The 24 hour whirlwind that is the Toy Fair "Hasbro Fan Event" has come and gone, and during my long trek home yesterday (ten hours for what is normally a 4.5 hour trip... thanks Nemo!) I went back through my brain trying to isolate what really excited me during the Fan Event itself.
I know the easy answer here, and I know the answer that many folks would choose, but as usual, my brain works a little differently than some others when it comes to G.I. Joe releases. I prefer fresh, new, exciting concepts and sometimes have a hard time getting excited over new versions of old toys, even when they're done much better than they were before.
All of that being said, I feel like I need to do a little "G.I. Joe Best in Show" recap for items that I think really stole the show at Toy Fair 2013.
G.I. Joe: Top Six items from Toy Fair 2013
6: "Ultimate" G.I. Joe: Retaliation Flint
What's this? A movie toy? How dare I! In general I think the hatred for movie toys is pretty pervasive, and in many cases with good reason. Fans enjoy their collectibles and toys for the nostalgia, and in many cases the new generation film makers don't necessarily hold that same attachment. No, this Flint does not have twin shotgun straps, and heck, he's not even wearing a beret! But he's still awesome. Flint has been a long time favorite character of mine, and I was thrilled to hear he would be in the new G.I. Joe: Retaliation film. When I initially saw the first version of Flint, appearing in Wave 2 of the toyline I was exceptionally disappointed. A repainted version 1 Duke? Seriously?
Well, Hasbro made amends with the ultimate version. Even though it stands as another repaint (this time of Agent Mouse from the Tactical Ninja 3-Pack) it is a fantastic figure, with a lot of detail and is very movie accurate. Very well articulated, and looks to come with some great accessories. Love this figure.
5: G.I. Joe Kre-O
Dangit I wanted to scoff at these things, I really did. I have no love for the mini-figure concept and hold no attachment for Lego or anything associated with that. But, even if the first Wave of Kre-On figures only slightly tweaked my interest, Wave 2 brought me fully on board. The B.A.T., the Dr. Mindbender, Flash, Cobra Eel... these mini figures just look fun. Aren't toys supposed to be fun? Don't even get me started on the vintage accurate HISS and the Destro with a vac-metallized head. Great stuff and an awesome bridge for the younger crowd.
Ahhh, Kwinn. You lovely old cranky mercenary Eskimo, you.
I'll be brutally honest, I almost left him off this list. How is that possible?! Well, I said this to Gary from What's on Joe Mind and John from JoeCustoms while at the show... Kwinn almost feels like "been there, done that". We've seen him so much, and I've held him in my hand (and reviewed him) that he almost seems like an afterthought.
Then I realized how totally unfair that was to the figure, because Kwinn is pure excellence from melon-shaped head, down to his knee-high white socks. Terrific articulation, nearly flawless sculpting, a full compliment of great accessories. If anything he could stand to be a bit stockier, but beyond that, he is one heck of a great figure, and even though we've seen him on a consistent basis for what feels like two years, he deserves his place in the spotlight here.
3: G.I. Joe Eaglehawk Assault Copter
Now, of course I had to mention this bad boy. Yes, I have firmly established that I'm not a huge fan of vintage figures or vehicles simply being repurposed in new tooling...but it's tough to ignore the improvements to this version of G.I. Joe's venerable transport copter and I need to applaud Hasbro for what they've done here. Like the Skystriker, the vehicle looks totally vintage authentic, but with new tooling, some adjusted mechanics, and improvements in almost every area. Folding rotors, machine guns that swap out for other weapons in the back, a retooled cockpit, and tons of added detail throughout. The Tomahawk really nails it on many different levels.
I really love that Hasbro decided not to give us another vintage accurate Lift Ticket (since we have the 25th Anniversary version already) and instead gives us a really great looking pilot that works as a generic support staff member as well. If folks buy up these Eaglehawks like they say they're going to, support staff will be a great addition to the flight crew or the USS Flagg. He even comes with a couple of extra headsets for the guys manning the guns. Fantastic.
2: "Ultimate" G.I. Joe: Retaliation Duke
Okay...so it's a movie figure... and it's a Duke movie figure?! Have I gone nuts?
Yeah, probably, but that's neither here nor there. Judging this figure purely on the badness meter, he hits an "11". Exceptionally well detailed movie accurate flak vest, tons of great detail throughout his excellent sculpt. An incredibly cool and intricate camouflage paint scheme. Tons of great looking weapons, and a swappable head so this guy can be a more generic spec ops desert trooper rather than ole Channing Tatum himself. It's tough for me to properly articulate just how cool this figure looks to me, but it's perfect on almost every level. I'm a sucker for those figures that look like their media tie-ins, and Duke does that in spades.
1: Cobra Data-Viper
Yes, this guy steals the show. Absolutely steals it, which, honestly, is truly stunning to me. If you had asked me to make up this list before Toy Fair, I highly doubt Data-Viper would have appeared on it, even if we had known he was going to appear at the show. I've said many times in the past that I really didn't get the appeal.
Well, I get it now. That awesome helmet...the amazing backpack totally crammed in with detail. I now have first-hand experience with the body design itself too, with the Tactical Ninja 3-Pack Sgt. Airborne, and the figure design is exceptional. Perhaps the coolest part of all is the Predator drone. Both Duke (above) and the Data-Viper come with this great piece of killer technology, and considering the "ten minutes in the future" concept of G.I. Joe and Cobra, the Predator is pretty low tech. All of that being said, I find myself really loving the Predator concept (I blame the Bourne Legacy) and my brain is working overtime finding ways to use it with these figures and in this universe. Very good stuff here.
I'm sure many folks disagree with some of the choices above. What about the vintage accurate Cobra Commander? Storm Shadow? Ultimate Roadblock? What about Budo, for crying out loud? Those figures all impressed me, to be sure, but the six items above totally stole the show.
Who disagrees? Sound off below! Let us know your thoughts and opinions, I look forward to discussing this with everyone!
For more great images and details from the show, check out the YoJoe Events Page for Toy Fair 2013!