Friday, March 1, 2024

2018 Shadowtracker - Around The Web

In regards to the comments on the Fail Safe profile.

For the past few months I have been very down on Joe.  There are a variety of reasons for this.  First and foremost is that I'm simply getting bored.  Since the fall of 2015, I've posted an average of 2 posts per week.  That's thousands of photos of action figures.  And, it's the equivalent of several novels.  In short, I'm out of things to say.  I've told my stories.  I've expressed my likes and dislikes of the Joe line.  And, I'm just at a point where my collection has not kept up with my content and I'm out of things to write about.

Part of this is just the weather.  I hate winter.  Like, really hate it.  And, 6 months of brown, dead leaves and mud saps much of my desire to get Joes outside.  I've broken more than a couple Joes in cold weather in the past few years.  And, that pisses me off.  So, I'm more loathe to even  consider outdoor photography when it's cold outside.  And, one thing I've learned is that if I'm not taking photos of my collection, I really don't have much else to do with it.

An equal part, though, is that the collecting world is pretty stagnant.  Hasbro's o-ring line fell flat.  Even if you don't mind the quality, the line was almost exclusively items we already had.  The best figures were the ones we didn't get before.  (Duke, Cobra Commander and the Ramp Rat come to mind.)  But, overall, there's really nothing in the 2020's line that you'd miss if it didn't exist.  

That leaves the Kickstarter figures.  And, while I get the excitement these bring many collectors, I find them lacking.  None of them capture the essence or style of the original Joe line.  Some lines look like mega-block figures.  Other lines look like downscaled anniversary figures that had an o-ring inserted for nostalgia.  I've always been a Joe snob.  I don't even think that Remco or Lanard figures are compatible with Joe.  They stick out.  And, most of the Kickstarters do, too.

Mostly, it's the heads.  Not even Hasbro has been able to replicate vintage Joe heads.  The attempts never look right.  And, this is where most of the Kickstarters, to me, fall short.  I see pumpkin heads that extend over the figure's shoulders and I'm turned off.  I've yet to see an actual production level Kickstarter that has left me disappointed that I didn't back it.  In fact, the opposite has been true.

I kvech a lot about the decaying Joe line and getting older because it's a big part of collecting.  One my esteemed commenters mentioned that we are now the guys with trains in their basements.  There's nothing wrong with that.  But, it helps put a collection into perspective.  When I see my childhood playthings turning to yellowed dust, I reminds me of my Dad's prized possessions from his childhood and the way they rusted and broke into decay as they were stored in a closet in our basement.  I see the same thing happening to me.  And, frankly, writing about it helps me deal with some of the harshness of now being over 50.  It's cheaper and more convenient than real therapy.

In short, I may just need a break.  In the past, I've taken short and long hiatuses from the hobby.  I come back, recharged.  But, when the plants turn green, we get some rain and there's a great, natural setting down by the creek, I might be out with a bucket full of figures every afternoon.  

The important thing is that I still find value in the Joe community.  I appreciate every single person who stops by to view or read my part of the Joe world.  And, I'm grateful for those who take the time to comment.  

For me, I have some fun stuff coming up.  I've got a piece that I really enjoy that's coming...maybe even next week.  And, there's a couple of really obscure figures that I'll be posting soon, too.  I still have over 500 drafts sitting in my content bucket.  So, I won't want for content for a while.  And, when I do get a spark of creativity, I tend to write a lot in a very short time.  

Until then, enjoy some other peoples' work in regards to the 2018 Shadowtracker from Red Laser Army.  I miss RLA.  They made some neat stuff.

2018 Shadowtracker Profile


  1. I feel the same way. And I didn't get back into Joe until the 25th Anniversary which was now almost seventeen (!) years ago. Your collection is way more extensive than mine.What keeps me still interested is customizing and finding new and interesting diorama pieces.The Black Major has some incredible Cobra Commander variations that ought to really inspire you. I notice you don't do much "indoor" pictures other than the ' 83 headquarters.Trying to find diorama pieces or making your own is alot of fun, that might invigorate you. Also, I have noticed you don't have EVERY charchter.Maybe you can find some new inspiration in figures you initally disliked. What Joe needs is more enemies besides just Cobra. I could see some enterprising collector producing soldiers from various countries, middle eastern terrorists, even o-ring civilians/celebrities like what is doing. What else you gonna do, golf? lol

  2. I can certainly empathize with your situation. In my experience collecting and just enjoying my joes is very cyclical. I seem to return to Joe in times when things are going really well in life or I am going through a difficult spell - when I exist in the status quo normalcy of life I tend not to get too involved in Joes. I rode one last wave of investing in vintage ARAH stuff last year only to now find it all in the corner of the basement. Nothing has been touched and I am stressing out a little on storage for what I have acquired. At the same time I kind of made piece with the fact I am probably 97% done collecting vintage. Certainly a bittersweet conclusion to come to for a hobby I have enjoyed for 25 years.

    As far as Hasbro and their dealings with the o-ring line I was happy to get all the o-ring releases over the past few years. However, I stopped really paying attention to any speculation or the livestreams the Joe team would do as they left me disappointed so about 2 years ago I stopped any focus on the current GI Joe creative team due to their ambiguity towards us o-ring collectors which helped me put things into perspective. I've resigned myself to being pleasantly surprised with any new Hasbro O-ring product. I am happy Classified seems to be doing fairly successful in keeping the GI Joe name out there but the scale does nothing for me personally. I often wonder what would have happened if GI Joe was able to somehow return to the original o-ring construction back in 2007 during the 25th anniversary reveals and the 3 3/4" vs 4" schism never occurred amongst ARAH fanbase.

    Have you ever decided to revisit or acquire more vehicles? If I recall in the past you have stated that you do not collect that many vehicles due to space and not finding them as interesting. Not sure if you would ever consider getting a bit more into the vehicle aspect.

  3. I appreciate your honesty, both about joes in general and your current feelings about the hobby. I'm sure the trolls who don't get it will no doubt be back complaining that you are being "depressing" or what not. Lol it's your blog! I have the same feelings to you about the kickstarters, they leave me unimpressed. Even OR reeks of fan fiction even with some of the original designers on board. None of the designs or characters stand out. Again, I'm sure Ill get flamed up for being negative or not supportive of all things Joe for having an opinion. OR seems to be doing ok, I just don't see the excitement or originality. I even see new characters that were created during spy troops or Valor vs Venom as being legitimate canon, more than any fan created character. Again everyone has opinions, and I try to see everyone's. Good luck hope you find your way back soon.

  4. "-of now being over 50" I always forget there's enough years between us you could've been my dad!

    I'm a winter person, for some reason all the dead looking stuff and cold excites me. Despite that, I feel similarly crabby too, Joe's in a pretty boring place right now. The Kickstarters all look underwhelming to me, and I greatly dislike the model, so I've never once supported one of those or a HasLab... No regrets on that either. Even if you dip into Classified, it's pretty bland: just the same characters and costumes done over and over ad nauseam. The only new idea they can think of is using Transformers in a desperate attempt to keep the brand relevant.

    Shadowtracker is cool, I've never used mine though. He's a weird one, because on the one hand the figure doesn't fit too well with classic Cobras, but on the other his colors are what makes the part choices seem less repetitive.

  5. Obviously your concern about wether you'll make your money back on figures is something that made people feel bad. Much like how I am apparently not excited about Factory Customs. That kind of trolling only appears when there's accuracy in the face of the narrative.

    Can't blame you on being down on Joe. It's something that doesn't have a hell of a lot to be excited about. As much fun as I have with the hobby, and there's been a hell of a lot of figures I've always wanted released since 2006, I kind of wish the whole thing was dead and buried circa 2005/06 when the DTC line crumbled.

    Shadowtracker is a fun figure, I like him a lot, and figure he's amongst the few Red Laser Figures that really had any staying power with me.

  6. I can feel where you are at. Once you have covered everything, it is difficult to come up with something new. A problem with content creators. Take a break. Glance over your collection slowly and study each figure or vehicle or blueprint. You might find something that sparks something.

    As to other subjects in your article, Hasbro really has no clue for their o-ring. I like some, scratch my head at some and don't care for the rest. Guess that is why they are pawning it off to Super7, who is prolly going to charge 25-30 for Cartoon version of the characters instead of making new figures and new characters. Starting with the axed 1995 lineup would be a great place. Hasbro is now full tilt into Classifieds. Which they should be. That line has the heat. I have no interest. Maybe if they made 6" direct recreations of the original figures, but naw.

    As for third party, I like seeing others try and pick up where Hasbro as failed:

    The first one I back was Strike Force Alpha. It was my first kick starter and I jumped on after getting back into ARAH. They are a bit . . hit n miss. I really like about 4 of the figures. Their body proportions are a bit wonky. They have the wide shallow torso like Lanard did.

    Then came Callsign: LONGBOW. And to me, these figures fit right in with ARAH. I LOVE the designs of Henchman, Outlaw and Krasny-Ninja.

    Love the Legends of the Hidden Force lineup. All the figures are well designed and include some figures based on the 1995 ARAH line like Road Pig.

    In the Navy is next. These are for filling spot on the FLAGG and getting the Deck Crew that the Haslab SkyStriker stalled on.

    Anyway, winter does suck. I hate the cold as well. I do like snow though. At least for pictures. There is just something about real snow in pics. . . .

    1. Are you the Evilface from Evileface's 4th circle of hell and the LBCs? If so, I have been a long time fan of yours going back to the glory days of GI Joe on the Web 1.0 in the very early 2000s. As a 90s kid I too wanted to see Hasbro surprise us with re-visiting the cancelled 1995 Battle Rangers line. Once I discovered all the details about that cancelled line it has become a huge regret that it was never released when I was a kid.

      I am in agreement with you regarding the kickstarters, I think they have potential to breath some new life into the hobby for me. I am also curious to see what the Super7 O-rings look like and the figure offerings. I am cautiously optimistic as I like the Re-Action designs but hate the 5 POA.

      The create of In The Navy has also produced other figures - "green shirts" that also fit a need.

    2. It seems like a lifetime ago but yea that is me.

      I hope the Super7 figures match up with the original ARAH figures in size and design and are not just cartoony Re-Action figures with o-rings. Based on their o-ring Vipers, they probably will be.

    3. Agreed. I must have stumbled across that site in 2000/2001 when I was 18. Loved your site it was one of my favorite Joe sites back in the wonderful web 1.0 world. If I recall correctly the Bivouac was another great site of that era and General's Joes was great as well for the new stuff coming out (I think he had some great diostories too). Anyways just wanted to let you know I am a fan!

    4. I forgot about the Bivouac. I miss General's Joes and JoeBattleLines too. Cobra: The Inner Sanctum was another one of my favorites.

      Its always bothered me that they never released the Ninja Commandos and Battle Rangers when the line returned in '97. In hindsight they probably just scrapped all of it and all the people in those positions simply moved on, retaining none of the plans or molds.

  7. I'm super pumped for the upcoming Super 7 O-rings. Their Ultimate figures are PERFECT looking, IMO, and the one O-ring figure they showed off so far looked great. I think they'll knock them out of the park.

    I also like the two recently available retro figs from other companies/kickstarters. The Skeletron Retro Wolf Trooper is excellent. The Eagle Force Retro Riot Commando is also very good. Keeping track of these one-offs and all the various kickstarters is a pain though. I've already forgotten what I have preordered and where.

  8. For me, being down on GI JOE is all about pulling out stuff...wanting to enjoy it and oh, this has discolored. Oh, the knee won't move for no reason. *SNAP*. Or I'll oil it. Still barely moves. Oh, and another comic pack figure with a cracked torso. And this is early 2000's stuff mostly. I wasted some good years chasing plastic junk that now brings me down.
    I don't go after factory customs because they seem overpriced and I'm NOT nostalgic for hard thumbs. I also think they recolor some things to DEATH. If I never see Snake-Eyes V1, V2, Cobra Trooper or Alley Viper in different colors again, I'll be fine.
    I also don't go for kickstarters. A few people have been BURNED by shady hustlers and gotten nothing for their "support", there was some modern style space line that never produced one backer item. And there's the famous Eagle Force where it took years, maybe just due to shenanagins in China, but still.... (Not to mention the scam artist parts casters who either bit off more orders than they could chew or never intended to deliver.)

  9. Aging is MF'er whether you are a human or a toy.