2010 G.I. Joe Convention
I think I finally have all the photos posted with the exception of the three accompanying this post. The print on the right was given away at the Hasbro booth during the weekend and celebrates the convention being in Rhode Island.
The final two shots were from the G.I. Joe Club booth and show off the upcoming Adventure Team figures in the 3.75" scale. According to the Club roundtable, these are done and in a shipping container but are waiting to get on a ship from China. The latest update on schedule is June/July. Hopefully it won't take until July to get them.
As I think I've mentioned, this is the first G.I. Joe Convention that I've attended and I had a blast. Met some great Joe collectors and had fun browsing around the convention floor, purchasing a few items that I'd been looking for for a while now. The prices on vintage items were about on par with what I've seen at other conventions and toy shows but the price on modern items seemed a little high. Especially on some of the Rise of Cobra toys that you can still find on clearance at retail.
I picked up a couple of parts to finish off a vintage Snow Cat, grabbed a loose Walmart Adventure Team figure, a nice vintage Green Beret uniform and a couple small pieces from Cotswold that I'll use to finish off some kitbash figures I'm working on. I also snagged both 40th Anniversary Club exclusives, last year's para drop Crimson Guard and this year's con souvenirs which I posted about last week. While I got some good deals, it was still an expensive shopping trip.
The highlight of the weekend had to be the Hasbro tour. It was exciting to see some of the behind the scenes stuff and meet the team members that work on the G.I. Joe lines. There were so many awesome things shown off that we weren't able to take photos of but what we could photograph (and I hope I posted) was equally exciting. The upcoming product that Hasbro has planned for the Joe line is some of the most detailed and articulated they've ever done. We still have a couple of months to wait so save your cash, you'll need it.
G.I. Joe: Renegades sounds like it's going to be an excellent cartoon and good follow-up to the Resolute show from last year. Hasbro will be changing over from the Pursuit of Cobra line to Renegades next Fall but if the figures look as good as the animation we saw, and as good as the Resolute figures, we shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Providence, Rhode Island is a relatively short 6 hour trip and the location was decent as there was plenty of affordable food and shopping within walking distance of the hotel. The Westin hotel, on the other hand, wasn't that cheap and they had ridiculous key cards that worked everything from your door to the elevator. And in 2010, it's almost obscene that you couldn't get a decent Internet connection for free or at least affordably. And the Wi-Fi access was sketchy at best. Still, if the Club could make it back to Hasbro's home town again I'd go in a heart beat.
While I've been to plenty of other conventions, the G.I. Joe Convention had a much more intimate and laid back quality to it that I did enjoy. It was easy to meet and speak with other collectors, the sales floor was full but not hard to navigate and the panels were well attended but not crowded. The guests were interesting and engaging and easily accessible all weekend. Two thumbs up to the G.I. Joe Club for putting together such an excellent event and I hope to be able to attend again next year, or at least in the not too distant future.
Custom Diorama and Figure Entries
Each year at the con there is a contest where people can enter custom dioramas, figures and vehicles in either 1:6 or 1:18 scale or they can enter photographs. This year there were some excellent entries and I was thrilled at the chance to see them. There's a new album posted with over 100 photos and a video. I didn't take pictures of all the photograph entries but many, if not all, can be found on the G.I. Joe Convention page. For the photos and video, please check out the Custom Diorama and Figure Photo Album.
I didn't take a lot of photos on the floor of the convention but there were a couple of custom figures at the Joe Customs booth that were both cool and relevant. First up was a nicely detailed Flash Gordon but what really caught my eye was the A-Team.
With the new film opening in theaters later this year I thought it was a cool item for the guys to bring to the con. While there was no Murdock, Hannibal Smith, Face and B.A. were still representing.
Hasbro Tour Video
Finally got a chance to process the video I took during the Hasbro tour last Friday. This was the best solution I had, given the short time period, to get some good shots of the huge diorama that was in the lobby. This has been at both San Diego Comic-Con and last year's G.I. Joe Convention and is really impressive to see.
Hasbro Booth Update
Some of the things I didn't point out in my initial post about the new figures shown off at G.I. Joe Con this weekend include some cool accessory details. First up, Low-Light. If you noticed the accessories there's a lone .50 round along with a box of additional ammo. I was speaking with the sculptor of Low-Light, John Warden, and he told me that initially he wanted to build the rifle so that you could pose Low-Light actually loading the round into the gun. That had to be cut but the accessory is still coming.
Snow Job was shown in the display, along with a carded sample,and he included all of the accessories shown off last year at San Diego Comic-Con. There was speculation after Toy Fair that he wouldn't have all of those accessories because photos from that event didn't include them. Besides the carded example on the floor there was also a carded example at Hasbro near the original artwork display. I didn't ask Hasbro specifically if the accessories were included but all signs point to yes.
Not as clear is Zartan. The loose figure at the convention still had the Rise of Cobra head sculpt based on Arnold Vosloo. However, photos have also been published showing this figure sporting the Resolute Zartan head, including pictures in ToyFare Magazine. I believe that the final figure, when it's released, will not have the movie head sculpt.
Friday morning before our Hasbro tour, we were treated to a presentation by Alan Hassenfeld, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro, Inc. He talked about the beginnings of the G.I. Joe line and how its success has allowed Hasbro to expand over the years and become the company that they are today. Profits from Joe and other products such as Mr. Potato Head have directly helped them to buy other companies and licenses and expand.
Some of the interesting anecdotes that Mr. Hassenfeld spoke about included the selling of the G.I. Joe license to Palitoy in the 1970's at a time when the company was in financial trouble. The sale allowed them to recover and eventually buy back the license, for the same price.
Another funny story ended with Mr. Hassenfeld spending a night in jail in Asia where he was heading up production of the G.I. Joe line. Apparently, in order to make a deadline, he purchased textiles on the black market in order to get past rules covering their purchase.
This was Mr. Hassenfeld's first appearance at a G.I. Joe convention and it was fun and interesting to hear him speak and the genuine passion that he appears to have for toys in general but Joe specifically.
On Friday morning, pre-registered attendees of the G.I. Joe convention had the opportunity to take a tour of the Pawtucket offices of Hasbro.
While the tour lasted about 2 hours, each stop along the way only took about 10 minutes. It would have been great to have a few more minutes at each location to ask some more questions but the opportunity was still excellent.
We were broken up into groups of about 20 people each and assigned a tour guide to take us to multiple stations where we could see examples of all aspects of Hasbro's Joe line from licensing to sculpting and paint to video games and even an archive of Joe through the years.
The first thing we saw as we entered were display cases built into the walls, each containing a different toy from Hasbro's history. There is a large G.I. Joe display full of 12" figures with a smaller display for the 3.75" figures. Also represented were board games, Transformers and My Little Pony. The lone Star Wars display was an array of life-size statues of Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka with their lightsabers. Most impressive were the life-size Iron Man statue and much larger than life Bumblebee.
Our group's first stop on the tour was Hasbro Licensing. Shown were items from Sideshow and IDW along with swords for Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. Other licensed items included t-shirts, backpacks and school supplies, and bedding.
If you like the artwork from the 80's and 90's then the gallery of original packaging artwork could have been your favorite stop. Included were action figures such as Destro, Gung Ho, Airborne, and Lady Jaye.
Vehicle art included the impressive Defiant Space Vehicle Launch Complex, Headquarters Command Center, Rolling Thunder and the General.
Fans of the 12" lines would have been impressed to see art for the Land and Air Adventurer boxes, Search for the Yeti, Planet Xenome and Skydive to Danger among others.
Hasbro Model Shop
Other than the fact that we couldn't take photos, the Hasbro Model Shop was an excellent stop. We saw two stations, the first of which showed several sculpts and we saw new prototypes that were created using new rapid prototype printing technology. The guys had some unproduced pieces for show including an excellent Howler and a large off-road vehicle for the 12" line. There were so many items around the area that it was hard to spot everything...let's just say that any fan of toys would love to spend an afternoon walking around the shop.
Our second stop in the Model Shop was a paint station where we were told about the techniques and types of paint used. The painting department helps create the look of the figures that will become samples for the factories. While we were there an artist was adding tiny paint striping camo to the front of a figure, all by hand. This is the team that is responsible for the final look of the figures that we love to collect.
As if looking around the model shop at toys that never came out was bad enough, our next stop was a short presentation on toy ideas that were never released, and won't be.
We had another look at the Howler that we first saw in the Model Shop, only this was a fully produced piece with paint and all of the bells and whistles. The ship included firing missiles, dropping bombs, opening cockpit access and a zip line that automatically retracted. According to the Hasbro Team, timing for the Rise of Cobra vehicle was what killed it.
Also present were packaged examples of a 12" 40th Anniversary Astronaut and a Rise of Cobra desert camo Night Raven. There were several figures including Zarana, October Guard Daina, and an insanely detailed Ripcord in very detailed diver eqipment.
In the slideshow presentation that was shown there were more figures that didn't make it, including the Hard Master and a 3.75" Iron Klaw, who was originally from the G.I. Joe Extreme line.
The design team showed off artwork and gave us a look at how they do turnarounds for new designs. Included were photos of the new Firefly, Dusty and a Wasteland Ninja Storm Shadow.
After a short talk about video game properties, we took a look through several cases from the Hasbro archive. Included were examples of 12" product from the 1960's all the way through the modern movie product in the 2000's. Each decade had a timeline of toys and a case but the impressive piece on display there was the large diorama that was been shown at last year's Joe convention and, I believe, San Diego Comic-Con.
I would have liked to have taken a lot of photos of the dio but opted for a video instead. You can't see all the detail but you get a good idea of the size and detail.
Video coming soon.
The final stop on our tour, before the Boutique, was the sculpting team. Several people noticed right off the bat that we were getting a look at some action figure head sculpts that had yet to be announced. I didn't get a photo of them, but they showed up in the presentation on Saturday anyway.
Most of us that have been collecting for a while are not unfamiliar with the process that our toys go through, but it's interesting nonetheless. One of the highlights on display was a series of Ship Wreck figures showing a wax sculpt, hard copy, two first shots and, if I remember correctly, a paint master. There was a carded production figure there as well.
Hasbro Corp Toy Boutique
Our last stop on the tour of Hasbro included a visit to the company store. While the store didn't have a huge variety of G.I. Joe items, the prices were very attractive. They had 25th anniversary figures for $1 and change, comic 2-packs were $3.99, 12" figures for $5.98 and probably the best deal, the 12" San Diego Comic-Con exclusive Baroness for $19.99. The store also had the SDCC Destro 2-pack for $16 and a stock of the protective figure cases and a few other items.
Most of the rest of the store included board games and non action figure type toys but there was also a decent selection of Nerf items. The only Star Wars product I recall were RC Gunships for $19.99. It was a fun stop and interesting to see.
On the way back to the buses we had a chance to stop and take photos of Mr. Potato Head who holds shop near the Hasbro company sign. No matter the size, Joe Heads like to pose with Potato Heads!
After the Hasbro Q&A yesterday, the team put the new toys in the display cabinet on the show floor. I took some photos of the new Low-Light, Spirit and others. Make sure to check out all the cool accessories.
I have other photos from the convention, including photos and video of the custom dioramas that were being displayed for the contests. I'll have them uploaded, and the video posted on our YouTube channel Monday or Tuesday once I get home from the rest of my trip.
The Hasbro team presented several new action figures during their presentation today, and also debuted info about the upcoming animated series.
Pursuit of Cobra
Pursuit of Cobra will debut this Fall and run through Spring 2011. Hasbro showed some characters and vehicles that were shown previously (SDCC I believe) as well as several new items.
In Fall 2011 the G.I. Joe line will change and be based on the animation from G.I. Joe: Renegades. Which brings us to...
G.I. Joe: Renegades
After the Hasbro team presented the new toys, the new team working on the upcoming Joe cartoon came onto the stage and confirmed that the name of the series is "G.I. Joe: Renegades."
The animated series will debut this Fall on the new Hub network which is co-owned by Hasbro. The show will take the Joe team back to the beginning and introduce the characters and fill in their back-story and origins, how they got their nicknames and how they joined the Joe team.
Joe will be "on the run" in this series and Cobra will be there, hounding them. Some of the points that the team covered:
The tour of Hasbro yesterday was a really great experience. We were able to see examples of licensing products, original artwork, video games and items that never made it to production. I have a lot of photos but I'm running short on time to get this all posted so some of these might have to wait a couple of days.
However, I do have some photos of the Hasbro booth at the convention, including a shot of a not-yet-announced Spirit figure that showed up in one of Hasbro's dioramas!
I'll be attending the Hasbro Q&A session at 11:00 and will try to put up a post following that. Saturday is looking packed but I'll have updates when possible throughout the day.
Just back from the Hasbro tour but before I head out for some food, thought I'd post a photo of the paradrop Flint that I just picked up.
The Hassenfeld talk this morning was fun and informative but the highlight of the day was the Hasbro tour. I have plenty of photos and even a video to sort out but will get them posted as soon as I can. That deserves a good write-up and I hope my memory doesn't fail me.
Collector Club Store
The G.I. Joe Collector Club brought a lot of items for the store this year with many items listed for regular price (same as you'd find in the on-line store) but there are some deals to be had.
For fans of the Rise of Cobra figures, the Club is offering deals on single figures and full cases. The PIT was selling for 50% off but there were only a couple to be had. Past 3.75" convention exclusives are in stock as are subscription figures from previous years.
If you like the 12" figures, one deal that can't be beat are the 40th Anniversary sets. Both sets are selling for only $20 each. Previous 12" con sets, not including the AT themed sets, are being offered for 2 for $200 which is a steal. Previous AT sets are listing as regular price.
I'll try to post a scan of the full convention sales sheet when I get back from the weekend.
It's registration time for those that weren't here on Wednesday for the tours. The 6:00 group has mostly processed through and are now in line for the Club store. I'll be checking in with the 8:00 group in about a half hour.
Till then, I have some photos of the lines, the crowd checking out their new swag and the display cabinet with all of this year's con exclusives plus the souvenirs.
Arrived in Providence about 3:30 this afternoon and checked into the hotel. I've just been scoping out the location for the various events and there are already people in line for the opening of the Club store tonight...that's not until 6:00.
I'll try to get some photos of the Club's offerings later.
It's been reported from the early tour attendees, who were able to pick up their convention sets last night, that there are five 3.75" souvenirs and one for the 12" set.
The free vehicle for the Vacation in the Shadows set is a Z-Force Silver Mirage motorcycle. It has a green deco and is included for all attendees who ordered the Shadows set.
The other souvenirs, and their prices, are listed below:
For the 12" collectors that bought the Escape from Spy Island there is a henchman figure limited to 200 pieces for $49.
This year the G.I. Joe convention is going home to Rhode Island, where Hasbro has their headquarters and where Joe was born over 45 years ago. This year we're covering the convention, including a tour of Hasbro, a presentation by Alan Hassenfeld, Q&A with the Hasbro team and all the happenings on the floor.
For full convention details, head over to the G.I. Joe Collector's Club Convention page where you'll find pictures of the show exclusives, special guests and full directions and con schedule in case you decide last minute to go.
We'll bring you updates beginning Thursday evening with early registration. The Hasbro tour and Alan Hassenfeld's presentation are both on Friday morning and the Q&A session will be Saturday.