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Hasbro Q&A Session With The G.I.Joe Brand Team Bonus Round
GI Joe: Jay Cochran - 2010.03.30
Hasbro made some changes to their G.I. Joe Q&A sessions starting with this month's edition. As we understood it, each site would submit 3 questions to be answered. Hasbro would then pick two of those 3 questions for each site and send back answers like normal. They would then take the 3rd question from each site and essentially create their own Q&A session with those questions, which we assumed would be posted on G.I.Joe.com.

Well today we got an email from Hasbro containing a bunch of questions and answers, which we assumed were supposed to be the 3rd questions sent in from all the different sites that never got answered in the regular sessions. There was no indication which sites the questions came from, and after further review we noticed the question they choose from TNI was one of the questions they already answered in our normal Q&A session earlier this month, not our 3rd question which was never answered.

So to sum up, we really don't know how many of these questions, if any are new. Nor do we know which sites these questions originated from, however since they were sent to us by Hasbro. we are posting them for your viewing pleasure.

You can see the two questions from our regular Q&A session from earlier this month here.

This was our 3rd question which was never answered:

TNI: Can you provide pricing information for the SDCC exclusive Sgt Slaughter? Will the variant be available in equal quantities as the regular version, or will it be harder to get? And will both versions be made available on HasbroToyShop.com after the show?

And here are the questions and answers we got back from Hasbro today.

Question: Are you ever going to have another contest where the winner gets their likeness made into a figure?† (You guys might remember that FHM had that contest in their magazine.† Luke Ellison, a prior member of JoeDios.com, won.† He not only got a figure of himself (as part of the Steel Brigade) but he got a tour of the office.)† And just for the record, was that a GI JOE Hasbro contest done in FHM or did FHM talk you guys into a contest?† (that would just be for clarification)

Hasbro: We have no immediate plans for this type of contest but we can't rule it out for the future.


Question: As a software engineer I am always involved in meetings which often have live demos illustrating new concepts. As a Joe collector and fan, I often find myself wondering what are the Hasbro's Joe design team meetings like? Do you guys/gals bring out your favorite Joes?

Hasbro: The meetings during which we map out the newest wave or product segment are some of the most fun - and challenging - meetings we have. The Design Team creates sketches and inspiration boards to visually tell the "story" behind the character, vehicle or situation. Sometimes they do add flavor to the discussion by bringing a classic figure to a meeting and that sparks additional conversations and debates.


Question: Great showing at Toyfair! With all of the other charters getting new heads to look less like the actors will Cobra Commander get the same treatment, You also mentioned some of the things we saw at Joe Con (Shadow Tracker, Arctic Threat Duke, Jungle Strike Rip Cord, and Cycle Armor with Ashiko) might get pushed back into 2011 and some might get cancelled all together can you elaborate on this?

Hasbro: Thank you! We had a great Toy Fair and were excited to show off a lot of new goods. Some of these items you mention are planned for the Spring 2011 line, such as Shadow Tracker and Cycle Armor with Ashiko. We will have more details at JoeCon! See you in Providence...


Question: What is the status of the ROC wave 3 Alpha Vehicles are we going to see them at retail or are they getting cancelled?

Hasbro: Some quantities of this wave have started shipping, so keep an eye out!


Question: At the start of the 25th line all of the figures came with "Diaper Crotches", and as we moved along those crotches were fixed to allow better movement and playability. Did you go back and change the tooling on that specific body part, or did you make new tooling and swap it in?

Hasbro: In most cases we went back and modified the tool to change the "diaper crotch", but in some rare cases we had to re-mold the lower torso.


Question: One interesting piece of information to come out of Toy Fair this year is the decision to change some of the Pursuit of Cobra head sculpts from the movie actor likenesses to the more traditional head sculpts. Considering PoC is supposed to be a continuation of the movie universe it seems a bit odd to change the characterís sculpts (especially the incredible Zartan/Arnold Vosloo head). Can you explain the reasoning behind this decision?

Hasbro: The Pursuit of Cobra line is a celebration of the G.I. Joe universe. The brand has a rich heritage and we wanted to use inspiration from both past and present. So we pulled classic characters from the lore and layered on the more realistic styling that were established through the movie.


Question: In the vintage line, it was a common practice for head sculpts to be based on the likenesses of Hasbro employees and others as the designers felt appropriate. As adults, this has become one of the most enjoyed sources of trivia for many collectors. Have the 25th anniversary heads done the same? Could you share any with us? We would really like to know what heads may even have been 3 dimensional scans.

Hasbro: This is no longer common practice. Heads are inspired by and created by designers and are totally fictional.


Question: When a part is said to be "retooled," does this mean that the sculpt is changed and a new mold is made or that the existing mold is altered? It is a point of curiosity for collectors when it may mean the original style may no longer be available to be used. In some cases, it is apparent that a new mold was made (such as with the Flash mold being given the waffle pattern yet available without it later for use on HISS Driver). But this doesn't always seem to be the case.

Hasbro: When a part is re-tooled we basically make the mold again. This is different to a tool being altered, which permanently modifies it. It depends on the condition of the mold and the designer's vision.


Question: In the 1980's a subset of redeco such as Night Force might have something contrary to the concept, such as glow-in-the-dark paints. Do you find it to be a design challenge to come up with realistic paint styles and still keep them eye-catching for the kids?

Hasbro: Yes, this is definitely a challenge for the Design team. The more realistic the color scheme, the less distinguishable the character or vehicle will become. Color has always been a key trait to the G.I. Joe brand and understanding that balance is essential.


Question: For the collector on a budget who can't get the whole line, does the Joe team have a favorite figure or vehicle in the upcoming Pursuit of Cobra line?

Hasbro: Without a doubt, that would be the Cobra Commander figure since itís the first time we've released a figure on Cobra-carded packaging.


Question: Why was the decision made to include the newly created character "Storm Rider" with the upcoming Dreadnok "Doom Cycle" instead of one of the highly demanded Dreadnok Characters like Zarana, Road Pig, Zanzibar, etc that Gi Joe fans have been practically begging Hasbro to make for years?

Hasbro: The designers saw this as an opportunity to create a new, relevant figure that fits into today's pop culture. We have requests for both new and existing characters and we need to have a balance of both in the line to keep the nostalgia but also lay the groundwork for the next generation of collectors.


Question: With the departure from the movie head sculpts for figures (thumbs up), will all various figures of the same character still have the same basic head sculpt as was the trend for ROC and the early POC showings? (not crossing across lines like Resolute to POC, but within the same line, i.e. all Dukes in POC would have the same basic head sculpt.)"

Hasbro: Yes, all POC characters will have the same head sculpts if we do multiple variations of that character.


Question: Does the new Recondo (Jungle) have hair under that removable Slouch Hat?

Hasbro: No, Recondo has a shaved head.


Question: We're psyched to get two new Sgt. Slaughters at San Diego Comic-Con, but you've whetted our appetites for more classically-styled figures. Will the Pursuit of Cobra figures incorporate any classic-styled designs, or will figures be styled only according to the four different environment themes?

Hasbro: Thanks, we're glad the fan response has been so positive for the Sgt. Slaughter exclusives! The Pursuit of Cobra will focus on the four environment themes but we will try and sneak in some classic elements. We can reveal more at JoeCon!


Question: I know there's still a ways to go before Joe Con that will happen in the last week of April, but since this is the last Q&A before then, can you give us an idea of what we'll be seeing there? When can we expect some more details on the event?

Hasbro: JoeCon is going to be a true celebration of G.I. Joe over the decades. We are very pleased JoeCon is in Rhode Island and we plan to make it a very special event. We will showcase new and old products and have some amazing displays, such as a life-sized version of Willys Jeep. Plus, there will be giveaways and activities for kids. Pre-registered guests will even get a chance to tour Hasbro, where we will showcase original one-of-a-kind 80's packaging artwork like the RAH Night Raven!


Question: At Toy Fair we were told Ashiko with his transformable motorcycle armor and Shadow Tracker would not be coming out in 2010, and perhaps not at all.

Hasbro: These were brand new designs NOT from the movie, and they were perhaps two of the best new ideas to come out of the line. Why were these two in particular cut, when you could have cut out yet another Destro or Firefly instead? These items will be released in Spring 2011. They are very cool new designs and we feel they are perfect for the Pursuit of Cobra line.


Question: It seems to many collectors, or their perceptions, that the 25th Anniversary was a resounding success. Many collectors could not find many items at retail and many 25th Anniversary figures were highly praised and sought after. There are still so many vintage characters/figures that would be purchased on a large scale by collectors seeking new and redone classic characters. Why do the development teams continue to focus on reinventing G.I. Joe when you have a large and substantial collector fan base that supports one of the venues of product and would be happy to purchase newly done but older characters? (Many of us want "new" characters as well, but would love to complete or have an entire collection of classic characters utilizing the new construction.)

Hasbro: Part of G.I. Joe's success is its ability to stay relevant and re-invent itself for every generation. We try to infuse the line with classic characters that collectors request but we also need to maintain the core cast of characters so kids can engage with the brand and learn about the key storylines. Our development team try to keep it balanced so the brand will remain successful for many more years to come. Saying that, there is always opportunity for fan favorites like the upcoming Sgt. Slaughter SDCC exclusive figure.


Question: What led to the design decision to release a smooth torso for Sarge, as opposed to a more muscular version as depicted in the cartoon? Also, what led to the deco decision to place the "USA" on Sarge's abdomen instead of his chest? If possible, I would prefer to have it reduced in size to fit on his chest as that would be more accurate to both his vintage figure and how he looked in the cartoon. While I know that Hasbro can not speak to specific production numbers, will both variants be produced in equal numbers or will one be more limited (harder to collect) than the other?

Hasbro: The designers chose to depict Sgt. Slaughter in his 1986 appearance based on photographic reference. We understand some fans would have wanted to see him in his cartoon form but we chose to create something new and special for SDCC. We also felt the USA deco was better placed on his abdomen. With regards to the two figures, yes, the Triple T variant will be in lower quantities.


Question: How will Sgt. Slaughter be packaged? I would love to see him on a 25th-style cardback similar to PDD and SDCC Cobra Commander, especially as the Sarge has never been released this way before.

Hasbro: Without giving away too many details, I think you will be satisfied!


Question: Images have surfaced of the upcoming Exclusive Sgt Slaughter. What changed about the use of his likeness which was previously unavailable? Especially since this new figure seems to be based more on his actual likeness rather than how he was depicted in the GI Joe Cartoon. Also, it appears he has a new wrist joint compared to previous Joes, is this a trick of the lighting, or is this a new articulation being introduced into the line?

Hasbro: We wanted to do something special and unique for the SDCC exclusive therefore the team were inspired by original photographic reference from 1986. You are correct, there is a new wrist joint, this adds another level of pose-ability. We have added this joint to several future figures in the POC line.


Question: The upcoming Resolute 7 packs look great and are highly anticipated. One thing that has been noticed though is that some of the figures head sculpts seem to have been "re-imagined" in more realistic manners vs. their actual animation appearances. Roadblock and Scarlett especially stand out as being less "animated" in their styling's while Duke and Destro for example seem very close. Was this a conscious choice on the design team's part, based upon earlier test art which wound up different from the actual animation, or something else?

Hasbro: We try to have our characters exist seamlessly within all 3 & 3/4Ē figures from the various years. We do this with our collectors in mind. For instance, with Roadblock & Scarlett we wanted them to be different from previous versions of these characters so they could co-exist with fans of 25th & ROC collections. With Duke & Destro being main characters from GI Joe lore, we wanted them to closer resemble the animation style so they could stand apart from versions we did in the past and be instantly recognizable as GI Joe RESOLUTE.


Question: What GI Joe assortments can we expect to see released in Canada in 2010 and in what quarters?

Hasbro: The full Pursuit of Cobra line will be released in Canada.


Question: Will the Combat Heroes line continue with Pursuit of Cobra?

Hasbro: Unfortunately no the Combat Heroes will not appear in the Pursuit of Cobra line.


Question: Comparing what we saw at Toy Fair in February with what was shown at GIJoeCon last year, it's evident that some figures are not currently being released as planned.† What went into the decision on which figures to cut from assortments?† Figures like Desert Battle Ripcord seemed to have a ton of fan love and looked like a terrific addition, not to mention lots of money invested in the additional tooling.† Why would a figure like that get dropped from current release plans?

Hasbro: The majority of figures are being released as planned. If a figure is dropped, it could be because it was not fully tooled and it is no longer relevant to the theme or storyline.


Question: What is the current status of the third wave of Target Exclusive vehicles, the RAM w/ Sandstorm, Whirlwind w/ Range-Viper, Trubble Bubble w/ Elite-Viper, and Glider w/ Ace?† Are they still getting released?

Hasbro: Unfortunately there are currently no plans for their release.


Question: Can you tell us the definitive word on the RoC Wave 3 Alpha Vehicles? Yes, No, in distribution, or a small number leaked out accidentally? Hopefully this isnít a repeat of the infamous DVD #5 sets.

Hasbro: Some quantities of this wave have started shipping, so you should begin seeing them at shelf.


Question: What Resolute character did you want to make but just couldnít due to time, cost or executive decision?

Hasbro: Lady Jaye


Question: As revealed at Toy Fair, why was the mail-away Cobra Commander turned into a retail chase figure?

Hasbro: We loved the figure so much that we wanted to provide it at retail rather than as a mail-away. This is the first time we have ever released Cobra-carded packaging and seeing it on shelf alongside the other Pursuit of Cobra items will be amazing.


Question: Canadians were promised (and received) more store exclusives, but the walmart battle stations and some toys r us exclusives were not released here. What was the reasoning behind this; did the exclusives we did get not perform to expectation?

Hasbro: Retailer space and product choices differ by market. Sometime variations in product listings do occur.


Question: The design team at Hasbro is filled with creative people. If you look at the history of G.I.JOE; the most popular years, 1984 -1986 were mostly new characters debuting each year in a wave of 16-17 figures. Would the staff rather create new characters and new situations such as the Pursuit of Cobra storyline, or do their best to copy an original design? Do the team actually come up with their own designs and then just call a desert figure Dusty/Snow Job since he is the established desert/cold weather expert?

Hasbro: The Design team prefers to create something new. It's always great to create a new storyline like POC, but G.I. Joe has such a fantastic history that they use the lore for inspiration. In many cases they know the characters they want to create, like Dusty. They will use the original as a starting point and then revise it for today's purposes.


Question: Why was the G.I.Joe brand logo changed from the movie style to a more 80s familiar logo for the Pursuit of Cobra line?

Hasbro: We felt the Pursuit of Cobra line was a celebration of new and classic G.I. Joe, so the logo was a tribute that merged key elements from both.


Question: As a follow-up to the first question, with the environment themes. Is the idea to have a core set of characters like Duke, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Destro, Cobra Commander, etc that revolve around the themes essentially creating a new version of said character to match an environment; and then have unique specialists to match each one too, like Snow Job (Arctic), Snow Serpent (Arctic), Recondo (Jungle), Jungle-Viper (Jungle), Dusty (Desert) and so on?"

Hasbro: Yes, the Pursuit of Cobra line is based on four missions and we wanted the core cast to appear in the missions as well as key specialists. Itís a great way to tell the story in an engaging way and it can appeal to kids and collectors.

Question: I think that some the new details you guys are adding (e.g. ammo pouches, an array of accessories, modern weapons, etc) have really been taken notice of and are big hit with the fans. What was/is some of the inspiration you are drawing from for these new designs? Like with the Jungle Viper, the hi-tech looking Firefly and the modern Recondo? Is there any chance we could see some early production sketches and early concepts of some of these new exciting figures?"

Hasbro: Inspiration is taken from many sources. We use the brand's rich history, personal experiences, research, stories, and pop culture. In the case of Jungle-Viper, the figure actually appeared in the Designer's dream. He woke up and sketched a basic outline, and then researched a variety of high-tech gear. If you are coming to JoeCon, during the Hasbro tour we plan on showing sketches and concepts of released products, as well as concepts that never made it out the door.


Question: The POC Duke has a new head sculpt that is distinctively different from the ROC and 25th/ME Duke. What was the inspiration for this sculpt and is this the version that we should expect with future Duke figures?

Hasbro: This sculpt was inspired by Resolute, Classic and Valor vs. Venom. This head will be the head used for all Duke POC figures.


Question: Are the weapons from the RHINO (and other DTC vehicles) and upcoming mech suits compatible with the modular weapons ports on the new HISS?

Hasbro: Some of the weapons are interchangeable, but because the R.H.I.N.O. is an older design they may not fit perfectly.


Question: Is the Pursuit of Cobra line limited to American markets, or will it be marketed internationally like the Rise of Cobra line?

Hasbro: The Pursuit of Cobra line is offered to all markets, but listings are dependent on retailers.


Question: Why the decision to invent a new Dreadnok before getting to updated versions of Zarana, Zandar, Road Pig, Zanzibar and Thrasher? From a kids stand point it seems like either way, they will view these figures as brand new characters, and from the collectors stand point it would be more appealing to be able to finish out their 25th anniversary collection before moving on to brand new characters that are likely going to have overall less appeal for them?

Hasbro: The Designers saw this as an opportunity to create a new, relevant figure that fits into today's pop culture. We have requests for both new and existing characters and we need to have a balance of both in the line to keep the nostalgia but also lay the groundwork for the next generation of collectors.


Question: Why was the mail-away "Pursuit of Cobra" Cobra Commander figure canceled as a mail-away. Both Transformers and Star Wars have mail-away figures this year, so why not G.I.Joe? And are the rumors that this figure will only be available in 1 out of every 10 figure cases true? Making a figure that hard to find is no fun to anyone and just makes trying to collect that much more frustrating.

Hasbro: We loved the figure so much that we wanted to provide it at retail rather than as a mail-away. This is the first time we have ever released Cobra-carded packaging and seeing it on shelf alongside the other Pursuit of Cobra items will be amazing. While numbers will be limited, it is not true that it will be in 1 out of every 10 figure cases. We don't want to make it frustrating for anyone.


Question: When designing Joes & Cobras, what is the process for deciding how many Joes & Cobras (including Female figures) are made & what branch of military they'll belong too?

Hasbro: We look at many aspects including the following: What is the theme or storyline for the segment? How many figures can we release in total? How have historical figures performed? What is relevant to today's pop culture? Each case is different and we spend a great deal of time discussing the line as a team.


Question: What's the Process for redesigning certain characters (Duke, Flint, Destro, Etc) & How do you decide who to pick?

Hasbro: It all depends on the story needs and the what is relevant to the brand at that time. We look at the personalities and skills of each character in the story to identify who could satisfy those needs. We always look to the lore for inspiration, but sometimes we feel new characters are needed to add freshness or bring a new dimension to the brand.


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