Direct to Consumer - Wave 3 Recap

Assortment: Direct-to-Consumer Wave 3
Price: MSRP $4.99
Availability: November/December, 2005

Well, people seemed to enjoy the wave recap when I did it back in Wave 1, so let's do it again here for Wave 3. I forgot about it with the second time around, but since this line is being geared so much more for collectors, I figure I should try to give it that little extra added coverage, if only to try and convince folks who may not be giving DTC a try.

Like these new figures or not, it is pretty obvious that Hasbro is at least attempting to make the online collecting world happy by doing what they are doing with the Direct to Consumer line. They have listened over the past few years, and a lot of what we have been complaining about is now being rectified.

We wanted single packs? We got 'em. We wanted cooler, more exciting vehicles? We got 'em in SPADES. We wanted more remakes of obscure characters, more troopers, better distribution and improved sculpting? Boys and girls, we've gotten all of that and more. Even our requests for newly sculpted accessories, more realistic weapons and less "action attack" have been heard and responded to in kind. Hasbro is doing the best with what they've got to work with, and we have to make sure to show them our appreciation with our sales dollars. You can trust me on this, every wave you pass by because you're just not sure is one wave closer to the end of the Joe line as we know it, and that's no joke. Even as G.I. Joe is approaching it's 25th anniversary, the DTC line could potentially be teetering on the end of it's life cycle, so I'm just asking those of you who are holding off, or who are waiting for something better, or who just aren't sure about the line to at least give it a shot. If these toys getting made now aren't getting bought, then the potentially VERY cool stuff down the pipeline may never see the light of day. I mean, we've got the 25th anniversary coming up in a little more than a year...the design cycle for your basic action figure is pretty much a year long, so I bet they're working on those anniversary figures NOW. Do we want to see them? Then we gotta flash the green and tell Hasbro we want what they're selling, or they won't be selling.

For those of you folks who haven't bought the vehicles because you either don't collect vehicles, or aren't a fan of the new stuff, please trust me and give these new vehicles a try. They are right there on par with anything we got in the 80's and 90's, and I think even you old sculpt diehards will find a lot to love with the RHINO and ROCC.

Just some stuff to keep in mind as the holiday sales dollar figures start coming in to the Hasbro bean counters and they start calculating whether or not the DTC line is worth the continued expense....believe me, they don't sell these things out of the kindness of their heart.

Anyway, sorry about that diversion from the topic, on to Wave 3.

When we all first saw pictures of Wave 3 (which was only, a month or so ago?!?!) I could almost hear the collective letdown of the entire online Joe community. There were some potential home runs that people were waiting for, and after the new sculpt gems in Waves 1 and 2, I think everyone was expecting the train ride to keep on rolling. Well, the DTC line has limited funds, and as we saw, we can perhaps start to expect to see more frankensteining and less new sculpts, but that doesn't necessarily mean a drop in quality (the pics of the upcoming Viper Lockdown set are solid proof of that!).

Believe me, I was right there with you on those first pics...the COBRA Trooper's cockeyed helmet...Med Alert's bizarre name and bright uniform...Grand Slam's "ice cream face". There was a lot to scoff at. But I'm pretty happy to report that once again, patience is a virtue and holding opinions until the items are in hand (or at least finished) isn't a bad concept to stay true with. When it all comes down to it, Wave 3 actually improved once I got them in hand, and I found myself even more enamored of them than I originally thought I would be. I must admit I had the opposite effect with Wave 2, and found myself just slightly disappointed once I got the chance to "play". With Wave 3, though, I was pretty disappointed at first, but as time went on, I got less and less disappointed until I finally got them in hand, and overall was pretty pleased.

Are they as good or better than the first 2 waves? Sorry, but no way. Wave 3 is definitely the worst wave innovation-wise that we've had so far, and honestly it makes me a little nervous about the stuff to come. But all in all, the toys are still a lot of fun, they all still have the same great play value, and even as the worst DTC wave so far, are still a sight better than what we were getting on the shelves. We got some great character selection with Grand Slam and Low Light, some interesting parts choices with the COBRA Trooper and Monkeywrench, and again, a wealth of terrific, realistic weaponry. All of this stuff was presented in the same classic-colored packaging and old school style that we've grown accostamed to. It's still a whole lotta fun.

Granted, though, there are no real "home runs" this time around like Major Barrage, Range-Viper, or Barrel Roll. Every figure is pretty straight laced, pretty decent, and has their ups and downs. Some, like the SAW Viper do not have nearly enough "ups" to make up for the "downs" but regardless, when looked at as a whole, the wave still succeeds, and still ultimately is a pretty strong one.

I guess I can hope that there are some new sculpt tricks still hidden up the big "H's" sleeve, but honestly I'm not holding my breath a whole lot. And judging by the lack of sellouts on the DTC site, I'm pretty darn nervous about the status of our favorite toyline, especially when it comes to the vehicles. It's a shame, because we are getting some absolutely amazing vehicles, and I'm certain that Hasbro has some equally amazing stuff ready to go, but without sales numbers to back it up, we might not be getting what we want.

But that's enough doom and gloom...Wave 3 continues the relatively strong presence of the DTC line through Hasbro online (and actually through other vendors first this time around, which is pretty darn strange, if you ask me) and I think ultimately you will be happy with Wave 3. Not quite as strong as the first two, but still a worthy successor and worth a purchase.

To see the individual reviews, follow the links:

Grand Slam

Med Alert

Low Light

COBRA Trooper


SAW Viper


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