Moves and New Beginnings

On this late night I lay in my bed unable to sleep and one of the things I think about, for no apparent reason, is this site. I think about the fact that I again let the site go to waste for months with no contributions. Then I think it hits me… in order to keep this blog fun and current I don’t need to write long stories, in-depth articles, comprehensive reviews, or profound moments of reflection… I just need to.. write. Something, anything that talks about Joes, or toys, or what’s been going on in my collecting life. So here we go.

As some of you may or may not have heard, I purchased my 1st home a few months ago. As a result of that, was the massive deconstruction of my old Joe room, and the always stressful undertaking of relocating my collection. As always, it was not without casualties. I broke a few parts of the USS Flagg on the disassembly, and the Terror Drome took some damage as well. Otherwise, most of the move went well. Now the almost seemingly harder part has now kicked in, and that’s how to put it all back together and get things on display again.

When my local K-Mart store went out of business a few months ago, I made a major score of 2 jewelry display cases and a pegboard end cap type display from the closing store. Besides getting to salvage a few small pieces of local history; what an opportunity it was to have my own cases for potential future displays of Joe stuff. As of this writing they are currently hanging out in my basement, awaiting some refinishing before I figure out how to get them upstairs and in place. Additionally, with the loss of the 3 large built-ins I had at the old place, I’m struggling a bit to figure out some usable wall display options. The great thing is, though, that the sky’s the limit… because I own the place!

Slowly but surely things are coming together, as they have been for me this entire year. I know that my new Joe room will be the same. I’ll get some pics up in future posts (when it’s not 12:34am) and showcase the progress that’s been made. Establishing a new base of operations won’t be easy, but it’s damn sure supposed to be fun, and that’s exactly what I aim to make it.

-End Transmission

My part, to #SAVEGIJOE

I can’t draw.
I can’t podcast (even though I’d love to).
I can’t make fancy websites.
I can’t Cosplay.

But I can write.

My writing is my contribution to the GI Joe community as a whole, and in the spirit of my hero FDR’s NRA of the 1930s… I do my part.

Tonight I do my part to stand up and add my voice to the #SAVEGIJOE campaign. If you’re a Joe collector from anywhere in the world you should have heard about the Change.org petition started by cosplayer Joe Colten and the What’s On Joe Mind crew. The petition was created to let the fans of Joe come together, in solidarity, and rally to petition Hasbro to save the GI Joe brand. Much of the brand’s future seems to be uncertain as I discussed in my last posting. Not much has changed since that time, and nothing official has been released from Hasbro as to the future state of Joe.

Here’s just one man’s opinion.

I love GI Joe. Joe has been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid. From the cartoons to the hand-me-down toys from my brother Chris, my entire life has had Joe in it in one form or another. GI Joe was the first thing I ever started seriously collecting in my entire life, and I started collecting because of all the happy memories that I had tied to these toys. I remember the times of playing out in the backyard and getting Firefly’s gun, Duke’s binocs, and Roadblock’s machine gun lost in the grass in a matter of 7.8 seconds. I remember floating the APC in the bathtub and rescuing guys from drowning. I remember my brother taking my broken Joes down to the basement and coming back up with “bionic legs” and “arm transplants” with Lifeline and his medpack providing the anesthesia for the procedures. I remember leaving Zartan and Zandar outside in the sun all day, and waiting for what seemed like hours for them to come back to normal. I remember my dad running dress blues Gung Ho over with the car, and the grand funeral procession that took place that day. These are my childhood memories of Joe and what Joe meant to me as a kid.

As an adult, GI Joe has enabled me to meet new people and make new friends. Enhance my knowledge and learn and appreciate so much more of the line than I ever could have. Going to the con in Dallas in 2014 was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was such an incredible feeling to walk into a place that is celebrating something that you love so much and to be able to see it in grand spectacle everywhere you look. Where else in your life can you go and walk into a room filled with hundreds of people, look at every single one of them, and automatically know that you have something in common with them. When I showed my Scarlett tattoo to BJ Ward and she loved it so much she made Michel Bell take a picture of it with her standing with it on his cell phone and text it to her… Getting to meet Page and Greg Wagner, Carson Mataxis, and Joe Colten in person; the Codename Iowa crew, ROMA, Larry Hama, Kirk Bozigian, and no doubt countless others knowingly and unknowingly. Getting to know Flag Points Dave and being a guest on the Flag Points podcast, Rock Mastrangelo, YT, getting introduced to Wordburglar and listening to the amazing Welcome to Cobra Island album. These are my adult memories of Joe and what Joe means to me now.

On the recent Nerdrahtio podcast on the campaign, Gary said it best regarding these memories of Joe and of the Joecon in general: “I don’t want those memories to go anywhere. I don’t want those memories just to be lasting, I want to continue with new ones…”

I too want to continue to make new memories with GI Joe.

GI Joe’s are so much more than toys to me, they are the physical and emotional connection of the kid I was to the adult I’ve become.

… and for that, I do my part to #SAVEGIJOE.

Sign the petition

#SAVEGIJOE on Twitter and Facebook

Listen to the Nerdrahtio podcasts

Listen to the WOJM podcasts

Support all of those that support GI Joe.

Do your part.

we-do-our-part

– End Transmission

And Now Back To GI Joe… again

So I’ve decided (again) to rekindle the 80’s Joes blog. I can’t say why I can’t seem to commit myself to it, but I do enjoy writing about Joe very much. This time my inspiration to restart this came from my fellow Joe Bro, European Joes who is currently working on a blog series on the GI Joe impel card line from 1991. It’s a great read, and he got me to dig out my old card set and look them over. Please click on his name above and give him a read or a shout on Twitter! In reading over his blog, I stopped in to re-read my own and I found myself smiling at my corny JOEks and loving the memories both distant and the not-so-distant. So here we are again, back from a year long commercial break.

I tried to think of what I was going to write about, and with so many topics to choose from, I opted to talk about what is going on now in the world of Joe, and that is the GI Joe Club and JoeCon 2016. There are many rumors and speculation floating about that this could be the final JoeCon this year. The fact we know is that the club in its current state is shutting down at the end of the year and the memberships will be canceled. What we don’t know is what, if anything, will take its place.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, my experiences with the club have been very lack luster. Attending JoeCon in 2014 in Dallas, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth in dealing with the management over something that should have been a petty issue considering the amount of money I paid in dues, admission packages, and travel expenses. It was through that exchange and my outsider observations of the FSS and club exclusive figure sales, that I came to the standing that the current leadership of the club sees it more as a business than a fanclub. While I understand that the club IS a business and as such, no one is in business to lose money, I felt that the club in general was more for the business of Joe than the fans. That is a slippery slope to begin to fall off of, and can spiral faster than a Night Raven shot out of the sky.

On the other hand, I feel nervous about the club’s closure, feeling many of the same feelings of anxiety that the other fans have. What will take its place? Will Hasbro support it? Will there even be a club anymore? The future is again flung into uncertainty as Joe has been many times over the years. With all that said, I desire to get to JoeCon this year; to show my support for the brand, for the potential last hurrah, for the thrill of attending a convention and not projectile vomiting all over the host city. (for those who don’t know, I was “lucky” enough to contract the Norovirus while in Dallas at JoeCon in ’14) I really want to go, but am somewhat hesitant for financial reasons. I guess I have to weigh how much it all means to me.

While the future of Joe and the club may once again be unclear, the one thing I know will not change is my love for the brand and all that Joe is. Joe is and will always be a huge part of my life. It brings me so much, in memories and happiness, that no matter if Hasbro supports it or not, I and many others like me will keep it alive and going in any form and format we can. Fan art, fan pub, customs, cosplay, unofficial conventions like the Iowa Team’s Assembly Required & CoilCon… Joe will always find a way to survive and thrive. It will always be up to us as the fans to band together, no matter the circumstances to do what others won’t in order to keep Joe going. As long as we don’t quit, Joe (and Cobra) won’t either. I shall wait to see what the future holds as I have before, and hope for the best.

– End Transmission

Broke on the 4th of Joe-ly

The 4th of July has come and gone in seemingly the blink of an eye. The passing of the 4th brings about the realization of summer and (finally) warm weather. It also makes me realize that half the year is already gone!! With school behind me for the next 8 weeks it’s finally giving me some time to do some of the relaxing things that balance me out in life. Spending time with family, friends, and of course Joe!

My Joe collecting has been pretty dry for the past several months. I recently did an inventory on my blueprints for my 82-87’ vehicles and came to the realization that prints are an area where I’ve severely been lacking in my collection. I picked up a couple of lots of prints off eBay and managed to finish out 82’ and put a dent in some of the other years. That was satisfying to a certain extent, but it wasn’t hitting the spot. I went to a local toy show last month or so which is something I don’t get to do very often around here. There aren’t too many shows around in Mass (at least ones that I know of) so going to even a small show was pretty cool. I picked up a couple of finds, a sealed puzzle and a vintage TV Tray, but it still left me wanting.

As almost every collector of any size, genre, or brand knows, we all reach a point when the budget overrides our zeal and puts the brakes on growing the collection. Unfortunately, this is where I’m at right now, grounded worse than Ace after being shot clear out of the Skystriker. It sucks, but it’s the “other side” of collecting that the vast majority of us feel the pinch of from time to time. Instead of getting down on myself though, I’ve tried to use it as a positive.

My collection has grown steadily over the past several years adding some key pieces, amazing finds, great deals, and some miscellaneous items from many different branches of Joe. It’s often during these periods of time when the e-brakes are applied I tend to take a look at my collection and see some of the things I’ve branched into that maybe wasn’t part of my original plans. Sometimes you have to take a look at what your collection has become, and what it is you want it to be, and measure the gap between the 2. There are quite a few things I’ve picked up over the years that aren’t exactly what I had in mind; from Kreo to Sideshow, posters and artwork to… well, vintage TV Trays, sometimes it’s cool that some of this stuff is out there, but if it doesn’t quite fit into where you ultimately want to be, then maybe it’s not the best to hang on to. Almost everything Joe brings me some sort of happiness, but measuring long-term happiness and short-term cool factor is the difference between collecting and hoarding.

For the month of Joe-ly, I think I’ll be working on going through some of the ancillaries and readjusting my focus back on where I truly want to be. My original vision was 82-87’, and with that near complete I decided to open up to 88’ last year at Joe Con. With those goals in mind I think it’s time to get back on track a little and turn some tote warmers back into collectable cash.

Or maybe I just need to hire a new accountant. I told the last guy he could “dress casual”, but I always thought he took it a bit too far…

Raptor

P.S. – If you’re into Kreo, or Sideshow, or TV Trays… Feel free to drop me a line to see what I’ve got. I don’t like to turn the blog into a Classified Ad post, but I’ll be happy to look through your needs lists for parts or accessories or anything I might have in surplus!

– End Transmission

No Love for BattleForce 2000

Battleforce 2000 is one of my all-time favorites as an adult collector, yet as I’ve been around the Joe community, I’ve found that there’s not much love for Battleforce 2000.

BF2K

I know a lot of people fall out of touch with them because it was the beginning of the “weird” period of Joe in the late 80s heading into the 90s. BF2K could be considered the first of the true “sub teams” that Hasbro started creating with Joe that led to the likes of the sonic fighters, eco-warriors and the Drug Elimination Force. Many folks believe it was around this time that Joe started to lose touch with its origins and lose a bit of the traditional military feel .

Battleforce 2000 was the team of specialists who drove the hi-tech, futuristic experimental weapons vehicles that combine together to form the indestructible Future Fortress! In the comics, the team got a bit of a bum rap. Being introduced in Issue #68 the team began their tenure as the research and testing unit operating in Frusenland. Afterwards, they are featured both together and separately in various issues and participated in various campaigns with the Joe team in Sierra Gordo and later led the invasion force along with Serpentor in the Cobra civil war. But then came issue #113 and the infamous battle of Benzheen. As the team was moving through the oil fields of the emir, Cobra Commander brutally orders the artillery shelling of the oil fields and Battleforce 2000. In the inferno that follows, the entire team dies a horrific death except for Dodger (not sure if there was supposed to be irony there), including poor bastard Dee-Jay, the communications specialist of the team who made his first, last, and only appearance in the comic series all in the same issue.

death

As for the toy line, the team was received with much of the same “love” as the comics, but this is where I beg to differ from the popular opinion.

I always like the BF2K stuff, but never had anything when I was a kid. Recently I was lucky enough to pick up an amazing case fresh, single-carded, mostly unpunched set of Battleforce 2000 figures. I consulted my friend, the great eBay czar, Page Wagner to help me convince myself that this was a great deal. He did, and I went ahead and jumped on it and I absolutely love them. The colorful figures and card art, the gloss blue color scheme in the classic explosion back was so different from the classic card art and I think it looks awesome. The vehicles, who wouldn’t want a set of vehicles that gesaults into a pretty cool Future Fortress playset! That’s like 3-vehicles-in-1 for every piece that you buy!

I personally think it’s all pretty cool, from the card art, to the vehicle design, to the colorful figures. With all the stink fest sub-teams that came out afterwards BF2k, in this collector’s opinion, should hardly be labeled as the worst of the worst. After all, the guys were already dead and buried by the time the Mega Marines showed up. In the end it’s all up to the individual collector, but I’m sad that the majority of the community has no love for Battleforce 2000.

Hey, maybe the Manimals would have been better….

– End Transmission

A Look Back Where it all Began

At the end of my last post, Terror Drome Comes Home, I put the teaser out there that the next episode would be about the journey that brought me to my Flagg. I’m going to postpone that episode for a little longer, as I feel the Flagg is still a work in progress. Maybe a “miniseries” is on the horizon as I kick around some ideas and work on a new kick ass display. For this post instead I’ve decided to do a brief retrospective on my collection and take a look back at where it all began.

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of recording a segment as a special guest on the final episode of the Flag Points podcast. It was so much fun to spend an hour and a half talking to an amazing group of people who have the same passion for something that you do. It’s definitely something I don’t get to experience everyday. One of the topics we discussed was our best Joe memory of how we played with Joe when we were kids. My Joe memory was about a great time that my brother and I had while we were digging a giant hole to fix the foundation of my parents house. It’s not everyday that you have a giant pile of dirt just lying around practically begging to be played with… So my brother, then in his 20s and I about 12 or 13, dragged out all the GI Joes and setup some super awesome dioramas on the pile. Amazingly, 13 year old me had the great realization of how cool it all was to take some pictures, which I was lucky enough to find and post on my Twitter to compliment the podcast story.

While I was looking for these pictures, I happened to find a few more, taken shortly after the big play pile. What I was looking at was incredible to me, it was the very start of the GI Joe collection that I so passionately love today. Somewhere back in 1999, after digging out all of those Joes for that play setup, I was faced with a pile of toys that I hadn’t thought much about for the first time in many years . A search of the seemingly primitive internet led me to a website called Yojoe.com which had amazing pictures of every figure and a picture of every accessory every figure originally came with. This website gave me the visual link I never had to match my giant Ziplock bag of figures with the 2nd seemingly even bigger Ziplock bag of accessories. Upsetting my mother, I dumped out every figure and accessory I owned into a pile on the floor of our spare room, and 1-by-1 for hours, day after day, I sat there flipping through pages on the site, and matching up my accessories with their rightful owners.

Over the next few days, I cleaned and bagged up all these figures individually, putting order to the chaos. Further searches on the internet now had me looking for a site for vehicles, since Yojoe at the time only had figures, which I eventually found (the now defunct Destro’s MARS Vehicle Database). After piecing my vehicles together the best I could, I was now looking at an orderly collection of GI Joe toys for the first time. I decided to lay out my entire collection of figures and vehicles out on the deck and take pictures of them. I must have thought, how cool would it be to look back on these someday if I were to seriously start collecting these things to see how far I’d come…

Well Justin, 16 years later… Good call.

~1999

~1999

~1999

~1999

… and now back to GI Joe!

Hey everyone! I know I’ve been gone for quite some time now. As is what often happens in adult life, work and life get too busy and something has to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately for me (and you) this blog is what suffered. But I’m here to say that I’m coming back, just like Joe after ’94! I’m going to try and get in here this weekend and get a new post up. I was encouraged to find out a few folks were enjoying what I was writing about, and as any artist can tell you they always like to hear their work is appreciated.

For those who stayed, thank you.
For those who left, I hope you’ll come back.
And for those just tuning in, welcome.

Stay tuned for another exciting episode of, 80s Joes!!

Terror Drome Comes Home

Over the past several years, my new acquisitions for my collection have been slow to say the least. The problem with collecting a finite year set (originally 82-87 for me) is that eventually you’ll whittle your way down to completion. This is where I’ve been for a while now, needing only the heavy hitters from each year to keep me moving. Through chance 2 transactions with someone on Ebay, I randomly began to open a dialog with a local fellow collector. He was a Hasbro employee from the late 90s to about a year ago. Over that time, he’s amassed a decent collection of Joes, and offered to take a look at my lists to see if he could help me out with things. In the end, he came up huge checking off 2 of the big boys from 85-86, the Terror Drome and the one and only USS Flagg. This article will be about the first of the 2 to come home… the Terror Drome.

The Terror Drome was one of the things I never had as a kid. I find looking at my collection now, a lot of the bigger (more expensive) vehicles that were around back in the day I didn’t have, since my Joe gifts were limited to mostly birthdays and major holidays, and apparently there was plenty of needed clothing back then. I didn’t really know what I was missing, but now as an adult collector, I find these larger playsets totally cool, and the fact that I never had them, I think makes me appreciate them more as an adult. Who wouldn’t love a 2ft in diameter command post with enough cobra crests on it to say they definitely weren’t going for “secret base” on this one. Not sure if a 360 degree defensible circle was the best design that Cobra ever came up with though.

As for the set itself, this piece was mint. This Drome was complete, with all accessories. Gas nozzles, jail door, all the hatch doors with tabs intact, launch silo in-tact and functional, Firebat elevator working… the whole shebang. No broken pieces on the main oval, only 1 chin gun broken off the bottom of the Firebat. AVAC was included with his parachute, although he’s seen some top secret cobra test flights over the years and looks like he had to bail out a few times. Other than that, this was a turn-key setup, for under $500. When I brought it home, I put it on my kitchen island and just circled around it a few times. I love checking out things I’ve never seen in person before. This was the first of the large vehicles I’d ever had, and it felt good to score such nice piece. Big thanks to fellow collector and my new friend Dave for the hookup. It’s always great to find local guys (or girls) who are fellow collectors, and are willing to share their goods.

My next major add was the USS Flagg, the ultimate of any Joe collection. That required a TON of man hours to clean and rebuild, and a parts search that stretched from here to Texas, and the entire floor of my GI Joe room to assemble (good thing I had the adult supervision built-in!).

Look for that exciting adventure on the next episode of 80s Joes – Hoisting the Flagg!

– End Transmission

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Getting Stuck on Restoration Stickers

Has that Rattler of yours seen 1 too many dogfights? Is that Snow Cat so white that it’s completely undercover in a snowstorm? Or maybe you’re just a 30-something-year-old that still manages to put on stickers like a 5 year old… If any of those scenarios are you (especially the latter) then restoration stickers MIGHT be for you.

The thought of reproduction decals, I realize, may be a controversial subject for some collectors, as it was for me. I’m an originalist when it comes to my collection. Whether it’s Lift-Ticket’s mic or the Flagg fan tail deck rail, no matter how long it takes to find, it has to be OEM original to get into my collection. So when a friend and fellow collector told me about an awesome site that does restoration decal sets for Joe vehicles, at first I was skeptical.

The site is Cobrastickers.com. They are a Canadian company that does hi-resolution, pre-cut, factory original decal sheets for many of the Joe vehicles from the 80s through the modern anniversary series. They offer flat-rate shipping worldwide no matter how many sets your order, as well as a whole bunch of custom decalitry for all of your customizing needs. I must have checked out the site a good 10 times, and all of the amazing fan submission photos, and I was truly impressed with what I was seeing, but I just couldn’t shake that deep down feeling that these still would be reproduction stickers that weren’t originals. I finally decided to try out 2 sets of decals, one for a vehicle I didn’t overly have an attachment to, and the other for a vehicle I truly loved. I went with the Moray Hydrofoil and the Rattler (in the previous order).

After I got my stickers (and wrestling with it for another 2 days) I finally decided to give my Moray a try. Removing all the old decals and cleaning up with an all-natural adhesive remover, I washed everything up and started stickering like it was 1985! After 3.5 hours of labor with a set of tweezers, it was done, what I was looking at was truly A.W.E. striking (pun alert).

These decals were amazing. My Moray looked like it came out of the box on Christmas day 85’; back when I could still experience bed head, orange and blue Bahama mamma shorts, and my Alf t-shirt. The whites were so crisp, the detail was amazing, and all the colors and designs were spot on to factory original specs. The cuts are closer to the actual design shapes than the originals so they fit so much better in the intended spots on the vehicle than anything the factory could’ve stamped out back in the day. I’m so glad I decided to pull the trigger on these and I am extremely happy with the results.

In the end, my thoughts on restoration decals I equate to antiquing. If you’re an antiquer, and you go out and buy an antique gas pump from 1942, odds are you aint finding one mint-on-curb. While you may replace missing or broken pieces with factory original components, in order to get it looking shiny, and to get a decent return on investment, you’re going to need to paint and restore the exterior, which you’ll do with modern paint, and restoration decals. Decals for Joe vehicles should be no different. If you’ve put in time and effort to get your vehicles mint and complete, then why not make that vehicle look the very best it can, dare I say, even better than original. In the end, it’s all about how collecting makes YOU feel and the happiness it brings YOU. If restoration decals make you fall in love all over again with your Joes, then I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Check out the pictures of my Moray and decide for yourself. The Rattler will be soon to come, and some other sets may be on the horizon. What are YOUR thoughts on restoration decals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks and Yo Joe!

– End Transmission

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Code Name: Blogger

Hello world, I’m Justin.

I’ve been enjoying the world of GI Joe ever since the 80s, and have been an avid collector of all things Joe for the past 15 years. I have decided to take my passion for little plastic action figures and turn it into a blog. The Twitter community would know me as @YoJoe1982, where I wheel and deal, knock and talk, and swap and trade my GI Joe escapades.

This is going to be my contribution to the greater Joe community. Here I will talk toys, new finds, toy shows, anything related to Joes. Please feel free to read, comment, and share YOUR experiences with me. Check back often for new posts, and thanks for taking the time to check me out.

Yo Joe!

-End Transmission