New York's American International Toy Fair February 18, 2011
Less is more! ...just keep telling yourself that. This year G.I. Joe has a clearly reduced presence, although there are some new vehicles to make things interesting. The missing mechs and alpha vehicles from last year's line were not on display, which may mean their fate really is in limbo at this point since nobody seems to have a definitive answer as to when (or if) they will show up. New vehicles include a VTOL, a Crimson repaint of the Cobra HISS Tank, and another Vamp. More impressive? The Skystriker Jet is making a comeback with a new mold designed to seat one (and not two) figures. Why the change? The new guys are pretty big, and Hasbro didn't want to scrunch up the figures. Also revealed (but not shown at the showroom) was a Comic-Con exclusive variant of the Skystriker, painted in Starscream's colors and packaged with Cobra Commander in a flightsuit, which was packaged with Megatron as his gun. Wow.
Zarana was also shown in two versions which may or may not be a second Comic-Con exclusive. Apparently, this is currently undecided, and I only overheard tidbits on the showroom's floor. This piece was not discussed during the presentation.
Basic figures are going to be a mix of classic, Renegades, and original designs this year. Figures like Croc Master are largely repaints with new gear (in his case, more reptiles) while some others are hard-to-find or unreleased molds. Heck, there are some new ones in here too. Particularly exciting was the Steel Brigade, which will be the first-ever individually carded version of the trooper. As was the case with his 1980s ancestor, he is made from largely existing parts. The mandate for the line was said to be "more troopers," a smart move given that they tend to be fast sellers with collectors.
It's also worth noting that a panel before the showroom tour focused on the G.I. Joe: Renegades series, although it did feel a little out of place for toy collector media. After all, not everybody was there to sit through every presentation because they're a fan. The tease revealed Tomax, Xamot, and the Crimson Guards as appearing on the show giving fans something to look forward to while delaying a bathroom break for the roughly 150-minute visual tour of Hasbro's action figures from now until August.
Last but (not?) least, 12-inch figures are returning with "homefront heroes" and military personnel, bypassing the often popular themes of years past. This segment was described as being for the kids, given Sideshow is doing ultra-collector-level stuff these days. Here's hoping they can stick around for more than a year, and also that next year it ends up being new Adventure Team! (Hey, I can dream.)
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