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Multiple Versions of the Same Character:


gojira77
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Anybody want my extra Cobra Commander? Yeah, I didn't think so... There were multiple SE's, CC's, SS's, and Dukes in previous G.I.Joe lines, but many fans have been very vocal in their disapproval of this practice in the Anniversary line. Some of the problem is a perceived lack of variety on the pegs along with the continued absence of many classic characters. Perhaps an even bigger issue is a real lack of variation among these versions, as we see virtually the same Duke and CC with the slightest change in their paint scheme (the Malibu Stacey Effect, if you will). Or we get a random new version that leaves us scratching our heads, like a Diver Duke (isn't he an Army Ranger?!) when we should have gotten a Wetsuit.

 

Well, considering how other toy lines have been run in the last twenty years, it doesn't look like character reuse is going to go away. And really, is it always that bad? The practice can certainly be abused to the the detriment of the whole line *cough-2002MOTU-cough*, but can't it also be fun to track down variants and updates that interest us both as fans and collectors? I think of collecting Star Wars as a kid and wanting Luke Skywalker in his outfit for each of the movies so that I could own the evolution of my favorite character as he grew up and learned how to save his own butt. The old ARAH had that same kind of charm to many of its re-invisioned characters. However, that classic line also gave us the... uh... Toxo-Zombie. @hmmm@

 

What do you think-- when is it ok to make two or more versions of the same character? Conversely, when do they wear that character out from over-use, giving us maybe "too much of a good thing"?

 

Here's a few pics to get the memories going, care of yojoe.com...

gung34battlefront.jpg

 

genhawk22front.jpg

 

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Well, considering how other toy lines have been run in the last twenty years, it doesn't look like character reuse is going to go away. And really, is it always that bad?

Not at all. It's only bad when it's done badly.

 

The practice can certainly be abused to the the detriment of the whole line *cough-2002MOTU-cough*, but can't it also be fun to track down variants and updates that interest us both as fans and collectors? I think of collecting Star Wars as a kid and wanting Luke Skywalker in his outfit for each of the movies so that I could own the evolution of my favorite character as he grew up and learned how to save his own butt.

The problem with that thinking is that most ARAH characters have what, maybe 3 looks if they're lucky? Even getting into things like episode-specific figures (Diver Duke) or comic issue looks (Arctic Snake Eyes) only goes so far. At the end of the day, counting all ARAH variations, a 'cartoon version', then cartoon episode/comic issue specific characters, and even international versions, we only need what, maybe 10-12 of even the most popular characters. Keep a few of them in regular rotation to maintain the 'easy to find core characters' idea in play... but otherwise, you're done. Most characters actually have fewer unique looks than that, and we're dealing with a cast of characters that numbers in the hundreds... but it's endless pointless changes of Duke or Cobra Commander and such that we keep getting.

 

The idea of 'easy to find core characters' goes right out the window because they ARE easily available, because Hasbro won't stop endlessly putting them out. The new buyers who get the 'easy to find core characters' end up in the same boat as those who have been collecting all along: buying endless variations of those core characters to get the few new/unique figures. The 'core characters' are becoming so prevalent that the line is literally tripping over them. Never mind the collectors- this breeds 'one-shot', short-term, and/or very selective buying among the average consumer, not ongoing sales.

 

The old ARAH had that same kind of charm to many of its re-invisioned characters. However, that classic line also gave us the... uh... Toxo-Zombie. @hmmm@

Watch your mouth. I like Toxo-Zombie.

 

But here again you hit the problem. When ARAH put out the same characters, they did something to them that made them unique and special. They wanted you to want those new versions of the same characters.

 

The current line changes a few detail colors or packs in a new accessory if we're lucky... then sticks them in a comic pack with some variation on another character you also have several of. The idea of 're-envisioning' has become 'blatant cashgrab'.

 

What do you think-- when is it ok to make two or more versions of the same character? Conversely, when do they wear that character out from over-use, giving us maybe "too much of a good thing"?

I think it's okay when there's a POINT. That's the major problem I'm getting at here. I don't mind a dozen Duke figures in the line, but I want there to be a good reason for it- currently, I think we can say that for maybe half of them.

 

In addition, I maintain that Hasbro is missing prime opportunities to expand the line using the 'backdoor'. If the stores want to keep core characters on the shelves, that's fine... pull a 'Captain Action' and start making the core characters homages to other characters that you're having trouble getting around to/don't think there's support for/have copyright issues. Observe:

 

Have one of the already-existing Joe females show up in Cover Girl's costume with an interchangeable 'disguise' head (which also looks like Cover Girl). The collectors get Cover Girl without Hasbro needing to muck with copyrights, and the stores get 'Baroness in Joe Special Agent Disguise!'... or something to that effect.

 

Doll up a Snake Eyes to look like Night Vulture, then call him 'Glider Pilot Snake Eyes'.

 

Give us the Steel Brigade figure (we have all the parts) with an interchangeable Duke head and call it 'Pilot Duke'.

 

I've got a ton more. Removable helmets, interchangeable heads, and creative repainting could easily expand the line AND fulfill Hasbro's requirement for core characters. Sure, the stands aren't named correctly, and the file cards aren't accurate, but if 'Special Ops Dusty' can wear his helmet and pass as Desert Scorpion... it's all good with me, and I can't help but think others would agree. If you simply MUST keep putting out the same characters, play 'dress-up' with them and see what you can do that is NEW and UNIQUE, not the same old thing with a different highlight on a few of the details.

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The problem with that thinking is that most ARAH characters have what, maybe 3 looks if they're lucky? Even getting into things like episode-specific figures (Diver Duke) or comic issue looks (Arctic Snake Eyes) only goes so far. At the end of the day, counting all ARAH variations, a 'cartoon version', then cartoon episode/comic issue specific characters, and even international versions, we only need what, maybe 10-12 of even the most popular characters. Keep a few of them in regular rotation to maintain the 'easy to find core characters' idea in play... but otherwise, you're done. Most characters actually have fewer unique looks than that, and we're dealing with a cast of characters that numbers in the hundreds... but it's endless pointless changes of Duke or Cobra Commander and such that we keep getting.

 

The idea of 'easy to find core characters' goes right out the window because they ARE easily available, because Hasbro won't stop endlessly putting them out. The new buyers who get the 'easy to find core characters' end up in the same boat as those who have been collecting all along: buying endless variations of those core characters to get the few new/unique figures. The 'core characters' are becoming so prevalent that the line is literally tripping over them. Never mind the collectors- this breeds 'one-shot', short-term, and/or very selective buying among the average consumer, not ongoing sales.

 

"The problem with that thinking", huh? I didn't know that there was a problem with how I think. :) I just don't mind if Hasbro throws in the extra Duke now and then, maybe because I'm not a completist. I don't know. I really don't mind the number of SE's we've gotten so far, either. For a commando/ninja/mascot, Snake Eyes has always more costume changes than your average soldier, and not everybody has the same favorite look. Now Cobra Commander is a different story... Anyone building the MASS Device at retail has to buy three CC's, which isn't bad, except the one in the 5th DVD pack makes the one with the catalytic crystals irrelevant. That is what I'd call a little frustrating. At the same time, I'd buy another Duke, even after I pick up the cool Tiger Force version from Wave 10. Especially if they made a Duke that wore his '90s Hall of Fame or Battle Corps BDU's that celebrated the men serving their country in uniform. If Hasbro were to make him again, I don't think that that would be a terrible thing, really. Maybe that's just my "problem" thinking going again.

 

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By the way, I mean no disrespect to any member of the Zombie community! I had a TZ myself once, though I always liked the first Toxo-Viper better. That part about the "Leaky Suit Brigade" still cracks me up!

 

toxozombie.jpg

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With some I love it.

 

With the RAH figures I had extras so I could make guys in diving suits and snow suits. Now Hasbro is making them for me and better than I would have myself.

 

I love the idea of Pilot Scarlett and Pilot Destro. Or Diver Baroness and Diver Duke.

 

I like the cartoon versions and comic versions. Heck, some people only want one or the other of those.

 

As far as troops go, the more the better. Cobra had so many different kinds before so what is the big deal getting even more kinds now. People complain because of the Cobra Diver because the Eel is being made already. Before there was the original Eel. Well, was it really nessesary to have a v2 Eel or Hydro Viper? It seemed to be fine having more than one kind of Diver before so why not now.

 

Why can't we have some unique versions of old characters or brand new concepts like the Para Trooper. That was fun back in the RAH days but now it seems like people don't want that.

 

Some repaints can be a pain like some of the Cobra Commanders. I know that some people really like some of the other versions that came later. Just about everyone got the first 5 pack CC. Later some prefered the 3 pack over that one. Some liked the cartoon version with the element. Now alot like the one in the Entertainment Pack. If guys were not redone alot of use would not have had the option of getting some of these version we end up liking more.

 

Snake Eyes, Duke, Cobra Commander and Strom Shadow are the backbone of any GI Joe line and no matter what we will always see them more than anyone else. It even happened in the RAH line and every other one after that. They are the big sellers and they are like the fuel to keep the line going too.

 

The 25th Anniversary line is a gold mine for Hasbro. They are rereleasing figures because of the constant demand for them. They are upping production numbers to get enough out for us and still alot of us are still missing guys and waiting for a reissue in the future so we might be able to get who we need. Stores have gotten more shelf space. At first there was only going to be 25 figures made. Look at how much that grew in les than a year because of how successful they have been. There is no way they will cancell them when they have a hit on their hands. The movie could help fire them up more and if not there is no reason a bad movie will hurt what was already red hot. If the movie does bad the line will just not get more popular quit as fast but it will not be killed either. Hasbro even knows that we still want more so they are going to make more classic versions during the Movie line. Who knows what will bve made for more comic packs, three packs, five packs, entertainment packs, vehicles or anything else. There are still alot of places we could see classic versions right along side the movie figures. The new sculpts might slow down though. After the movie they would likely focus mostly on classic versions and if the movie did halfway decent maybe throw in a few movie figures still too.

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I think of collecting Star Wars as a kid and wanting Luke Skywalker in his outfit for each of the movies so that I could own the evolution of my favorite character as he grew up and learned how to save his own butt.

 

 

Agreed. There are different versions of a character so it stands to reasont hat we would get them. I know when I was a kid, having a different version of the chrcter helped the play. I wish I had diver Duke back then, it would have made bath time more fun.

 

I love repaints and renvisioning of core characters. The more the better. I don't play with my figures anymore, but that doesn't mean I like to have more versions of them. I collect Star Wars as well and to be honest, I want every variation of each character. I want a Bespin Luke, then a battle damaged Bespin Luke. I want a Deathstar Vader and then a battle damaged Deathstar Vader. And so on and so forth. That ammounts to a lot of figures, but it gives the collector, or more importantly, the kid who does play with their figures an opportunity to re-enact their favorite scenes. Hell, diorama builders can do the same thing. As it stands I have six large tackle boxes full of Star Wars figures - One per movie - and I want every version of every character to be made so I can complete my collection.

 

Same goes for the Joes. The more the merrier. I loathe the cost, but I love the fact that I can have a Duke for each situtaion he has been portrayed in or can be played with in. Where's my Movie Duke in cold weather gear? I need one to protect my Broadcast Energy Transmitter from the new DVD pack Serpentor and his Cobra horde.

 

I want a ton more Joes. I want more Drednoks, I want Beachheads Rawhide's, Slaughters Renegades and a whole host of other individual characters such as Low Light, Wet Suit, Air tight, Covergirl, etc... There are plenty more to make and I'm sure there will be plenty of them made using old molds. But done right using the right parts...Barbecue...they can be great.

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I think they missed the boat with some of the potential "repaints" they could have done.

 

They could have done what WE did the moment Snow Job came out and gave us arctic versions of everybody. Maybe the same with Torpedo (though, I dunno, I kinda think Wetsuit's look might be better).

 

Or something they have decided to do recently is interchangeable heads. One of the complains about a figure like Shipwreck is the fist. So why not interchangerable hands too?

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I think they missed the boat with some of the potential "repaints" they could have done.

 

They could have done what WE did the moment Snow Job came out and gave us arctic versions of everybody. Maybe the same with Torpedo (though, I dunno, I kinda think Wetsuit's look might be better).

 

Or something they have decided to do recently is interchangeable heads. One of the complains about a figure like Shipwreck is the fist. So why not interchangerable hands too?

 

 

Is the complaint about Shipwreck his fist or the fact that he has a guna nd holster on his right leg to go with his closed right fist? Were the holster in the other side or the left hand closed instead I don't think it would be such a big deal.

 

Replaceable parts - hands, heads, etc.. - are a good idea but would need to have a point. More small loose parts equal more lost small loose parts. This is a kids game after all. Hasbro makes small parts and parents get up in arms about how they get lost and trust me. We may complain but parents complain loude about their concerns than we ever will about the ammount of Snake Eyes we get or poor body construction.

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I think they missed the boat with some of the potential "repaints" they could have done.

 

They could have done what WE did the moment Snow Job came out and gave us arctic versions of everybody. Maybe the same with Torpedo (though, I dunno, I kinda think Wetsuit's look might be better).

 

Or something they have decided to do recently is interchangeable heads. One of the complains about a figure like Shipwreck is the fist. So why not interchangerable hands too?

 

 

Is the complaint about Shipwreck his fist or the fact that he has a guna nd holster on his right leg to go with his closed right fist? Were the holster in the other side or the left hand closed instead I don't think it would be such a big deal.

 

Replaceable parts - hands, heads, etc.. - are a good idea but would need to have a point. More small loose parts equal more lost small loose parts. This is a kids game after all. Hasbro makes small parts and parents get up in arms about how they get lost and trust me. We may complain but parents complain loude about their concerns than we ever will about the ammount of Snake Eyes we get or poor body construction.

 

As much as we love a good punching fist (how I wished we had one for some of those early Spider-man Classics Spideys!), I think most fans agree that a sailor needs two good hands. I mean, how else is he going to make all those knots? :)

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"The problem with that thinking", huh? I didn't know that there was a problem with how I think. :)

Not how I meant that. :( Let me try again.

 

Your comparison of Duke to Luke Skywalker has merit given the variety of looks that are possible, but we're not getting them. If we apply your example, this is like having several Bespin Lukes with slightly different paint jobs, accessories, and packaging variants, a Dagobah Luke, and a Tatooine Luke. Hardly something we can refer to as the evolution of the hero.

 

If we use Cobra Commander as a Darth Vader comparison, we have multiple slightly varying versions of 'normal' Vader, an unmasked Vader, and... battle armor Darth Vader.

 

More accurately than a 'problem with your thinking', I was trying to see that while I want your comparison to be the way things are, it breaks down because many of the multiple versions of the characters that we're getting are not multiple different versions, but the same ones with a few 'tweaks' repeatedly. Now, I'll grant that some will like Duke with highlight A, and others will like Duke with accessory B... but do we need to get all of that out in less than two years? Do we really have to keep getting Bespin figures and never even know if we'll see a Jedi Knight version, or an X-Wing pilot version, or a Stormtrooper disguise figure? Would you keep collecting Star Wars if that was the way it was going?

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Part of the problem with the comparison to Star Wars is that Star Wars has a linear story progression. Loke goes from farmboy bumpkin to savior of the universe (so to speak) and Jedi Master. You can HAVE all those different versions of each character because they all mean somthing, especially if you play or do diorams. You can have a Hoth scene because you have all the figures in their Hoth scene outfits. YOu can have a Bespin scene because you have all the figures in their Bespin outfits. I think Hasbro is only like 3 figures away from having a figure for EVERY character that ever appeared in any film ( @firedevil@ ).

 

With G.I. Joe, you can have the "regular" version of Duke, a Tiger Force version, Night Force Version, Slaughter's Marauder's version and Python Patrol version, ALL using the same mold and THAT would at least mean something. But that really isn't what we are getting.

 

The other thing to is that most of the Star Wars versions are different for the fact they actually change outfits in the movies and it matters. Luke HAS a Bespin outfit, an X-Wing outfit, a Jedi outfit a Dabogah outfit, etc. so it makes sense to have them in those outfits.

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Yes, you see a lot less complaining about Snake-Eyes as opposed to Duke and Cobra Commander, because Snake-Eyes figures (obviously with some exceptions) tend to be appreciably different from one another (V1, V2, V3, Battle-Damaged, Arctic). Duke and Cobra Commander figures tend to be straight repaints of V1 or V2 incarnations. I think Duke got the Comic-pack version with Red Star, and that's the only noticeably different Duke (aside from paint schemes) so far.

 

If we were getting Battle Corps Cobra Commander (though the Tripwire comic Pack version is very close to the Talking Battle Commander), Red-Faceplate Cobra Commander, Red-and-Tan Duke, "Desert Storm" Duke, etc.... I think people would be complaining less, because they're different versions of the same characters.

 

Or to put it another way: Not too many people complained "Oh god another Cobra Commander" when Battle-Armor Cobra Commander arrived on-shelves.

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Its OK when the versions are appreciably different or unique. As Jmacq said above. Snake Eyes has been released several times, but each version is (usually) distinct. So far there are 6 molds used to create the 10 different Snake Eyes. In fact, the only straight re-paints we've gotten were the first comic pack, and the single card of the 5 pack (radiation had different hands). Other than that, they've all had different molds.

 

By comparison, out of 14 cobra commanders, we have 4 molds. Helmet, Hood, Armor, and Suit. I'm fine with those four, but fourTEEN? Most of the repaints of the helmet/hood CCs are absolutely terrible with no difference other than color scheme.

 

Similarly, Duke has used two molds for 8 versions of the character, and with the exception of the CP with Red Star, they all are absolutely pointless re-paints of the original 5-pack version (which, till now is the closest coloration).

 

Re-paints to tiger force and other classic teams are also acceptable, but should only be a last resort.

 

No one would complain about Dress-Blues Gung Ho, or the two versions of Hawk we've gotten, or if we got night force characters. The difference between those second versions, and the ones that we've gotten are that they are APPRECIABLY DIFFERENT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

@can@

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Yes, you see a lot less complaining about Snake-Eyes as opposed to Duke and Cobra Commander, because Snake-Eyes figures (obviously with some exceptions) tend to be appreciably different from one another (V1, V2, V3, Battle-Damaged, Arctic). Duke and Cobra Commander figures tend to be straight repaints of V1 or V2 incarnations. I think Duke got the Comic-pack version with Red Star, and that's the only noticeably different Duke (aside from paint schemes) so far.

 

If we were getting Battle Corps Cobra Commander (though the Tripwire comic Pack version is very close to the Talking Battle Commander), Red-Faceplate Cobra Commander, Red-and-Tan Duke, "Desert Storm" Duke, etc.... I think people would be complaining less, because they're different versions of the same characters.

 

Or to put it another way: Not too many people complained "Oh god another Cobra Commander" when Battle-Armor Cobra Commander arrived on-shelves.

 

I would also like to get a new "Battle Corps" Cobra Commander, maybe with a pack-in puppy to kick! But they need to switch out the upper legs on the CG body-- I for one am sick and tired of that holster!

 

ccfront.jpg

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I love the holster now. The Marauder Inc "USP Match" fits in there like it was made for it.

 

Oh yeah...my CGs are totally getting rearmed as far as sidearms go....

 

And I agree, the CG/CC frankenjoe would look pretty awesome in black (or really dark blue) and silver.

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