Those that know me know I’ve been pretty much obsessed with two things: Transformers and Legos. You can read about my journey making working Transformers out of Lego bricks in this four-part series. But I’m also fond of G.I. Joe, and I had two short-live stints in the 80s trying to get a Joe collection going, but they didn’t take. In spite of, or rather because of that, I used to make Joe characters and vehicles out of Legos too, although they were very rudimentary back in the 80s. Since rediscovering Legos in a big, bad way several years ago, I often thought about trying to make better Lego Joe vehicles, but I was having too much fun making complex Transformers. Well, lo and behold, Hasbro announced Joe Kreo sets, and that was all it took. I was sucked back in.
With today’s more complex pieces, and wider color palette, I found that I was able to make much more loyal translations of Joe vehicles this go-round. Add to that the fact that Hasbro’s attempts at vehicles were lacking, it gave me all the more drive to create Lego Joe vehicles that really captured the spirit of the originals. I’ve always considered Joe vehicles to be characters, just as much as the human characters themselves, and my Lego reproductions are like caricatures of the originals. Not always perfect dimensions, but as far as the hyper-real, superdeformed world of Lego, you’d know it was the A.W.E. Striker at first sight.
A while back, I made a Lego Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters for my good buddy Tony (my co-host on the Big Broadcast), and after showing pictures of it to a couple other friends, they all said it looked like something you could buy in the store, and that I should try to sell copies of it. So I did; I ordered parts from the excellent Lego trading site BrickLink, and began to sell them on eBay. They sold like hotcakes. So I decided to see if there was anything else I could come up with that might sell as well. Ironically, a couple of attempts at custom Transformers (again, that really transform) failed, but when I had the idea to make Joe vehicles again, and adding to this the fact that Hasbro’s sets and vehicles seemed a bit lacking, I tested the market. I ordered parts enough to sell a few copies of each set, and designed building instructions, similar to the kind you get in a commercial Lego set.
I launched a couple of smaller vehicles – the C.L.A.W. and the Ferret – at eBay, and shared some pics with my new friend Dave of the Flag Points podcast, and the initial response was encouraging enough to keep going. Dave invited me on Flag Points episode 38 to discuss Joe and bricks with him and Andrew aka Twitziller, and that led to drafting Andrew to shoot some pro photos for me, and otherwise using the two of them as a sounding board as I create new sets. They encouraged me to go more “pro” with this whole venture, and Andrew even worked up a logo for me (used as the header of this article). We also agreed to change the names in order to not draw Hasbro’s ire.
Many more sets are in the works, and as far as I’m concerned, if sales are there to justify it, the sky’s the limit. I’ve started with mostly “classic” era (’82-’86) Joe, but to be honest, I’m chomping at the bit to render some of the wackier, later-80s stuff. In fact, I recently did an Arctic Blast, and I think it came out great. But I know I have to go where the market dictates, and stay classic for now. I’m not exactly taking requests or commissions right now, but if you like what I’m doing, and want to see me go in certain directions, please interact with me at Facebook or Twitter, and let me know. I’m looking to launch the FANG copter next, and I hope to launch two larger, tracked vehicles by the end of summer, and get into some playsets later on, including a much bigger playset by the end of the year. So if you’re a fan of Joe Kreons, but desire better rides for them, stay tuned here, as I roll out blog entries in the coming days and weeks on each individual creation, as well as at Twitter and Facebook, and at our eBay store for more info!