Saturday, January 30, 2021
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Saturday, January 16, 2021
2004 Night Force Beach Head Profile
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Armor Tech Joes were easy to find in the mid 1990's as I hunted down the retail remains of the vintage Joe line. Toys R Us stores would have pegs of them, priced higher than the dwindling supplies of Battle Corps figures. You'd find them at toy liquidators: again mostly untouched by retail buyers. They were the last vintage Joes I spotted at retail in the fall of 1997 when I saw them at the lone toy shop in a newly opened mall in Arizona. After the retail stock dried up, Armor Tech figures actually got cheaper. You could often get them for a couple of bucks per carded figure at flea markets. And, Ebay auctions of the entire carded set of figures would sell for under $20...if they sold at all. Even into the 2010's, Armor Tech was about the cheapest set of vintage Joe figures you could acquire. And, the low prices and high availability lead many collectors to simply ignore them, figuring they could pick them up at any time.
So, now we get to the real reason why I profiled this figure: his accessories. At a glance, Rock and Roll just includes a random accessory tree cast in bright yellow plastic. His tree, though, is one of my favorites with Tracker's rifle, Muskrat's shotgun and the big-ass blaster from the 1991 Grunt figure. In bright yellow, though, who cares? Except, Rock and Roll has a variant. Later version of the figure include purple accessories. Again, many of you say, "who cares?". Purple weapons aren't all that more useful than yellow ones. But, for an aficionado of 1990's weapons, the purple gear is a lot of fun for me. 9 figures included accessories of some shade of yellow in 1993: including two other members of Star Brigade. (Countdown and the B.A.A.T.) Four additional figures included yellow weapons in 1994. No other figures included purple weapons in 1993. (Three figures had gear in some shade of blue, but they were definitely blue with no purple tint.) Only the 1994 Metal Head figure also includes purple gear. So, it is a rather rare color for Joe accessories. Seeing the MP-5 inspired weapon in purple just looks cool because it is unique, distinctive and not something you see every day.
In general, neither the yellow or purple accessories seem all that difficult to find. As the Armor Tech figures are unpopular, not even dealers who look to squeeze every penny they can from Joe variants really care about the weapon colors. Even if you find a sale that advertises the color, you won't have to pay a premium for it unless you choose to do so. The purple gear came with later editions of the Rock and Roll figure while the yellow gear was the initial release. I like the purple because they are so distinctive and set this figure apart. I also feel that they help mute the figure's appearance and that Rock and Roll is substantially better looking when holding the darker weapons. Of course, collector mileage varies for things like this. I like obscure little variants like these weapons. And, the fact that weapon trees are nostalgic to me just adds to this figure's mystique. Of course, after opening the variants, the figures went into bags and have only reappeared for the photos below. So, the appeal of purple gear only goes so far.
The Armor Tech filecards were not good. Rock and Roll's has potential before it completely goes off the rails. The bio acknowledges that Rock and Roll was a founding member of the Joe team and mentions that he has continually upgraded his equipment. (Technically, this is true since the 1989 version has upgraded gear over the 1982 original.) But, it then talks about him jumping on live grenades and chasing B.A.A.T.s into the sun. Both of these would result in Rock and Roll's death and he would do one of those events just once before he was nothing more than a memory. To make it worse, the filecard mentions twice! that Rock and Roll likes to roast marshmallows on the end of his laser rifle. Look, I get it. These figures aren't meant to really reflect the reality of space. But, the whole roasting marshmallow thing was dumb in the card's first quote and was too lame to justify a repeat of the joke at the end. But, this filecard shows the evolution of Joe characterization and how it diminished as the brand's pioneers moved on and Hasbro began to cut corners to keep the line afloat.
Unsurprisingly, no one cares about this Rock and Roll. Even today, you can buy carded versions for under $10. Dealers will usually charge $20-$25. But, these don't sell since there isn't much demand for the figure and there is enough supply. Even the variant, purple weapons don't generate interest and will not sell for a premium unless you get really lucky as a seller. Overall, though, the stock of carded Armor Tech figures is drying up. 20 years ago, you could have bought 40 of these guys in one week without even trying. Now, they are fewer and farther between. At some point, they will also dry up and be like the 1994 series. But, as the figures are not desirable and are one of the more reviled concepts of the vintage Joe line, it's unlikely that their pricing will follow suit for the 1994 figures. If you're a completist or just looking for something different, Armor Tech offers some diversity not often seen in the vintage line. And, since it's also still cheap, it makes sense to take advantage of their availability before they go to the way of most of the rest of the once plentiful 90's carded Joe overstock.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
2000 Chameleon Profile
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Friday, January 1, 2021
So, 2020 was a weird year. It was bizarre in that Joe was popular, but also not. Items that, historically, collectors showed interest in were simply ignored. Yet, common items that no one would ever care about now get massive attention. And, in all this, the most popular post in the site's history debuted this year. Yes, there is a new number one post in this site's long life. And, you'll never guess what it is.
With that, here's the top 10 posts of 2020 on the site.
The European Force figures have always been solid performers during Rarities Month. This year, I focused on the one figure that I see the least: Tonnerre. This orange repaint is weird and odd and lots of fun. I'd love to someday own one. Until then, though, Rarities write ups like this one will have to suffice for me.
9. 2006 Viper
Army builders are always popular. This Viper Pit set, though, has turned into a dud due to the poor quality of the figures. Despite that, this figure got a lot of page views just due to the Viper name and the fact that it's been 14 years since he was released.
Black Major figures tend to perform well. Especially when you consider that I can't promote the profiles of them in many of the largest social media groups. Despite this blackout, people find the write ups of the figures. Other Joe bloggers report the same. The De Aco is a famous figure in its own right and people were interested to see how the Black Major release compared to one of the first foreign figures to really capture the community's attention.
This isn't really a surprise. A classic and iconic vehicle re-offered at retail for the first time in a long time was certain to draw in viewers. Naturally, you see video reviews from large toy sites that have massively more numbers as they pull in the retail only collector crowd. But, even Joe collectors wanted to see this one and it dropped into the top profiles of the year.
I never considered Fast Draw an overly popular character. But, his profile garnered a lot of attention. It wasn't the time of year or anything. In fact, the two profiles the surround Fast Draw (1984 Chameleon and 1997 Ace) were among the lowest performing posts of the year. So, the popularity is entirely attributable to the Fast Draw figure.
The Warhawk is an incredibly obscure item of which most fans had little recollection. So, it getting a prominent post attracted viewers. Some loved the design. Others hated it. But, the reality is that Sgt. Savage toys are almost as forgotten as G.I. Joe Extreme and it's getting rarer and rarer to see them in any capacity.
I don't look at a lot of paperwork. But, little items like this Terror on the Tundra promo tend to be popular. Most collectors have these things lying around. But, they aren't something that they take the time to look at. And, now that some of the items in them have reached astronomical prices, it's interesting to look back at what you could have bought when they were released.
While I had a good crop of Rarities posts this year, only two really broke through. This look at the later series of Power Commandos, though, was the most popular Rarities post of the year. Again, this showcased a bunch of figures that most collectors were not aware of and, in many cases, had never seen.
There still lots about this line I don't know. But, there will be at least one more new post for Rarities month in 2021 that relates to the Power Commandos, though.
The Flaming Moth figures have been left behind by collectors. Those of us around at the time of their release remember the acidic taste of the Club's disdain for us upon the figure's release. And, we also remember the figures being clearance fodder for years as the club struggled to move them. But, 14 years later, these figures have become obscure. So, this profile hit a nerve with the generation of collectors who don't have bitter memories of how truly awful the G.I. Joe club really was.
Despite this figure being the 2nd most popular post of the year, it was viewed more than 2,000 fewer times than the number 1.
1. 1984 Manta
I know, I can't believe it either. But, the Manta is the most popular post in the site's history. And, it wasn't due to a viral moment or a spike in popularity in a social media group. No. The Manta's rise to the top was simply a sustained excellence over the year. Even 8 months after it's original publication date, the Manta was still among the weekly leaders in site hits. It never had a huge surge of visitors. It's just steadily performed for months. (If you scroll to the bottom of any page on the site, you'll see the top 5 posts visited in the past week and the MANTA was almost always there in 2020.) And, in September, it overcame the Rarities post about the unproduced Cobra Island Infiltrate set to become the most viewed post since I returned in 2015.
I can't explain why. Manta's don't seem all that popular. The photos for it weren't out of the ordinary. There's just something about the Manta that's kept it consistently drawing viewers since it first appeared.
So, that's it for 2020. It was a hell of a year. Let's hope 2021 is less eventful on all fronts. I've got some fun stuff ahead for the new year. Aside from Joe, I'm going to take a look at Spinmaster Batman figures, some new Star Wars releases and, or course, tons of Joe items. I'll be back to my regular cadence next week and already have the posts mapped out into April.
As always, thanks for spending time here, reading my stuff and leaving your thoughts in the comments. I appreciate all of you!