Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rarities - 2004 Desert Patrol Set (Convention Prototypes)

At the 2004 G.I. Joe convention, Hasbro showcased some upcoming Toys R Us exclusive sets.  One such set was the Desert Patrol.  This five figure set showed some promise.  It included the long missing 1991 Snake Eyes figure as well as a spiffy looking version of Stalker and Ambush.  (Though, with Low Light's head.  Tunnel Rat and the odd hybrid figure that would be named Dusty weren't all that exciting.  But, it was enough to get collectors interested.

When the set finally showed up at TRU in 4th quarter of 2004, there were a couple of small differences in the actually released figures.  In addition to Gung Ho being added to the set, the Ambush figure went from a solid cammo pattern (like Stalker) to a combo of the agave green and desert colors that matched Dusty, Tunnel Rat and Snake Eyes.  It took a solid set and turned it into a dud.  But, overall retail sales of the set were strong as Christmas of 2004 saw TRU sell out of most of its exclusive Joe products.  (That the set only had around 16,000 total units produced also helped.)

Today, the production set has actually gotten somewhat hard to find.  There is a ridiculously hard to find set of unreleased Desert Patrol figures, too.  But, these photos from the 2004 San Diego Comic Con show a set that still had promise before Hasbro made it worse.  This was a theme in 2004 and really carried into 2005 as the line died at retail.  The DTC offerings that used ARAH molds turned the tide a little bit.  But, it was too late.

You'll note that the photos below have a combo of what appears to be production figures as well as hand painted samples.  I am not aware of any full cammo Ambush figures actually making their way into the collecting world.  The version below could be hand painted or it could be production.  I can't tell from the old photos.  But, it is a massive upgrade over the figure that was actually released.  With the "final" Joe convention occurring this weekend, it's kind of sad to look back at a time when a convention meant seeing lots of cool, new stuff.

2004 Desert Patrol, Stalker, Dusty, Snake Eyes, Ambush, Tunnel Rat, Gung Ho

2004 Desert Patrol, Stalker, Dusty, Snake Eyes, Ambush, Tunnel Rat, Gung Ho

9 comments:

  1. Marginally better looking than the retail versions. Ambush much improved. "Dusty" better with brown hat, but still a bizarre comical kitbash.

    I should've gotten another set to make Low-Light (all his parts are there) and to get the variant Gung-Ho. But the set kinda sucked. The camo doesn't work well that scale (and had been abandoned by actual US military by this time), and then its undermined with so much green. Tunnel Rat looks like he's wearing some pajama bottoms. And the accessories...ugh...8 random weapons, most of which not ideal for even pliable ARAH hands. The character selection, they are worthy of desert version but why are Tunnel Rat and Stalker on every special team? Snake-Eyes is out of place with his black top, but he's also the only previously not repainted mold in the set. One might think Mirage might be a desert patrol guy, not that we needed him again.

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  2. a weak set overall, i don't think i ever owned one.

    interesting that the camo pattern appears to be very close to the cancelled 98 HQ figures, someone at hasbro must've really liked that design.

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  3. as for the convention? good riddance. wherever GI Joe is headed from here doesn't need the influence of mastor kollectors gang of flunkies.

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    1. That they screwed up their last set is so fitting. Blind Laser Vipers and a mustacheless Bludd.

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    2. honestly i hope they pull up shop before ever getting the replacement heads out, that would be one final fuck you from our friends at the Klub

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    3. So far, they've screwed up the heads, misspelled Slaughter's and now the Snake Armors are glued together and there are no unglued versions. They're giving collectors one last giant middle finger and, yet, the usual defenders are out and lamenting that these guys are gone.

      As much as it pains me, Joe fandom deserves the club. We're so easily wowed by crappy product that we never demanded better. (Well, those who did were run off....)

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    4. The apologist aspect of the G.I. Joe fandom has a lot to do with why the line is in the state it is. When horrible miscues are brushed off with "Well at least they're trying hard!", it tells both Hasbro and the Club "Those dumb Joe fans will buy ANYTHING!"

      It really says a lot about how much of a wasteland G.I. Joe is when the owners of the brand don't really care about it. I've heard quotes that Hasbro is grateful for all the fan created content, likely because they don't have to do ANYTHING.

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  4. I like the "Slaugter's Marauders" cap. LOL. And Hasbro's "don't sell or copy these unreleased head sculpts we are giving you". How are you gonna prove who copied them? Send goons to interrogate everyone on the list?

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  5. I left Gung Ho Tunnel Rat alone, put an Ambush head on his body, put Low Lights head on his body and put the 91 Dusty head and arms on Stalker. Then use Stalkers head and Arms for a new figure

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