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.