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 😦

 

I Have a The Loyal Subjects BARONESS in Hand (pics and thoughts, with more to come)

First (brief) Look at The Loyal Subjects G.I.Joe Wave 2 Baroness! This is a fully colored Prototype, it is not a production final, so some changes could occur.

Keep reading, or scroll down to see a short VIDEO.

13262415_10207697864581891_1144445454_o  Here the Beauty is, and the first thing you will notice is that the glasses come off! As does her backpack, even though it would have been easy to mold on as you can’t see all the detail behind the hair. To me that makes extra awesome the time was taken to make sure you could remove it (somewhat flexi head as it is removable) and examine it, maybe even swap it with someone else!

13231133_10207697863181856_1724851621_nHer Gund looks like the original. Only the handle and trigger give it a way, and I look forward to doing some comparison shots when I get home. Now check out a different angle:

13262501_10207697864341885_471643917_o

You can see her armor pieces are more silver, like sideshow.  Her cobras are not sculpted on, but are Tampo’d so well it works great and means more customizing potentially, (especially for the blue single pack version you can get online) I can already see a way  (with some dremeling) to make a Helix and more on top of my planned “Snow bunny”, Crimson Asp, Iron Grenadier and Classic comic versions. (Glad I pre ordered plenty of the blue ones)

14 points of articulation. It appears the right hand has a swivel but not the left, or mine might have been stuck. (1 of 3 I’m aware of, with the other 2 at TLS HQ and another the glasses were a bit tight, may be similar here.)

Her eyebrows are sculpted by the way, and she is frankly the most beautiful female Joe figure under 12″s I have seen.

Feel free to ask for specific shots or comparisons and I will do my best to do so when I get home from this training trip.

For those who do not like chases, Yes this baroness will be a chase, but a blue baroness will be available single carded right off the bat, and future baroness figs are coming too

For those who do love the chase, unlocking this super intelligent, helicopter flying, tactical European bad @$$ sniper will make your day.

I will update this post with more pics. But I know I will also be uploading HERE and I already have a bunch in that TLS Folder so feel free to take a look!