Coil Con V is September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis!

Coil Con V

It’s that time of year again– Coil Con V is happening in just over a week!

Nothing says “end of summer” like Coil Con, the fan-run convention that brings together G.I. Joe collectors from across the Midwest!  This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever as the event has outgrown its previous venue in Kokomo, IN (at ever-amazing Kokomo Toys) and instead takes over the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel in Indy!

In addition to a toy drive to benefit the Child Life initiative at the Indianapolis Children’s Hospital, this year’s event will feature a host of vendors, the door prize/raffle table, and the always exciting travelling exhibit of  Plus, if you’ve not already seen it, check out this preview of Shrike, this year’s exclusive Coil Con figure!  (JBL received permission to mirror the images below.)  He’s the creation of Coil Club designers Jay Hunger & Brian Kauffman and will be part of a 2 figure set that’s limited to only 40 pieces!

This year’s roster of guests includes:

Check out the Coil Con V event page over at for the full details and make preparations to join your fellow Joe fans in Indy in just over a week!

Plus, check out these photos from last year’s event held at Kokomo Toys!  C’mon– you KNOW you want to go!

Code Name Iowa’s Assembled Required 2013 is This Weekend!

code name iowa assembly required 2013

There are myriad reasons to live in the Midwest: changing seasons, friendly people, good regional food, and more G.I. Joe gatherings than you can shake a stick at!  Earlier this year, Midwestern fans were able to attend Coil Con IV in Kokomo, IN and this weekend they’ll be able to attend Code Name: Iowa’s annual Assembly Required gathering in Des Moines!

In it’s third year this event has grown to such an extent that it requires a brand new location!  Join fans from around the nation in attending panels, checking out dealer tables, and mingling with some very special guests.  It promises to be a fantastic free event that will be fun for collectors of all ages!

Special guests at this year’s event include:

  • Ron Wagner – comic artist from Marvel/IDW
  • Matt Brandenburg – former Hasbro prototype painter
  • Joe:Declassified exhibit – the premiere “behind the scenes” exhibit of rare prototypes, design sketches and more will be on hand featuring G.I. Joe archivists Gary “Goggles” Head and Chris “Topson” Murray

In addition, fantastic door prizes include a set of 20 G.I. Joe Retaliation Night Vipers and a MISB Killer W.H.A.L.E. hovercraft!  That’s right Joe Fans– two lucky individuals are walking away with prizes that will make even the most hardened Cobra loyalist green with envy!   However, as the game show hosts are fond of saying “But wait… there’s more!”

This year marks the debut of the next series of incredible minimalist art prints featuring the 1985 line-up!  Plus, two special minimalist prints will be given away as prizes– Flint and Lady Jaye signed by Bill Ratner and Mary McDonald-Lewis herself!  So, what are you waiting for– a signed invitation for Serpentor himself?!!  Make plans to hit the road this Saturday and join in on the fun! The Code Name Iowa Assembly Required event is THE place to be!

The event is free to the public. For more information visit or follow them on Facebook at Code Name: Iowa!  (Oh yeah, and tell ’em JBL sent you!)’s Ultimate G.I. Joe Custom Contest!


The folks over at have launched “The Ultimate Custom Contest” with a bevy of prizes that are hard to beat!

Check out the official announcement:

Joe Declassified and Joe Customs have joined together to bring you the ultimate custom contest! Here at Declassified, you know we love the history of the G.I. Joe brand and we love the production process – which leads to your chance to recreate unproduced Joe toys in order to win some pretty swell prizes.

Custom contest rules:

1. Customs may be figures or vehicles.
2. Any customs created for any prior contest, or that have been shown prior on the web are automatically disqualified. Customizers should submit a photo with their entry that shows their construction materials with any dated item (magazine, etc) created after the contest start date.
3. Customs must be of an unfinished Hasbro product (Rocky, for example). Anything that ever existed in any state of design is eligible. Please see the references at the bottom for further inspiration.
4. All entries are due no later than 15April2013.
5. All prize-winning customs become property of Joe Declassified, and will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to help support future Declassified endeavors. If contest winners do not wish to participate in the fundraising process, we will select the next highest rated customs to take their place.
6. No more than 3 custom entries per individual.
7. Entries MUST include real name, any online screen names, city and state of origin. All entry photos should be submitted to Please include no more than 10 photos per entry. Any questions or clarifications of contest rules should be sent to the same email address.
8. All judges and Joe Declassified staff are automatically disbarred from entry.

The Prizes:

1st prize: Carded wave 14 Storm Shadow

picsay 1358302861 175x300 The JoeDeclassified/JoeCustoms Ultimate Custom Contest!
2nd prize: all 13 Club FSS figures (these will ship to the winner after all 13 have been released)

gijoe collectors club figure subscription service 12 figures 223x300 The JoeDeclassified/JoeCustoms Ultimate Custom Contest!

3rd prize: Set of white and red SDCC Jinxes

sdcc jinx 01 300x236 The JoeDeclassified/JoeCustoms Ultimate Custom Contest!

4th-6th prizes: Red SDCC Jinx


Judging will be on a rating system among several categories. Points assigned by each judge individually will be averaged to determine a winner.
Judges will include:

  • Joe Declassified Staff
  • Joe Customs Staff
  • Chris Chung – Admin of
  • Fred Meyer – Owner/Admin of Joe
  • Fran O’Boyle – Owner/Admin of
  • Justin Bell – Owner/Admin of
  • Terry Dizard – Admin of
  • John Warden of Hasbro

Judging categories are:

  • Faithfulness – How accurately the custom reflects whatever existing source material is available. Difficulty – Customs accomplished through minor parts swapping vs. those that require parts fabrication.
  • Obscurity – The lesser known the concept, the better -bonus points for revealing unknown sourece material.
  • Part usage – How creative the customizers parts choices are. Paint – Painting execution and detailing.
  • Buyability/Playability – How much does the finished product look like something likely to sell, as well as durability to play.
  • Overall execution


The sites listed below all include some preproduction material, but are by no means intended as an all-inclusive list.

Joe Declassified forums
Joe Intel Preprodution Archives
Joe Declassified SpecOps podcasts’s preproduction archiv
A Real American Hero Book
The 788th Armored Division

Additionally, not only do we have big prizes and big name judges, but true to Declassified form we also have some big reveals to accompany the custom contest. Over the next few weeks, in conjunction with Joe Customs, we will be revealing some previously unseen G.I.Joe 80’s history in the form of concept art images and sculpts. These concepts can be used for your customs for this contest as they are all unproduced material. See the sneak peak images below, and get ready for more to come. Keep an eye both at JoeDeclassified and JoeCustoms over the next few weeks for more inspiration and history!

Good luck!

Start preparing the parts bins and dust off those painting skills– this is going to be one contest to win!

In hand pics of the cancelled G.I. Joe Mindbender, Budo, Zap, and Nano-BAT from Rise of Cobra!

JoeDeclassifiedI think it’s safe to call Gyre-Viper the “Indiana Jones of the G.I. Joe fandom.”  Venturing into the depths of the Chinese marketplace and scouring the internet for cancelled and rare items “that belong in a museum”, he manages to unearth more cancelled and prototype items than anyone out there.  Some are good, some are bad but all are worth seeing.

His latest batch of finds includes some figures that never saw production in the ill-fated G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie line.  Consisting mostly of parts from previous releases, this set of four would have given fans an update on Budo, Dr. Mindbender, Zap, and introduced the Nano-BAT to fans’ collections.  While Zap is pretty easy to recreate by performing a simple head-swap and the Nano-BAT is seeing a release though the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service in the near future, I find myself sad when I realize that Budo and Mindbender won’t see a release in this form.

Here are a few mirrored pics but check out the entire treasure trove of images over at!

Podcast: G.I. Joe Declassified Spec Ops Episode 6 – Variations Awareness

Some time I ago I was privileged to be asked to contribute to a G.I. Joe podcast hosted by the now-legendary Gyre-Viper.  The Joe Declassified Spec Ops Podcast features some pretty in depth discussion regarding the G.I. Joe toy line and this episode is now slouch.  Starting off with the (then) debut of the Dollar General Joes, the conversation delves into some intriguing variations from the classic ARAH (Generation 1) line.  The cast was a veritable “who’s who” of the Joe community including members of the “What’s On Joe Mind” crew, PLuv from cornerstone community, “variation king” Patrick Stewart, Gyre-Viper, and admin Sam “Nomad” Damon.  It’s a solid two hour “Joe jam session” that is definitely worth a listen.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The Joe Declassified: SPEC-OPS Team is joined by some very special guests… the mighty pluv of and the one and only Leonardo T Dragon of

For this episode we take on a hefty helping of variations and errors from the revered vaults of Pat “notpicard” Stewart.  Pat takes us through his categorizing process of what falls into variant and what gets marked an error and how that all fits into his work on and around the community.  We also give the yet to be released discount repaints a quick once over… sort of gathering our thoughts on what they are, what they mean, and what they might be telling us about the future of the brand.  And to top it all off… Pat speaks to the functionality of’s legendary archives… its achievements, criticisms, and everything in between.

You can find the images referenced in the episode here:

As indicated above, there’s an entire gallery of accompanying images found over at the JoeDeclassified forum!  (See– there’s homework and supplemental material with this one!  I told you it was “in depth”!)

You can listen to the entire 2 hour podcast via the embedded link below or over at the Spec Ops Podbean page!


SDCC: Derryl DePriest interviewed!

The SDCC is one of the most intense genre experiences of the year!  Chock full of movie and TV reveals, it’s possible to forget that it is rapidly becoming a rival to Toy Fair in terms of toy news!   Hasbro was on scene again this year and JBL staffer and owner Nomad was on the scene to talk to Hasbro’s own Derryl DePriest.

Check out the interview below:

Despite the madness that is SDCC, Hasbro’s Derryl DePriest was kind enough to take out a few minutes for us to batter him with some Q&A. What follows, is my best attempt to transcribe such verbage, above the din of the overwhelming throng, and some Con-goers who didn’t understand what “private interview” meant. Special thanks to Joe Moscone and Justin Aclin of Hunter PR for giving us the opportunity, and Fred Meyer of Joe Battlelines for putting the contacts in place. As always, thanks to Derryl: a gracious, patient, and willing victim.

Declassified: You’re aware of the backlog issues at retailers, items/waves getting stuck at warehouses and eventually being pushed to discount stores; is there a plan to circumvent that?

Well, that’s unfortunately part of the environment we work in. When things go according to plan, then there’s no issues. We’ll make our release decisions based on what we anticipate our future needs will be. We’ll release those waves right to it, and the size of that wave will meet the market need. So, if the fan-base is growing, we need to make enough of it, or fans will complain it’s short. But, if for some reason we’re delivering a substandard wave, or we’re not meeting the needs, then our point of sale will go down. That hasn’t necessarily happened. The big problem here has been calling the right size for G.I Joe in the absence of any entertainment activity, and we haven’t found the right cadence yet. So, what it means is that when we re-launch a new line, we’ll put our first shot in there of what we think we need, and if it doesn’t meet our needs, then we’re in trouble, because everything’s backed up after that. It’s all about calling the right numbers.

With Retaliation, we think we’ve started fresh, and we’re off to the right start, and we have the right cadence. It’s all about right-sizing those expectations. So, if everything goes according to plan, we shouldn’t have any of those wave issues. But when we do release the inventory, and we have problems like we’ve had – Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart – they’re jammed, they can’t get out of it, and it’s massively expensive to the company to go pull inventory out of retail. Basically, it costs us their retail price to pull a figure out and replace it with a different figure that we sell for less, since we sell at wholesale. So when we get jammed like that, it’s a major problem, so we’re working hard to avoid that at all. So that’s my commitment – that’s one thing on the Joe brand that I want to make sure we do, is get into that cadence where we don’t have these problems.

But, the TJ Maxx’s of the world become valuable partners to get product out that we’ve already made, that we have no way to distribute. It’s either that, or donate it to charity, or shred it – and we never want to do that. So, they’re valuable partners. It’s a great channel and avenue for us, but regionally, they’re limited.

Is there any plan, as it was in the 80’s, to align the visual medium (cartoon), comic, and toy, with the toy driving the way, and the comic and cartoon following, even year by year? Is there a mentality, approaching the future, to try to get that same universal level of tie-in again?

Yes. That’s an outrageously great question. One thing that is at the center of what we do, and we’ve had a lot of lines that were lacking…I would say “soul” before…The Pursuit of Cobra was an attempt to get into that cadence. The things that followed it – Renegades – we never got synched up, because that show started before we could get going, and our follow up line was already out there. I think with the team, what I want to do is make sure that we get back more into that mentality, even if it’s internal storytelling in waves. So, kind of do stories that tie figures together, like little mini-stories. No plans to integrate IDW into the mix – they’re doing their own thing and we’re letting them tell their own stories. But we definitely want, after the movie, to figure out what the next entertainment story is, and ideally it would be a TV play, and we’re not there yet as the delay in the movie has pushed everything out. Ideally there would be a stronger integration between entertainment and toys, and that’s what we’re going work on, or at least, more story-telling rather than just putting more random unrelated figures out.

I know you had Resolute, Renegades… you have Retaliation – so far, in all 3 of those, the toy line hasn’t perfectly lined up. Is there a possibility then, with those old concepts, to release figures that were tied to those, even though you don’t have that medium to support them anymore? Or are those pretty much going to get written off?

Not right now. I think one thing we want to do is make sure we focus on the entertainment that’s in front of us, or focus on getting high-demand figures back out. And that may be related to your question. I’m not sure what the lingering demand is for more Resolute or Renegades figures.

Resolute HISS tank. Want.

OK. Well, that’s an interesting one. There could be a possibility down the road for that. But for more figures connected to that, or more multi-packs, or things like that, there won’t be any new ones, and unlikely there won’t be any more for that [Resolute]. If it’s new figures for Resolute, it’s very unlikely.

The thing with Renegades, we’re now putting Renegades behind us. It’s possible that figures could come out, but especially as part of the Vault project that started at Joe Con, it’s possible that there could be Renegades figures in the mix, but we wouldn’t do the vehicles – it would be just too expensive.

Have you considered the possibility, as you have Hasbro Toy Shop here at SDCC…at the Joe Con, of Hasbro selling directly to the people that show up at the Joe conventions.

We’ve looked at that before, and we feel that Brian Savage and the Collector’s Club, can take care of that audience. We would be slightly duplicative. But also, Hasbro Toy Shop, we only go to one show a year. We actually stopped going to [Star Wars] Celebration, because the economies of scale don’t work for us, so we just focus and put our efforts on the one show a year. So, we’ll let Brian take care of that.

You have two years running of a Joe/Transformers SDCC exclusive going here at the show. Is that a plan you intend to keep going with?

No comment. Would that be of interest to fans?

And that’s that! Thanks for reading. If you have other questions you think we can track down answers to, hit us up here.


A HUGE thanks to Sam Damon (aka “Nomad”) for his con legwork!  Be sure to check out for more pics from this year’s SDCC!

“Dollar Store” Joes take the fan community by storm!!

If you’ve not heard the news in the past week, some of the most anticipated new Joe products to hit shelves in the near future AREN’T related to the film G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  Revealed by Gyre-Viper over the, there is apparently a series of 6 new-style construction figures that will be hitting “discount stores” later this year.  I’ve mirrored a few of the images here but I highly encourage everyone to check out the full slate of images over at

The initial assortment appears to consist of the following figures:

However, it doesn’t stop there– it appears that there will be running color changes for all six figures including one that highly resembles the driver of the Pile Driver T’Gin-Zu!

Check out all the rest of Gyre-Viper’s pics and the discussion over at following threads on the forums:

At the end of the day, these leave me far more excited than most of the forthcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures hitting later next month.  Great-looking parts use, figure stands, and repaints that give us even more obscure characters all combine into a SOLID WIN!  Now if only these would start hitting stores!