“Heroes Unite,” the 2006 Hasbro International GI Joe Collectors’ Convention happens next week in New Orleans. In honor of this cool gathering, our cool toy of the week is the special convention premium set that was created for the die-hard fans of GI Joe and the Adventure Team. This set features the 12″ tall GI Joe, with his recognizable face sporting fuzzy hair and a beard. “Fight For Survival: Polar Bear Attack” comes with an Adventure Team “Land Adventurer” with a new super-articulated body design. Included in the set is everything you need to have a harrowing arctic adventure: a dog sled; a team of three dogs; snowshoes; supply crates; a flag; mountaineering equipment; and a huge, articulated polar bear. The Land Adventurer comes fully-outfitted with arctic gear, including a parka with interchangeable flag patches. The set also includes a mini-comic that tells the story behind the adventure.

This is the kind of item that can inspire a mighty case of toy lust. It’s being produced in limited quantities, and will primarily be sold at the GI Joe convention from June 29 to July 2. I was lucky enough to lock in a non-attending package, so I’ll get mine in the mail after the convention. I believe the deadline for ordering the non-attending convention package has passed. If there are any sets left after the show, you’ll be able to order them here. The price is not for the faint of heart. GI Joe club members will pay $230, non-members $280, but if you’re a passionate collector, it’s not a bad deal. The level of detail is incredible, and the set was tailored to the adult collector. This is one of those annual indulgences that keep the hobby fun. I know that my office display table is going to be redone in an arctic theme.

Collectors of a later era, the folks who grew up with the smaller, 1980s, GI Joe, can get their hands on a set of fifteen figures in a great presentation box. You can read more about it here. Fans of the “Real American Hero” era get an additional treat if they show up–Sgt. Slaughter, legendary professional wrestler and one-time host of the GI Joe cartoon, will be at the show signing autographs and meeting the fans. If anyone happens to be headed to New Orleans next week, stop in at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, and maybe you’ll get hooked on a great hobby. And tell ’em I said “Hi.”