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Prometheum5
For the life of me I cannot figure out NECA. They've got one guy that seems to do most everything, but it's like there's three or four teams there that do WILDLY different work and then have them made in three different factories.

Yeah, that does seem to be the case. But I suspect there's also not enough financial incentive for them to address the issues they have. Just nod, tell people you're taking steps to improve things, and then keep on doing the same-old same-old.

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Sanjeev
I wonder if it's a question of changing factories. As prices skyrocket in China, many OEMs are moving their operations to Vietnam or elsewhere in southeast Asia...and that obviously affects QC as you go from an experienced factory to one where folks really don't know what they're doing yet.

I don't know how much feedback and quality control the companies can exert over the factories, but at least with the Alien figures it's clear NECA didn't do any due diligence. Ben is right about how those figures are fucking garbage and practically designed to explode right out of the package. Here's why.

The joint tolerances are too low in terms of wall-thickness, especially for the type of insert molded plastics they're (incorrecctly) using. The cheapo plastic has a tendency to adhere in places it shouldn't, perhaps because the parts are too similar in composition. Insert molded joints usually use two different plastics with the inserted piece being hard like ABS and the surrounding piece being softer like PVC. The Aliens figures don't appear to do this and instead have similar plastic all throughout the joint, and that wouldn't necessarily be a problem if the material thickness was sufficient to compensate. Which, of course, it ain't. Another problem is that the plastic is not durable - it both sheers and stretches too easily. And, naturally, they tend to get glue and/or paint worked into the joints. None of the problems with those figures should have passted the first round of review samples.

Oh, and unique to the Alien-Alien is the problem of the "dome" not fitting the "head". It's too long by a couple of milimeters and after it has been glued in place it bulges upwards and creates gaps around the sides of the head. Lazy.

I'm guessing that they either didn't pay enough attention to the review samples or they thought fixing the problems wouldn't justify the cost. But isn't that usually the case with most companies?
So Neca Alien figs are like the Ford Pinto of action figures (and they literally explode too!).
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H-man
So Neca Alien figs are like the Ford Pinto of action figures (and they literally explode too!).

The Pinto still sucks less.
I saw "new Microman stuff" in this thread, and then finally saw the new preorders... Microman Arts Go! ? So basically they're taking what they're arguably worst at (human characters) and creating a line of just anime heroines or whatever? Isn't that market already super crowded what with Figma and such?
fujishig: I saw the new microman stuff too, and was very disappointed. Looks like Takara/Tomy are using the Microman name to start their own version of figma... Now don't get me wrong, that could be cool if they made, ya know, Microman toys. Heck, how cool would a new larger super articulated set of micromen be....with clear bodies and chromed heads and stuff...oh well maybe if these sell we will see more traditional stuff...
Sanjeev (Admin)
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fel9
...Now don't get me wrong, that could be cool if they made, ya know, Microman toys. Heck, how cool would a new larger super articulated set of micromen be....with clear bodies and chromed heads and stuff...

Yeah, unlike the 3A toys. Meh.

But while *I'm* totally with you....I'm pretty sure we're the only ones. Over the past 10-15 years, Takara has done a pretty decent job of producing stuff fans would want. But there just aren't enough fans to warrant making more of it. Or we're not spending enough. I mean, I still see plenty of '04 figures languishing on Y!J for dirt cheap...ten fucking years later. And they're actually pretty damn good toys!

So what's a toy company to do?
Man I miss the 200X microman lines... I still have that pseudo playstation somewhere, in a box with all the laser micromen and those awesome magnemo robots. I should dig that up. I would love a revival of that or heck, a diaclone revival.

But while I love them, they never really seemed to do licensed characters all that well. Isn't the design of the figure more for articulation and insane posing, and less to look aesthetically like a certain character? I mean, I loved the Kinnikuman ones, but those are wrasslers and all and are designed to be put in all kinds of poses.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I tend to agree: my favorite Microman figures were the pure scifi original characters. Chrome heads, translucent bodies. Boom. The licensed characters they did never impressed me...even those Kinnikuman ones (and I'm a big Kinnikuman fan).
Note that these figures are being released under the "Takara Arts" (T-Arts, ha!) line, which handles making merch from non-TakaraTomy licensed intellectual properties. Essentially, these figures are the equivalent of the "Micro Action" series of licensed figures Takara did with the 200X line. With that line, they actually more or less helped bootstrap the core figure sales by launching the first four standard Micorman figures in the same wave as a set of Tatsunoko Fight figures, and since then licensed many properties to make Micro Action figures out of concurrent to the main line release along with the blank body DIY Material Force figures as a sort of three-prong marketing strategy that made the most of reusing the molds.

While it's too early to say for certain, it would appear that Microman Arts is the new version of Micro Action. It shows that they intend to revive the Microman brand, but are taking the "safe route" of selling popular IP-based figures to the otaku market to help generate revenue and interest before plunging into more original IP. There's actually been a couple of quiet Microman-based releases up till now (the Race Queens Transformer figures and the Sunny manga exclusive vintage-style figure) this last year or so, and it's now the 40th anniversary of Microman, so hopefully we'll see more of a proper revival later in the year.

As for the new figures...they seem to be focusing on better QC this time (though they had a shaky preview which was later replaced by a more on-model prototype), but a lot of folks are skeptical of their ability to do these figures well. The two new "gimmicks" for these is that they have legs that are covered in front with a flexible skin that hides the knee articulation (personally I think the Figma solution to this was fine), and each figure has a display capsule/stand. The three announced licenses include the super-duper-popular tactical naval warfare virtual card game Kantai Collection (basically a naval warfare game reskinned with moe anthropomorphized ships...not exactly my cup of tea) licensed from DMM and Kadokawa, a new vocaloid-based haiku-composing game Go Go 575 licensed from Sega (no idea how that's doing, probably more a gamble, but a foot in the door for more Sega licenses, as already seen with the planned Megatron Sega Mega Drive also coming out from T-Arts), and the sucessful new idol comedy series from Sunrise and Dengeki, Love Live Idol Project which is just getting a sequel series next season. As such, it seems TakaraTomy is playing a bit more aggressive and savvy to the current otaku buying public. A bit of a gamble though given how fickle and hard to please that crowd can be.

What really slams the brakes for me (as I happen to like the Love Live anime--it was a pretty well-written comedy--so there's at least some interest here for me, though I wasn't in a rush to buy character figures or such) though is the apparent price point. Pre-orders are suggesting each of these figures are about $26-27. For a 10cm tall figure, that's pretty much a "no deal" for me. I'd rather spend that on a Figma, which already has set a good high bar for figure quality and articulation. So doubtful I'll pick many, if any up. I'll be holding out for a main-line original Microman IP release, and even then I may have to just say "no". We'll see.
Alls I'm sayin' is that if Takara/Tomy make clear bodied chrome headed dudes again I'll buy....Especailly if they look as nice as this dude....who is a figma....
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Sanjeev (Admin)
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fel9
Alls I'm sayin' is that if Takara/Tomy make clear bodied chrome headed dudes again I'll buy....Especailly if they look as nice as this dude....who is a figma....

^^Again, 100% with this.

And I don't think $26 is that outrageous for a modern action figure (unless that's the Japan retail price...which would translate to much more imported here). I mean, aren't fully-articulated, accessory-heavy GI Joe's, Marvel Universe, and Star Wars guys from Hasbro over $15 now? In fact, Hasbro's now dumbing down their figures because they're just too expensive...
I think the bigger figures (6 inches) are ~15 to ~20 bucks now, but the smaller figures (3.75 inches) which are close to Microman size still retail for ~10 or under. It's hard for me to tell because they all get scalped fiercely around here, and I don't think Joe has been at retail since the last movie. But yeah, they've totally kiddified the lines to make them cheaper, with less articulation.

But the beauty of Microman, at least to me, was in how (relatively) cheap they were. I remember when Figuarts first came out, I thought it was insanely expensive, and since I've become indoctrinated into their cult those first few releases seem cheap. But before that I collected waves and waves of Microman toys from various import retailers for pretty cheap, even before Diamond started distributing them, and most were packed with accessories galore.

I did buy some of those Transformers GT releases with the Microgirls. Man, talk about expensive...
Yeah that Crystal Bowie is something else, isn't he? It helps that Masaki Apsy is such a genious sculptor and is behind the whole Figma design. :) I've never bought a Figma that didn't feel *under*-priced, even at inflated import prices.

That's the Japanese retail price, Sanjeev...so yeah. I think it's too much for a 10 cm figure, even if it has a nice stand and knees that look unjointed from the front (never mind the arms still are done the typical way).

Also I noticed that the Microman Arts girls feature less articulation than the prior 200X Micromen/ladies, they've tossed a lot of the double joints for simpler articulation similar to figmas. And I have no idea who is on staff for this run as most of the old team from Takara Hobby got the axe after Microman 200X ended. That said, the Sunny exclusive was DAMN nice (a high quality, totally new retool and fresh sculpt of a vintage Rescue Microman), so I remain pretty hopeful that someone there is up to something good. :)
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yeah, the price has always been an attractive aspect to the Micro line...but I just don't see being able to maintain that in this economy...

Bry, has there been ANY info leaked about any 40th anniversary stuff? I really hope they don't let it slide like Hasbro's doing with GI Joe.
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Sanjeev
Bry, has there been ANY info leaked about any 40th anniversary stuff? I really hope they don't let it slide like Hasbro's doing with GI Joe.

"Dear GIJoe fans for the big 50th anniversary we are going to kill the line...." Sincerely Hasbro
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fel9
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Sanjeev
Bry, has there been ANY info leaked about any 40th anniversary stuff? I really hope they don't let it slide like Hasbro's doing with GI Joe.

"Dear GIJoe fans for the big 50th anniversary we are going to kill the line...." Sincerely Hasbro

Are they really not going to release any new waves? I know they started their Matty-like collector's club, so at this point is that all that's viable, milking the dedicated fanbase who know about their sub site and are willing to plunk down a lot of cash sight unseen?
Sanjeev (Admin)
Nah, from what I understand, they've literally dissolved all the creative teams responsible for GI Joe product and dispersed them among other properties. The line is dead for now...but unlike most folks, I don't think this is a permanent thing. I'm confident they'll bring it back in a few years. Just odd that they'd do it now...during the 50th anniversary...
The toys have been very very sparse on the shelves for some time now. It's weird not to see them at all, but usually the local chains had, maybe, 2-3 peg warmers out there and that was it for years now. Even when the movies were in full swing, there wasn't much there.

More serious than thou
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fujikuro
Even when the movies were in full swing, there wasn't much there.

Like the serious guy says, it's not like there's that much collector-friendly Joe at any particular time, aside from the 25th explosion.

There are a number of things coming down the pipe (kick-ass and new Lady Jaye, Destro, and Beachhead molds, and a SHOWY Leatherneck, thank god, along with a Toy-ey Flint), reissues of the vintage VAMP II and Snow Wolf, and a few other things. So I wouldn't say there's nothing. In fact, it's about as much as in any given year, and the Joe Club is still pushing forward with producing collector-friendly figs/gouging collectors.

Also, this isn't the 50th anniversary of the Real American Heroes/Sunbow line. The "30th" line just came out a couple of years ago. This 50th anniversary is that of the 12" figs, and not of the Joes I actually care about.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2014 09:03PM by gingaio.
Sanjeev (Admin)
^^Right--those are good points: this is not the 50th anniversary of ARAH...it's the 50th anniversary of "GI Joe", in general (i.e., the original 12" figures that started it all...literally: the toys that ultimately evolved into Transformers as we know them).

What I'm curious about is whether there's even a strong following for the old 12" guys? Like, are there obsessive bbs', facebook groups, or other online communities devoted to collecting and dissecting those guys? My whole life, I've never cared one bit about those toys (except for the history lesson involving their siring of Henshin Cyborg and all the Takara SF Land stuff). My only fandom of GI Joe has been via ARAH.

Well anyway...it still seems true that the current design teams for modern GI Joe toys have been dissolved. The toys that are coming out this year (like the new Snow Wolf, which seems to have TONS of fans drooling!) were likely developed *last* year. After these things, we may not see much for a while...
I had no idea Hasbro supposedly dissolved its design teams for the Joe line, though I'm not particularly concerned or surprised. I mean, how many of us RAH collectors actually care about non-RAH designs? And to answer your question, the old-fart fans aren't the ones driving the collector side of the business.

I mean, it's not like Hasbro wasn't already outsourcing its design work to ex-Hasbro employees (see: Boss Fight Studio, which did a lot of the original designs for the Joe Club last year and this). It's probably just another cost-cutting measure, eliminating in-house staff, if that's the case.

I don't know...there really isn't that much more I want out of the Joe line. Just a few more character holes to fill. Or updating (instead of reissuing) the vehicles, which isn't attractive cost-wise to the company. Anything more and it would only involve the redundancy of revisiting the popular characters they've already modernized. Which is kind of what's already happening.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Do acronyms really suck? Please stick to "ARAH" for A Real American Hero because I talk to a bunch of 1/6 guys who use "RAH" for Medicom's Real Action Hero line. :P

Anyway, speaking of whom, I was talking just recently with a classic Joe collector who has almost ZERO interest in ARAH. He made it sound like the Joe collector club (which I didn't even know existed before reading this thread) was mostly the old timey 1/6 stuff. Is that not the case?

Either way, he said it was posted on hisstank that the in-house design teams have been repurposed. But like you said, that may not mean much given outsourced design. I don't read into it too much either...because who's to say that they won't all be brought back in six months to do Joe stuff again??

All I want out of the Joe franchise is one of those fancy-shmancy 1/6 Sideshow dolls of a BAT. Is it shocking that my dream GI Joe toy is a robot??? ;)
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Sanjeev
Do acronyms really suck? Please stick to "ARAH" for A Real American Hero because I talk to a bunch of 1/6 guys who use "RAH" for Medicom's Real Action Hero line. :P

Okay, I think that's my cue.
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Sanjeev
Yeah, the price has always been an attractive aspect to the Micro line...but I just don't see being able to maintain that in this economy...

Bry, has there been ANY info leaked about any 40th anniversary stuff? I really hope they don't let it slide like Hasbro's doing with GI Joe.

I was hoping for something at WonFes, but nope, not yet. I've seen one post somewhere on a Japanese blog (I forget where at the moment) that supposedly Takara *does* have something in development that they had hoped to show at the event, but I don't know if that was actual intel or just speculation. They might also just have meant the larger reveal of more characters in the Microman Arts lineup from the already announced licenses.

Personally, I think we'll most likely see something *if* this first wave of Microman Arts performs okay...so perhaps later in the year. In fact, I am not sure they'd have released these characters under the Microman brand name (in fact they have in the intervening years used Microman bodies for a few figures without using the Microman brand on the packaging, making them sort of "stealth" Microman releases) if they didn't have other plans for the brand this year...historically Takara's tended to prefer multi-tier releases, throwing various shit at the wall and seeing what sticks, and it seems odd they'd revive the Microman brand solely with product that doesn't really reflect the brand identity clearly (unless they want to change that identity entirely to being a Figma-like platform only...but again, that seems "out of character" to me). That said, perhaps they see the 3A experiment as filling part of that void. :/
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yeah, I just hope they don't actually think that the 3A stuff is enough to satisfy the fans of their SF Land lines... :/

Thanks for the insight, Bry!
Vintage 1/6 GI Joe was a lie that a hearltess toy company sold to boys who wanted to believe they were still manly despite playing with dolls. It lied about the narrowness of existing gender ideologies in order to make a fast buck. This deception was so insidious it left us with an entire generation of American men who were so ashamed of crossing gender norms in their childhood that they still won't admit that dolls aren't just for girls and that any adults who still play with toys are weirdos. They will never come to grips with the fact that dollies with dog tags and machine guns are still dollies.

Seriously, though, the vintagey 1/6 Joe stuff is crap. All the figures have heads that look like butt-plugs with flocked hair and their outfits look like they were cut out of construction paper. The appeal was that they were designed for dress-up activities. But everyone knows that's really what Barbies and MEGOS are for.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2014 10:35PM by Gcrush.
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Yeah, even back in the days the 12 inch Joe line did nothing for me. The only one that I remembered kind of liking was Bullet Man. Silver chrome bullet shaped helmet dude in red short shorts. Hmmmmm... Perfect for Gcrush come to think of it!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2014 11:38PM by H-man.
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Gcrush
Vintage 1/6 GI Joe was a lie that a hearltess toy company sold to boys who wanted to believe they were still manly despite playing with dolls. It lied about the narrowness of existing gender ideologies in order to make a fast buck. This deception was so insidious it left us with an entire generation of American men who were so ashamed of crossing gender norms in their childhood that they still won't admit that dolls aren't just for girls and that any adults who still play with toys are weirdos. They will never come to grips with the fact that dollies with dog tags and machine guns are still dollies.

Seriously, though, the vintagey 1/6 Joe stuff is crap. All the figures have heads that look like butt-plugs with flocked hair and their outfits look like they were cut out of construction paper. The appeal was that they were designed for dress-up activities. But everyone knows that's really what Barbies and MEGOS are for.

So, I agree with you on the first point, that the 12" GI Joe line was a doll line in denial that has probably had an incredibly damaging effect on two generations of kids, but I entirely disagree with the second point.

As an extension of my love for Henshin Cyborg and that whole SF Land lineage, I've been reading up a lot about the original GI Joe and Adventure Team lines and bought a couple representative samples. I find myself blown away by the breadth and quality of the offerings they had in the AT line, and am utterly impressed by how well many of them hold up. The head sculpts are certainly primitive by today's standards, but I love the flocked effect. The flocking adds great texture and covers up the worst parts of the vintage head sculpt. The appeal totally is the dress up, even if gender norms made it unacceptable to link the appeal of army man dress up to the appeal of fashion dress up. I have to admit, I never really associate the Mego line with that dress-up appeal, since the toys were always sold as complete characters with unique heads and everything. Were there even loose costume sets sold for the Mego line?

I'm also pretty fascinated by the idea that the GI Joe club and Cotswold Collectibles are still today making new and reproduction toys based on that original body design, while Henshin Cyborg collectors are killing each other for clear bodies of basically the same mold. If you want to see true ugly, check out the head sculpts on the Cotswold bodies, they are a company that started out making repro Joe parts and now make entire original Joe style toys, including a repro body once the patent expired:

[www.gijoeelite.com]

I don't know if primitive GI Joe style head sculpts and plasticy accessories on 12" army dolls have the same vintage funk appeal as Popy Gokin, but it very much seems to be a market, since the Club keeps cranking out new and repro sets. I think the newer 'modern' Hasbro 12" Joes are pretty crap, with a terrible body and shoddy looking costumes, but some of the vintage sets are genuinely beautiful. Take a look at the vintage Mercury astronaut set some time, absolutely incredible stuff. The Club currently has a Rooskie Adventure Team member with a fuzzy hat and everything, so I sucked it up and bought a year of membership so I could purchase it. I've never at all gotten the ARAH line, even as a kid when it was around, but I appreciate the 12" line from a historical standpoint, and I'm OK enough with my gender identity to admit I enjoy the dress up aspect, same as why I enjoy collecting Henshin Cyborg.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
At least ARAH fans with a lot of money can still collect 1/6 Sideshow dolls modern collectibles. Even though I'm more of a Hot Toys snob, some of the Sideshow stuff is tempting, mainly Destro/Baroness/Cobra Commander.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I'm not really into action figures, but I *do* love certain ARAH characters...and have been tempted on more than one occasion to pick up a Sideshow figure...
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Sanjeev
I'm not really into action figures, but I *do* love certain ARAH characters...and have been tempted on more than one occasion to pick up a Sideshow figure...

Yeah, I saw your earlier post about a BAT. I'd probably jump on a Sideshow BAT, since it was one of my favorite toys as a kid, what with the interchangable hands and all. Plus, it's easier for them to nail the likeness, I think. Heck, if that Cobra VIPER was still available now I'd probably have picked it up. The problem is that they're edging close to Hot Toys prices but they're not quite at that level yet, IMHO.
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fujishig
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Sanjeev
I'm not really into action figures, but I *do* love certain ARAH characters...and have been tempted on more than one occasion to pick up a Sideshow figure...

Yeah, I saw your earlier post about a BAT. I'd probably jump on a Sideshow BAT, since it was one of my favorite toys as a kid, what with the interchangable hands and all. Plus, it's easier for them to nail the likeness, I think. Heck, if that Cobra VIPER was still available now I'd probably have picked it up. The problem is that they're edging close to Hot Toys prices but they're not quite at that level yet, IMHO.

The trick is that Sideshow prices are edging into like 2011 Hot Toys prices, not current HT prices. They are both on fairly parallel inclines. I never really paid much attention to Sideshow until recently, but I have a couple of their newer Star Wars releases and am pretty happy with them. The Sideshow body is not quite as nice as HT, but the costumes and accessories are solid.

Introducing Prometheus Rising Studio.
[prometheusrising.net]
I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
In person, the Sideshow 1/6 Cobra Commander on his Cobra Throne, flanked by the two Royal Imperial Guards... I mean, Cobra Crimson guards, makes a pretty imposing display.
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Prometheum5
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fujishig
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Sanjeev
I'm not really into action figures, but I *do* love certain ARAH characters...and have been tempted on more than one occasion to pick up a Sideshow figure...

Yeah, I saw your earlier post about a BAT. I'd probably jump on a Sideshow BAT, since it was one of my favorite toys as a kid, what with the interchangable hands and all. Plus, it's easier for them to nail the likeness, I think. Heck, if that Cobra VIPER was still available now I'd probably have picked it up. The problem is that they're edging close to Hot Toys prices but they're not quite at that level yet, IMHO.

The trick is that Sideshow prices are edging into like 2011 Hot Toys prices, not current HT prices. They are both on fairly parallel inclines. I never really paid much attention to Sideshow until recently, but I have a couple of their newer Star Wars releases and am pretty happy with them. The Sideshow body is not quite as nice as HT, but the costumes and accessories are solid.

Really? Their recent releases seem to be in the ~180 range, which seem comparable to the non diecast/non Ironman/non-insanely-gigantic Hot Toys stuff. The Joe movie stuff is around 190, I think, as is stuff like the new Widow or Man of Steel. Granted the Sideshow stuff may just come with a boatload of accessories...

Sorry, derailed the thread, should've started a "Do dolls really suck" thread instead... :)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/18/2014 06:38PM by fujishig.
Okay, back on topic then...

In a moment of weakness and self-loathing, I picked up a Funco GoT Legacy Tyrion Lannister when I was at the local B&N the other day, knowing full well of the QC issues that has plagued the first series. But hey, I needed a damn Imp on my desk! But of course, once taken home, the left arm snapped right off after trying to move it.... I've exchanged it for another one but not touching the thing until I can find time to give it a good warm water bath first.... damn this impulse buying....
Sanjeev (Admin)
No 1/6 BAT without a lenticular chest sticker though. Word life.

C'mon, Harv!
OK, a few Glyos-based toys have come my way recently, and though I didn't think I would enjoy it, I can't seem to stop playing with my GITD Gobon. The two different (major) robot modes he can form into just make for great play value.

Additionally, my first buys from Storehorsemen arrived today. I picked up the red Ophidian Squad Elite figure and the green Ggrapptikks Grunt (black body, green arms/legs). The red guy sure is evocative of a Cobra grunt villain, but essentially with modern Star Wars figure articulation. Grapptikks is the better of the two I think. He's much larger and the Glyos modularity works better here - allowing you to do things like swap gripping hands around to allow for his staff to be held in one arm (with both hands) or across both arms. Paint apps are more apparent on Grapptikks as well. Both need some touch-up to make them feel complete, though. The Elite figure much more so than Grapptikks. I just like typing Grapptikks.

Anyway, these do seem to have nice tight Glyos joints, and I do enjoy the combo of such connections and articulated joints. I'll definitely be getting more of these, especially when we get into the actual characters in original colors.

More serious than thou
The only 12" GI Joe I ever had was this 2002 Cobra Commander: [www.yojoe.com]

I liked his goofy mask and neat armor, but I only kept it for a year or two.

-Ginrai
Golden Gate Riot on dead trees at: [www.destroyallcomics.com]
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Prometheum5
As an extension of my love for Henshin Cyborg and that whole SF Land lineage, I've been reading up a lot about the original GI Joe and Adventure Team lines and bought a couple representative samples. I find myself blown away by the breadth and quality of the offerings they had in the AT line, and am utterly impressed by how well many of them hold up. The head sculpts are certainly primitive by today's standards, but I love the flocked effect. The flocking adds great texture and covers up the worst parts of the vintage head sculpt. The appeal totally is the dress up, even if gender norms made it unacceptable to link the appeal of army man dress up to the appeal of fashion dress up. I have to admit, I never really associate the Mego line with that dress-up appeal, since the toys were always sold as complete characters with unique heads and everything. Were there even loose costume sets sold for the Mego line?

I think the liscensed character appeal of some MEGO figures was more "actiony" than "dressy". But they did sell outfits for some of them (check out the "secret identities" stuff). And then there was the Action Jackson line. It was all about TEH DRESS. Anyway.

The vintage dong-headed Joe stuff was fairly expansive in its breadth, especially the adventure team stuff that you noted. I think the spiritual successor to that was the Fish Price Adventure People line. It covered the same outrageous scope, dropped the dollie aspect, and brought in vehicles. The contemporary Imagine-Next stuff is equally awesome. But we don't have anything like the original Plugg Joe now, and haven't for a while. Why? Because it was a product that stigmatized its buying audience out of existence. "Dolls suck, boys don't play with dolls, but - HEY BOYS! - ask your parents to buy you these totally not-doll dollies." If you look at the successful contemporary 1:6 lines, they're all about replica level authenticity in detail and definitely not about dress-up action.

So, what the hell am I saying? Uh... There are two reasons for why I claim the Pubic Beard Joes are crap. The marketing concepts built into the line basically doomed it from the start. That's fairly damning. And also the technical limitations of the era mean that while Joe generally aimed for realism it then plunged headlong into the Uncanny Valley. That's really the worst part. Look at Henshin Cyborg. Why was it awesome while Joe was crap? Because the former threw realism out the window from the start and opted for a psychodelic aesthetic that still holds up today.

In my opinion the popping out of faux-retro Butt Plug Joe stuff is like using a 3D printer to build a McFish sandwich. Just gross. Neither Fish not Adventurers are meant to look like that, and when they do it will make normal people uncomfortable.
Weird. While I agree with your theory that the not-doll concept of GI Joe was rooted in some pretty damaging classical gender roles, I would blame today's lack of a dress up style toy for boys on a shitty toy market and the cost of making such a toy far before I thought to blame modern gender theory.

The uncanny valley thing is a good point, but I only agree with part of it. I think the later 12" incarnations of ARAH characters that started coming out in the 90's look much worse than the 60's/70's Joe did, viewed both when they came out and with today's perspective. Vintage Joe is styled such that you can look at it today and see a primitively sculpted toy by guys who were just figuring this shit out. The later stuff and bad high-end sculpts look much worse to me, since they are clearly trying harder to look more 'realistic', so when they fail (which they do), it's more apparent and upsetting. Waxen-faced Dragon figures and Hot Toys' Latino Roberto Downey Jr. look far more wrong to my eye.

I did not know about Action Jackson, tho, so thanks. I'm still pretty early in my deep dive of the 60's and 70's US stuff. I have a Mego Iron Man because it's Iron Man, but I never paid the line much attention otherwise.

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I make 3D printed mecha action figures.
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