This is a little unorthodox and something that I will try for the first time and see what, if anything, comes from it. As you may know, my two focuses lately have been Chinese release items and Tiger Force items, with that in mind I am asking the community for assistance in finding the remaining figures I need. I am interested in only MOC figures. Vehicles can be loose, but must have the Chinese box. Anyway here is my want list along with prices I am offering to pay:
Snake Eyes v3 (1989): $600
Snake Eyes v4 (1990): $200
Barricade (not the Roadblock also released in China called Barricade, but the actual Barricade figure): $100
In addition to the figures, I am looking for any Chinese vehicles either MIB or loose with box that I do not currently have. The only vehicle that I am 100% sure was released in China that I do not own yet is the Sky Havoc. Other unconfirmed Chinese vehicles include the Mudfighter, Hammerhead, and BUGG. There are supposedly 30-40 Chinese vehicles. If you are willing to sell a vehicle that is Chinese release that is not listed below, I am absolutely interested in buying it.
Chinese vehicles I own:
I first saw a picture of this set of figures in Ron Conner’s 1995-2003 Guidebook. What instantly caught my eye and became a grail find for me was the unreleased alternate figure – Outback. The 2003 set was released with Big Brawler, which had a red hair variant and a black hair variant. Big Brawler, especially with red hair screamed Outback – it was obvious that Hasbro initially planned to release the set with Outback, but for whatever unknown reason, decided against it.
I had been looking for this figure or set of figures for 5 years without finding one. I knew from Aire’s videos on Youtube that she had a loose set, I was very surprised and happy to learn she also had the mock up. This item was initially going to be the only thing I bought from Aire – but that didn’t last long 🙂
It is interesting to note that Jinx, Wreckage and Dial Tone are all also preproduction variants with different skin tones than what was actually released. The package is made from some Whinny The Poo box/cardboard.
Tiger Force 2003 Prototype Mock Up
2003 Unreleased Tiger Force Outback
This figure is/was one of my grails, and acquiring this figure led me to set a goal of finding every single Chinese figure and vehicle MOC or MIB. While it may not seem all that remarkable, a real, legitimate Chinese Storm Shadow is quite rare. While it seems that they are very common on eBay, every single one sold for the past several years is a bootleg/fake. One easy way to tell is to look at the ‘Hasbro’ symbol next to the figure bubble. On all of the fake Storm Shadows it is misspelled as “HRSBRO.” In addition, the back of the cardback looks and feels different on the fake SS. The color is muted and looks like it was scanned/copied.
I am really excited about these pieces. These, along with the incredible alternate and unused Breaker head, surfaced this last week. A guy has an amazing collection of packaging insert photos as well as figures used for the packaging and inserts of our favorite toy. As soon as I knew that the guy was (1) selling and (2) had Tiger Force items that I had to get whatever I could. I ended up with 5 packaging photos/transparencies of the Tiger Rat, Tiger Paw, Tiger Shark, Tiger Fly, and Tiger CAT! These images were (or at least appear to be) the exact images used on the back of all the boxes! In some of the transparencies, you can see the mirrors and other tools that the photographers used.
Here is a picture of 3 more Chinese release vehicles. Only the Septic Tank is from Aire. The Earthquake and the Fang II I found in the depths of the internet. A huge part of the fun of collecting Chinese release GI Joe items, for me at least, is the hunt. I have been compiling a list of all known figures and vehicles that were released in China. However, it is quite a difficult task. While it is a bit easier with the figures having the portraits and names on the cardbacks, there is no list, outside of the VERY incomplete listing on YoJoe. I have reached the point where I have acquired all of the vehicles that I previously knew about. Through pictures and speaking with other Joe collectors, I had added more vehicles to the list, but it is still incomplete. That makes searching for unknown Chinese release vehicles difficult since I don’t know what exactly I am looking for. Often times it results in wide search terms that encompass all sorts of GI Joe items.
Another aspect that draws me to the Chinese release items is the artwork. Both the Chinese language only items and the European alternate art. When comparing the US art to China/Europe I definitely prefer the art from China/Europe. One interesting note, is that both the Earthquake and Septic Tank are the same as European released versions with Chinese stickers applied to them. With the Fang II, the Chinese language is printed directly on to the box.
This year will likely go down as the biggest collecting year ever for me! Not only have I been lucky enough to make multiple deals with Aire, win two lots from Shane Watson’s Vectis auctions (more later on that), but I just completed a deal for one of the most rare and desirable figures in the hobby – Canary Ann!!!! This deal fell into my lap and I pulled out all the stops to make it happen. I have to thank the seller for making this one of the easiest and best transactions I’ve ever had. It definitely made me nervous went I sent the payment – but the seller was AWESOME.
I am sure that more Canary Anns will be found (I know there is at least a 3rd, maybe a 4th), this is definitely the first, but hopefully not the last to be shared publicly. Now that it is hands on I can get some great pictures of it to share with everyone. It is complete and in absolutely great shape, tight joints and just some minor paint wear on the gloves and one boot. The first order of business when I get home will be to switch out the screws (they aren’t rusted, but I’d like new ones in anyway) and then to place her right next to my other Commando Force figures!
Before I get to the pictures, here is the background info on the Funskool Commando Force figures:
They were the free figures, that were given away on the purchase of ‘Complan Chocolate Health Drink’.
Emerald Gung Ho/Zap – “Striker”.
Red/Purple Scrap Iron/Zap – “Cross Country”
Blue/Yellow Firefly/Short Fuse – ??
Red Baroness – “Rednok”
Yellow Lady Jaye – “Canary Ann”
Enjoy the pictures!
I never knew either of these existed until a month ago. I got a picture of them sent to me and knew I had to have them. Both of these come from one of my two (possibly a 3rd) hauls from Aire. I really like the minimalist design to the Chinese boxes (at least the early figures and vehicles released in China); it really allows the art to stand out. Also check out the side of the Tiger Fly box which advertises the Sting, HISS 2, and Desert Fox. I have found and purchased a Desert Fox MIB – it is on its way from China right now. I am still looking for a Chinese HISS 2, if anyone out there has one – let me know. Enjoy!
So a couple weeks ago I alluded to the biggest GI Joe haul of my life – combine that with a second one from yesterday – and I have two huge hauls of Holy Grail items from one of the best collectors, Aire Devon, and her (maybe now former) premiere collection. I have always been a big Tiger Force fan so when I heard that Aire was selling I knew Tiger Force would be a huge focus for me. I also have wanted at least one item from Venezuela. I have tried several times to get one – being outbid, and almost scammed out of $800 (thank you Paypal). So I was extremely happy to get an Venezuelan vehicle that was also Tiger Force! I snagged a MIB (never in my wildest dreams, did I think I would own a MIB Venezuelan item) Tiger Shark! The box is in great shape, afa worthy for a Venezuelan item. I was VERY surprised to find out that the vehicle boxes used in Venezuela were not unique (like Mexico, Brazil and Argentina). Venezuela used European boxes and box art. The only difference on the exterior is the “Rubiplas” company name on the side of the box. Also, Venezuelan vehicles never came with vehicle drivers, so if there was a portrait of a figure that came with a vehicle it was recolored red.
The other item that I will preview (many more posts to follow) is a Chinese release Paralyzer. While this may not seem interesting, what is unique about this, is that the Chinese version took the Brazilian box and box art, including Portuguese language, and added the Chinese language to it. The end result is a really interesting and unique looking box.
I have to say a HUGE thank you to Aire for speaking with me and giving me TWO incredible opportunities to buy from her. I felt like a fat kid in a candy store. Her collection is absolutely amazing. And it is a little sad that the most complete GI Joe collection ever assembled is being sold. But a lot of it (probably most) has ended up in the hands of great Joe collectors.
Expect to see a lot of very rare Tiger Force items as well as a ton of Chinese figures and vehicles soon!
Searching for rare international figures and vehicles can be a labor of love and a grind. In addition, you will almost certainly come across someone who will eventually try and take the money and run…. A few months ago, I came across a score too good to pass up – Venezuelan vehicles. Some of the hardest Joe stuff to find on the planet. I thought I knew the seller and I thought he had a great reputation, but it turns out he tried to take my money. Luckily, I got mine back, thank God for Paypal Buyer Protection, but I know others are still waiting to hear back from this guy. With that unfortunate incident, I was feeling down on Joe and took a break from searching.
JoeCon was a refreshing experience and getting to meet so many people in person refueled by passion for GI Joe. At the Declassified booth, I came across a fun international variant that I hadn’t seen before; the European Devastator. It is molded in grey instead of off-white and the maroon pieces are molded in a bright red. It is a great piece that is fortunate to be rare and relatively inexpensive. On eBay UK there are two up for auction right now, however, both have broken antennas. I almost bought one of those because five euros is a great deal; but I really wanted an unbroken, mint piece. So I made a few more searches and came across a MIB Euro Devastator! It was a great find for only $50!