G.I. Joe Convention 2014: FSS 3.0 Line-Up Announced

In recent years the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club roundtable panel has become one of the most anticipated G.I. Joe Convention events.  The reason for this has been the announcement of the year’s forthcoming Figure Subscription Service line-up.  At a time when the G.I. Joe brand is essentially absent from retail shelves, this “members only” service is the only avenue for many collectors to acquire new G.I. Joe figures.

This year JBL was unable to attend the G.I. Joe Convention in Dallas but fortunately good friend of the site Justin Bell of GeneralsJoes.com was on hand and live-tweeted the entire panel.  I’m mirroring his images below with some thoughts on each character in the announced line-up.

First off, here’s the announced line-up for FSS 3.0:

  • Alpine v2
  • Big Ben
  • Bombstrike
  • Crimson Guard Immortal
  • Hit & Run
  • Muskrat
  • Night Creeper Leader
  • Psyche-Out
  • Repeater (original colors)
  • Slice
  • Spearhead (& Max)
  • Vypra

It’s a decent line-up that filled with characters that are sure to get fans excited.  Granted, one quarter of the series will consist of repaints from the Nocturnal Fire 2013 convention set but that set had some of the best convention figures produced yet.  Plus, given the oft-repeated mantra of how expensive everything is for the GIJCC, this level of cost-saving makes some logical sense.  So, let’s break down the figures and some possible construction options.

Alpine v2:

GIJCC FSS 3.0 Alpine v2


Dipping back into the well of Valor vs. Venom, Alpine v2 will be seeing new life in the FSS.  Construction for this one is a no-brainer; given the shorts and short sleeves this will most likely be built on a G.I. Joe Retaliation Kwinn body with the hard-to-find 25th Anniversary Alpine head plopped on top.  It’s a relatively easy parts combination that requires next to no new tooling– although I’m surprised the Club went with the v2 “McDonald’s color scheme” as opposed to the Tiger Force Alpine that followed a few waves later.

Big Ben:

G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Big Ben


Big Ben is one of those Joes that came after “my era” of G.I. Joe.  He’s one of the cast who was featured more in the DiC episodes and so slipped complete beyond my notice.  However, he’s got a basic enough uniform that the club should be able to replicate his body design with ease, possibly topping it off with the 25th Anniversary Rock-n-Roll ammunition belts.  It was confirmed at the panel that he will be getting a new head sculpt as seen in the sketches in the slide.


G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Bombstrike


I’ve made no secret of my love for the new character that were introduced in the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra era and Bombstrike is no exception!  Part of the “Stahl Family” storyline, she’s a welcome addition to my Joe collection!  For constructions I’d be surprised if the lower body wasn’t based on the Rise of Cobra Cover Girl.  The upper torso will either have to be be newly-tooled or the design altered as no female t-shirt torso exists.  I could, however, see the GIJCC using the Renegades Scarlett body as well.  A SOLID addition to the line-up!

Crimson Guard Immortal:

G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Crimson Guard Immortal


Okay, this is one that I didn’t see coming in any way but that’s not a bad thing!  For this, I’d almost expect the Club to utilize the base body of the recent Retaliation Crimson Guard.  For the padded chest armor, it all depends on how closely the Club wants to adhere to the original design as a myriad of body armor choices exist.  While I have never had particularly strong feelings about the Crimson Guard Immortal this is an interesting entry in the line-up!

Hit & Run:

G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Hit & Run


Justin would kill me for saying this but I’ve never been a huge fan of Hit & Run.  I don’t dislike him but I’ve never really had any strong attachment to him.  However, a lot of fans do and last year’s Nocturnal Fire version seems to have fallen short with many of them.  So, at risk of duplicating the 2009 25th Anniversary Hit & Run the GIJCC is diving in with another attempt replicate the v1 design– this time based on the Concept Case version that was shown at Joe Con a few years ago.  I have to admit, if he’s more poseable than the 25th version I’ll be quite pleased– even though it means I’ll now have 3 different generation 3 versions of Hit & Run and still not one functional version of Gung-Ho!


G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3.0 Muskrat


YES!  I’ve been a fan of the original Muskrat for years now and last year’s Nocturnal Fire version was a fantastic update!  For this figure I pretty much a straight repaint of the 2013 Joe Con version but it looks like his boogie board will be added to the figure’s kit.  Usually repaints like the FSS Tiger Force Shipwreck do nothing for me but in this case I’m very much looking forward to a more classic color scheme on Muskrat.

Night Creeper Leader:

FSS 3.0 Night Creeper Leader preview

There’s a quote from the TV series Firefly regarding mercenary Jayne Cobb’s bright orange stocking cap that applies here:

“A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”

Yep, that’s exactly how I feel about the bright orange tiger-striped  ’93 Night Creeper Leader shown above.  There’s something about a blind-folded martial artist in that outfit that is just visually striking!  How can you go wrong with that color palate?  (It’s certainly better than the “Minnesota Vikings” ’94 version.)  I can’t wait to get this version because, well, he’s Grrr-EAT!  (Yes, I went there.)


G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Psyche-Out


Last year’s Noctural Fire convention set featured a stellar roster of both characters and figures but in the opinion of this Joe fan Psyche-Out was one of the best of the bunch.  The GIJCC managed to recreate a vintage character in a plausibly updated fashion and took a character whose first version could be viewed as “kind of doofy” and made him a star of the set.  I expect this figure to be a straight repaint of the 2013 convention version with no real changes to the character’s accessories.


G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Repeater

For many fans, Repeater was one of the star’s of the 2013 Nocturnal Fire set!  The updated convention version of the character was based on the G.I. Joe Retaliation Ultimate Roadblock body and added significant height and girth to the figure when compared to the original 1988 version.  As with many of the Nocturnal Fire pieces, I don’t expect the Club to do anything new other than to re-release the Joe Con version with a more vintage color scheme.


G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Slice

Well, it was bound to happen as the first FSS contained Dice.  These two go together like peanut butter & chocolate or Batman and Robin.  A very simple recipe for this figure exists, especially given the original Dice’s color scheme.  The club has merely to take the Dollar General Storm Shadow figure and mold in primarily in red with only a black paint application.  It’s a very simple recipe when the Dice mask has been previously tooled and released for years now.  (It was initially released with the Temple Guardian Snake Eyes figure.)

Spearhead (& Max):

G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Spearhead

I reviewed the vintage Spearhead (& Max) figure years ago and was very excited to get an updated Night Force version of him last year as part of the Nocturnal Fire set.  In fact, he was one of my favorite pieces in the entire set!  As with the other Nocturnal Fire alumni, I expect a straight repaint with no real changes to the figure or the figure’s accessories.  Yes, it’s a cost-saving step for the Club but anymore that is to be expected.


G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS 3 Vypra

The original Vypra was a straight repaint of Jinx in darker colors– so I think it’s a safe best to assume that we’ll see the same here.  The most logical choice would be to use the body from the SDCC Jinx as it most directly resembles the vintage figure.  Perhaps we’ll see the kit from the FSS version of Jinx used again here?

So there you have it– one fan’s take on both the roster and the parts construction for the forthcoming G.I. Joe Collector’s Club FSS 3.0!  As of now I’ve not seen any details on when the sign-up period would begin.  Given the fact that no prototypes (digital or otherwise) were shown it’s probably quite likely that the FSS sign-up won’t be for a few more months with the service to start shipping in late Fall 2014.

One thing to note– apparently the Club is aware of some of the dissatisfaction that subscribers had with the “13th Figure” this year.

A big thanks to Justin Bell of GeneralsJoes.com for live-tweeting the entire panel yesterday!

So, what are your thoughts?  Are you in for FSS 3.0?  Is this an easy pass?  Feel free to leave your comments below or over at the discussion thread in the JBL forums!

G.I. Joe Convention 2014: Night Force Crazy Legs Revealed!

G.I. Joe Convention Night Force Crazy Legs


I was hoping that Crazy Legs would make an appearance at G.I. Joe Convention 2014. In fact, I was hoping he’d be announced as part of FSS 3.0 which would most certainly be a terrific reason to sign-up for another go-round of the Club’s Figure Subscription Service.  After all, last year’s Nocturnal Fire roster was nearly complete save for Lightfoot, Crazy Legs, and Sneak Peek.  (Night Force Falcon came via the FSS.)

I never imagined he’d be this year’s parachute figure.

With a limited run of 1,000 pieces and a Golden Ticket limit of 3 per person, I have the feeling that this is going to be THE hard-to-get figure from this year’s Con.  For those of you who are in attendance, be certain to snag one.  For the rest of us who can’t attend this year– good luck in tracking one down for less than the cost of a mortgage payment.

Well played, GIJCC.  Well played…

2013 JoeCon: The final summary of the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention has been posted!

2013 Joe Con

The 2013 G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention has come and gone and the summary of this year’s JoeCon has been posted.

I’ve updated the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention page with the latest con summary including links to all of the previously posted content as well as a final wrap-up of all things that I observed in Indy.  It’s not a complete record of EVERYTHING– simply because that wouldn’t have been possible.  For example, I missed out on the What’s on Joe Mind taping because of a call from Madmac41 that the Concept Vault figures had been put on display.  So, any omissions are not intentional slights– but rather a reflection of the fact that one person can only be in one place at a time.

Also, due to some registration wackiness, my convention set will be arriving when the Homefront Heroes sets ship.  However, I’ve got some quick images up and reviews of the souvenir items will begin THIS WEEK!  (Lady Jaye is most like going up first.)

It was a great overall experience to reconnect with so many friends I’ve not seen in years.

Anyway, check out the 2013 JoeCon Summary directly or hit up the G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention Index to peruse previous years!

2013 JoeCon: Hasbro panel detail summary

If you’ve been you’ve been following the JoeCon coverage here at JBL over the past few days– thank you!  It’s been several years since I’ve been both at a con and an active part of the Joe community and there was some personal apprehension about coming back to this event after being away for nearly 4 years.  However, I can honestly say that it’s good to be back in action again.

Earlier today, I posted live coverage of the Hasbro panel on Twitter.  What follows here is a more detailed summary of the information that was presented earlier.

Hasbro had a very small presence at JoeCon this year.  Consisting solely of Derryl DePriest and John Warden and a single display case, fan weren’t quite sure what to expect.  In fact, the Dynamic Duo from Pawtucket opened their presentation by saying that they were showing the same slide show that was used at Toy Fair and that nothing new would be presented.  However, some good information came out of their discussion.

In terms of G.I. Joe Retaliation, the highly anticipated wave 3 will be available later this year– and it’s looking like late July/early August.  The order has been sent to the factories in China and production has begun.  Figures like Kwinn, Data Viper, Ultimate Duke, Ultimate Roadblock, and Ultimate Flint will be hitting stores with a great deal of fan and retailer anticipation.  During this part of the discussion, John Warden broke down some interesting facts for the wave.

Continue reading

2013 JoeCon: The rest of the custom figures on display!

I promised yesterday that I’d go back and take pictures of the remaining custom figures on display at JoeCon.  Thankfully, there was enough of a break in the schedule today that I was able to fulfill that particular promise.  Again, the custom work by these folks is not to be underestimated!  Just some truly brilliant and exciting pieces shown here in Indianapolis.

G.I. Joe customizers– my hat goes off to you all!

2013 JoeCon: Collector’s Club Roundtable and FSS 2 details

The main events of JoeCon 2013 are winding down with today’s G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Round Table meeting.  As usual, Lanny, Brian, David, and Pete broke down the design work that went into this year’s convention sets– including all of the various elements that made up the first-ever Kre-O exclusives.  However, that’s not all that was discussed.

David Lane broke down the roster for the forthcoming Figure Subscription Service round 2.  Sign-up should start sometime in April and run until early May– encompassing “two pay periods” but for less than 30 days.  As far as the roster is concerned, David stated that the selections were based on the feedback received in the convention surveys; the more requested a figure, the better the likelihood it will receive consideration.  When asked about Pythona and other Sunbow characters, the answer came back that they have appeared in the survey results but never in large enough numbers to warrant inclusion.  (Somehow, Sure Fire gained enough of a following, however.)

The 2013 roster includes:

  • Widescope
  • Dragonsky
  • Night Force Falcon (with new equipment)
  • Bombadier (UK)
  • Tiger Force Tripwire (Brazil)
  • Tiger Force Shipwreck (Brazil)
  • Admiral Keel Haul
  • Tool Booth
  • Cesspool
  • Skullbuster
  • Cobra Desert Scorpion
  • Big Bear

The next FSS could ship as soon as August 2013, leaving fans with only a one month gap between FSS 1 and 2.

Other tidbits from the panel include the goal of opening con registration six months before the event and having a more regular schedule for the event itself. Working with Kre-O figures proved to be a brand new challenge and may or may not happen again.  Due to logistical issues with the height of the parachute drop, the paratrooper figure was changed to a Kreon to prove more practical at a lower height.  Some of the Night Force convention figures also feature a glow-in-the-dark series of paint apps but not all.

Here are the slides from the presentation which include a few mock-ups of figures from FSS.  These are merely digital creations at this time and are NOT physical prototypes.

2013 JoeCon: Hasbro’s concept case v2

This year at JoeCon many fans seemed disappointed that Hasbro didn’t have more to showcase in terms of new product.  During the Hasbro panel, it was announced that there was nothing new to see due to the six month delay of the release of G.I. Joe Retaliation.  So, attendees steeled themselves and found other news to be excited about.

I was sitting in the “What’s On Joe Mind” panel when my cell phone rang.  It was Madmac41 telling me to get my keester down to the dealer’s room and bring my camera.  So, I sauntered down, spotted him, and then dropped to my knees in awe.  (Literally.)  There, in the midst of the Hasbro case were new “concept case” figures and right smack dab in the middle of them was the greatest Marine to ever grace the team’s roster: GUNG-HO!  (Suck it, Leatherneck.)  Seriously– completely unannounced and unexpected.

There’s no guarantee that these figures will get made but are merely presented as means of gauging interest.  So, this is one of the few times that I’ll ask anything of the fandom– if you have the opportunity, drop the name GUNG-HO at every opportunity.  After all, he was one of the core characters in the Sunbow series as well as Larry Hama’s Marvel run.

With no further comments, here are the 2013 Concept Case figures:

JoeCon 2013: G.I. Joe dioramas galore

In a previous JoeCon post I gushed for a bit over the custom G.I. Joe figures on display at the show.  If you thought the gushing was over, think again as this post covers one of my other favorite things here– the diorama displays.

This year at JoeCon there was no big Hasbro G.I. Joe display— no towering Cobra Mountain or bridge swarming with red ninjas.  However, that doesn’t mean that dioramas were in short supply.  Leave it to the G.I. Joe fans to step up once more and produce an impressive array of FAN-GENERATED dioramas that showcase just how much creativity exists in our fan community.

I won’t go into details over all of them but there were two displays that stand out in my mind even several hours later.  The first was the Kre-O USS Flagg display.  That’s right– someone produced a building block version of the Joe aircraft carrier– complete with fan designed jets and slew of Cobra troops.  It was a BEAUTIFUL piece that makes me wish that the Kre-O takes off to such an extent that a real set of this would be possible at retail.  Hey, a guy can dream, right?

The second stand-out piece was an AMAZING G.I. Joe vs. Cobra battle atop multiple steam punk vessels floating over a sea of clouds.  No, I’ve not been hitting the rum at this late hour– there was a battle among the clouds that was being waged a veritable “who’s who” of Joe characters– all in steam punk form.  This setup has to be seen to be truly appreciated for the work of art that it is.  Trust me when I say that I’ll be going back a few more times just to marvel at the incredible versions of Destro, the Baroness, Beach Head, and Cobra Commander that adorn this particular display.  (Oh yeah, and the rotors actually WORK!)

So, without further adieu (because I need sleep at this late/early hour), the pictures:

JoeCon 2013: Custom figures, part 1

One of my favorite parts of any JoeCon is the display of custom figures up for judging.  I’m not a customizer myself.  (Just a hack writer who likes to shoot pics of figures and offer opinions under the guise of a “review.”)  However, I am in awe of the creativity and inventiveness of the G. I. Joe fan community when it comes to customs.  Whether it be a simple repaint or a complete transformation of one figure into another, the individuals that showcase their talents here deserve ever ounce of recognition that the community can give them.

So, you’re sitting there saying “enough gushing– GET ON WITH IT!” I couldn’t agree more so below are most of the custom figures that were on display on Friday.  I was shooting these as judging was happening and could only get half so look for another update tomorrow.