When the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club unveiled their 2012 convention set “Operation Bear Trap” many fans asked one question: “Where’s Dragonsky?” After all, the stalwart Russian engineer and flamethrower specialist had been with the team from their second appearance in Yearbook #2 all the way to the end of the classic Marvel Run. Aside from Daina, he was the longest running member of the team. To complete the Oktober Guard Dragonsky was essential!
Thankfully, at the 2013 Joe Con in Indy, the GIJCC announced Dragonsky as part of the second Figure Subscription Service. All who signed up for the premium batch of 12 announced figures would receive him.
Flash forward nearly a year later and Dragonsky has finally arrived as part of the final shipment in the series. Was this Russian pyrotechnic expert worth the long wait? Check out the opinions of two long-time Joe fans in the review!
I was waiting my final FSS shipment from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club to arrive before posting this but apparently today was not the day! The final delivery which features Oktober Guard members Dragonsky and Big Bear has started to arrive in mailboxes across the U.S. Given that these two figures were the last two in the 12 figure stated roster there’s no outcy over “spoiling the surprise” on these.
This shipment did contain the “13th bonus figure” which was touted as an incentive to sign up for the Figure Subscription Service last year– and that figure is Grand Slam— in his original Heavy Artillery Laser uniform. (I’ve included a borrowed photo below.)
I have to admit– I’m a bit torn over how I feel about this figure. On one hand, I’m a HUGE fan of the original 1982 roster as that was when I first started collecting G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Grand Slam was the first casualty of my then-new puppy who decided to chew the living daylights out of him one evening. As such the red pads version of the character has always been a bit of a tragic figure for me.
On the other hand, we just received Bombardier in that last shipment and he was a straight-up repaint of the original 25th Anniversary Flash. The GIJCC version of Grand Slam marks the fourth time that this character has been released in the “modern era” of G.I. Joe and three of those times will have been as a straight repaint- right down to the head sculpt. As incentives go, it’s pretty lackluster. Sure, it’s a great cost-saving method for the Collector’s Club but it’s not quite up to the “premium figure standards” that the FSS was touted as having. It kind of takes the wind out of a collector’s sails to realize that two $30+ figures in one shipment are mostly straight repaints of figures from earlier waves.
Right now, the Joe fandom is in a pretty bad way. The highly anticipated 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe announcement at Toy Fair turned out to be the “32nd Anniversary of A Real American Hero” with a bunch of repaints and concept case figures. The most-recent G.I. Joe design team at Hasbro has been utterly dismantled and the members dispersed to other brands. It’s been revealed that Hasbro will NOT have an official presence at the 2014 G.I. Joe Collector’s Convention. What should have been a banner year for the brand is turning out to be anything but… and the fandom is seemingly more polarized than I’ve seen it in a while.
Still, I’m kind of happy to see Grand Slam get some attention– if only for my own nostalgia. Do I think that this was the way to go with him? Absolutely not– a new/different head would have gone a long way with winning over folks who don’t necessarily feel that they’re getting their money’s worth from this. From a marketing standpoint, the final figure in a subscription should be one of the strongest. It’s the last impression before members are asked to subscribe for the subsequent year and it should really pull out all of the stops. Sadly, someone at the Club thought that this was the way to go and as a result poor ole James J. Barney is getting the brunt of it.
Knock on wood my shipment arrives tomorrow. Expect reviews to follow in the next week here at JBL. In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts on this below. Was this really a worthy choice for the 13th slot?
With a whirlwind of updates in the past 24 hours, the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club has announced that sign-up for the Figure Subscription Service 2.0 is now LIVE!!! You can subscribe for the next 13 figures from now through May 22, 2013!
It all started with this image that was posted on the GIJCC Facebook page yesterday afternoon:
This image confirmed the line-up that was revealed at the 2013 GIJCC Roundtable at Joe Con this year. To recap, this was the roster that was revealed:
Night Force Falcon (with new equipment)
Tiger Force Tripwire (Brazil)
Tiger Force Shipwreck (Brazil)
Admiral Keel Haul
Cobra Desert Scorpion
At that meeting just a few mock-up images were shown as Lanny confirmed he’d only just been able to put them together before leaving for Indy. Now, the Club has unveiled FOUR preview images: Skullbuster, Night Force Falcon, Dragonsky, and Tiger Force Airtight!
Here’s the official word on FSS 2.0 directly from the Club’s website:
After the fantastic success of FSS 1.0, the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club now brings you version 2.0! The FSS is only available to active club members. This service is an optional feature and is not included in the cost of your annual GIJCC membership.The FSS 2.0 subscription set will consist of twelve different carded 3 3/4″ figures. You will receive six shipments starting in approximately September/October of two figures each month. Figures will be shipped in a surprise sequence (figure pairs will be the same for everyone each month). It will be a surprise each month as to which figure pair you receive! Your last shipment (6th shipment) will include your FREE mystery carded 13th figure! The limited edition GIJCC Figure Subscription Service contains a variety of fan requested characters from all eras of the 3 3/4-inch G.I. Joe A Real American Hero collection. The assortment includes 25th Anniversary style figures of characters from the classic 80’s, 90’s, new-sculpt, foreign editions, and unreleased 25th Anniversary characters as well.
So there you have it! The roster, a few teaser images, and the link to sign-up for FSS 2.0! I have to admit, the first one made a believer out of me. Yes, I’m not happy about the price of the figures or the subscription at all but then again, like a lot of Joe fans, I’m a man of limited means. However, for the most part the quality and character selection of the first series has been very good and it’s now to the point that I eagerly anticipate the arrival of the brown cardboard box from the GIJCC each month. So it’s a safe bet to say that this particular Joe addict is in for his next 13 figures from the GIJCC– even if my credit card cries a little.
For those of you on the fence, you’ve got until the 22nd. Plus, JBL will begin reviewing all of the figures from FSS round 1 starting NEXT WEEK!
Not much in the way of news out of the Collector’s Club Roundtable held yesterday afternoon save for one key piece: a SECOND Figure Subscription Service has been announced. Only four figures so far have been revealed but those are:
Dragonsky (necessary to complete your Yearbook #2 team)
Night Force Falcon
Big Bear (another Oktober Guard!)
Still no word as to when the FIRST round of Figure Subscription Service will launch as the club is still working “bugs out of the system.”
My only comments are: So THAT’S where Dragonsky’s gone to!