A new movie is almost upon us and that means new action figures for the G.I. JOE line. Is that a good thing though? That’s hard to say with what has been shown to date. It would seem that things have gone the way of the ninja and hugely overcompensating spring-loaded launcher. On top of that, the vehicle drivers are losing crucial articulation. No big deal to some, but that may have a negative effect on the already weak support for the small G.I. JOE vehicles. The figures do leave much to be desired, but thankfully there are a few gems in the pile. Sadly though, some of the better figures won’t be seen until later waves or at ROSS stores.
Again, Hasbro makes a female figure the SDCC exclusive this year, but at least they did a pretty good job with it. On top of that the SDCC crossover exclusive is an interesting one too. This year they are doing a cool Transformers Soundwave in the form of a COBRA HISS tank. All it needs is to have the tracks switched with a HISS scout since it has the static tracks. It comes with a pretty cool Destro figure, along with a construction-themed B.A.T.
2011 had some great product I felt. We were given the Pursuit of Cobra line and then the short lived 30th anniversary. Both of which have had limited showings in the later waves. This seems to be a trend with the franchise though. It’s really a shame too because they tend to put some really nice stuff in the later waves. Pursuit of Cobra had General Hawk and Low Light which were tough to find in certain locales while the 30th anniversary had the elusive zombie viper that will be almost impossible to find at retail. Most places seemed to get Techno Vipers at least with some luck finding Sci Fi and Lifeline which seemed to some of the more sought after figures for ARAH fans.
Renegades came and went and seemed to have mixed emotions. One problem I had with it was all the story building they did will go nowhere else. Although the show is on “hiatus” it would seem apparent it will not come back. The toys offered a few good ones though. It gave us a Duke that was a good base for customs and the “ultimate” Storm Shadow as many fans will call him. Scarlett came with a new articulation and some figures came with a good amount of accessories such as Tunnel Rat. Although the figures had a cartoon look to them they could get mixed it with the other lines with minor effort.
Retail is one of the bigger issues it seems. With all the great product that came out it seemed that buying online was the only way to get a hold of some things. Although it’s nice to know you will not miss out of product it does kill the enjoyment of finding things on the pegs at retail. Buying online has also increased the investment into the hobby itself. What was an $8 figure before now has gone to $11-$13 at times if not more. On top of that you kind of need to buy more than you want so shipping is worth your time. I will admit, if not for online I would not have a single zombie viper. It pained me to do it but I knew that distribution would never make it to my area.
So as of now, I feel that the franchise is in decline. It is kind of expected with movie figures getting ready to hit the shelves. Hopefully the figures do well enough that they can put more good product out like in 2011. I personally will be saving plenty of money during the movie line. Hopefully the director has put together a decent film to draw the crowds and get the youth interested in action figures. The franchise could use a good boost.
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