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Author Topic: pre-Con one shot  (Read 4085 times)


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pre-Con one shot
« on: July 30, 2012, 01:35:05 PM »

What you are about to read is a review article I submitted for the pre-Con JoeCanuck Newsletter. The newsletter lost steam when everyone got tied up with their CJC responsibilities. And let's be honest, that is more important right now. Since you are the intended audience for this article, I wouldn't feel right posting it anywhere else. 

Court of Public Opinion; Retaliation vs Dollar General
by pluv with additional photography courtesy of

Rather than doing a figure by figure review of these two lines that came out after the last newsletter, I thought we should talk about them like the fans are, by comparing the apples to the oranges. Really, that is what we're talking about. Two very different lines with two very different reasons for existing. Yet I have heard with my own ears, "Why can't Hasbro make the line more like the Dollar General figures instead of clogging the shelves with these stupid movie figures?" The answer, apples and oranges.

Before we delve into things let me apologize to you Canucks if you feel like I'm talking about mythical unicorns when discussing the Dollar General figures. Even in the US and with 5, yes 5, DG stores around me, I still ended up going to eBay to score mine. I've heard complaints about distribution before, but the randomness of which stores get stocked and when are a mystery Sherlock Holmes couldn't decipher.

Let's also dispense with the elephant wearing the neon tutu in the room. The Retaliation line has some articulation and overdone gimmick problems. Roadblock for instance, comes with a rocket launcher taller than he is and with molded pistol hands.

I'd show you a better pic but my wife is holding her plastic husband in package prison.

We heard in New Orleans that the design team fought to keep the articulation, especially with the vehicle drivers. In the end, costs and possibly manufacturing time won out. At this point, along with the movie release date change, we've learned that Hasbro's later Retaliation waves have the level of articulation we have come to expect and that those vehicle drivers may see a rerelease at some point. The fact we're even discussing current t-crotch figures or molded in hand guns, even in a limited capacity, should be a mark against the Retaliation line...but then you have the awesome, highly articulated Ninja Showdown 3 pack with Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow (early movie design), and the Red Ninja. It should also be pointed out that the rocker ankles on the GI Joe Trooper in the line will seem a teeny tiny bit restricted, but not too much. We'll be seeing portions of his mold with later releases of Flint and Duke.

The Retaliation figures currently retail in the US for $9.99 on average. The largest vehicles, HISS tank and Ghost Hawk II typically retail for $24.99. While that makes GI Joe competitive in the action figure isle it is a far cry from the $6 sticker price for the DG Joes. The dollar store figures are able to keep the cost down by using existing tooling while the Retaliation line uses almost exclusively newly sculpted parts. The molds used in the discount line were well chosen and give fans good bang for their buck.

Paint for both lines ends in a tie. Although the nods to fans with the DG figures is appreciated, Hasbro didn't really break the bank on bringing out the details. When you look at a figure like Cobra Commander without any paint on any of his accessories it really shows the line was put together on a tight budget.

Meanwhile, the early Retaliation line doesn't fare much better. You can tell money was spent on the sculpting of the figure and giant missile firing snake staff instead of paint applications, but Cobra Commander is still sporting 6 different paint apps. Again, figures from later waves seem to do a better job with this. One of the Roadblock figures pulled from the case early even had The Rock's tattoo. How's that for detail?

Accessories is a completely one sided area of discussion. While the DG line does a decent job of using existing weapons, the Retaliation line not only uses the best existing weapons, and lots of them, but also really cool new weapons. Ok, not the missile launchers, although the sliding rope gimmick is pretty fun. For the the Blind Master they created awesome new weapons based on Rza's (the rapper/actor playing the Blind Master) preferences for old martial arts movies weapons. The ultimate Duke figure will include the cancelled Data Viper drone. The ultimate Firefly will include the Hiss drone that was originally supposed to come with the Rise of Cobra mail away Cobra Commander. Roadblock from wave 2 comes with the battle kata weapons system* in 1/18 scale. The previously discussed Joe Trooper comes with quite possibly the largest assortment of accessories ever given to a single figure. Hasbro tweaked the parachute and harness from the Captain America line for the Cobra Trooper. All of those new accessories are enough to make you look past the giant rocket launchers.

The GIJCC parachute figure is standing in for the Cobra Trooper mold.

At this point in a review you usually get a verdict declaring one or the other the victor. I'm not going to do that. Like I said in the beginning, apples and oranges. One line was meant to support a Hollywood summer blockbuster movie while the other is supposed to gain entry into the discount store retail chains. I say vote with your wallet. Support what you like. Or even better go to's Concept Case Survey (Round 2 should be live by the time you read this is live now,, and/or eventually and vote for the figures you'd like to see get made from Hasbro's Vault display case. Your vote could provide Hasbro with direction for what fans are willing to support.

* The battle kata weapons system was developed by Hasbro in conjunction with the movie design team that combines a special tactical vest and weapons, including guns, with martial arts.