Over Stepping

Q. What happens when an irrelevant and decaying website sticks their neck out on social media with a tone-deaf message?

A. A lot of laughs!

Recently the Yo Joe! facebook group decided to make a comment in regards to how they think that mean old Black Major is causing collectors to have just an awful fit because by jove they can’t tell if the bright green and blue Snake Eyes is actually from the 1980s or not!

Now there’s a few things about that, that really causes my hair to hurt.

The first is the timing of this. The Black Major has been making these for a dozen years, you think that maybe this comment should’ve come out in perhaps 2009? Why now?

Another issue in regards to this, is the fact that Yo Joe! is theoretically an archive website, dedicated to information on G.I. Joe from the 80s, 90s and beyond! If they’re so concerned about the well being of collectors, perhaps they should’ve archived Black Major (as well as Red Laser, Letal, and those Early Factory Customs!). It could’ve been in a separate section in the “Collectibles Archive” or what not. Each page could’ve had enough basic information on how to discern the differences between the Factory Customs and Official Releases. To actually protect collectors they could’ve had a link to the appropriate Factory Custom’s page on the Vintage figure’s page. Much the same way they did International variants.

Honestly a small blurb saying “In 2016 enterprising collectors offered a similar figure to 1987 Starduster, however there are some differences etc.” and a link. Honestly Yo Joe! had set a precedent for that kind of thing when they did a heads up on the Hooded COBRA Commander page to let people know the figure was available for 10 years, and wasn’t rare. This is the type of thing that, would’ve allowed Yo Joe! to remain much more visible, and relevant in the days of collector’s books and google.

In actuality the “repros vs. originals” was a cleverly worded way to distract from the fact it appeared to be more of a personal beef between certain members of the G.I. Joe fanbase, whom have a lot invested in being the G.I. Joe country club, and The Black Major.

G.I. Joe fandumb, has often placed members of the community on pedestals, for handing out crumbs of information about the background or production aspects of G.I. Joe. This is a thing that has led to a lot of knowledge not being commonly shared throughout the community, as well some of it being Stalinized, so that we’re at a point in which nobody has access to some of it, and goddamnit if you share it, there’s a pox on your house.

This type of behaviour is actually the type of thing that makes the existence of Yo Joe! so endearing to me, as it wouldn’t have gotten off the ground even as early as 2001. I’m sure we all have vague memories of failed attempts at doing another archive, like “The Joe Index” or the fact HISS TANK of all websites couldn’t get one set up, when they tried and that’s when they RAN the community.

The Black Major (who I will readily admit, I like the guy personally), is a threat to these types of collectors. TBM doesn’t really kowtow to pressure, as he for the most part makes either what he wants or what will sell. While the dude has made numerous figures that clearly aren’t 1984 Storm Shadows, but are the same design in white, it does some damage to the secondary market value of the high ticket vintage figures. There are people in the G.I. Joe community who are sitting on TONS of vintage figures they purchased cheaply in the last 20+ years.  So when someone like the Black Major, who they can’t control, exists, you have collectors pearl clutching their Investments, because the ability to make 70 dollars on a Zap is a bubble that could burst.

What also isn’t really being verbalized in some of the community backlash to Yo Joe!’s attempt at pushing this opinion (Most of which was deleted from their Facebook post, because nobody can disagree), is the fact that there’s other Factory Custom producers, who did some stuff that was far more egregious in terms of the possibilities for being passed off as “originals”. A little nail polish remover and you’ve got a 1983 Snake Eyes v 1.5 waist.

The thing I found most embarrassing and unfortunate about the whole thing, was these people’s willingness to slit the throat of the only thing that’s not moving at a glacial pace, and the only thing that’s actually traditional G.I. Joe construction, in the G.I. Joe community. Yo Joe! tagged Hasbro in their Facebook blast, with the suggestion that Hasbro “Looks into preventing these items from being brought in from China”.

This is a very concerning action, to me. This is a thing that not only is trying to strangle a producer, this is a thing that could potentially put the average collector, that Yo Joe is seemingly so concerned about, into a bind, because if this threat was to come true, how are people that have pre-ordered things, supposed to get their money back?




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6 Responses to Over Stepping

  1. A-Man says:

    I’m reminded of a few things.

    Hasbro once clamped down on Funskool imports because brick and mortar Dollar Stores were ordering them or the fear of such, and the quality would damage Hasbro’s brand. But then they backed off. Or something. I’m vague on what happened, but Funskool imports resumed. Why? Because they knew fans wanted them and it wasn’t worth pissing off fans?

    The “grey market” of the Far East. All those loose figures that have somewhat dwindled in availability but were once very common. Those were either meant for destruction/recycling or stolen or illegal production runs. Yet, IIRC a well known online collector’s store was buying loose figures a lot. And fans are still buying what’s still out there from China, etc. So if you care about HABSRO…(And this was a thing in Star Wars collecting years ago, before distribution became so bad that overseas sellers are all but essential to collectors.)

    Repros, actual replacements are gonna be necessary. These things were NOT meant to last. How many intact STUN flags are left in the world? How many vehicle shells will just be thrown away because no one wants to pay $100 for a Vamp steering wheel, Rattler canopy, WHALE propeller and vanes, etc, etc? Don’t think Collectors won’t do that. I’ve read posts over the years of people tossing out waists with broken crotches for example.

    Worries about new collectors? Well, how many people will enjoying tracking down a genuine Heavy Metal helmet mic? I look at vintage Star Wars collecting and the prices of loose accessories. Is that a hobby a rational person wants to be part of? BUT the Star Wars community has RABID anti-reproduction fans, even as Hasbro repros the original Kenner figures.

    Replacing the o ring or screw technically makes and other genuine vintage figure repro. Doesn’t it?

    There’s a good chunk of “collectors” far, far more interested in making money off other fans than the enjoyment of action figures for what they are. As usual, I blame the comic book collector crowd. The factory customizers are of course, making money off of fans. But I don’t think they’d have gone to the trouble (which I imagine is a LOT) to produce what they have if they weren’t collectors first. I get the impression they are mostly making things they want themselves.

    Also, yes, Hasbro abandoned GI JOE for years. They totally abandoned 12″ collectors, who have moved onto things made by other companies. That’s happening to ARAH, you have Modern collectors moving on to what are essentially fan start-up created figures. If there were vintage o-ring collectors lines out there, they’d be making collector money, too. If you ignore the molds being used, that is what the factory customizers are. Black Major makes many shades of Alley-Vipers, he’s a villain. Marauder Gunrunners markets a “not-Battle Corps Alley Viper” 1:18th scale, not-toy, all-original parts and they are great.

    How far away is technology that we can make factory quality figures at home? If I can crank out a Starduster at home in a few hours that’s just like the 1983 one, then what?

  2. A-Man says:

    Somethings I forgot. In regards to factory custom repaints of Hasbro molds:

    If some wanted a desert Cobra trooper in vintage o-ring form, their option before factory customs was to make an actual custom. Not everyone likes to customize. Some people lack the talent and patience. You can’t “play” with most customs because you’d rub the paint, etc. And there’s the argument that making customs ruins vintage toys. Another elitist arugment, yes and no…there’s a scarcity issue. at this point if you own a USS Flagg and decide to customize it. Well, it is yours to do so, but they ain’t making them again. They were only made for North America to begin with. It’s not a HISS tank.

    A Star Wars example is this: Han Solo in stormtrooper was never made by Kenner as part of the vintage line. So some fans took Luke in stormtrooper disguises and customized them into Hans. But that Luke is pretty scarce. being part of the final series and all. Every vintage Luke as stormtrooper customized is one less out there (as pointed out by that RetroBlasting guy). So some factory customizers (I guess factory, maybe just casters) have made retro style Han as stormtroopers from “bootlegging” old Kenner parts.

    Army building mania. Concern about new collectors being fooled by repro troopers, viper pilots and such. Yet, old collectors have driven up prices for Cobra’s troop builders up and up over the years. They created an aftermarket demand for them, a demand Hasbro didn’t entirely sate in the 2000’s. So some fans are blaming customizers for responding to a demand that much of the “Joe collecting community” created.

  3. mwnekoman says:

    If Yo Joe cares about the GI Joe community and “new collectors”, why did they steal photos from my blog without credit?
    Why do they not care about high-quality reproduction stickers for vehicles?
    Why is this an issue now?
    Why did they dox The Black Major? (Potential criminal, doxxing is a crime)
    Why do they not care about recarded figures, which are rampant?
    Why do they not acknowledge these “bootlegs” on their website, to inform the community?

    Yo Joe obviously does not care about anything other than the glamorized and artificial value of their collections. You attack those who threaten you the most.

  4. Mike T. says:

    If it were about collectors, then all of the stupid images in FB groups of accessories on a shoddy piece of copy paper with handwritten labels and a huge freaking watermark would be done right and posted to various websites as an effort to educate.

    The real issue is the guy in his basement casting HM mics that he’s going to pass as real. But, again, educate. However, they don’t want to educate because that would both give the bootleggers a chance to make better stuff and also reduce the online “value” of a few collectors who own those images and use them as chance to brag about their knowledge every opportunity they see.

    I’ve always maintained that if you can’t tell the difference between a fake and original, then they are the same thing. But, there are always tells. So, those should be published with excellent photos on the premiere archive sites so they are easily searchable. I hate to invoke Star Wars collectors here, but that is what they do. You can find great examples of how to determine vintage vs. repro.

    This is all really about Black Major and his Starduster figures. Despite Stardusters tripling in value since 2017, three or four guys who have, literally, hundreds of Stardusters between them are sincerely scared that their investment and cornering of the market for the figure will backfire. We’d probably hear the same about the GHSB except the guy who has 1000 bagged figures keeps quiet so as not to draw attention to his hoard. Had the Starduster not happened, no one would care.

  5. Rudy Yamada says:

    I’m chuckling a little bit at the fact that we were talking about this days ago. Didn’t expect a full-fledged post about it. Don’t forget that they came up with some random name for BM that’s apparently way incorrect!

  6. Pingback: Red Shadows Star Duster (The Black Major) | Attica Gazette

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