so!

Let’s be honest– the G.I. Joe FSS 5 Salvo preview went over with the fandom like G.I. Joe Extreme.  The fandom was nearly-unanimous in its condemnation of the sub-bar design and took the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club forums to make their collective voice heard.

Thankfully, it appears that the folks at the Club have listened.  This afternoon, the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club released this updated image and information:

G.I. Joe FSS 5 Salvo update

For Salvo, we tried many different combinations rather than a straight up repaint. After reviewing some of your suggestions, we’ve selected another option to show you a new figure build before we have final feedback on tool availability.

So, keep your fingers crossed!

Let’s be honest– the first Salvo build was, well, awful.  Under-sized and uninspired, it took the concept of “good enough” design to a new low.  For this version, the Club pretty much went with the fandom’s suggestion of a straight repaint of the Retaliation Roadblock build— and it looks MILES better!  Just take a look at a quick side-by-side comparison:

g.i. joe fss 5 salvo comparison

Yes, there’s no guarantee that the new build will be approved for use by Hasbro BUT the Club must be pretty confident of the odds if they released this image to an already unhappy fandom.   To this Joe fan’s eyes– there is NO comparison.  The version on the right is the clearly superior build both in terms of size and with regard the lettering found on the t-shirt.

Now, let’s just wait until we have confirmation that this WILL be the official G.I. Joe FSS 5 Salvo build!

To subscribe to the FSS, head on over to GIJoeClub.com and stay tuned to JBL for more G.I. Joe FSS 5  news!

The G.I. Joe FSS 5 Roster:

  • Concealment Specialist – Ambush
  • Flamethrower – Charbroil (Classic deco)
  • Iron Grenadier Courier – Darklon (more modernized version than previous convention version)
  • G.I. Joe Strategic Commander – General Flagg (similar to Battle Corps version)
  • Cobra Battle Corps Cobra Viper – based on Iron Anvils from 2015 Convention version
  • Anti-Armor Trooper – Salvo (more Pursuit of Cobra styled, based on existing tooling)
  • Combat Journalist – Scoop (using the Sky Patrol Airborne head sculpt from this year’s con set)
  • Cobra Falconer – Raptor
  • Advanced Recon – Sneak Peek (based on FSS 4 Tiger Force version)
  • SKAR Infantry Officer – Steel Raven (based on Club magazine comics – FEMALE character)
  • Cobra Shattered Glass Xamot (from the Club Comic Adventure Team storyline with new head sculpt)
  • Z-Force Mechanic Gaucho (pairs with Jammer)

G.I. Joe FSS 5 reveals Shattered Glass Xamot

The final reveal is here!  Reflect upon the G.I. Joe FSS 5 design for Shattered Glass Xamot!

G.I. Joe FSS 5 Shattered Glass Xamot

So here it is– the Shattered Glass Xamot figure.  (Posted late due to some server issues yesterday.)

I’ll be honest– I like him.  I like him quite a lot but not for the reasons that the GIJCC might have intended.

The “Shattered Glass” storyline ran in the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club newsletter’s Adventure Team comic for around 12 installments.  In this tale, the members of the Adventure Team were catapulted into a parallel universe in which Cobra was essentially the resistance to a tyrannical government led by Joe Colton and overseen by G.I. Joe.  What started off as an Adventure Team story quickly descended into a series of ARAH cameos in a riff on the “Worlds Without End” classic Sunbow episode that really went on far too long in this Joe fan’s opinion.

G.I. Joe Sunbow Tomax Xamot

One of the best parts, however, was seeing Xamot presented in a suit that was VERY similar to the office attire that he and his brother wore in the classic Sunbow series.  That’s right kids– forget “Shattered Glass” and all of its muddled plotlines.  This is the Extensive Enterprises version of Xamot that many of watched each weekday afternoon during our youth!  For that reason alone, I’m totally excited about this figure, which uses the same basic build as the Marvel Universe Professor X figure or, more recently, the Club exclusive Joe Colton from the Zombie Initiative convention set.

Now, can we hold out hope that a matching Tomax is the 13th figure in G.I. Joe FSS 5?  (Or is that too logical for the GIJCC?)

To subscribe to the FSS, head on over to GIJoeClub.com and JBL for more G.I. Joe FSS 5  news!

The G.I. Joe FSS 5 Roster:

  • Concealment Specialist – Ambush
  • Flamethrower – Charbroil (Classic deco)
  • Iron Grenadier Courier – Darklon (more modernized version than previous convention version)
  • G.I. Joe Strategic Commander – General Flagg (similar to Battle Corps version)
  • Cobra Battle Corps Cobra Viper – based on Iron Anvils from 2015 Convention version
  • Anti-Armor Trooper – Salvo (more Pursuit of Cobra styled, based on existing tooling)
  • Combat Journalist – Scoop (using the Sky Patrol Airborne head sculpt from this year’s con set)
  • Cobra Falconer – Raptor
  • Advanced Recon – Sneak Peek (based on FSS 4 Tiger Force version)
  • SKAR Infantry Officer – Steel Raven (based on Club magazine comics – FEMALE character)
  • Cobra Shattered Glass Xamot (from the Club Comic Adventure Team storyline with new head sculpt)
  • Z-Force Mechanic Gaucho (pairs with Jammer)

G.I. Joe FSS 5 unveils Steel Raven

With only one more reveal to go, the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club unveils the G.I. Joe FSS 5 Steel Raven!

g.i. joe fss 5 steel raven

S.K.A.R. INFANTRY OFFICER: STEEL RAVEN
(Based on the G.I. Joe: Extreme animated series character and GIJCC comic stories!)

Includes: removable hat & jacket, sub machine gun, auto pistols x 2, computer pad, and figure stand.

NOTE: All images are Photoshop representations, final product, accessories and/or colors may vary!

Interesting… very interesting.

I’m going to admit it now– I don’t know much about the character of Steel Raven.  I know that she had 2 – 3 appearances in Season 1 of G.I. Joe Extreme before becoming a more prominent character in Season 2. (Despite the fact that I own a fan-produced copy of the series on DVD I’ve only ever watched a few episodes of the series.) I also know that she’s been featured more recently in the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club magazine comics as part of the “runaway Mindbender” story.  Aside from this, she’s a bit of a blank slate for me– and that’s just fine.  After all, wasn’t part of the original mandate of the FSS to produce figures that fans may have never seen before?

The parts combination seems pretty solid.  I’m not quite feeling the disparity in the placement of the brown for her overcoat between the upper and lower torso but that could just be a result of the Photoshop mockup.  It’s hard to tell if that’s the same head that was used for Crimson Asp from the 2013 Nocturnal Fire set or not.  (My gut instinct says that the Club would have called out any newly tooled parts had they been used.)  Still, overall I’m digging it.

To subscribe to the FSS, head on over to GIJoeClub.com and JBL for more G.I. Joe FSS 5 reveals and news! Continue reading

Dime Novel Legends Kickstarter coming October 1, 2016

The wait is almost over– the Dime Novel Legends Kickstarter will be starting on October 1, 2016.

Dime Novel Legends

The Old West.  It was an era of untamed wilderness where law and order were administered as much by a revolver as by the badge.  A time in which actions often spoke louder than words and when a man’s reputation carried as much weight as any credentials he could muster.  It was a time of legends– often celebrated in radio, movies, televisions, and novels. Soon, this period of frontier justice will beo be available as a series of 1:18 scale action figures that celebrates some of the most dynamic icons of this bygone era.

Coming this October 1st from Chicken Fried Toys and Dime Novel Legends is the Kickstarter project you’ve been waiting for!

Dime Novel Legends Marshal

Here’s the official press release:

Announcing a LEGENDARY Western-Themed 1:18th Scale Toy Line Kickstarter Campaign!

 

Dallas/Forth Worth — When searching for highly articulated action figures in 1:18th scale, aisle 3C is looking like a modern ghost town these days. Therefore it’s no surprise that a number of small companies are striving to fill the gap for collectors of this action figure scale.

 

To this end, Chicken Fried ToysTM (CFT) is proud to introduce their Dime Novel LegendsTM (DNL), their first-ever lineup of 3.75-inch, fully articulated, collectible action figures that bring back the essence of the American Frontier West.  These 15 realistic reproductions of iconic Western archetypes feature authentic styling and looks, and include numerous accessories and gear that historically reflect the period between 1835 and 1895.  This line will be introduced via Kickstarter campaign on October 1, 2016 and will run for six (6) weeks.

 

The Dime Novel LegendsTM lineup will encompass characters drawn from the rich history of Frontier America during its expansion westward.  While easily identifiable, these characters do not represent any single person from history, film or literature.  Rather, they are an amalgamation taken from the collective imaginations of enthusiasts who have long dreamed of accumulating an entire Western community of cowboys, townfolk, lawmen, bandits, and Native Americans from an often ignored and nigh-forgotten part of America’s unique and rich history.

 

Chicken Fried ToysTM will introduce these iconic action figures intended for the adult collector featuring 16 points of articulation as part of a Kickstarter campaign beginning October 2016.

Wave 1 will include:

 

  • The Marshal – Clad in black, with his long coat pulled back over his working hoslter to show ruffians that he means business, this icon comes with a “Hogleg” pistol, “Street Howitzer” long gun, and removable hat and jacket.
  • The Sheriff – Dressed like a “dandy” with a Derby and suitcoat, this lawman carries a cane, not so much for walking, but rather to give a sophisticated air to any cattle or mining camp he has been charged to protect.
  • Territories Lawman – Before the regions of the American West became states, they were territories under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. This storied African-American lawman comes with dual holsters and pistols, bandana, removable vest and hat.  All this makes him the true definition of a Legend!
  • Trail Boss – Wearing chaps and a broad-brimmed hat, this honcho of the trail drive has all the trappings of a seasoned leader. If his stern look doesn’t command the respect he’s earned, he has a lever-action rifle and removable “Outlaw” pistol to back it up.
  • Saloon Bartender – No image of the classic Western town is complete without a bartender or shopkeeper. Likely the only person who can afford both moustache wax AND hair cream, often neutral in fights and always the center of information, this smiling gentleman with the apron is quick with a mug of refreshment, and a turn on the pickle/beer barrel.
  • Sharpshooter – Wearing a period-correct bib-front shirt, this misplaced Texan sports a removable bandana, Texas-sized hat, cartridge belt with working knife and sheathe, and a legendary buffalo rifle with flip-up rear sight.
  • Ranch Hand – No cattle drive is complete without the ubiquitous trail hand. His look is highlighted with tall Cavalry style boots, removable vest, and gun belt.  His hat, surely bought fresh from the General Store with pay from working the latest cattle drive, tops his clean-cut look.
  • Head Honcho – Every gang has its ringleader; a rough and tumble, but quick-witted character who is not to be trifled with on any occasion. He wears a removable vest, gun belt, bandana, and Derby.
  • Gunfighter – The gang member with the cool temper and lightning quick six-guns is dressed in a suitcoat styled of the day. He has a removable hat, gun belt, twin holsters and pistols to fill ’em.
  • Vaquero – This everyday inhabitant of the Texas Southwest has a wide-brimmed hat to keep the desert sun off his shoulders, along with chaps, gun belt, pistol and Spanish silver spurs. Dressed up brightly in his best for the celebratory rodeo at the end of a long cattle drive, he cuts quite a colorful character.
  • Prospector – These men were some of the first brave souls to cross the Plains in search of riches and fortune, while “seein’ it all.” This old codger comes with an iconic hat and all the tools to hit the motherlode, including a pickaxe and pan.
  • Fire Brigadier – When every town is made of either wood or canvas, a firefighter or two becomes an essential part of the landscape. This member of the Old West Fire Brigade comes with a Victorian-era fire helmet, red bib-front shirt, Halligan tool, fire axe and suspenders!
  • Create Yer’ Own Outlaw – Clad in signature black and sporting a surly look, this villain will be named by Kickstarter participants in a poll run during the campaign. He will sport a long coat, Cavalry boots, double holsters for his gun belt, and two pitch-black pistols.
  • Create Yer’ Own Cowboy – Not just the name, but the color palette will be chosen by the “All-In!” Kickstarter pledges. This classically styled cowboy has chaps, unique hat, removable vest and all the right gear to complete your cattle drive!
  • Badlands Vigilante – This 15th figure is exclusive to the “All-In!” Kickstarter package. He has a unique portrait sculpt, removable “10-gallon” hat, bandana, suitcoat, gun belt, and shining silver six-guns.

The figures will be unlocked in the order listed above during the campaign.  Tiered between each figure as they unlock will be the following collector accessories:

 

  • Gear Sets – Five sets comprised of different firearms, weapons, and gun belts in colors not available on any other figure during this initial offering.
  • Accessory Sets – Five sets of jackets, vests, hats and bandanas in colors not available on any other figure during this initial offering.
  • Buck-A-Roos!TM – Five “blank” figures each comprised of a single color shirt and sleeves, and different color britches with complementary colored boots. These colors will not be available on any other figure in the initial offering.  Skin tones will vary from figure to figure for variety.

Prices for both individual figures and “All-In!” packages are still TBD.  We will announce final pricing before the campaign begins to allow for collector budgeting.  Retail costs after the campaign should not exceed $20 per figure.

 

Work on Wave 2 is already underway and will include Plains Indian Tribes, smooth-talking gamblers, Cavalry troops, a school marm, and close to a dozen more unique Western icons!   Stay tuned for more details as work is completed and we proceed through the Kickstarter campaign.

 

For more information, click our Chicken Fried Toystm – Dime Novel Legendstm Facebook page!
Chicken Fried ToysTM is Paul Mundheim and JE Russell, lifelong action figure collecting enthusiasts.  Working in partnership with lauded Boss Fight Studio and Smalljoes.com, CFT knows the unique mind of the 1:18th scale action figure collector like no other.  Saddle up, and come along for the ride!

What else do you need– a federal marshall to ride up and deliver you a written summons?  Seriously– mark October 1, 2016 on your calendars and get ready to support Dime Novel Legends!

G.I. Joe FSS 5 sneak peek of Sneak Peek

The G.I. Joe FSS 5 previews continue with a sneak peek of Sneak Peek!

G.I. Joe FSS 5 Sneak Peek

 

G.I. JOE ADVANCED RECON: SNEAK PEEK
(Based on the classic 1987 action figure!)

Includes: removable helmet & vest, assault rifle, binoculars, field radio,
modern era design periscope, and figure stand.

NOTE: All images are Photoshop representations, final product, accessories and/or colors may vary!

It’s a foregone conclusion when the Club releases a sub-team version of a new character that the standard release will follow before too long.  Case in point: Tiger Force Sneak Peek is now returning as standard version Sneak Peek.  However, rather than a straight repaint, the  Club opted to make some changes.  The figure’s web gear has been changed and, to my eyes, it’s actually less of a match for the original 1987 design than the vest used in the recent Tiger Force release.  I’m not entirely certain what the reason was for the change but it is what it is.  (It looks a bit short in the picture.)  Otherwise, it’s a decent update albeit one that once again reuses the 25th Anniversary Airborne head. #Twinning indeed!

Plus, it’s STILL better than Salvo!

To subscribe to the FSS, head on over to GIJoeClub.com and JBL for more G.I. Joe FSS 5 reveals and news! Continue reading

G.I. Joe FSS 5 drops the scoop on Scoop!

The G.I. Joe Collector’s Club drops another G.I. Joe FSS 5 preview today and it’s Scoop!

G.I. Joe FSS 5 Scoop

G.I. JOE COMBAT JOURNALIST: SCOOP
(Based on the classic 1989 action figure!)

Includes: removable vest, radio, broadcast camera, microphone, assault rifle, knife, pistol, and figure stand.

NOTE: All images are Photoshop representations, final product, accessories and/or colors may vary!

Back in 1989, the minds behind G.I. Joe introduced the concept of an embedded reporter to America’s daring highly-trained special mission force.  Based on NBC reporter Mike Leonard, the 1989 release of Scoop was distinctive for both his bright yellow jumpsuit (a fashion trend later co-opted by April O’Neil?) and his giant TV camera.

For the G.I. Joe FSS 5 version, we’re seeing the familiar Resolute Duke web gear placed over the top of what appears to be the Retaliation Firefly torso with PoC Lifeline body parts combination and topped off with the 2016 Joe Con Sky Patrol Airborne head.  Toss in the 25th DVD pack #5 TV camera and you’ve got the makings for good ole Scoop!

I’m hoping that the colors are just off on this preview as Scoop’s jumpsuit looks WAY more orange than yellow.  As these are just photoshop mock-ups that is likely to be the case.  Otherwise, this would appear to be an attempt at a Tiger Force take on the team’s reporter.  While I miss the removable helmet of the original figure, this one is pretty decent.

It’s still a better looking build than yesterday’s Salvo reveal!

To subscribe to the FSS, head on over to GIJoeClub.com and JBL for more G.I. Joe FSS 5 reveals and news! Continue reading

Unhappy with G.I. Joe FSS 5 Salvo? Let the Club know!

Wow… there was quite the reaction to yesterday’s G.I. Joe FSS 5 reveal of Salvo!

The G.I. Joe Collector’s Club unveiled their take on the G.I. Joe anti-aircraft specialist on Thursday as part of the G.I. Joe FSS 5 reveals.  Let’s just say that the response was “less than positive.”

G.i. Joe fss 5 salvo comparison

 

From JBL’s own Facebook page, to GeneralsJoes.com, to the G.I. Joe Discussion Group, the fandom united in this displeasure with this particular figure build.  Typically, criticism of the Club’s product is met with disdain by certain pockets in the community but even those factions seemed to agree: the Salvo build was not what it should have been.

G.I. Joe Salvo Marvel Comics #114

However, as constructive as all of that discussion has been there’s only one place on the internet where the Club is guaranteed to pay attention to the reactions of its members and that is over at the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club forums.  If you want the Club to see your comments regarding Salvo then head on over to this discussion thread and make your feelings known:

The best kind of feedback to leave is constructive criticism.  Let the Club know what you do like about the build used for Salvo but also let them know what you would like to see improved.  If you’d prefer to see Specialist Hasle build on a Retaliation Roadblock body (as the NJCC version was) then say so.  Or, if you think a more likely build is the one used for the recent Joe Con 2015 Tiger Force Big Brawler, say so!  The point is that if you want to see this figure changed, now is the time to speak up!

Be advised: the forum is only available to active members of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club.

Who knows?  Maybe the feedback of its membership can prompt the Club to course correct this time.  After all, it worked once before when people complained about the colors used for FSS 4 Hit & Run and Spearhead.  After all, isn’t the goal of the FSS to produce figures that the subscribers are going to be excited to purchase?

Hopefully, if enough positive criticism comes in, the Club will acknowledge the concerns of the fandom.  He at least deserves as much care and attention as went into producing figures like Tiger Force Big Brawler and FSS 1 Surefire.