Toy Fair 2013 - G.I. Joe "Best in Show"

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  1. #1

    Toy Fair 2013 - G.I. Joe "Best in Show"

    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.

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    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.

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    4: Kwinn

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!
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  3. #2
    Well, I think I would have put Budo instead of Flint. I too am a big Flint fan, but the idea of us getting a Ken Watanabe/Last Samurai figure is too much for my sword collecting little mind!
    Quote Originally Posted by skinny View Post
    Don't You Go Injecting Reality Into My Fantasy

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geek-Viper View Post
    Well, I think I would have put Budo instead of Flint. I too am a big Flint fan, but the idea of us getting a Ken Watanabe/Last Samurai figure is too much for my sword collecting little mind!
    I'm right there with you. This Budo will be a prized figure in my collection.

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  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Geek-Viper View Post
    Well, I think I would have put Budo instead of Flint. I too am a big Flint fan, but the idea of us getting a Ken Watanabe/Last Samurai figure is too much for my sword collecting little mind!
    Don't get me wrong, I love me some Budo, but in the realm of modern military action and 21st Century special forces, I just have a hard time rationalizing that figure in my "universe". I love the figure, they did a fantastic job on it, but he doesn't fit my G.I. Joe "style" like some of the more military guys do.
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  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by General_Hawk View Post
    Don't get me wrong, I love me some Budo, but in the realm of modern military action and 21st Century special forces, I just have a hard time rationalizing that figure in my "universe". I love the figure, they did a fantastic job on it, but he doesn't fit my G.I. Joe "style" like some of the more military guys do.
    Are you trying to tell me that a 19th Century Samurai doesn't "fit in" with your 21st Century army? I'm not sure I can rectify that sir.
    Quote Originally Posted by skinny View Post
    Don't You Go Injecting Reality Into My Fantasy

  8. #6
    I can't believe you sold me on a movie version Duke! Dammit man.

  9. #7
    The entire "ultimate" version is great.. on the Joe side and not the Cobra. Aside from the chopper backpack, Cobra Commander isn't that special. Firefly loses alot and would be hard pressed to beat all the other better versions RoC TRU, Hall of Heroes.

    But Roadblock (or Rockblock), Duke and Flint are great figures.


    As for Budo, like Justin, no place for it in my Joeverse, but I love the creativity and inspiration that Hasbro put into the figure. I would like to see them push the boundries more often with figures like Budo and Zombie-Viper, even if I personally don't like them.

    I like them as figures, but not in my Joeverse.
    Last edited by troynos; 02-15-2013 at 04:09 PM.

  10. #8
    love the new version of the Tomahawk, I have been out of the loop and didn't even know about it till this post. the only complaint I have about GI Joe these days is that there's just too much stuff and the availability window seems so narrow especially when I am on a tight budget. I've even been considering not even looking at what comes out just to keep myself from getting depressed.

    the off-brand Lego style stuff looks awesome but I am a Lego purist so I can pass them by. it's funny that Lego will license space wars, goblin wars, superheroes and ninja turtles but won't touch something like GI Joe. seems like a double standard. how is GI Joe any more violent than those other lines?
    Last edited by Kronz; 02-17-2013 at 01:35 PM.

  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kronz View Post
    the off-brand Lego style stuff looks awesome but I am a Lego purist so I can pass them by. it's funny that Lego will license space wars, goblin wars, superheroes and ninja turtles but won't touch something like GI Joe. seems like a double standard. how is GI Joe any more violent than those other lines?
    I don't think violence has anything to do with it. It's all copyrights. Hasbro owns Transformers and GI Joe so they're not going to let some other toy company make money off of that.
    Quote Originally Posted by skinny View Post
    Don't You Go Injecting Reality Into My Fantasy

  12. #10
    I am pretty sure I have read that Lego will not make modern military toys. They never have. I understand Hasbro keeping the properties in-house but I think they'd make more money working with Lego. As a Lego collector I simply won't buy knockoffs. These are very cool though, don't get me wrong.

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