When in hand images of the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation Wave 3.5 figures emerged, there was an immediate reaction from the fanbase, and not all of it was good. Certainly many folks are greatly looking forward to this upcoming "super assortment" of G.I. Joe figures, but there appeared to be some significant differences between earlier images of these toys and the actual finished product. As one might imagine, pre-production items are often different than the final figure, but that didn't stop folks from pointing out some perceived flaws.
I don't think anyone can argue that there has been a fundamental change in the way Hasbro (and other companies as well) are viewing toy production in general, and the action figure industry specifically. Plastic feels different, articulation has been hit or miss, and in many cases (thankfully not with G.I. Joe) the toys seem like almost an after thought. One look at these figures will tell us that G.I. Joe is getting a lot more love than lines like Wolverine, Man of Steel, and Iron Man 3, but I think it's still appropriate to point out exactly what seems to have changed from pre-production to final production. Feel free to respond to this thread and point out things I might have missed. Keep in mind, too, this is only based on press images, I do not have these items in hand as of yet.
I also realizing comparing one pre-production image with another pre-production image is probably a fruitless exercise, and the figures could be even more different by the time they are in hand, I thought it would be a fun thing to do regardless.
- Facemask changed from silver to black
- Helmet Badge silver
- Flatter colors throughout, not as "glossy"
- Face sculpt and paint is a bit flatter
- Production figure looks a bit more bland
- Head sculpt appears to be different. More in line with the Best of the 80's DVD pack and not as new as previously thought
- Masked head appears to be different. Re-used tooling instead of new?
- Unmasked Byung Hun Lee head now included (as a tie-in to Retaliation?)
- Looks largely the same
- Looks largely the same
- Head sculpt now appears to be re-used G.I. Joe: Retaliation "Ninja Duel" version instead of a more vintage accurate version
- Paint applications are not quite as "clean", but that is likely just part of the production process.
- Brighter colors
- Weird 5 o'clock shadow thing going on
- Largely the same
- Slightly different color shades
- Missing Cobra logo on chest
Cobra Combat Ninja
- Many fewer digital camo paint applications
- Webgear no longer has black trim
- Paint is brighter and a bit less detailed
Again, I understand comparing once press image to another is probably a little silly, but I wanted to get it all straight in my own head before really trying to talk it out. I think there are some valid complaints out there. I much prefer the overall look of the more detailed Cobra Combat Ninja to the newer version, but you know what? The figure still kicks butt, and I believe comes with an extra weapon or two.
I've read complaints about Duke's paint applications, but the digital camouflage still looks really good in my opinion, not just on Duke, but also Flint and the Cobra Combat Ninja. Yes, Cobra Commander's excellent new head sculpt may be gone, but I had no issues with the Best of the 80's one, and to me, the important changes for that figure were from the neck down, and that's all still intact. Snake Eyes' head change doesn't bother me at all, as I've got about 6 - 8 vintage accurate heads at home I can use if I really feel the need to. I like that they included an unmasked head for Storm Shadow, and Firefly (who I once thought was the most boring figure in the set) has really started to grow on me as well.
I will say I do have some concerns about the quality of the plastic on the new figures and how well they'll hold up to a pile of accessories (like Data-Viper). But, truth be told, for the same price point, these figures are 200% better than Wolverine, Iron Man 3, or, well, every single other 4" action figure toyline on the market. I think that's why it's so frustrating that G.I. Joe seems to have such an uphill battle. Quality truly doesn't seem to matter any more, it's all about brand recognition, media tie-ins, and other fringe marketing. These are well designed, impressively articulated, awesomely accessorized, bad ass action figures. It's frustrating to no end that this doesn't seem to be enough in today's retail landscape.