Here is another unique 1 of 1 GI Joe Tiger Force prototype, the Tiger Cat! Notice that the “Tiger Force” stickers used are actually slightly different than those used on the released vehicles with the yellow outlining.
I have been pretty quiet on the blog for a few months, part of that has been moving into a new house and getting ready for my second kid arriving in two weeks. But another reason that I haven’t been updating the site with new finds is that I had been holding off and saving up for a potentially huge deal. I didn’t want to tease it, because early on, I was really unsure if it would end up working out. But in the end it did and I couldn’t be happier! I picked up a huge run on GI Joe Tiger Force prototypes, including my holy grail, the one and only prototype Tiger Ray. This is the actual vehicle that was teased in the GI Joe Discussion group. When I first saw it I knew that if I ever had the chance to buy it, I would do everything I could to make that happen. I was not only able to acquire the Tiger Ray, but several other amazing Tiger Force Prototypes, that I will share in the upcoming days. Enjoy the pictures!
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.
Well, I decided to change things up once again, and post 3 recent buys (two of which are still in the mail). These prototypes are all modern, Rise of Cobra cancelled/prototype figures and they all happen to be arctic themed! First, we have the ROC cancelled Snowjob; it is the same as the POC release except for the ROC insignia on his jacket and skiis. Second, is the ROC cancelled/prototype Elite Ice Viper in the unreleased alternate paint scheme. This figure also comes with the “HM” mark on it. Third, we have the unreleased/cancelled/prototype Arctic Assult Duke! Sadly, I wasn’t able to find one with the vest, but the POC Snowjob vest makes a suitable replacement. I actually bought the Arctic Duke and Ice Viper today (lunchtime and eBay are a dangerous proposition), because the Snow Job came in and I liked it so much I thought I should get a few more from that same era. These were all pretty affordable – not like the Arctic Alpine, or Arctic Snake Eyes (the blue unreleased version) which are $250-500+.
For the second day of prototype week, and probably the next couple days, I will be revealing a test shot from the 90’s! Today’s figure is the 1993 Battle Corps Outback (either version 3 or 4 hard to tell since it is just a repaint variant) figure! It comes in a sealed bag with weapons on the tree. I really like all the different colors of plastic on this one. In addition to the figure being a prototype the weapons are colored in a neonish green while the weapons the retail version came with were red. Even the missile launcher has green plastic compared to the red retail version.
In addition to this figure, as a bonus, I thought I would highlight a very overpriced auction for a MOC prototype 1993 Outback. This one is a mock up of the retail coloration of Outback V3 with prototype pink colored weapons. It can be yours for the low low price of $8,500.00. I put in an offer of $100 and was rejected. Oh well, can’t have everything
I won this auction off of eBay. I wasn’t a huge fan of RoC, but that didn’t stop me from picking up this Snake Eyes concept art for an un-used sculpt, with those ugly lips and all! I’ll be framing this and putting it up in the man cave. I will also be doing an “art” week here. I have been focusing a lot lately on picking up original art from the toys, comics, and cartoons and I will be showing off all of the pieces I have recently picked up.
Hey guys, I recently picked up several cool items. First, I grabbed the Hall of Fame edition Bat MIB as well as the FSS 1.0 Nano Bat. Second, I grabbed a super rare Jungle Bat Prototype/Mock-up with the prototype/unreleased green head! In addition, I also snagged a hand-painted bat proto with “HFE” written on him as well as another Bat prototype. Looks like I have started a little “run” of Bat prototypes now! Enjoy the pics!
Andrei Koribanics was an artist for Hasbro and he did quite a bit of pre-production artwork for the GI Joe line. He worked on Joe from 1983-1985 and did a number of pencil concept sketches as well as full-blown illustrations (in oil on board) for characters that had “passed the first round” of approvals. He was also behind many of the motorized backpacks. His work was for internal review.
Here is the email interview we had:
-What were you doing before Hasbro? Were you interested in the toy industry prior to working for Hasbro?
I was just breaking into the art & design industry when I got the opportunity to work for Hasbro. I’ve ALWAYS loved toys (still do), and, having grown up on the original 12″ Joes (I’m 57 now), it was natural, and very exciting for me. I never made a conscious effort to enter the toy industry… it was pure happenstance that I had the opportunity.
-How did you initially start working with Hasbro as a freelancer? How long did you work with them?
I met Ron Rudat (Director of Boys’ Toys at Hasbro) and Bill Merklein (artist extraordinaire and master sculptor for the new, smaller Joes) through the MFCA (Miniature Figure Collectors of America) about 1983 or so. We were all sculpting and painting historically accurate miniatures (largely of military figures) and showing together, and we quickly became friends. Ron and his crew were getting a little burned out on the Joe line, and looking for some new blood to inject a little life. Bill was sculpting the masters for Hasbro, and, knowing I was an illustrator looking for work, he introduced me to Ron. I only worked for Hasbro for two years or so, but it was quite a busy time, with very tight deadlines… and I thrived on it 🙂
-Did you work on other lines besides G.I. Joe for Hasbro?
I did some exploratory work for a line of plushies called ‘Wuzzles’, but as they didn’t carry any weapons, I lost interest 🙂
-I’ve seen vehicle designs and internal presentation paintings, did you do other kinds of work for G.I. Joe like sculpt inputs (figure turnarounds)?
No… that was Bill Merklein’s job. I would never step on a friend’s toes unless he asked me to.
-What stage(s) of the design process were you involved in? Mainly early presentation art?
Yes, mainly internal presentation art. I would be sent a rough sketch of the character to be depicted, along with a few notes about what to concentrate on and accent (special uniform details, weapons, etc.) I would then create a full-color rendering of the character… I worked in oil paint on illustration board… a bit overkill for the other designers at Hasbro (most renderings were done in marker), but they sold the concepts and I sincerely enjoyed the process. I’m a detail nut by nature, so it was the best medium for me.
I DID do a dozen or so concept drawings for additional characters, all in pencil on tissue. I would get no more than a suggestion for a character (e.g. ‘message runner’) and take it from there. I loved the way Hasbro would create an entire ‘story’ about their characters and I did the same thing… again, getting very caught up in details.
-Any favorite vehicle or character designs that you remember?
I recall ‘Snake Eyes’ very distinctly… also a Bomb Demolition character. I never designed any vehicles, but I did design a series of wind-up motorized backpacks that I am still quite proud of. Either my designs were spot-on, or Hasbro needed to bang them out, but I was thrilled to find them in my local ‘Toys-R-Us’ when they were released, and to see that they stuck to my original designs by about 99%.
-Do you own/collect any of the final production pieces that you worked on?
Sadly, no. Hasbro was not very good at sending their designers samples of their products, despite repeated requests. As mentioned above, I had to purchase anything I designed, if I wanted an example of it, so I did purchase each of the backpacks at ‘Toys-R-Us’ …. then made the mistake of letting my nephew play with them… LOL! Well, his puppies got a hold of them and that was that. I figured, ‘heck… they’ll be around for a while… I can always buy another set”. Oh well… live and learn! 🙂
I don’t collect Joes myself, though I do see the charm, of course. I prefer model-building, so collect kits like there’s no tomorrow (mostly aircraft). I still sculpt and paint smaller-scale figures for my own pleasure, and enjoy collecting more realistic 1/6 (12″) figures these days. I am not as much into nostalgia as I am into realism.
Mr. Koribanics still works as a designer/illustrator/sculptor on a freelance basis. Anyone interested can check out his site at: www.andreik2.com
on the bottom of the JP package there is a yellow sticker covering up a picture of another dino and figure. The figure is the red head/eye patch figure that has been seen before. The yellow sticker makes me think it may not be part of the line…. But who knows. I certainly did not expect these things to hit stores already.
Here is the pic:
So with the news that the JP figures were hitting retail in SoCal, I hit my local TRU on my lunch break and came away with a great haul! I picked up both JP figures, 5 Wave 2 figures, and a Skystriker! I really hope that the JP line includes the awe strikers as well as the other prototype figures that we have seen. I’m glad I waited on the prototypes.