Joe Con 2012: Registration is now LIVE!

Registration is now LIVE for those planning to attend the 2012 Collector’s Convention in New Orleans, LA.  Those interested in non-attending packages have been told to “wait a few days.”

To sign up, visit the Registration page now!

Here’s the package matrix once again:

Joe Con 2012 package matrix

And… the Operation Bear Trap set images:

JoeCon 2012: Online registration for attendees SHOULD be today

If you’re a member of the Collector’s Club then you no doubt have been receiving a steady stream of emails with updates on the status of online registration for the 2012 Collector’s Convention in New Orleans.  With the con happening in just over a month, many fans are eager to sign-up and stake their claim on one of the anticipated Operation Bear Trap convention sets.

According to the latest word, registration should go live some time today:

Hello all!

Well, once again I have to tell you registration is not going to be up today.  I’m going to give them all day tomorrow to retest the system so we will try again on Wednesday.   There are some individual browsers that are creating java issues with required fields and we don’t want your information to come in incomplete as this could hinder your registration being approved.

Again, just to make sure when it does go live that your registration is error free, please review the new package matrix and the FAQs.

Thanks  for your patience.

See you in NOLA!

Brian

Keep your eyes peeled on the 2012 Convention page for more information.

JoeCon 2012: Package matrix unveiled

I believe it was the great Montgomery Scott in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock who said: “The more complicated the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

Attending Joe Con and determining what package to get used to be relatively simple.  You merely asked yourself a few simple questions and if you answered “yes” to any, you proceeded to the next one.  These were simple statements like:

  • Am I attending the con?
  • Do I want any of the con exclusives?
  • Am I a 1:6 collector?
  • Am I a 1:18 collector?

However, with all of the various options the Collectors Club has tacked on over the past years, things are apparently more complicated– so much so that the Collector’s Club has decided that a product matrix is necessary to make sense of it all.  Released yesterday was the following Excel chart that takes into account both 1:6 and 1:18 scale and all of the options available for each– including the infamous “Golden Ticket” option.

I’ve mirrored the chart below but you can see the original HERE.

For more information on the rapidly approaching 2012 Collector’s Convention in New Orleans, check out GIJoeCon.com.

Joe Con 2012 package matrix

JoeCon2012: Online registration delayed and Homefront Hero packages possibly limited…

The Collector’s Club sent out the following email regarding online registration for the 2012 Joe Con in New Orleans– stating that initial online registration will be for ATTENDING registrations only.

Hello all!

Registration will not be online today. We are in the middle of a server migration that we must have installed before we start registration.  If the website is offline off and on, please don’t worry.

Just a few notes.  When the server comes back up, we will be loading a package matrix so that you can better understand what feature goes with each package.

In addition, when we start registration, it will only be for attending packages, a few days later we will start with the non-attending packages.  We need to ensure that everyone who wants to come to the show can get a package.

DO NOT REGISTER FOR AN ATTENDING PACKAGE IF YOU ARE NOT COMING.  PACKAGES ARE ONLY CONVERTIBLE AT OUR DISCRETION AND MAY BE CANCELLED IF YOU TRY TO CONVERT.  ONLY ADMIN CAN CONVERT YOUR PACKAGE.

You can also pre-order convention T-Shirts and Hats at the same time.

If you have friends that are planning to register as members, they will need an active membership.  You can paste this link so that they can sign up with the club.  You cannot process a membership at the same time as your registration as these are two completely different systems.  Go here to sign up for a new membership.

In addition, we reserve the right to limit quantities.

We hope to see all of you there for G.I. Joe Con 2012!

See you in NOLA!

Brian

 

What’s interesting is that just last week the Club published the convention brochure which stated that there were 600 produced sets and 325 bagged sets.  Realistically, that means that 325 individuals would be able to purchase a boxed and bagged set combo while 275 individuals would be acquiring a boxed set only.  It’s understandable that the Collector’s Club would want to be able to satisfy everyone who attends the convention and expects to be able to acquire a convention set.  However, unless the vast majority of the Club’s membership is attending the convention, it means that a lot of Joe fans are going to miss out on the opportunity of owning a set of truly iconic (and demanded) classic Joe characters.  As an organization, you would think that the Collector’s Club would want to keep the majority of its members happy and wanting to renew year after year.  After all, one of the definitions of a Club is:

an organization that offers its subscribers certain benefits, as discounts, bonuses, or interest, in return for regular purchases or payments: a book club; a record club; a Christmas club.

 

It’s no secret that 2012 has seen a seemingly endless string of debacles for the Collector’s Club.  Poor communication of the ever-delayed Figure Subscription Service including a lack of FIRM details on figure price, enrollment period, and purchase availability to non-subscribers started the year off.  However, the icing on the cake was the extremely reluctant reveal that the Club’s member database was hacked due to a lack of basic level security and that member credit card information was stolen.   (The club still have only begrudgingly acknowledged any responsibility in this situation.)  Lastly, there’s the Club’s implementation of the “Golden Ticket” program in which the Collector’s Club now charges members an additional charge for something they used to do for free.  Combined with the seemingly condescending attitude conveyed by the senior management of the organization it presents an interesting dilemma for Club members: what do I REALLY get out of my membership?

 

Despite what the pundits and the election year politicos tell us, most Americans are facing tough economic times with increased costs on everything from utilities to food to fuel.  As such, many people I know have begun to rethink their fiscal priorities and have begun cutting back on things like cable, eating out, etc.  When faced with those choices, people are sitting down and asking themselves “What do I really get from this?”  If the overall experience is positive, then the purchase is maintained but, if the experience is anything less and is seen as non-essential then people start to wonder– do I really  need this?

 

Currently, the only benefit of Club membership seems to be in the form of “discounted” pricing on Club items such as Joe Con sets.  (I say “discounted” because non-members are REQUIRED to buy a membership in order to purchase the item– therefore artificially inflating the Club’s numbers.)  The Club will say that the newsletter is a perk– but quite honestly the internet has rendered such notions as printed newsletters nearly obsolete.  Without dynamic exclusive content such as the dio-stories created by Justin Bell and the occasional article, the document is nothing more than a glossy ad with outdated pictures and fan fic level content.  Rather than allow both members and non-members the ability to purchase Club products with members receiving a discount for their annual dues, the Club requires EVERYONE to be a member.  As evidenced on many non-Joe action figure boards, this caveat has proven to be a deal-breaker for a majority of individuals who were interested in purchasing SOME of the figures featured in the Figure Subscription Service but who don’t consider themselves full-time Joe fans.

 

So, at the end of the day, as someone who hasn’t attended a Joe Con in several years now, I find myself asking the question: If I don’t go to the convention, what do I REALLY get out of my membership besides a $40+ dollar “free renewal” figure?  This is followed by another question: Is it really worth the annual $44 for what I get out of it?  Right now, the answer isn’t encouraging for the folks at Cattle Baron Drive and I have to ask myself– are others finding themselves walking down the same logical path?

JoeCon 2012: At last, Horrorshow

Ladies & gentlemen, allow me to present Stepan Drukersky aka HORRORSHOW!

horrorshow

Comic Pack #7 marks the only time that Horrorshow has ever been released in figure form!  I’m a HUGE o-ring fan but even I have to admit that the Club really did save the best for last with this figure.  Now, I’m not 100% certain but I’m seeing what appear to be parts from everyone from Shadow Tracker to the Resolute Cobra Commander when I look at this image and it works!  Without a massive amount of new parts, there really is no other way to bring Horrorshow to life in Gen 3 form that I could see.  Great new headsculpt and a fairly on-model update to one of my favorite classic Joe characters.

He is most definitely NOT “UGLY!!”  (Gung-Ho might still feel he’s a dumb Russian bear, but that’s another story.)

horrorshow-comic

Let’s be honest– even with the (in my opinion) lackluster Iron Grenadiers this set is still made of pure WIN!

For more information on registration and convention details, visit the 2012 Joe Con page!

Joecon 2012: At last, General Iron Bear

The second-to-last convention figure has been revealed– the all-new General Iron Bear!

general-iron-bear

A brand-new character and apparently the subject of Operation Bear Trap, the good comrade general makes some decent use of the torso of the Arctic Trooper Snake Eyes figure from the 25th Anniversary collection.   The head sculpt appears to be all new and we have what appears to be a set of Resolute legs and Sgt. Slaughter’s baton.  Overall, it’s not a bad parts combo but the good general has a VERY young-looking face which very well could make him the Doogie Hauser of the former Soviet army.  Compared to Brekhov and the others, he looks more like a cadet than a full on general.  Perhaps “Iron Bear” is the English translation for “Baby Face”?   I’m not entirely sold on the code name choice which seems a bit mundane but the overall aesthetic isn’t horrible.  I still find it far easier to be excited for this new character than I do for the Iron Grenadiers in the set.

Only Horrorshow remains to be seen now.  (C’mon Fun Pub… don’t screw this one up!)

For more information about the 2012 Collector’s Convention, visit GIJoeCon.com!

JoeCon 2012: Convention brochure is now online

banner

Amidst a flurry of activity over the 2012 Convention set reveals, the Collector’s Club has posted the official convention brochure online.

Details from the brochure of interest are:

  • The Oktober Guard team will consist of Daina, Colonel Brehov, Shrage, Stormavik and the yet-to-be revealed Horrorshow and General Iron Bear.
  • The American Heroes package (attending 1:18 set) will be $345 for members and $405 for non- members.  (This effectively makes all non-members into members.  Go fig…)  Bagged sets are $210 and require the purchase of a convention set.
  • The Homefront Heroes package (non-attending 1:18 set) is the same as the American Heroes package.
  • The controversial “Golden Ticket” concept is back again this year– allowing attendees who pay an extra premium the ability to pick up items early and three times the normal purchase quantities  on exclusives.  75 will be available in 1:18 format and 25 for 1:6 format.  The cost of the “Golden Ticket” is an additional $300 on top of the convention admission price.
  • Quantities of the Operation Bear Trap set are 600 produced boxed sets and 325 bagged sets for both attendees and non-attendees.
  • A special screening of G.I. Joe: Retaliation will be available for $29.  Attendees will receive a full-size movie poster from Paramount Pictures.

The entire convention brochure is available here in PDF format.

Normally I’d keep this posting objective but it’s time to step on my soap box regarding the “Golden Ticket” concept.  I wasn’t surprised last year when the ticket concept debuted last year as it seemed an EASY way for the Collector’s Club to milk out additional revenue while providing very little in terms of additional produced items.  However, $300 for something that allows to purchase more items at ever-increasing Collector’s Club prices seems like a blatant cash grab.  Sure, no one is forcing those individuals to pay for the “Golden Ticket” but the very concept really hits home the fact that the Collector’s Club is never and has never really been a true club “of the fans, by the fans.”  It’s a business– one that has a history of baffling decisions that almost seems to alienate as much of the membership as it embraces.

We’ve long suspected that the 1:18 sales bankroll the 1:6 product for the club and the numbers on the “Golden Ticket” and the convention sets bring that point home.  I’ve no doubt that the Collector’s Club will sell all 75 of the “Golden Tickets” and that most of the sets purchased from those ticket holders will end up on Ebay at a vastly inflated rate.  That’s the real rub of the whole situation– the Club is catering more and more to the top tier of its membership with the deeper pockets than it is the vast majority of its members.  Years ago, when I was working in retail our store had the then “gotta have it” Christmas item: the Furby.  Rather than letting a few customers buy out our ENTIRE inventory, our store manager set a store limit: 2 per customer.  The idea was to make as many of our customers happy as possible rather than catering to just our top-tier folks.   In light of ALL of the mishaps that the Club has had in just 2012 alone including missed deadlines on the Figure Subscription Service, late newsletters, and the credit card hack that affect MANY of its members (including this admin) I find it hard to see how the Club is really doing anything in try to keep the vast majority of its membership happy.  Helping items to sell out faster to fewer individuals isn’t going to help win over any of the disgruntled members– even if those individuals are paying nearly convention-set prices for the privilege of spending more.

Bad form, Master Collector.  Bad form.

Joecon 2012: Voltar revealed!

Heeeeeere’s Voltar:

voltar

Wow– didn’t see this one coming at all.  Destro’s General was only ever given ONE figure in the classic ARAH era and that was back in 1988!  This version works– in a way that the IG’s weren’t for me.  Featuring a good mix of existing and new tooling this is pretty darned fantastic update to a fairly obscure ARAH-era character.  (Who’d have thought the Accelerator Suits would see some new use?)  Seriously– from the colors to the parts chosen, this is about the best possible parts combo for the character outside of a 100% newly tooled figure.

It just makes you wonder if someone is going to start producing 1:18 vultures to go with him.

voltar-original

Well played, Collector’s Club.  Well played.  Just two more figures to be revealed!

For more information about the 2012 Collector’s Convention, visit GIJoeCon.com!

JoeCon: Iron Grenadier Heavy Trooper and Elite Trooper revealed

Two reveals in two days from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club from their 2012 1:18 convention set.

First up, we now have details regarding the “official storyline” of the set- now dubbed Operation Bear Trap:

“By popular demand, the 2012 convention set stories and enemy factions are revealed…

OKTOBER GUARD Box Set: The 1990s brought us many captivating Cold War stories but this one was kept Top Secret for over two decades! Recently declassified documents revealed the original Oktober Guard (G.I. Joe’s Russian and Warsaw Pact equivalent) team’s “Special Mission” in Siberia to rescue their captured General from the ruthless Iron Grenadiers in OPERATION: BEAR TRAP!”

Secondly, we have our first look at the two “troop builders” in the set- the Iron Grenadier Elite and Iron Grenadier Heavy troopers:

ig-elite   ig-heavy

The MARS troopers are based on a cancelled Iron Grendier pack showcased a year ago and borrow heavily from the Resolute pool of available molds.  Visually, it’s an interesting take on the Laird Destro’s personal army with the long coats and apparent cold weather gear.  However, from a play standpoint, the IG Heavy Trooper is going to be a virtual statue from the waist down as was the case with the Resolute Destro.  The IG’s are a nice addition to any collection but I find myself FAR more excited about the Oktober Guard than I am for these guys.

Lastly, GeneralsJoes.com is reporting that Destro will NOT be making an appearance in this year’s set.

For more information about the 2012 Collector’s Convention, visit GIJoeCon.com!

Joecon 2012: Brekhov revealed!

Even with Botcon in full swing, the Collector’s Club manages to drop a surprise on Joe fans today.

brekhov

Feast your eyes on Colonel Ivan Nikolevich Brekhov, commander of the Oktober Guard and hero of the USSR!  The good colonel has been without a new figure since G.I. Joe comic pack #6 and the club seems to rely heavily on the Rise of Cobra Destro figure to bring him to life.  Of all of the figures shown thus far, this one seems to be the most “off model” and yet still manages to capture the essence of the plucky Soviet soldier.  I don’t think I can recall ever seeing the good Colonel with his collar fastened and the tie is at odds with his often “rumpled” appearance.  Brekhov always struck me as a soldier who cared more about results than a spit-and-polish appearance.  Still, it’s good to see him released in updated plastic form.

brekhov-comic

I wonder what his beloved aunt Ludmilla thinks of this?

With three down in terms of reveals, can Stormavik and Horrorshow be far behind?  Will Dragonsky make an appearance?

Keep your eyes on the 3 3/4″ Set Previews Page for more details!