• Randy of AFTimes

Randy talks Toys and the Real World


Randy here, Boy, it’s been a while. SO what's been going on? Kidding! I hope you are all doing well. Sincerely. A lot’s been going on in the world, as well as the hobby. As much as I’d like to keep things separate, it all gets inexorably tied together. But I'll try to keep it to a low roar. Now onto my thoughts on our toy world!

As I write this the “Special Mission: COBRA Island” GI JOE Classified figures are supposed to be in Target stores. Based on the responses for trying to buy them, as well as Wave 1 and Wave 2… I think people are digging them. I’ll get to that in a little bit.

But there has been a lot of griping and disappointment since the reveal just prior and at the American International Toy Fair. This seemed to be focused on them not look like the original, REAL AMERICAN HERO versions of the figures with the same outfits and accurate real world firearms. I hate to say this, but… You will never get realistic firearms in the regular retail release GI JOE CLASSIFIED figures.

Period.

This isn't 1982.*

Parents responses, whether you agree or not, to toy guns has radically changed in nearly 4 decades. If, as Hasbro, you're looking to have consumer buy these who aren't regular Joe collectors, then that's kids-or more appropriately, their parents. That's why the Sci-Fi weapons.

That's why Marvel Legends has been primarily sci-fi / Nerf weapons with their figures, with realistic guns being the exception not the norm. And for the record, for the above: COBRA Trooper: Nerf Longstrike, Rapidstrike and 2 Vortex Protons pistols; BEACHHEAD: Nerf Vortex Nitro. What can I say? I recognized the Nerf within seconds of seeing the images!

And that's why the only get realistic firearms with these if they're going to be exclusive to someplace like Hasbro pulse. The Deluxe Snake Eyes is a perfect example of that.

Yeah, I realize that they're not the classic outfits, but that is a separate issue.

For that, I'm gonna say (based on no actual connection to Hasbro) that this is them doing the 2020 revival of the figure line for new buyers. This is them testing the waters for the new line to see if it's successful at retail. Because, unlike Hasbro's other 6" scale figures (SW Black, Marvel Legends, Power Rangers, etc.), there is no current media tie-in.(See below) Also, unlike all the other licenses, Hasbro OWNS this one, So they are building a new look/mythos for the new consumer. Because, no matter what many have grumbled about, LOOK at how the sales have been going.

YES, there will be a new movie in the Fall (fingers crossed) with SNAKE EYES. That will likely start being integrated into their standard line, similar to the SW Black having movie, TV, and animation figures mixed in.

I will be ABSOLUTELY UNSURPRISED if in 2 years, for the 40 anniversary, Hasbro will release a line of "REAL AMERICAN HERO" versions on retro cards, like what they've done with ML classic and SW Black 40 Anniversary figures. Because that very much falls in line with what Hasbro’s been doing all along: If it works in one line, try it in another. Believe me-Hasbro isn’t going to leave money on the table, in the form of Classic RAH figures. But between shrinking shelf space in retail stores and fickle toy buyers, they’re working on making a line that will sell to as many consumers for as long as possible.

While I’m talking about them, the two I’ve gotten two I’ve gotten so far-Duke and Scarlett? They’re pretty bad-ass figures! I mean, Duke can actually should his weapon and look down the sights! Here are some quick shots I did, along with arming them with some weapons I had about...

Butterfly Joints FTW! But give'em to ALL OF THEM! Now bring me my Oktober Guard figures in 2021, Hasbro!

*What is collecting going to be in the “new normal”?

Sooo-how’s your toy collecting been going? Between the pandemic, stay-at-home orders, and generally social distancing, our lives have distinctly changed. And I’m not trivializing it in any way; between my immediate family testing positive (and recovering) and co-workers losing family, I would never dare. WEAR A MASK! But as toy collectors, we refer to “the hunt” and that requires going to store to do it. For myself, I’ve always tended to be one to wait, track it down, to find the best price. That way of finding my figures has nearly disappeared for me, with only the briefest of stops at Target and Wal-Mart while obtaining necessary supplies. I’ve found myself cruising the online site far more than I used to do so – which was a lot anyway! But I know I’m not out cruising as many retail stores as I once did. And I’m not the only one. What will this mean for collecting for the future? I don’t rightly know. We are in the midst of, were this a movie, the montage sequence to show the passage of time. Because the way things are going, the re-opening of places in mid-summer in the US has been… how do I put this? Fraught with problems? And this, of course, is barring any drastic changes during latter half of 2020 (I have thoughts, but worry about willing them into existence). But it certainly bears consideration what you will do to find that hot toy or action figure right now, may not be what it once was… and to have a back-up plan. Sadly, I wish places like Walmart and Target were better equipped to deal with this. But as SDCC At Home exclusives order and other Hasbro and NECA pre-orders have shown, it was pretty much a shit-show. But changes are in progress. In the end, you have to balance your collecting needs vs. your health, and that of friends and family. It should be clear the choice. But to be simplistic… You can always buy the toy, even if for more money. You can’t buy back a life, no matter what. So enjoy your toys, love your family and friends. Wear a mask, as it is LITERALLY the least you can do to keep yourself and others safe. Be seeing you! RANDY of AFTimes

(Feel free to email by clicking on my name above!)

*And I'll be HAPPY to be wrong, if Hasbro starts doing it!

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