Assembly Required 2017

Code Name: Iowa’s yearly GI Joe con Assembly Required went down last Saturday, and the entire JAD family made the trip up to Des Moines. As usual, Code Name: Iowa and all the volunteers, exhibitors, and vendors made it a day to remember. The event is a great regional experience for collectors and kids alike, with a modest sales floor, exhibits featuring Joe Declassified, The Finest costume group, Joe Customs and comic artist Ron Wagner.

The theme this year included Action Force, and the promo materials featured elements of the unique UK cousin of 80s GI Joe. I was excited to see a focus on the Palitoy items in the show’s exhibits, particularly the Roboskull that featured prominently on the poster.

The JAD kids were immediately drawn to The Finest’s costuming area, and Will even took a shot at some Cobras (or maybe Red Shadows) with the club’s machine gun. Tunnel Rat and Sgt. Slaughter gave him some encouragement and a helpful pointers. I was jazzed to see Skeletron and Kraken costumes alongside Joes and Cobras.

Customs and dioramas are a big part of the event, with a contest and dedicated customizing space with the JoeCustoms crew. Will and Jenni have been showing interest in customizing, and Jenni even asked me to help her paint a My Little Pony figure recently. They both jumped at the chance to put together and paint their own Joes. Will opted for a classic o-ring design while his sister preferred the modern style. Both were unique creations, and the JoeCustoms team were very helpful.

The customs contest featured figures, vehicles, and an impressively large diorama. Aside from the contest and participation events, custom cast parts were also well represented in the vendor area. As a former customizer, I’m impressed at the level of variety and detailed custom cast figures and parts available from providers like Hypnoshield, Raginspoon and AVAC’s Lab. I’d probably be knee-deep in custom projects if I had the time to devote to it.

Our crew wasn’t able to stay for the entire event, and didn’t get a chance to attend the panels or end of day giveaway (a vintage Palitoy Roboskull!) but we all had a great time nonetheless. The kids were especially excited to receive a nicely packed swag box after completing their missions. They also received free Sightline figures from the Joe Declassified booth.
Code Name: Iowa always puts on a memorable con, and I have to say that their presentation materials are always top-notch, from the event posters to the exclusive minimalist pins and posters, and their first-ever exclusive custom figures. We look forward to next year’s show!


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