Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#46 G.I. JOE – FAN CLUB MEMBERSHIP PACK (1987)

Action Force’s fan pack is a promotional item that Hasbro made and released in the United Kingdom during the years 1987 and 1988. It is possible that this pack once belonged to the official British Action Force club, although this is not proved.

Thanks to sf1378 who commented in this entry, we know something more about this particular set:
Hi,
I can confirm the WAS for the official Action Force Club in the UK. In 1987 Hasbro / Milton - Bradley UK took control of all Action Force product in the UK when Palitoy ceased making toys in 1986. As Hasbro owned G.I.JOE and Palitoy had been paying royalties to them to make / distribute their A.F. toyline in the UK it was logical that Hasbro / MB UK would simply take control of all UK toy distribution / marketing, comic off - shoots etc. Hence this product being made for children to send off for. I own one myself from 1987. The mail in club pack was indeed available in 1987 and 1988 as it was featured with all Hasbro A.F. small, medium and large vehicle / figure and vehicle combinations. In 1987, it was featured in a separate paper printed and line drawn illustrated leaflet which was a 3 or 4 panel document in A6 size - inside it were illustrations and descriptions of: the club pack, an A.F. t - shirt with the new G.I.JOE based logo, dog tags, a digital watch and the Whirlwind Cannon which had previously been available in different colours fitting in with Palitoy's A.F. for their Z - FORCE team, Hasbro's mail - in Whirlwind was simply the same as the original G.I.JOE version, perhaps a slightly different tone to the dark green plastic and the only difference was it came in a plain box and the 'G.I.JOE' stickers were replaced with 'ACTION FORCE' ones to match the new UK branding. In 1988, the A.F. club pack was featured overleaf on the large poster style catalogue for the then 'new' 1988 range - if you have a catalogue from 1988 or can view one online you'll see what I mean. I think the club cost my Father between £3.95 or £4.95 for postage and packaging to send it to me. My codename was 'PURPLE LEOPARD'...so, all in all, it WAS the official ACTION FORCE CLUB PACK for 1987 - 88.

The pack consist of several elements that are included in a dark green plastic wallet. The plastic is very thin, so it’s almost sure that only the uncirculated fan packs are still complete and in good conditions, like the one in the picture. This is an extremely rare item.
This wallet can be folded twice, and then closed with a snap button. On the front side, you can see the Action Force logo in silver colour.

The interior of the pack, is a source of surprises… let’s analyse the contents of this great collector’s item.
1.- Membership Card: Just a glossy paper card, in orange colour with the Action Force logo, and place to write down your name, code name and code number
2.- Special Pass: The special pass has two parts, the external part is a blue glossy paper sheet, printed on one side and folded in the middle, to make it look like a real passport. The logo is present, again, in the front, and it presents a little “window” through which you can see the same three lines of the membership card. These three lines are printed in the first side (out of 5). When folded it fits the passport perfectly, but unfolded is obviously 5 times larger. Left to right, the contents of this passport inlay are:
1- ID Details
2- Fotograph
3- Description
4- Combat Skills
5- Service Records
The service records must be used later with the audio-game and the book.
3.- Operation Shut Down (Game): Opeeration Shut Down is a “choose your own adventure” book, but somehow a very sophisticated one. The game consists of:
1- Briefing Cassette:
2- “Choose your own adventure” Book
3- Adventure Game Map
4- Status Sheet and Game Markers
The briefing cassette has the introduction to the story in the book: A communications satellite has fallen in Oxford, destroying many houses and buildings. During the TV news, Cobra Commander interrupts the programme to explain that this catastrophe has been an attack by Cobra, and that they are planning to let fall other satellites in other cities around the world. Flint and his men meet inmediatly and they conclude, that Cobra has a very powerful decoding system, that has allowed them to crack and control all those satellites. Sending them towards the Earth. With this system, they have also unlocked the nukes of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. Destro is allied with Cobra Commander. They send two satellites more: the first satellite destroys an island in the Pacific Ocean, but the second one is intercepted by Jady Jaye and Ace in the Skystriker before it hits the ground of Chicago. This upsets the cobra leaders, and they use their supercomputer to follow all the movements of the G.I.Joe team. All G.I.Joe vehicles are shot down, or put out of action. Only Snake Eyes gets to the Cobra Headquarters and stops Cobra Commander before he launches the definitive dooms attack.
Although the plan has been aborted, Destro has robbed one copy of the decoder that may allow him to intercept all secret messages… cool, isn’t it?
Destro must, however, wait 2 or 3 days until he meets Cobra Commander again (he managed to escape, as he always do), that’s the time we have to complete our mission, and so is told by Flint. In the briefing room, Flint shows a recording by Ace describing how is the Cobra fortress he has seen from his Skystriker. Even thought you’re just a new recruit, Flint trusts you and gives you the order to save the planet.
The voices of the different characters are all different, as a curiosity, Snake Eyes does speak! With oriental accent! There’re a lot of sound effects as well, it’s much better than I could have expected.

Note the copyright in the bottom right corner.
The book represents the “mission log”, as stated in its cover. That cover is made of a very thick, matt paper. The book contains 78 pages, and starts at the point in which the cassette ends. As a curiosity, in the book appear many different G.I.Joe vehicles, but only a few heroes and cobra terrorists. Although it’s a game for kids, it is relatively difficult to go through it, because there is only one end in which the mission is accomplished. All the alternative ends are negative, in which your men die from exposure or your jet is down by friendly fire… quite dramatic for 10 year old boys.
To play the game, a little bit of memory is needed. The way through which the story goes depends on what you have done before. Some decisions are not so, but: “if you’re wearing an uniform go to … otherwise …” or “If Alpine is with you, go to … if not, go to…”
As specified in the briefing, the map represents the battlefield, but now is winter and everything is covered by snow. The action starts in Mount Elgon, at the bottom side of the map, and the goal is to reach the Cobra fortress at the upper side of the map. The map is needed to play the game. As if it was a role play, the reader/player receives the status sheet, with markers for the map and for your pass. You may need these objects in your adventure…
4.- Sample Filecards: In the pack are 4 filecards included: Airtight, Alpine, Bazooka and Snake Eyes. These four heroes are the ones that appear in the book, so maybe it’s important to read them and to know which are their skills, in order to accomplish your mission. They have the same size than ordinary filecards, but they are made of glossy paper, just like almost everything else in this pack. The back of these cards is white (not printed). The text in the file cards in exactly the same as in the European cards (not the American). Airtight for example was born in Munich, Alpine in Grenoble and Bazooka in “Minnesota, USA” (instead of “Hibbing, Minnesota”).
5.- Code Breaker MK III: Again a glossy paper sheet with several holes in it, that you can use to write coded messages for your friends, or read those that they have written for you. To make it even more reliable, it can be oriented in four different position to make it more difficult to crack.
6.- Pens and notebook: The marker pens are made by “Platignum”(Made in U.K.). One of them is orange, but when you write over it with the other one (“magic wand”, the ink turns purple. The markers are of good quality.
NOTE: This document was originally written for the G.I.Joe community "Casa Slaughter" by myself, and now traslated to english. Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures. They are retrieved from a pdf, as I did not keep a copy when I wrote this text for the first time.
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: Fan Pack
  • Toy Line: G.I.Joe (Action Force)
  • Year: 1987-1988
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size: 26x12 cm (26x36 when open)

3 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I can confirm the WAS for the official Action Force Club in the UK. In 1987 Hasbro / Milton - Bradley UK took control of all Action Force product in the UK when Palitoy ceased making toys in 1986. As Hasbro owned G.I.JOE and Palitoy had been paying royalties to them to make / distribute their A.F. toyline in the UK it was logical that Hasbro / MB UK would simply take control of all UK toy distribution / marketing, comic off - shoots etc. Hence this product being made for children to send off for. I own one myself from 1987. The mail in club pack was indeed available in 1987 and 1988 as it was featured with all Hasbro A.F. small, medium and large vehicle / figure and vehicle combinations. In 1987, it was featured in a separate paper printed and line drawn illustrated leaflet which was a 3 or 4 panel document in A6 size - inside it were illustrations and descriptions of: the club pack, an A.F. t - shirt with the new G.I.JOE based logo, dog tags, a digital watch and the Whirlwind Cannon which had previously been available in different colours fitting in with Palitoy's A.F. for their Z - FORCE team, Hasbro's mail - in Whirlwind was simply the same as the original G.I.JOE version, perhaps a slightly different tone to the dark green plastic and the only difference was it came in a plain box and the 'G.I.JOE' stickers were replaced with 'ACTION FORCE' ones to match the new UK branding. In 1988, the A.F. club pack was featured overleaf on the large poster style catalogue for the then 'new' 1988 range - if you have a catalogue from 1988 or can view one online you'll see what I mean. I think the club cost my Father between £3.95 or £4.95 for postage and packaging to send it to me. My codename was 'PURPLE LEOPARD'...so, all in all, it WAS the official ACTION FORCE CLUB PACK for 1987 - 88.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi sf1378 (or should I say Purple Leopard?) :)

      Thanks a lot for that information! it is really useful. I have a few british leaflets, but in none of them appears that set. I'll see if I can find some of those you mention, just for curiosity and to see all those mail-away offers.

      By the way, amazing pack, I wish I have had it when I was 11 or 12...

      I will include in the text a reference to your comment, so nobody misses what you have written...

      Thanks again!

      Delete
    2. Hi Gog,
      your welcome. Its an okay item imo. I remember when I removed the yellow game book out of its area when I tried to put it back in place it ripped the clear plastic holder as if it were too large to fit in. Shame.
      Nice to see my sage words immortalised on your blog!

      Delete

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