Since 2020, fans, such as my self, have shared a love / hate relationship with Hasbro's G.I. Joe Classified line. Follwing its inception and announcement, hype has been high, with supply being dismally low. Not since the height of Hasbro's secondary most popular line, Star Wars, has the meme, "Ebay Exclusives" been thrown around so readily.
Despite this though, fans haven't stopped lining up in droves to be among the first to obtain each and every figure as it comes out, and today, I'm taking a look at just where we are with this line, in terms of all the assortments which have been made available.
Everything kicked off in early 2020 with the deluxe Snake Eyes pack, available exclusively at Hasbro Pulse.
Shortly thereafter, Hasbro's choice
shills toy sites were gifted with press kits, which featured the first wave of figures in its entirety. Later press kits have also been confirmed, which contained a sixth figure, Cobra Commander.
The first wave of figures purportedly started hitting store shelves in June of 2020. Though, your casual collector wouldn't typically find these at any of their local retail outlets. However, for the most part, fans could still pre-order these readily from sites such as Entertainment Earth and Big Bad Toy Store.
By August of 2020, keen eyed collectors started reporting of a variant Destro figure. While it appeared the first run releases had an odd circle engraved in the head, a second production run removed this eyesore.
Wave two, which also started showing up online in June of 2020, included figures six, seven and eight. While these were initially slated as shipping in July, many collector's didn't start getting their hands on them until September / October.
If you believe the rumors, the Regal variant of Cobra Commander, which was a Hasbro Pulse exclusive, was a figure the company released to appease fans who were unhappy when seeing the darker blue outfit he ultimately ended up with for the retail release versus prototype figures for the character that showcased him in a more cartoon accurate light blue outfit.
Despite its mid-2020 pre-order period, the figure didn't officially release from Hasbro until January 2021.
Though I'm keeping the figures in numeric order, these two below are the remaining ones from wave two.
Initially intended as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive in 2020, Snake Supreme Cobra Commander was shifted to be the first G.I. Joe Classified series to be available during the newly conceived virtual Hasbro Pulsecon. For many sitting in isolation during the pandemic, this was a period of relief to finally feel like part of a world that was still functioning.
The convention was held on September 23rd, 2020, and pre-orders for the figure went up immediately thereafter. What's interesting to note is that pre-orders stated the figure would come out in April of 2021. However, I personally received mine on September 28th, 2020, just days after ordering. I then received two more as gifts in April of 2021 from friends / family who ordered at the same time. The only difference was I paid with Paypal, while they paid with credit cards. I was also a Hasbro Pulse member.
Nothing has made fans more angry than the debacle that was the first wave of Target exclusive Cobra Island figures. Not only did Target themselves screw up the street date, causing some stores to sell out long before many fans even knew they were out, but others went the complete opposite way, and refused to sell them until the originally identified street date. What ensued was chaos among collectors, angry outbursts online, and hatred towards any future Target exclusives.
Though these figures were released a year ago (in August of 2020), they are just now becoming more and more available via the store's online site.
As if to add insult to injury, by September of 2020, those collectors who could get their hands on these figures began to notice a pair of variants for two of the characters.
Beach Head was found in both a blue and brown eye variant, while the even more difficult to find Cobra Trooper was found with a black and blue collar variant.
Now not only was it difficult to find these figures, but some of those who already had them now wanted their counterpart variant editions. Prices were already skyrocketing on this particular wave, and the discovery of variants only served to shoot them up even further, as second hand dealers insisted the version they had was the rarer of the two available.
Despite being announced with the Target exclusive wave, Baroness with C.O.I.L. would remain elusive for a few more months. When it finally started trickling out, the majority of product seemed to be headed straight to ebay. To this day, it remains the most difficult figure for fans to obtain at a reasonable price on secondary markets, let alone directly from Target at retail.
Though it wouldn't come out for several more months to come, Hasbro held a live stream on June 26th, 2020, announcing the upcoming Amazon exclusive Arctic Mission Storm Shadow. Shortly after the video, the figure was made available for pre-order, selling out within minutes, a common trend that to this day has continued with the line. The figure began shipping in August that same year.
Shortly after the announcement for Storm Shadow, a Twitter user broke the news of an upcoming Destro figure, aptly titled Pimp Daddy Destro among fans for his outlandish look. Not only did Jordamus_Prime leak the announcement of the figure, but he also posted photos of it, as well as the above noted second wave Cobra Commander, Gung-Ho and Red Ninja. At the time he broke the news, none of the photos for wave two had been seen before.
Profit Director Destro, as he was ultimately called, started shipping in October 2020.
Hasbro Pulse Fest, an all new virtual event, kicked off on April 9th, 2021, and with it came the announcement of the all new wave of figures based on the upcoming / previously delayed Snake Eyes Origins. Much like the prior show, the figures were made available for pre-order shortly thereafter.
Though Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Baroness started showing up in collector's hands in June of 2021, Scarlet and Akiko remain slated for December. Though I pre-ordered all five figures at the same time from Hasbro Pulse, I have not received any of them.
During the above noted 2020 Pulsecon, Hasbro both surprised and angered fans by announcing four additional figures that would become available at five o'clock Eastern standard time on June 26th, 2020. Despite the comment section erupting in protest, the company showcased the Cobra Island / Target exclusive Firefly and Cobra Viper, as well as the mass retail release of Zartan and Cobra Infantry - A repainted Cobra Trooper from the above noted first wave of Cobra Island figures.
I was among the few who refreshed and clicked frantically at 5:00 PM when Target finally listed the above two figures for purchase, and was both shocked and ecstatic that I managed to obtain them both. By the time I completed my purchase and refreshed the page, both were sold out.
From there, I returned to Hasbro Pulse, and purchased the below two figures with minimal effort, but which also sold out moments later.
Fire Fly and Cobra Trooper would arrive in January of 2021, while Zartan and Cobra Infantry arrived in February of 2021.
However, between these releases, more unique items started to crop up in the form of repaints. These ones not so subtle as the last, for the most part.
Hasbro announced, repainted, and re-released the entire first wave of Joe members between January and February. Of the four, Snake Eyes is the one figure that has the slightest of changes, removing a red line from his forehead, as seen on the original release, and packaging his knife now in his leg sheath, and not on the side of his head. As for the others, when compared side by side, the differences are obvious. Be it brighter, almost neon colors, or completely different colors, they're hard to miss.
On November 20th, 2020, Hasbro announced that Flint and Lady Jaye would be the next mass released figures, and even offered them up for pre-sale on Pulse. Though they were slated for a May 2021 release, many, myself included, started seeing these pop up in April.
In April of 2021, many ebayers were shocked when seller Galactic Tradeship became the first person to not only confirm the existence of Major Bludd, but have one for sale. Word spread like a wildfire across the internet. Though prices went as high as $10,000.00, many buyers soon cancelled their bids. While the figure still sold for several hundreds of dollars, it was nowhere near the initial price it was garnering.
Shortly thereafter, many other sellers started listing the figure, and as usually the case, it dropped drastically as the secondary markets got flooded. The figure seemed to be "readily available" as of May.
On June 4th, 2021, Hasbro held another virtual announcement panel, and during it revealed the Amazon exclusive Heavy Artillery Road Block (above), Cobra Island Target Exclusive Breaker with RAM Cycle and Barbecue, as well as the mass retail release deluxe Snake Eyes and Timber: Alpha Commandos.
What made this announcement unique was that Hasbro revealed that a limited amount of the figures would be sold directly from their website following the video. Unfortunately, if you weren't right there the moment it was said, you most likely missed out, as the figures all sold out instantly.
While Breaker also sold out immediately at Target's site, Barbecue and the two pack Snake Eyes can still be found for pre-sale via various sites, including Target (in the case of Barbecue).
It's interesting to note that as G.I. Joe Classified has grown more and more popular, many Hong Kong and Taiwan sellers have surfaced as of 2021 claiming to have these items in hand almost immediately after they've been announced. I'm inclined to believe this due to finding a Breaker with RAM Cycle, which I have had in hand since July of 2021, despite its release date of October 3rd, 2021.
As for the below Snake Eyes two pack, people have been starting to get their hands on this as of August 2021. Though it too is not slated for release until October.
Though it has only been teased by Hasbro, many fans are already chomping at the bit for the upcoming Fall 2021 Hasbro Pulsecon, where they will get their first opportunity to purchase this year's exclusive, Master of Disguise Zartan. Much like the above noted Breaker, this figure has also started popping up for sale on ebay as of late July 2021 from overseas sellers.
Led by its color changing abilities, in an homage nod to the original vintage figure, many collector's believe this release will be in high demand, and as a result a pain to get from Pulse. As such, this is justifying their reasoning to pay four to five time more for it now, than what will be its listed "retail" price on Pulse. Don't get me wrong, I too think this will be one of those blink and you miss it figures, but I also think you will be able to get one for less than $250.00. I hope I'm right.
Last up, and the most current to date is an image of the aforementioned Cobra Island Target exclusive Barbecue. This figure is slated for a November 2021 release, and as I mentioned already, is still available for pre-sale directly from Target. Some ebay sellers have started to list it as "in hand" as of early August.
It's interesting to note that for this line being as far along as it is, time wise, it's barely nicked the tip of the iceberg, in terms of characters. In comparison to the vintage series, it's actually right on track with the volume of figures released between 1982 and 1983. So in that regard there's little room to complain. Only excitement to think of what's to come.
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