Wednesday, April 4, 2012

G.I. Joe Month: Repaints

Either as a welcome change to something familiar, or the easy way of creating something entirely new. A simple change of colors can have a huge effect. This goes for toys, as well as food.

Read on for more about repaints.

Repaint is the word I use for a previously released toy that is given a new paint job, and released as a new character, or a new version of the old character. It's a way to make more money out of the plastic molds (which are extremely expensive to make). Repaints are very common in toy lines. Some lines (Master of the Universe, Barbie) are almost exclusively made up by repaints, while others (vintage Star Wars, G.I. Joe) use as many different molds as possible.
Scare-Glow is essentially a repainted Skeletor with new head and accessories.

Now, I list G.I. Joe as a toy line that re-used few molds. That's not to say there weren't any. In fact, in the entire line of G.I. Joe - A Real American Hero toy line, we saw quite a few repaints. But the number of released figures were also very high, making the percentage of re-used molds significantly lower than in the vintage (and the current) Masters of the Universe line.

But I'd like to first address recoloring in food.

Recolored food is not common in my country. In fact, it's a bit frowned upon. Our flour isn't colored white, it has it's more natural off-white color. Our peas aren't bright green, they have their more natural moss-color. When ever I go abroad, to other countries, I'm always a bit surprised over how much more colors there are in the food, for good and bad. I mean, some products have naturally bright colors, but just as often, an artificial substance has been added to adjust the color. Of course, some of these added colors are just as natural as the product they color, like beta-carotene. While other colors, like various blue and some green/red colors, just aren't found naturally. I'm probably not taking any risks eating blue nachos when I visit USA, but it's definitely something that immediately crosses my mind.

Like I said, there are many natural ways of recoloring food. Dried pepper, coriander and saffron will give yellow and red rice. It's possible to extract some green out of fresh broccoli and Brussels sprouts, adding a slight green color to for instance mashed potatoes. Blueberries contain rich amounts of color, and will give a deep red, almost purple color to pretty much anything.
And then there's onion peels. I always knew of this trick, but it hasn't really dawned on me how intense the effect is, out of very little onion peel.

This obviously doesn't change the color of the part you end up eating, but it's still a nifty trick. Try other things as well, many vegetables contain lots of colors. Add a piece of beetroot in with the boiling eggs and see what happens.

When I listed my hundred favorite G.I. Joe figures, I included a few repainted molds. Some were surprised by the Quarrel at #20, some were curious about the inclusion of Tiger Force Recondo at #33, I put the yellow Payload into the list instead of the original white and red, and I never even made up my mind about what version of Falcon I liked the best.

Like I said, there weren't many repaints in the G.I. Joe line when you gave consideration to how many figures Hasbro made, but there still were a handful, and they are all  somewhat of a "hit or miss". That went for both figures and vehicles. I'll focus on figures today.

Many of the sub-lines were all exclusively repaints. And they can all be summed up pretty easily. Tiger Force - bad, Night Force - good, Sonic Fighters - bad, Sky Patrol - good. I'm exaggerating, because I do like some of the Tiger Force guys, and I there are some of the repaints in the Night Force sub-group that seem unnecessary. But on a general level, the repaints we saw with the Sky Patrol were fantastic. Sadly, I don't have any of them any longer.

Tiger Force Psyche Out (above) I actually don't mind. But I find it interesting that he dyed his hair. As did Tiger Force Outback, Tiger Force Blizzard. The Tiger Force version of Tripwire (below) was the only version I had, so I tried to paint him his original color myself. Successfully? You be the judge of that.

We have seen quite a few very interesting repaints when ever Hasbro let other companies use their molds. The most famous being some early repaints out of Argentina, and the wacky version coming out of India. Toy maker Plastirama's version of Blowtorch (above) is one of my absolute favorites.
Then there were the Bronze Bombers, made by toy company Olmec - specializing in African-American themed toys. This here is Firebomb, which is a really interesting repaint of the incredible Secto Viper.

Some repaints make absolute sense, like Payload (above). It's a natural paint job, it fits the same role as before, but matches the new shuttle. We also saw a few cool ones in the Star Brigade sub-line I talked about last week. In Star Brigade, we ended up seeing some great repaints (like Techno Viper, Astro Viper (below) and Gears), and some not that good (Barbecue v2, Ozone). The monumental mold of Payload was only repainted once, when he was released along with the Crusader space shuttle in 1989. After that, it's rumored that the mold was lost.

Some repaints, on the other hand, make absolutely no sense (like Sub-Zero, below).

There seems to be no coherence to what molds were given a second life from Hasbro. Revered molds like Snake-Eyes v2 and B.A.T were never repainted, while more obscure ones, like Road Pig (the astoundingly awful Sonic Fighter version) and Lightfoot (the slightly better Night Force version) were given another round of paint.
Either way, I find repaints to be interesting, and really adding to the vast universe of G.I. Joe figures.

No comments: