Wednesday, May 30, 2012

International G.I. Joe figures on card

I have never really bothered to have unopened toys. As you saw a few days ago, I'm actually quite the opposite. I make an effort getting old toys - and I open them.
Still, the effect of collecting toys is that you usually end up having many several unopened examples, but I never made it a goal to be a so called MOC/MISB collector (Mint on Card, Min in Sealed Box).

There was, how ever, one thing I wanted to have in my collection. Carded Joe figures from several different countries. And I made the conscious decision og chasing down a few selected pieces. No really rare ones, and certainly not "mint". In fact, many of them are really banged up, with poor cards. I don't care, I just like to have examples from different nations - like the Norwegian carded Action Force figures.

The pictures are not the best, as my camera was acting up. And in the future I hope to take the pictures these deserve. But I'll do the run down on my small, but planned carded collection. So hop on in.

Keep in mind, these are not all my carded Joes. I have a selection of US carded figures as well, but it's far from relevant.

First up is my Japanese carded Scarlett. There's something extremely cool about the Japanese cards. They used the same art as US and Europe, but added a certain sci-fi twist with the background. I like to think of it as a sunken spacecraft, or a giant robot of some sort. The Japanese line also saw a single carded Zartan (other places he came packed with a vehicle), which should be the most attractive figure from the land of the rising sun. Or is it the setting sun? I'm not sure.

I wrote an article on the whackiness that is Joes from India. Produced by toy company Funskool, using Hasbro's molds, these toys are deliciously insane, and hilariously fun. Skydiver is a repaint of Beach Head with Crazy Legs' head.

United Kingdom
The figures from UK has also been featured in a previous article, and as you can see they came out on a different card, incorporated into the "Action Force" line - which was a 3 3/4 inch line from UK toy maker Palitoy. After a little while, they were being sold on similarly designed cards as the US figures, only with the name "Action Force". There's something really vintage of the early Palitoy card design. I like that. Notice how dinged the bubbles are on Ripcord. Shame, isn't it? I got this dirt cheap, we're talking $5 or something.
Some UK figures were being made by Palitoy. Quite possibly in the same Chinese factory that made the US toys, as they have the exact same quality and feel to them. But the result was that we saw some cool repaints, like Quarrel.

Here's how the cards looked after a little while. Regular design, but with the Action Force name still attached.

The Action Force name was gradually phased out.

And in as the 80s turned into the 90s, the line was called G.I. Joe in Europe as well.

I've shown these two before. Quite possibly the coolest collectibles I own. This is how Joes were sold in my country, and I opened  two just like these in the mid 80s. The words are in Swedish | Finnish | Norwegian.
Like with the UK and Japanese figures, these were produced by Hasbro, but packed and distributed by local branches of Hasbro.

Just like in India, these were made under license from Hasbro, but by the Argentinian toy company Plastirama. Lower quality, but some really interesting repaints. Some of the Argentina Joes are extremely rare, because they were made in less quantity, because they are attractive variations, but mostly because they have piss-poor plastic quality. They just haven't survived. So an example of the "Argen-7" (the first seven Argentinian exclusive figures) in decent quality is rare, and therefore valuable. There are many stories about the Argen-7, which incidentally was modernized into con exclusives the year I went to the G.I. Joe con. Some claim that they were actually 6, and the 7th - the black (or maybe the red) Snake Eyes repaint came with the next wave, and is therefore less rare. I have never seen any of them live, and all of the examples I've seen pictures have been in poor condition.

These are the best I've seen, and I believe they belonged - last time I checked - to collector Airedevon, who owns one of the most impressive collections I have seen at least. She's also been sharing her knowledge and letting other collectors take a glimpse into her collection - which I really respect. Too many just lock their stuff away in their basement and act as if it's too important for anyone else to see. It's just toys.

This is my Argentinian carded figure: T.N.T.
I love him! Not only is it a cool, and meaningful repaint of Blowtorch. But the unique card art is fantastic! This was one of those figures I really wanted, and made an effort getting hold of. Most of these came with a big, ugly sticker right on top of the art, and I had to look quite some time for a "clean" example.

Sort of similar with the Argentinian stuff, Brazil joes were made licensed by another toy company, Estrela.
And like the Indian Funskool figures, we saw some wacky repaints out of Brazil. And some really cool ones. The mid 90s repaints of the Star Brigade aliens are extremely cool.

This is not actually a repaint, but it has clear differences from the Cover Girl Hasbro produced. This one looks... sloppy. But Cover Girl was never sold carded in the US, which is why I find this a cool piece. The card art is decent too.

Finally, this part of my collection made, in my opinion, a really cool display in the museum. All the various nations represented made it look like this was something important, somewhat of a global phenomenon. As we all know, they're just toys. But it's still kinda awesome, right?

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