Saturday, June 29, 2024

JoeFest 2024

Hot on the heels of attending the annual HeroesCon in my home town of Charlotte, NC, the next weekend the family headed down to Atlanta for a quick trip to the Georgia Aquarium. On the way back we stopped in Augusta, GA for JoeFest 2024!

I attended JoeFest the previous year, but was only able to make it on Sunday. It was such a great show that I knew I wanted to attend it again, but this time make it for Saturday. Since we were driving back from Atlanta however, we had a hotel room in Augusta Friday evening. This allowed me to check out some of the free events that took place in the hotel/convention center after the sneak preview night wrapped up at around 8 PM. One the way there I couldn't help notice passing a factory of some sorts that looked like it could have been Destro's place of operations!

When I arrived, I followed the crowd to an area just below the 2nd floor entrance from the parking deck. It wasn't long before staff showed up along with the Sergeant himself, Sgt. Slaughter! I don't recall how many figures were included in this year's parachute drop, but the team up above started to throw figures out to the mob of rabid fans waiting below. T-Shirts were also tossed out, but I wasn't fortunate enough to land any of the freebies. It was fun however witnessing all of the fans and feeling the excite building for JoeFest.

After the parachute drop, the crowed then headed back up to the 2nd floor and down the hall into a long room. They were allowing anyone basically to come and set up their wares for everyone to buy/sell/trade. I had no idea what to expect and boy was it overwhelming. The room really was too small for this amount of people and it didn't help that people were literally sitting in the middle of the floor with boxes trying to sell their items. There were large round tables still in the middle of the room so it was very hard trying to navigate the room. Once I made it down the left side, there was an area that was more open and far less crowded. While I didn't know at the time, this was the panel room were various panels would be hosted on Saturday and Sunday. Sitting by the glass windows that overlooked the sales floor was a huge custom built GI Joe Cobra Mothership. This was particularly interesting to see since Super 7's crowd funding project to build a Cobra Mothership recently failed.

This thing was massive, sitting on a 6 foot (?) table and easily hanging off the edges. I don't know what it was made out of, but it was looked awesome. I tried to walk around the table and get multiple angles of the ship. Very impressive indeed. If a fan was able to craft something so awesome it does make me wonder what Super 7's version looked like in person.

While crowds don't always bother me, I was feeling tired and cramped so I attempted to make my way back out of the room so I could head back to my car. I stopped at one guy's "booth" up against the wall and looked through some bagged figures. I didn't go into JoeFest with a want list per se this year so I was just browsing everyone's offerings, looking for something that caught my eye. Eventually I spotted a near-complete 1988 Storm Shadow. This is the version of Storm Shadow after he had defected from Cobra and joined the GI Joe ranks. I had this figure growing up so I asked if I could remove the container from the corkboard to take a closer look. The figure was missing the black claw and the red sword and priced at $25. I asked if he would take $20 and he agreed. First official purchase was in the books!

I stopped and chatted with another fellow just before exiting the room. He had some cool stuff as well, but what grabbed me was a sealed Cobra Wave Crusher from the 2000 era Collector's line that Toys 'R Us carried. I had the toy once before and the SHARC that it was based on was one of my favorite small/medium Joe vehicles as a kid. I ended up making an offer of $30 which the dealer accepted. The box had some water damage, but I knew I was going to open/assemble/sticker the vehicle so I didn't care. I do have to say it was a little frustrating trying to assemble the toy as it's been a very long time since I've done that. I still have to sticker it and after doing so, I may do an individual post on it.

Finally escaping the room, I made my way back to the parking deck to head home. By this time it was only 9 PM or so, but I was ready to grab some food and get some rest before returning on Saturday for the "main event". I called the wife, got a Wendy's order from the family and made my way back.

Saturday morning came and we prepared to head back to the convention center. My wife and oldest daughter dropped me and my youngest daughter, Winnie, off at JoeFest, then they preceding to go shopping elsewhere. Winnie decided to accompanying me for the day so I wouldn't have to fly solo. While she likes some of the things I like, she is very much her own person and I appreciate her hanging out with her old man for the day. As we made it inside and to the ticket booth to pick up our wristbands, we had a little time before the sales floor opened up at 10 AM. In the lobby a newcomer to the scene had their table set up, Legends of the Hidden Temple. 

They had a Kickstarter campaign that was just wrapping up at last year's JoeFest. I enjoyed talking to the creators of this new 3 3/4" ninja themed o-ring series of toys last year, so it was great seeing them again this year. They filled me in on some of the updates to the line and I even got to hold one of the near-production level figures. While I'm not a crazy ninja fan, I love what they are doing and I highly recommend you check them out. If you missed out on their Kickerstarter, you can currently  pre-order (some of) their figures over at BBTS.

Also set up in the lobby just outside the main entrance to the sales floor was YouTuber's Pixel Dan and Dan Larson from Secret Galaxy (aka Toy Galaxy). I didn't get a chance to speak to either of them as each time we walked by the table there was quite the crowd and I usually had a destination that I needed to get to.

Once the clock struck 10 AM and we were allowed to enter the sales floor, wow, I was amazed by the sheer amount of vendors. Kudos to the promoters of the show as the layout was excellent. The aisles were wide and I never felt overwhelmed with the number of people navigating the room. We decided to work the perimeter of the room first, which took several hours. Usually I don't buy the first thing I see, rather opting to check out the entire room before pulling out the wallet. However I have missed out on things before by using this strategy so when I saw a loose, complete GI Joe L.A.W. for just $12 I pounced. First purchase of Saturday made!

I had the L.A.W. growing up and while it's not the most interesting playset/accessory for the Joe line, for whatever reason I've always enjoyed this piece. I knew $12 was a great price too and it was in good overall shape so I figured it was a safe purchase. After walking around the show later in the day I realized it was a great deal at $12 as most people wanted $25 or more for theirs.

Up against the end wall was a large spread, courtesy of the Toy Department. I believe I heard one of their people say they were based out of Ohio and were regulars at various toy shows. They had a lot of stuff and their prices were very fair and competitive. I would later re-visit this table at the end of the show, but I first grabbed a loose, complete Night Viper from the Ninja Force subline and a loose, complete Cobra Viper from the Battle Corps. subline. I had neither of these toys growing up and frankly for a long time I could have cared less for the wild, bright neon colors of the figures and their accessories. However over the years I've really started to pay more attention to the latter years of the original A Real American Hero line. Priced at just $10 each, I grabbed them both all the way "bookmarking" other items to come back to later.

As I said, it took awhile to make it around the perimeter of the room. By the time we made it back to the entrance, it was time for lunch. My wife and daughter were waiting for us in the lobby. True to my wife's detective skills, she had already located a place a few blocks away called Taco Cat for lunch. I never will turn down Mexican food so off we went. Located just off Broad Street in the downtown area of Augusta, Taco Cat was a modern, hip even type joint. My wife and I devoured a few tacos each while my girls shared a large quesadilla. 

After eating, I had the energy I needed to head back and tackle the vendors on the inside portion of the sales floor. Once back inside we picked up where we left off, walking around looking at the various vendors as well as the independent companies there showing off their brands. One of my favorite aspects of the previous year was talking to said companies. This year however more of these companies were present and most of them had figures and other items you could purchase. This of course made it tough to decide how to spend my money! I like to support these independent projects, but I only have so much $$ to go around.


In the 3 3/4" o-ring arena, I was able to visit several different booths such as Call Sign: Longbow, Skeletron, Maurauders and Delta-17. With the exception of the latter, there wasn't much to purchase by the time I made it around, however I'm very intrigued with what I saw. I hated that I forgot to go back to Delta-17's table before leaving as I wanted to pick up their comic, which debuted at JoeFest.

Skeletron had set up an awesome battle scene on table directly behind their booth that was a sight to behold! Doesn't seeing epic displays like this just help sell the toys even more?

Super 7 made their JoeFest debut this year and it was rumored that they would be unveiling their new line of o-ring style GI Joe figures. Well it didn't take long for photos to hit the interwebs Friday evening of the show. I couldn't wait to see these for myself so we made our way to their booth to check them out. I know a lot of collectors don't care for Super 7's Reaction line of figures, but how will long time fans react to this new Reaction + series? Personally, I think they look awesome and I can't wait to see the final product. Don't know how much these will run yet, but I'm guessing $25-$30.

In the 1/12th scale arena there were also several cool set ups to view. BigBadToyStore was present, not as a vendor per se, but showing off items from partnerships they've made with a few of these small companies. Check out the awesome display for their upcoming Operation: Monster Force series...truly awesome! 

The Four Horsemen had a large spread as well. I am familiar with them for their efforts in Mattel's Masters of the Universe 200X series. I knew they had moved on to Mythic Legions and another new line. but they had this small Egyptian themed display that really caught my daughter's attention. I know nothing about this other than it's probably an upcoming line.

In one of the corners of the room (near the Toy Department's booth) was another new comer that I wasn't familiar with, Invincible Toys. I believe these guys were there straight from Columbia, South America! The line they had present with them was called F.I.S.T. and looked pretty awesome. So much so I grabbed one figure (Doom Trooper) and their comic. Look for a more detailed post on the Doom Trooper figure "soon". 

On Invincible Toys' table they also had some resign prototypes displayed for a more real world military line, however these were from a different company (which unfortunately their name escapes me at the moment). These are highly detailed, have animal companions and looks interesting. The "villains" however are a little too realistic? An Arab with dynamite strapped to their chest...authentic, yes, but is it out of place?

By this time the day was quickly coming to an end and it was finally time for me to make my final purchases. We headed back to the opposite side of the sales floor over to Eternia Dreams massive booth. I knew going in I wanted to look for a few of the Star Brigade figures in the oversized armor outfits. While I love the carded specimens, I have no room to display carded figures so I was on the lookout for some loose, complete versions. I wound up grabbing Heavy Duty for $15 to go w/ the Destro and Rock 'n Roll I already had at home. We then headed back over to the Toy Department's booth and I grabbed this semi-carded Star Brigade Cobra B.A.A.T. for $20 as well as a loose, complete ROBO-Joe figure for $10. 

The only booth that we hadn't visited earlier in the day was located near the middle and turned out to be Crowe Mag Toys out of Raleigh, NC. When we first walked by their booth, Pixel Dan was being filmed while he shopped so I didn't want to bother. Right before we stopped at this booth, I had been telling my daughter that I was really bummed that I couldn't find a loose, complete Cobra Earthquake vehicle. Well wouldn't you know it, there was one on the bottom shelf, in the corner of Crowe Mag's booth for just $60. I snatched up pretty quickly, especially after verifying that the 3 "drop & shoot" missiles were included as these are often missing.

It was 5 o'clock now and the show was ending. We had a two hour drive home and my wife and daughter had been patiently waiting since lunch, so we decided to head out. Before leaving though we stopped back off at the Hidden Force table to grab two really cool prints they were offering. Need to find a suitable place in the man cave for them. This was an awesome show and one that is quickly becoming one of my favorite summer events to attend. I'm already looking forward to 2025's show and next time I'll come a little more prepared. After fiddling around w/ the neon colored Joes I bought, I think Ninja Force and more Star Brigade toys will be on the next year's want list!


  1. Some of those displays are awesome! I've never been to one of these Fests... but it'd be worth it to just check out the different scenes people put together.

  2. Wow! So much cool stuff. I'm looking forward to the Longbow and Monster Force figures.