Tag Archives: G.I. Joe toy development

Rock & Roll Hasbro development sketch

Detail, internal Hasbro pencil sketch design of 1989 Rock & Roll by Bart Sears and Ron Rudat

As I’ve noted here, when R&D was concepting a G.I. Joe figure, that character would go through quite a process.  A multitude of pencil sketches, input from other members of R&D, line reviews for higher ups, and even a rendered, full-color painting, all before sculpting commenced.  As fun as it is to see proposed designs of toys that didn’t make it, it’s also fun to peak behind the curtain on favorites that did.  Like ’89 Rock & Roll here. Continue reading

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1993 Leatherneck test shot

Test shot of GI Joe 1993 Leatherneck figure

While I was glad to see my favorite Joe Marine, the ’86 Leatherneck, get an update in ’93, I wasn’t thrilled by the color scheme.  It’s interesting, but it doesn’t say “Marine” to me.  But it’s unfair of me to want that since this update isn’t a Marine, or just a Marine, but an Infantry/Training Specialist and Marine Drill Sergeant.  And maybe such a person would wear burnt ochre, yellow, and teal.  So while the G.I. Joe line was moving back towards realism in the Battle Corps subset in ’93 and ’94, that wasn’t a guarantee that Leatherneck, one of the more realistic-looking figures of the ’80s, was going to stay realistic.  To be clear, though, I do like the design, just not the color choices.  My first reactions are the words “giraffe” and “banana,” and I’d only want to have that for some fanciful Jungle-Viper.

Which is why I was so struck by this test shot. Continue reading

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Unproduced Cobra sketch

detail of unproduced G.I. Joe Cobra character, probably from the late 1980s

Here’s an unproduced Cobra I don’t know anything about. Continue reading

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Battle Force 2000 Blocker sketch

GI Joe Battle Force 2000 Blocker Color detailYikes, has it been a month since my apology?  Here’s another:  Sorry!  Movie review coming soon.  Honest.

Dipping my toe back in the blog pool, here’s Blocker as a just-about final design, before he was “Blocker” (one of Hasbro’s least inspired codenames), when Battle Force 2000 was still “Future Force.”  Continue reading

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Unproduced G.I. Joe Vehicle – Borer

G.I. Joe Unproduced Borer by Andrei Koribanics close-upAndrei Koribanics freelanced for Hasbro in the mid-1980s.  Besides today’s Borer art, I’ve also come across a figure concept by him (that may end up in Chapter 14 of my book) and the presentation painting of Sgt. Slaughter’s Renegades (in Chapter 6).  Leaky Suit Brigade has a tiny interview with Koribanics, and should have a longer one up at some point. Continue reading

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Cobra Night Raven designs by Steve Reiss

Cobra Night Raven by Steve Reiss tease image for Tim Finn's G.I. Joe blog

Steve Reiss attended CCS, the College for Creative Studies, before it had that name, back when it was called Society of Arts & Crafts in Detroit.  It had long been a school with a reputation for vehicle design.  After Reiss joined Hasbro in 1985 he was soon designing G.I. Joe vehicles, like the stunning 1986 Cobra Night Raven, based on Lockheed’s also-stunning SR-71 “Blackbird.”  For your reference, here’s the real thing:

SR-71 NASA photo by Judson Brohmer as comparison to Steve Reiss G.I. Joe Cobra Night Raven toy for Hasbro    And here are Steve Reiss’ six pages of designs, the basis for a rough, three-dimensional model.

Cobra Night Raven design pg 1 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

Cobra Night Raven design pg 2 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

Cobra Night Raven design pg 3 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

Cobra Night Raven design pg 4 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

For play value, Reiss added a one-person drone that latched onto the top of the larger jet:

Cobra Night Raven design pg 5 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

And here’s the parts breakdown.

Cobra Night Raven design pg 6 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

The final toy is black with opaque red accents, and the clear red cockpit windows are a lovely, extra detail.  The Night Raven is also quite long, and I recall always needing two hands to support it.  It’s one of the most attractive products in the entire Real American Hero product line — elegant, sleek, and aggressive.

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Unproduced: Towed Artillery Missile System

Unproduced G.I. Joe vehicle concept, TAMS, 1984

Sorry for the delay in posting.  School starts and trips accrue in September.  To get back into it and take a break from “The Rotten Egg” and my exciting internship today we’ve got Rich Rossi’s color rendering of a vehicle concept, the Towed Artillery Missile System, which I’ll call the TAMS for short.  In all honesty I don’t know anything about it, so we’ll play the reasonable assumption game.

Concept art for Unproduced G.I. Joe vehicle, TAMS, 1984

Drawn in ’84, it would have been pitched for ’86 or ’87.  But often concepts would get shot down, only to resurface later, or inspire a later idea.  In 1988 a different vehicle showed up, the similarly monikered RPV, or Remote Pilot Vehicle — boy did the names not flow for these two.

G.I. Joe RPV vehicle 1988 catalog scan

I don’t wish to draw a straight line between them, that one inspired the other, but it’s safe to say they both filled a specific price point, play pattern, and concept.  But notably the TAMS seats no driver and carries no figure, even by precarious foot peg.  And to further differentiate it from the RPV, by ’88 scale, detailing, and concepts were getting exaggerated and moving away from strict military realism.  The structure of the TAMS more resembles the detailing on earlier vehicles like the FLAK and the ASP, shown here.

G.I. Joe catalog scan details FLAK and ASP

There’s a stronger sense of parts and bolts and hardware, whereas the late ’80s styling smoothed out edges and surfaces.  Since these catalog scans aren’t too enlightening, here are links to much nicer photos of each, from the fine folks at yojoe: the FLAK, the ASP, and the RPV.

One thing’s for sure — Real American Hero had no shortage of small artillery accessories.  These were great for populating a small-scale battlefield with variety, even if they weren’t as much fun as “regular” vehicles like Jeeps and tanks, or as story-driving as a headquarters playset.

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