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
Tag Archives: G.I. Joe toy development
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
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
Andrei 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
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:
For play value, Reiss added a one-person drone that latched onto the top of the larger jet:
And here’s the parts breakdown.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.