Gyre : Action Force’s battle ready archivist

Gary “Goggles” Head was burst on to the G.I.Joe community scene sporting the username of “Gyre-Viper” on  most notably, the hisstank.com forums.  Gary started sharing prototypes, breaking news, and uniting long disconnected members of the hobby, as his passion was contagious.

It was my privilege to know Gary, and to argue with him a few times!  While I knew of Joe Declassified before Gary, it was he really brought it to the forefront, and got me hooked.  It’s thanks to Gary’s encouragement I continued podcasting when I split ways with the rest of the crew who made up nerdversity101 (it ended up being a multiple way split, and not pretty) When Patrick Stewart, now of Articulated Points, came on the Nerdahtio podcast, that was think to Gary, and we never got to record a planned episode on the Age of Apocalypse, one of his favorite comics.

I was at Joe con, when the Sightline figure was announced.  There were tears.

I still remember the message from Gary Godsoe, from WOJM, letting me know of Gary Head’s passing.   The community honestly hasn’t been the same sense.   With G.I.Joe back, I’d love to see Sightline again, but I’m not sure we will, the folks who knew of Gary have moved on, and DePriest and Weber seemed to have had to convince legal to let them get away with naming a new figure after a real person, and conceded making his last name Goggles on the file card.    Given Gary’s love of former Joe designers Boss Fight’s Kickstarter,  and the more modern to near future , yet grounded style of Action Force, that more matched Pursuit of Cobra- through the 50th which Sightline was a part of, I decided awhile back that I had to create an Action Force version of Gary.

I present Gyre: Action Force’s Archivist. Steel Brigade trained so that he gather intel from action battlefields, both after, and during combat.

Here is Sightline (from yojoe.com) with one of Valaverse’s Steel Brigade. (Which you can preorder here )

Here are some in progress shots

You can see how much I edited here.

and finally, two versions of Gary in figure form.

I’m loving the new G.I.Joe Classified line, but honestly I’m more excited for Action Force because I like their aesthetic better, and feel like Bobby Vala will be with the fans long term, and I am nervous about Joe’s future after the Snake-Eyes movie

. Here is hoping we see plenty of similar customs once we have Action Force in hands.

If you want more custom Gary goodness, you can check out Drew Gaska of Blame Ventures work on a The Loyal Subjects version of Sightline. HERE. 

(unfortunately the interview tagged within is currently not working, when I’m not doing digital recolors, I’ll get it reuploaded)

You can also join the discussion for Valaverse Figures HERE

or 6 inch G.I.Joe figures, HERE.

Next up in the realm of digibashing, maybe some alternate takes on the head for ole Gyre here, and then I’m thinking one for more Action Force before heading back to Joe, maybe they need a Covid-19 specialist in Green and yellow?

G.I.Joe Classified Glenda digibash (digital repaint)

After Quarrel, of course I had to do the Argentina version of Scarlett, Glenda, which also saw a nod in the 25th line as “pilot Scarlett.”

Here we have the original Argentina version of Glenda, with the upcoming Classified Series Scarlett.  (Glenda image mirrored from YOJOE, and was contributed to YOJOE by Anthony Mirro

Here is an in progress shot:

Here is a final version side by side with Glenda.

Here she is with Scarlett from the classified series so you can see the work I did on her.  I gave her a different eye color and earring color to Quarrel, but kept the same hair, and removed freckles. Outside of the Black and the very light blue, everything was changed. Zipper was colored in, just like on Quarrel.

For fun here is a comparison shot with Quarrel from my last post.

Here is my 2nd take, a more classic unitard version.

Here I have added a metallic effect.

With the original again:

And a comparison shot between the two versions. I much prefer the modern, and haven’t mastered the metallic effect yet, but I know it will tickle some folks nostalgia.  I could not get the black areas of the boots and gloves fully white without loosing detail, so I settled for a light gray.

Next up I plan to post some of past digital recolors, and my next new recolor will use a Valaverse Action Force body.

G.I.Joe Classified Action Force Quarrel Digibash

The moment I saw Scarlett, I new I had to start doing some digital recolors, with Quarrel up first. If you don’t know who Quarrel is, she was a UK Action Force recolor of the scarlet mold, who eventually saw a G.I.Joe release by the G.I.Joe Collector’s club.  You can read up on her over at Yojoe HERE. quarrelplusscarletl

quarrelphase3withwhitebackground

 

The following are some in process shots and comparisons

quarrelstage1

quarrelphase2quarrelsidebysidequarrelwithoriginal

 

I also made  two slightly more traditional alternate versions:

 

moretraditionaleotardversion1moretraditionalleotardversion2

Next up, I think we will head to Argentina for the Glenda version.

 

If you have your own digibash or just want to discuss the new G.I.Joe classified line, we would love to see you @https://www.facebook.com/groups/gijoe6inch/

What the upcoming G.I.Joe Classified toy line can learn from Fortnite Toys

  We are only a week away from New York Toy Fair, where most expect a full reveal of the upcoming 6″ G.I.Joe Classified line. The designs, the sculpts, the packaging, all of it is already in the bag. That’s how toys are made, it’s a year or longer process. Even though we are still waiting to get our first look at them, most of the early product is locked down. I expect they have learned some valuable lessons from  their own work along the way, as well as from other toylines. Because I want this line to go on beyond the initial waves, I wanted to do a few posts pointing out specific things that the upcoming G.I.Joe line could learn from, and I want to start with everyone’s least favorite game, and bizarre action figure hit:

Before I do let me clear up a rumor:

ONLY ONE ANONYMOUS SOURCE SAYS THAT JAZWARES IS MAKING JOE FIGURES, THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, as John Reale was in charge of the line until he left Hasbro a few weeks ago, and now Roni Noyma has been announced as in charge of marketing.  This isn’t about what Jazwares can do, this about what Hasbro can learn from jazwares… anyways…

I was introduced to Fortnite when My son wanted me to play the game with him, I tried, and it was  TERRIBLE. I played some Call of Duty in my time and enjoyed it, but the fortnite maps were overly large and sparsley populated with other players, and the players I did encounter in fortnite where cheap, and overpowered. I’m too old for the micotransactions not to feel like pay to win, even if they aren’t, but that was the impression I got. It felt like it had a hard barrier of entry.

I thought I was uninterested , despite noticing some cool designs, but then came the toys from both Jazwares and McFarlane.  I already appreciated the obvious homages in aesthetics in their designs , but seeing them in plastic was like a breath of fresh air. It hit all the right nostalgia points, yet was varied, drawing from multiple sources, many where  bright and eye catching, and they had no attached story. I felt like could grab them, plug them into one of my shelves and imagine.

So what could G.I.Joe Classified learn from Fortnite? Let’s start with Mcfarlane’s Red Strike…

  1. Hidden mid torso articulation for Ninjas

On the left you can spot Red Strike. I would have bent him over further, but he would have fallen, and on the right the excellent Fwoosh articulated icons green ninja, and future base for a Kamakura custom.

It may not be obvious, but that jacket that covers Red Strike’s torso, is super soft and flexible, meaning he has a good range of motion, but the sculpt isn’t broken up.  I love the Articulated Icons ninja body, even if they are a little more true 6″ scale than my Marvel legends figures. There is an obvious flaw they have, that I admit would be hard to avoid. They did what most companies do, natural movement is in the middle of the torso, which means a break, but that hard break doesn’t always work well with the sculpt, especially a ninja gi.

Stormshadow isn’t in wave 1, but you know he is coming, how can Hasbro set themselves above Fwoosh’s excellent work when many of us already have made Stormshadow customs?  Cloth is one way to go, but doesn’t mesh as well with the rest of the plastic, I think they  should adopt the soft plastic approach Red Strike has here.  We could have all the detail of the gi, and the articulation, without the break up.

2. Go wide

For the U.K. fans of G.I.Joe, or Action Force, they likly thought  Mcfarlane’s Hybrid looked familiar:

This scaly lizard beast with hints of red and black seems to be inspired by Action Force’s Kraken. While like the Firefly/Havoc Connection it’s not the most unique design, it feels more distinct than just a soldier in urban camo.

(Photo from figurerealm.com)

One of the reasons Fortnight is a hit across both kids and adult collectors is that it is pulling from a wide variety of inspirations. The figures on a shelf each stand out.

One of the worst aspects of the G.I.Joe rise of Cobra movie line was that it was just a bunch of dudes in black armor. Nobody stuck out. The iconic colors where gone.  Later figures like Helix from the video game, or non movie characters helped, but the initial waves failed to stick out in the toy aisle.  Many collectors think we want realistic, and even all black or all camo, and while many of us do enjoy those things, but if a new toy doesn’t add something to the display shelf it can get left behind on the pegs.

Time is limited, we only have a few waves before it will be time to Push the Snake-Eyes movie, but G.I.Joe has a rich history.  If they want to learn from Fortnite, they can include pieces from all throughout Joe’s life, from Adventure Team, to Renegade’s Bio Vipers to  Zombie Vipers, all in the right dashes of variety to keep it feeling fresh. Overdoing it will turn the more military minded collectors away.

3. Neck articulation:

Remember Red Strike above?

He features neck articulation like on Mafex and S.H. figuarts, that really helps make the figure expressive, even with a mask. It also mirrors the a Real American Hero era with it’s cut at the bottom of the neck line.  Why not up the ante compared to marvel legends? Joe was always ahead of the game in articulation, why not give us something similar here with double ball pegged necks for excellent emotional poses.

4. Mcfarlane and Jazwares prove you can go two directions with designs.

Jazwares stays true to the softness and cartoony style of fortnite, while Mcfarlane leans towards realistic, while still being true to the heart of those designs.   If Hasbro dips into the more stylized designs like Renegades, or the overly bright designs of the “neon nineties” Mcfarlane has proven they can give a nod , and be recognized as what they are, while still adding an edge to it, making it more palatable for adults.

5. Not all articulation is created equal.

I want to turn to Jazwares for a moment,  because I love their 6″ line too. In fact I like it’s scale better for humans in the line, even if it is a bit shorter than my preferred Marvel Legends. But they do have gripping articulation, can we leave that one behind? It works better than on old Toy Biz legends, but it doesn’t feel needed.  Toe joints aren’t really for me either, but I can live with or without them. Jazwares really does  do something else I want Joe to learn from…

6. Go wild with the accessories:

If this fish monster gets Popcorn, why can’t we get Yo Joe cola?

There are lots of great Joe Facebook Groups out there, but If you want to keep talking about it at a place dedicated to the new scale, you’re more than welcome @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/gijoe6inch/

The one Joe group where no one should be yelling at you that they won’t buy 6″ and only want classic 0-rings. Unfortunately too often in other groups it turns into a negativity fest 😦

 

Why I changed my mind about 6″ G.I.Joe

META: I was working on my first blog post in FOREVER, this saturday, but I had to put it on hold, and sure enough today the news of the newline exploded. Last I posted here, or podcasted, I was pretty vocally against a 6″ line, but now, I’ve done a 180*, and I really did that nearly two years ago, but why? 

I thought It was time to return to blogging and spell out why I went from one of the most die hard haters of going to the 6” scale, to being a massive supporter, all since the last episode of our Nerdrahtio Podcast. (Which btw will be on a new host site soon)

With the intro out of the way, let’s get on to what you care about:

WHY 6” G.I.Joes are a bad idea:

I’ve heard all the arguments, because I’ve made them, in fact I’ve made a few more than I see commonly repeated, here is my rundown.

  1. Vehicles, you can’t do 6” vehicles!
  2. It won’t match my existing collection.
  3. Joe has only been successful at the 12” or 3 ¾-4” and other scale changes have failed.
  4. The 6” market is full of competition.
  5. You will just get the same characters again in a new scale, and then it will stop.
  6. Marauder and Boss Fight etc. prove 1:18th figures still rock
  7. Jazwares, Spinmasters, Mattel etc. prove you can still do 1:18th at retail.

Now I want to walk through these arguments, and show you how I changed my mind, and then provide some additional reasons, why I know support a 6” line.

  1. Vehicles: you can’t do 6” vehicles

This one is still a solid valid point. In the Past G.I.Joes have really been tied with their vehicles, with it going as far as some saying that the figures were just accessories for the vehicles in the 1982 relaunch, I think that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it was definitely a major selling point for Kirk Bozigian and his fellow geniuses  at  80’s Hasbro.  It really helped it stick out from other lines, in fact, Hasbro as even reused G. I.joe vehicles in other lines, like an Iron Man Jet, or even way back with Stargate.   But…

Having the figures stay at 4” wouldn’t save vehicles.  The last batch of vehicles offered to TRU were declined (and they were going to be good, you will have to take my word for that.)  At that point, only TRU was even interested in Joe, and were inconsistent with where they were putting the figures, and now TRU is sadly no more in the U.S.   The  last convention chose to ditch the vehicles because of cost.  Hasbro was also heavily reusing past vehicles, that collectors where vocally sick of. The cost vs. return on new vehicle tooling simply wasn’t there.

To put it simply, we weren’t going to get many, if any vehicles at 4” scale anymore either.

The writing has already been on the wall. G.I.Joe Sigma Six tried the separate vehicle scale for Missions,  and Hasbro tried it with some  MCU movies like like Avengers Age of Ultron and Gaurdians of the Galaxy, as well as the Hulk and the agents of Smash cartoon based line.  Even with reduced cost and scale, these weren’t  massive successes, but as someone with limited space, I can tell you I prefer grabbing my Star Wars vehicles form hot wheels these days.

We are actually getting some 6” Vehicles as well. Sure It’s limited, but tell me Black Widow’s Motorcycle wouldn’t look good with Snake-Eyes?

We even have some dio pieces, like the amazing Neca building piece.

Another question, is are vehicles even right for the current status of war/play? Especially if G.I.Joe is supposed to be 5- minutes in the future?  In the days of drones, are the days of manned tanks soon behind us?

At one point doing G.I.Joe without cloth goods would be considered insane. Similarly Hasbro is doing power rangers without Zords, which blows my mind. The collector’s tastes in general seems to b mostly connecting with the characters.

We could always get smaller scale vehicles down the road as well, like Retaliation’s Mini Hiss.

In the end, I had to think, why not get some of the benefits of 6″ scale, if I can’t have vehicles anyways? benefits like face print tech and added articulation.

  1. It won’t match my existing collection.

I hear you.  I became an adult collector when I started buying the Jvc era G.I.Joes.  I was annoyed by the time Valor Vs. Venom came around because the buck had changed and I was rebuying the same characters, and recustomizing things because the Joes had overall gotten slightly smaller again and I wanted my whole team to look good together on the shelf.  They didn’t all look good next to the classic Rah figures either.

When the 25th line came out I was annoyed that once again the Joes where taller and then I had to start over. By POC and Retaliation, with new ankle articulation, many of the Joes looked taller once again, and didn’t fit in with the 25th.  I swore I wasn’t going to restart over again…

The reality is scales change.  Do you really want your figures locked in with now chance for improvements?  I’m happy we left metal rivets behind.  And if you love those, you have Red Laser, and Black Major to look into, but that’s the minority, and Hasbro has to make Joes that look on pair with the other figures on the shelves.

Scale creep happens with improvements.   I agree it should be monitored and managed better than Hasbro does it. I’m annoyed that many Black Series figures seem wildly out of scale with many Marvel Legends figures, but that’s an internal Hasbro issue, and I don’t think it’s enough to keep me from the nostalgia inducing action figures of characters I love.

We have bought new and started over before, and it doesn’t replace your existing collection.

Outside of TRU the main line ended at retail in 2013, chances are what Hasbro would make at the 4″ scale wouldn’t match it either. It’s been 7 years, the industry has made some serious improvements in articulation, faceprint tech etc.  If it isn’t going to match anyways, why not get some added benefits from a size increase?

  1. I.Joe has only been successful at the 12” or 3 ¾-4” and other scale changes have failed.

That’s pretty succinct, and mostly true. Sigma Six had a good ride, I still hold that if either it had a better toon, or had pulled in more collectors into the toyline it would have lasted longer.   It however could have been said at the time of Rah, that when they had tried to shrink Joe the last time (to 8” with Super Joe) that it failed, so we shouldn’t do it again.  I don’t think scale alone was the reason for Savages, Extreme’s or Sigma Six’s short lives, other factors were involved. Unlike many previous scale jumps, going to 6″ will ADD articulation, and it will match the current most popular scale, where as Sigma Six was a loner at 8″.

  1. The 6” market is full of competition.

This was my favorite.  G.I.Joe wouldn’t stand out, and if it couldn’t make 4” collectors happy on  a bunch of tooling re use, how would a more expensive line be more profitable?

I’ve learned a few things since then. The production cost of a 4” and 6” figure isn’t that different, but 6” fans have absorbed the price increase better than 4” fans. It’s seen as a premium more collector driven scale.  Hasbro actually can make more money off of a 6” figure, because the market price allows them to, they are a business, so that explains why they have been moving in that direction.

There is a psychological factor that even extends to parents and kids, that sees value in the bigger.

There is a reason that the 6″ scale is where a lot of lines are right now. They are all going after the same pool of collectors, sure, but that market is large enough to carry a large amount of lines, where 4″ has been less successful at retail.

What surprised me was how many 6″ collectors, who don’t normally communicate with 4″ die hards, were really wanting a Joe line!

  1. You will just get the same characters again in a new scale, and it will stop.

Welcome to modern toy lines.  Johne Reale is the guy behind the Power Rangers line, and they are going deep. That’s a hasbro property, and now we know he will also be behind the upcoming Joe line, what’s to say he won’t?  That said  retailers are their first customer, and they have to include enough key characters to sastify retailers.

As a kid it was the opposite. I never had a v1 Duke, SE, SS, Flint, Lady Jaye etc. It bugged the crap out of me that my only Duke was a Star Brigade Duke.  It was a barrier to me enjoying Joe even more than I already did.

  1. Marauder , AWOK, Dime Novel Legends, Boss Fight etc. prove 1:18th figures still rock

Marauder is the king of the scale.  Patrick Stewart (no not that one) from Joe Declassified, and the excellent Articulated Points web series,  once drew a parallel between the 4″ Joes and the fate of the 12″ Joes. At some point Hasbro let the other folks who where making better content, take over the scale. Hasbro couldn’t afford to do it at the production numbers that would make it worth it, so BBI etc. took over. He predicated the same would happen with 4″ scale. It’s hard for Hasbro to please retailers, casual fans, and the die hards who might be getting their fix elsewhere.

In moving to a new scale, Hasbro doesn’t have to compete with the 1:18th die hard’s money, and my even entice them to buy some of the same characters again because of the scale change, that they wouldn’t touch again at 4″.

  1. Jazwares, Spinmasters, Mattel etc. prove you can still do 1:18th at retail.

Yes… for kids. Jazwares fortnight line is aimed at kids, while the Mcfarlane one is at adults, and the 6″ Jazwares Legends at both. Spinmasters new batman line is aimed squarely at kids, and contractually must be so. It’s seen becoming seen as a “kids” scale.  Mattel’s Jurassic World line? it’s over, but 6″ scale Jurassic Park figures were recently released, so they too seem to be chasing the 6″ market and the adult collector money there.

That’s not all though, it wasn’t just that my arguments weren’t holding up as well…

Positive arguments:

  1. Face print.Have you seen that stuff?

I wish we had one for Retaliation’s Roadblock. The detail makes these things look like little Hot Toys.  Did you know males have lips?

It wasn’t until I gave in with the Black Panther and told myself, just a few, and got some in hands that I was stunned at how lifelike they were getting.

Star Wars black series as even shown that you can do this with characters from animated shows !

  1. Increased articulation

Extra ab joints, double jointed elbows for better gun poses, in some cases additional neck range. All to help your Joes and Cobras get in better poses.

  1. Join the crowd

Nearly everyone else is available at 1:12 scale. At some point I got tired of wishing all these lines would join Joe, and had to admit it would be easier if Joe joined them.  Plenty of Joe customizers were adding foot clan members, even link from Zelda, and all those could be posed alongside 6″ Joes, but not 4″ ones. With Hasbro having a 6″ Ghostbusters line on the way, almost everyone is there.

  1. It’s inevitable… might as well embrace it.

I wrote that before the reveal today. I use to get annoyed at Hisstank always talking about 6″ Joes, when I didn’t think they were going to happen, but if you watched Hasbro’s strategy overall, they tried pushing all the lines they got from Marvel after they took over that license to 4″, it didn’t work, so gradually they ended all their 4″ lines. We know that has to do with what they could charge and perceived value for the products, but still, the writing was on the wall, 6″ was Hasbro’s scale. It’s still true, and now with Joe going 6″ it’s official as it can get. (Now we just need some 6″ Transformers human alliance figures right?) G.I.Joe is the line that saved Hasbro from financial ruin, twice, why not give it they love they are giving their most successful lines?

alright, I gotta stop writing and put the kids to bed, but I’m excited with some renewed energy, so forgive any typos. This site’s been pretty dead as I have focused on our Facebook Groups and the facebook page, but I think this is going to kick off some new energy here.

YOJOE!

(the following image is my un official mock up)

Want to keep the discussion going ?

Join us at The 1:12th G.I.Joe Discussion Group on Facebook  I had to make a whole separate group than our regular 1:18th one, as many Joe fans are still vocally opposed.

G.I.Joe Classified Series 6 ” line revealed

It’s recently been revealed that John Reale, the hasbro employee overseeing Power Rangers, the Lightning Collection, was also overseeing an upcoming G.I.Joe line for 2018.

It’s been revealed as a 1:12/ 6″ line, called G.I.Joe The Classified Series.

Just did a quick mock up. The news is flying out. The name has been confirmed as “Classified” , nope, it’s not classified, that’s the name of the series. These aren’t the figures I’m expecting, especially movie Roadblock, but he went well with others, and with Hasbro’s face print tech, they can do this or better on the faces now.