Wednesday, July 31, 2013

G.I.Joe vs. Cobra Spytroops & Valor Vs. Venom... The age of exploring what makes G.I.Joe work as an Action Figure.

The original run of G.I.Joe three and three quarters inch figures was long and multi-faceted. Before returning to that scale Hasbro experimented with 4.5 inch figures known as G.I.Joe Sgt. Savage and 5 inch figures known as G.I.Joe Extreme. I may explore what was right and what was wrong with those figures in the future. For now I am interested in what makes 3 & 3/4 inch scale Joes work. Not counting a few re-color re-releases of original Joe toys as Kay Bee and Toys R Us exclusives in the late 90's, a toyline known as "G.I.Joe Vs. Cobra" brought the scale back to prominence in  the year 2000. Hasbro did several things with these newly molded figures initially. The worst of which was lower the points of articulation. However, Hasbro was willing to experiment and listen to what fans were looking for. Although the new vehicles fit the old figures, the new figures didn't quite catch the essence of G.I.Joe properly. G.I.Joe's appeal was the freedom of movement that the original articulation represented, as well as afford-ably priced vehicles. Soon Hasbro started offering classic molds in new colors into the mix with the new design. They then added articulation to the modern more broad and cartoony newly molded figures. The G.I.Joe vs Cobra did nail something on the head, that was offering figures in two-packs, one Joe character one Cobra character. New Characters were added to the roster as well. The line then evolved into "Spytroops", where the look and articulation had been standardized and the old molds were gone (Well except for some vehicle molds and Toys R Us exclusive figure multipacks). This subline brought back a tried and true feature that had evolved in the original line... lots of accessories. More new vehicles were released, some small enough that they replaced one of the figures in some of  two packs but was offered at the same fair pricepoint (at that time about $7.99). Before the 3.75 inch figures went on what Hasbro called "and indefinite hiatus" the final transformation of the line took place, known as "Valor vs. Venom". Until the release of 25th anniversary figures years later, these figures as well as the Spytroops figures created an aesthetic that really worked add had a unique vibe that pleased a certain part of the old time Joe figure collectors as well as introducing a new Generation to the "play value" that was most like the 80's line while still being fresh and dynamic. As my collection moves heavily into "Pursuit of Cobra" and "Retaliation" collecting I am finally parting with my private stash of these of figures from this early 2000 era. Check them out on Ebay.