G.I. Joe Collector’s Club FSS Grand Slam Review

G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS Grand Slam

The final figure in the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club FSS Grand Slam is here!

Always a mystery until the very end, the FSS bonus figure this year definitely generated a great deal of discussion.  Shipping just one month after Bombardier, the original version of Grand Slam was seen by some as a great addition to their collections and by others as a “lazy repaint” of a figure subscribers had received just the month before.  For the final review of FSS 2.0, Chris Chung of JoeSightings.com and I put Grand Slam “under the lens” and ask the question: “Is he worth owning?”

Check out the review in the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Review Index!


G.I. Joe Collector’s Club FSS 2.0 Final Shipment & 13th Figure

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.)

G.I. Joe Collector's Club FSS Grand Slam


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?

Figure subscription service 2

New G.I. Joe carded artwork poster available from 3DJoes.com!

3DJoes.com 1982 - 1985 card art poster project.

3DJoes.com 1982 – 1985 card art poster project.

Here at JBL, we’re suckers for good G.I. Joe artwork and the website 3DJoes.com.  So, imagine the utter glee that was experienced by one admin in particular when the following announcement went up on 3DJoes regarding their recent carded artwork poster project!

Carded 3DJoes” posters are here!

The first “Carded 3DJoes” poster is here! It features every single carded figure from 1982-1985. That’s 49 unforgettable Joes and Cobras on one 24″x36″ poster!Paper details: All 3DJoes posters are printed on 65 lb. sterling premium gloss paper stock. According to my printer, 65 pound paper is the thickest you can use and still roll them without creasing or damaging. It wont easily crease, pinch, or wrinkle. These posters are definitely frame worthy, but the paper is thick enough that if you just want to tack them up, that will work too.

Printing details: We use a four color printing process (CMYK), not digital. Four color prints are much higher quality than digital laser prints. To see behind the scenes at the printer, check out my “3DJoes of the 80s” album on Facebook.

Cost: All 3DJoes posters are an even $20 a piece, plus an estimated $9 for shipping. Comic/Collectibles dealers: please contact me for bulk purchase discounts. Orders of 20 or more are half off!

Why: Proceeds will help pay the $80/month that I’m paying to Arqball for their pro subscription. More info on that here: Pricing » Arqball Spin Blog  Fan response has been great and visitors enjoyed 47,000 spins last month, so hopefully I’ll sell plenty of posters!

Wow!  1982 – 1985 were considered by many to be the peak years of the original A Real American Hero toy line.  These were the years that introduced fans to most of the line’s core characters from Snake Eyes to Cobra Commander to Firefly to Shipwreck to the Dreadnoks!  49 nine of your favorite characters stunningly reproduced on heavy card stock in a gorgeous 24 x 36 image?  This promotion already had me at “poster” but the fact that this is also helping to offset site maintenance costs for 3DJoes.com just makes it a complete no-brainer!Seriously– we’re moving into third quarter now and that means holiday shopping has begun.  (Or, at least, you might want to think about getting started.)  What better gift for the Joe fan in your life than one of these posters hanging proudly on the wall of their office/den/Joe room!

Check out the “Carded Joes 82 – 85” page over at 3DJoes.com for ordering information!

No love for Grand Slam? One fan’s rant…

G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary Grand Slam

25th Anniversary Grand Slam

Let me just preface this by saying that I cannot take credit for any of what follows.  Posted on RTM’s ToyBuzz forum earlier today by “Smitty”, the following article takes a humorous look at one fan’s frustration with the seeming anonymity of his favorite character: Specialist James J. Barney – code name: Grand Slam.

Due to the “temporary” nature of posts over at RTM, I’ve decided to re-post the text here.  Oh, and if you’re reading this Smitty– I too am a fan of Grand Slam!  (I’ve included some links to Grand Slam reviews at the end.)

Rant on, Smitty… Rant on.

It is with pride, and just a bit of anger that I declare myself part of an underground movement.

Though I cannot reveal our names or membership size, I can tell you we call ourselves:
That is, Friends of ‘Ol Grand Slam.

Seriously, Grand Slam is easily the most obscure and under-utilized character of the first ten years of G.I. Joe: ARAH. And I have always had a thing for the underdog, the character that didn’t get much screen time. As a kid, I always wanted to know about the background characters.

Yeah, Batman is cool, but what would he be without Commissioner Gordon or Alfred to play off of?
Sure, we know Sherlock Holmes is the man, but where is he without Dr. Watson?
Mr. Bond? Where are you without Q?
Would Jack Lord have had a catch-phrase without Danny?
Who will be Javert to your Jean Valjean?
Ok. Sorry for the Les Mis reference.

What I’m getting at is that the background/support/3rd-string characters make up the fabric of any corporate culture, and GI Joe is no different.

So I’m going to get to the bottom of it by going straight to the horse’s mouth, to the source of all things Joe. Yes, an exclusive interview with the one, the only, the M*A*S*H* actor, Larry Hama. Yeah, the guy that put the screws to Major Frank Burns.

But before that, I want to adequately provide a chronicle of Grand Slam’s under-use, as it were; I will bring light to the vast right-wing conspiracy against him. A conspiracy that has provided many slights and abuses to our friend, James J. Barney of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Continue reading