Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Joes Found 'round the World.

Blog Post #100!

So I had wanted to do something a little more special, but couldn't really think of anything that I could actually get done in a timely matter. I decided to take a small poll to see what people would like to see instead and with the handful of votes that came in G.I.Joe tied with Takara SF Land toys. With G.I.Joe getting the first vote, I called it in favor of Joe. But don't worry Takara voters, there's still a little Takara thrown in here as well.

I mentioned in my last post that I didn't really get into G.I.Joe until late 1983, and really got going with Hasbro's 1984 assortment. The series 3 additions of Blowtorch, Scrap Iron and Firefly are really to be credited (or blamed) for my love of G.I.Joe. As years went on, and as my options from where to buy Joes opened up, I got into International Joe toys. My first International Joe was a Japanese Takara Firefly that I got in the early 90's. I then got a Chinese v.1 Cobra Commander as a gift in 1994-95. It would be a few years later that I would dip my toes into the foreign Joe market again with more Japanese Takara Joes, and a few more years before I started to move around the World and buy regional exclusives.

I've never had a massive Joe collection as an adult. Once I sold my childhood Joe collection back in the day that was kind of it. And when it came to foreign Joes, I was pretty picky. After jumping in with Japanese Joes, I wanted to start picking up some U.K. Action Force pieces. I had a carded Blowtorch, but had always wanted some Red Shadows guys. Totally unique to AF, and inline more with Star Wars than U.S. Joes I found these guys really cool. The problem was I only like the enemy forces. With each awesome bad guy repainted vehicle or figures was an uncool hero toy.

G.I.Joe Palitoy Action Force Red Shadows Black Major Muton U.K. exclusivesG.I.Joe Palitoy Action Force Red Shadows Red Laser MoBat U.K. exclusives

For the most part, when it came to the Action Force branded toys I bought whatever loose items I could. I didn't really care to spend much money and go in on MISB stuff. That is until I decided I wanted to go after the European Tiger Force exclusives.

GI.Joe Tiger Force Outback UK exclusive tiger shirt Europe TigerGI.Joe Tiger Force Outback UK exclusive tiger shirt Europe Tiger

I feel that Tiger Force gets a really bad wrap for being a straight repaint line, but it showed Hasbro (for better or worse) that sub-lines of recolored per-existing toys could provide higher profits out of the molds. Hell, it worked on me as a kid. I bought all the U.S. Tiger Force toys but the Tiger Sting. I'm sure it was the fact that I liked them so much as a kid that pushed me into getting the Euro ones as an adult, but realistically, I really like the color schemes and detailing of these figures. The Tiger Force Outback is so amazing, with a shirt that has become somewhat iconic among Joe figures. Someone even did a run of actual t-shirts featuring this design about 10 years back. I of course had to buy one. Like I said, I've always had a thing for Tiger Force.

G.I.Joe Tiger Force 2003 Stalker Jinx Dialtone exclusive Tiger ForceTiger Force G.I.Joe Brazil Europe exclusives Lifelinr Roadblock

Now Europe isn't the only place that had exclusive Tiger Force toys, Brazil got some too. I shopped around quite a bit with Brazilian sellers to get most of the exclusive Tiger Force stuff sold there. I didn't branch out too far into Brazilian Joe stuff. It would have been easy I think, there's some great and funky figure designs down there. If you have a second check out their versions of Sky Patrol and Eco Force, and the sub line that all had animal partners Forca Fera. Outside of Tiger Force I only really picked up some Forca Naja (Python Patrol) items. One in particular being the very high in demand Naja Hidro-Helicoptero.

Força Naja Comandos em Ação Naja Hidro Helicóptero GIJoe Brazil Python Patrol SwampfireForça Naja Comandos em Ação Naja Base Anti Aerea GIJoe Brazil Python Patrol ASP

The Hidro-Helicoptero which most outside Brazil pretty much refer to as the Python Swampfire was an exclusive item to Brazil. It took the bright green Dreadnok Swampfire and coated it in Python Patrol colors. It was a very cool toy, much better in this PP style than the original look. I had also grabbed the Brazilian version of the Python ASP. I thought about picking up a 3rd Forca Naja, the Naja Trimoto De Ataque (Estrella Python Stun) but skipped out on it. I never actually bought any of the Estrella Forca Naja figures either. Just before completing a set of Brazilian Tiger Force toys I got ripped off in 2 separate deals. After losing a good sum of money I kinda cooled off on dealings with sellers in Brazil. I still need a few Brazilian Estrella Forca Tigre items. If you have a boxed Forca Tigre Tigre Caça Bombardeiro (Tiger Rat) as well as the Tigre Oficial De Inteligência-Duque and Tigre Operação Resgate-Paramedico figures to sell or trade let me know.

Plastirama G.I.Joe Cobra Black Ninja-Ku comandos em açãoPlastirama G.I.Joe TNT T.N.T. Blowtorch comandos em ação

I didn't just stop in South America completely, I did grab a few items from Argentina. I think maybe 5 or so, but selling most, including the Ninja-ku, Satan and Ninja (Storm Shadow). I did keep the Blowtorch re-colors T.N.T. and Back-Stop.

I pretty much missed the good finds that have come in the last 10 years from places like Mexico and China, I just haven't kept up with my International Joe collecting. I have been focused on other less popular lines or just not spending the kind of cash that seems to be needed to stay in the running. And to be honest, my first and most loved area of International Joes will always be the Japanese Takara stuff.
G.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ G.I.ジョー 1986 デューク グラント スカイストライカーG.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ G.I.ジョー 1986 デストロ ワイルドウィゼル コブララトラー

The packaging art is beautiful, the toys are of the  high quality found in North America and Europe. The line is not very big, it's been called a "Best Of" line of early G.I.Joe toys. I have to agree. I did however cut back on my Japanese Joes selling almost all non-Cobra items a few years back. 

G.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ, G.I.ジョー 1986 BaronessG.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ, G.I.ジョー 1986 Baroness バロネス

I have thought about getting back into it, but haven't just yet. While the items are just not as rare as ebay sellers may hype them, there's too many auctions scalpers out there right now picking up cheap items and then trying to flip them on ebay for much higher costs. It cheats collectors out of the chance to get the items at a good price. You of course wouldn't have had a problem 15 years ago, and it was surely a breeze 20 years ago. G.I.Joe didn't take off in Japan. The age group that would have been needed to make it a hit passed on the toys. Funny enough, the group we now call "tweens" are the ones who ran with the Joe concept in part due to the customizing and dio building so many adult Joe fans partake in now.

G.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ, G.I.ジョー 1986 コブラコマンダー ザルタン Cobra Commander ZartanG.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ, G.I.ジョー 1986 Snake Eyes

Japan did produce enough cool things though to give collectors a fun time looking for them, toys, books, candy toys, a record, the Movie on VHS among other things. As for the record, it featured the open and end credit songs in their full unedited forms. I uploaded each if you want to have a listen to the Joe songs in Japan. I have to admit, I much prefer the U.S. songs, but you make up your own mind.

World's Greatest Expert Team: G.I.Joe Open theme:G.I.Joe by Rei Ishihara:

World's Greatest Expert Team: G.I.Joe End theme: Again by Rei Ishihara:

Yo Joe!
G.I.Joe Japan Takara タカラ G.I.ジョー 1986 Gung Ho ガンホー

1984, g.i.joe, hasbro, Japan, Takara, タカラ, G.I.ジョー, 1991, 1986, Tiger Force,

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