Starscream’s Toast looks at Lannard’s The CORPS! figures.
I first remember seeing a toyline called Gung Ho! in the late 80’s which seemed to be a cheap knock-off of GI Joe and thinking it wouldn’t last but strangely Lannard’s Gung Ho! line got renamed The CORPS! and has outlasted GI Joe. It’s hard to believe that Lanard has existed since the 1970’s and have produced their own figures for decades, even if some of them closely resemble the intellectual property of other toy companies. By 2000 Lanard had their own offices in the US as well as Hong Kong while expanding the number of toylines they produced quite dramatically.
While The CORPS! was undoubtedly ‘inspired’ by GI Joe, some Joe collectors have fully embraced the toy line which has allowed it to thrive albeit now it only exists as a Walmart, Symths and KMart exclusive. In 2015 Lanard introduced female characters for the first time with Puma and Snakebite, which probably wasn’t something they should have proudly promoted as there should have been women in The CORPS! from the outset. However, the goofy figures of the past with their terrible proportions, bad face sculpts and oversized weapons are now a thing of the past as design team The Four Horsemen came aboard and revolutionised the franchise which is probably why Lanard picked up the license for the Kong: Skull Island movie.
The 2017 version of The CORPS! is now an increasingly cool franchise that is almost unrecognisable from the old line as its figures are still a budget line but are now a far better looking line with cool vehicles, something that Hasbro must be baffled by as GI Joe is now seemingly unmarketable. The CORPS!’ simplicity of a good v bad story without being tied to a specifically American force is far more marketable in 2017 and while it isn’t a mega seller, it is now 20 years old and shows no signs of slowing down so Hasbro need to take notes. Comparing the picture above to the ones below shows how far Lanard have come and how the future seems bright for them.