I haven’t exactly made a secret of the fact that I collect GI Joe action figures. I’m talking about the 12″ tall guys, like we had back when I was a kid (and also for the last ten years or so). Hasbro recently decided to take GI Joe into new territory, with a new size and the storylines and characters familiar to fans of the small GI Joes from the 1980s. So history repeated, and in 2005, just like back in 1976, the 12″ tall GI Joe was “retired.” The official GI Joe Collectors Club is still making extremely cool limited editions of the big guys, but unless you luck into some leftovers hidden on the shelves, you won’t be seeing the big GI Joes in stores.

However, GI Joe has always inspired a healthy group of fellow travelers, compatible toys made by competing companies. One of the best of these is the Power Team Elite World Peacekeepers line of 12″ action figures made by M & C Toy Centre. You can find Power Team figures at Big Lots, Kay Bee Toy Stores, and in the JC Penney Christmas catalog. Unlike the 12″ GI Joe, Power Team is still going strong! They have a ton of new product coming out and they put a tremendous amount of effort into their design and play value. Their current body design sports some of the most realistic articulation of any 12″ action figure, and is able to imitate nearly the full range of motion of the human body.

Our “cool toy” this week is the Power Team Elite World Peacekeepers Combat Engineer, which includes one fully-articulated figure, with interchangeable hands, and a huge assortment of cool 1/6 scale diorama pieces, including a garbage can, barrel, extending ladder, chainsaw, “wood” planks, a crate and a tool kit. The tool kit includes scale tools like a hammer, screwdriver, wrenches, pliers, facemask, axe, shovel, circuit tester, and eye protection. One of the major attractions of the Power Team line is that it provides such a wide variety of cool accessories in the proper scale for hobbyists who build dioramas. This set is a gold mine with tons of potential for that purpose.

Best of all, this set has been spotted in Big Lots just last week. So if you’re a GI Joe collector who’s depressed over the lack of cool Joe stuff in retail stores, look in the direction of Power Team. They’re still holding down the 1/6 scale fort.