G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Tiger Shark w/ Felino

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I’ve never been a huge fan of the Water Moccasin in general, though I know it’s considered by many to be a vintage classic Cobra vehicle. For my money, I’ll take the Moray Hydrofoil over the Water Moccasin every day, and yes I realize they perform different functions, but the Moccasin was just never real high on my “must play with” list, even as a kid. In fact, I never even bought the 25th Anniversary re-tool, nor did I buy the Rise of Cobra update, OR the Convention exclusive from 2011. Weird. I don’t think it was even by design, it’s just kind of worked out that way.

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So, even though they started re-releasing Water Moccasins like 6 or 7 years ago, this is the first one I’ve really gotten my hands on. I think Hasbro did a great job on the retool for this vehicle, giving it a bit more bulk and more functional rear wind vanes, as well as a larger cockpit and the general modern robustness that you can expect with these newly tooled vintage inspired vehicles.

Honestly, I like this vehicle more than I thought I might. It feels larger, heavier, and more solid in my hands, especially compared to the old school Water Moccasin, and there is a sense of feel component to toys that is important.

The deco is inspired by the vintage Tiger Shark, which was a repainted Water Moccasin, something that both Tiger Force and Python Patrol were known for. While they didn’t exist purely on vehicles from the other side, they certainly made liberal use of them. Tiger Force had the Tiger Rat, Tiger Shark, and Tiger Paw, while Python Patrol had the Conquest. In that frame of reference it’s not too difficult to see where this updated Tiger Shark fits in.

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Looking immaculately like its vintage counterpart (for better or worse) the Collectors Club translated the retooled vehicle for Tiger Force quite well, honestly.

FELINO

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As for the driver… the Club has said many times that they try and squeeze in some foreign characters whenever they can, and instead of giving us Dusty, they gave us Felino, who is a South American repaint. Unlike Dusty, Felino has the unique green Tiger Force pattern from neck to ankle (kind of like the Toys “R” Us Jinx) instead of the plain green pants. The result is a figure that could pass for Tiger Force Dusty in a display if you wanted to, or you can just use him as Felino, however you so choose.

It’s an interesting choice, and honestly, part of me wonders if they went this route because of the fabric on the helmet. I can imagine that might be a difficult manufacturing technique, and while Tiger Force Dusty has it, Felino does not, so maybe that played into their decision to go with Felino instead? Who knows, but ultimately I don’t think it’s a huge deal either way.

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The figure is fine overall. Dusty is a decent 25th Anniversary figure, though the lack of range of motion in the arms has always bugged me. Felino’s legs are not the same legs as traditional Dusty, instead looking to be Ace’s legs, which is okay, they still match fine and don’t stand out too much.

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As mentioned, Felino has the full uniform deco, which works fine for me as well, an appealing green and yellow triped Tiger Force look that is a nice departure from the more traditional vintage deco. It’s funny, but the similarity between this figure and Jinx never really resonated before, and now that I see this I can get a much better idea of Jinx’s place on the team as well. Nice touch.

Accessories

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Felino comes with many of the typical Dusty accessories, including the harness, machine gun with bipod, and removable helmet. Nothing staggering, but a nice group of functional weapons that suit the character well.

Listen, I’m not a huge fan of the Water Moccasin, and I’m not a huge fan of Tiger Force, so I think folks can understand if I’m not a huge fan of the Tiger Shark. You can buy a vintage one on eBay for a fraction of the price.

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That being said, I cannot argue with the execution, and the Club did what they set out to do. Their mission was to make a new version of the classic Tiger Shark, and they did that well. Spicing up the driver by making it a foreign character was icing on the cake. I’m not sure it’s a Convention item I feel like I have to have, but for those folks who are into it, they did a nice job and I can see it drawing some after market interest.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Tigerhawk

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SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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This thing. Huh.

The Tomahawk has been one of my all time favorite vehicles ever since it was first released. I was a lucky kid, and by and large, I got most of what I asked for during my formative Christmas years. The Tomahawk and Terror Drome were highlights of my 1986 Christmas season and I clung to that damn helicopter for over 20 years. My childhood version of this awesome aircraft finally met its end probably about 10 years ago when I accidentally tipped over a lamp in my garage, which in turn knocked the copter from its perch and smashed half of its rotors. I managed to salvage another Tomahawk from somewhere, and then when Hasbro released the newly tooled version, I finally felt contentment in my need for a fully engineered and capable dual-rotor transport copter.

So, do I really need another one?

Well, no, but let’s be brutally honest here… out of any of your items in your collection, how many do you truly NEED. Collecting is about wants, ain’t it?

So did I really WANT another one?

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Again, the answer to that question is probably no, especially at a Convention price point, but a funny thing happens when you end up in a congested line with a few hundred other collectors and see a new and sparkly item for the first time. Your lack of interest suddenly gets flopped around and all of a sudden you become VERY INTERESTED. VERY INTERESTED INDEED.

The Tiger Hawk helicopter obviously uses the same tooling as the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Eaglehawk from two years ago, but with a unique new Tiger Force deco. It is eerily reminiscent of the vintage deco to the point where one might believe this was a vehicle designed back in the 80s aliongside the Tiger Rat. It looks gorgeous. The yellow, black, and faded white are picture perfect vintage throwbacks, with just the right hints of faded red/orange to match the other Tiger Force vehicles.

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If I have any complaints about the deco it would be the infamous smiley face that these Tiger Force vehicles all have. The face here looks a bit too far up-turned like a goofy, toothy grin much more than the sneer that is supposed to inspire fear in the Cobra enemies.

Beyond that one odd deco choice, though, the Tiger Hawk is a pretty great looking updated Tiger Force vehicle. It’s got great color matching and style matching with the existing vehicles, and unlike other Convention exclusives, it actually presents something new. Where the Tiger Shark and Tiger Sting are mostly just redone duplicates of classic vehicles, the Tiger Hawk brings something pretty new to the table, you just need to be prepared to pay for it.

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I also enjoy how the Club leveraged the Tiger Hawk into a meaningful place within the confines of the Con set. Building the three pack around the helicopter makes sense, with the pilot (Skystriker) and two operatives (Alpine and Frostbite) dove-tailing into the vehicle placement nicely.

At the end of the day, buying the Tiger Hawk is a decision that you have to take seriously, as it’s one of the most expensive Convention vehicles we’ve seen to date. But if you’re a Tiger Force fan, it would be tough to consider your Tiger Force collection complete without this vehicle at the head of the table. It really is executed nicely and would fit in a modern or vintage collection quite well.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Iron Grenadier Mantis

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
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SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
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With the sources of vehicles getting lower and lower, one has to wonder just where the Club will continue to get material to generate their exclusives on an annual basis. While I don’t know precisely what tooling is still available, it seems to me that things have got to be running somewhat low, especially from a vintage variety. If that’s the case, I think the Club should consider looking towards some more modern vehicles, and the Mantis is a great subject.

Granted, the Club used the Mantis tooling just a couple years ago for the Sea Adventurer’s vehicle, and I loved it then, too. One of the highlights of the new sculpt era, the Mantis is small, sleek, but very fun, with folding wings, rotating engines, and a cool, unique appearance. Unlike many other of the new sculpt era vehicles, it feels like something that could have existed in the good old days, and has many nuanced characteristics to add to its fun. The contoured canopy is a small touch that adds some coolness.

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Utilizing it as an Iron Grenadiers vehicle is actually an unexpected stroke of brilliance. The black, red, and gold suits the vehicle perfectly, and it almost desembles Destro’s Despoiler upon quick glance. I can totally see this thing as either General Mayhem’s personal aircraft or as a squad craft for an Iron Anvil Officer, who might pop the canopy and leap from it. Heck, it’s water based, too, so maybe it even belongs to the Undertow Officer. It’s really versatile and really fun, and as the free attendee vehicle, I think the Club made a remarkably great choice.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Skystriker

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I remember actually really loving Skystriker as a kid, mostly because he was actually a new character, unlike the bulk of the Tiger Force crew. Back in the day I was a completist, and I already had all those characters, so felt no drive nor desire to buy them all over again, not to mention I was very attached to how my characters appeared in media, and Tiger Force didn’t appear anywhere, so these new looks were somewhat meaningless.

However, among all that, a new character emerged…a jet pilot who was completely unique to Tiger Force in general. So I did have some attachment to him as a kid.

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This new Skystriker hits some of those same buttons. Like the original, this version of the Tiger Force pilot reuses many parts from Wild Weasel (though some originally belonged to Snow Job) including the torso and upper legs, with the maps on the thighs immaculately reproduced.

However, the arms are now Data Viper arms, as well as the legs, and I think the figure is far better for it. The somewhat bulkier, more flexible limbs help bring what could have been a dated figure to the modern age.

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But all is not perfect with Skystriker. His head could certainly use some work, but that may have been beyond the Club’s control. In talking with Dave Lane, he mentioned testing out a few alternate heads for Skystriker, but at the end of the day, the helmeted Slipstream/Ace head was a known commodity and one they felt comfortable running with. I can understand that, and swapping a head isn’t a really major issue on our end.

The colors are great here, following the color scheme and design elements of the vintage version as well as the rest of the Convention set. Tagging Skystriker as the Tiger Hawk pilot is a neat idea, and he’s presented pretty well here.

Accessories

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Skystriker doesn’t come with much, just a machine gun and pistol, but really, he doesn’t have to. Ultimately he’s a pilot and his real accessory is the Tiger Hawk, so no complaints from me there.

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Skystriker is a nice addition to the Tiger Force clan, and I’m glad the Club got him worked into this Convention assortment. He has a clear purpose, a decent build, and a nice color scheme. I would have preferred a new head, but that’s something I can take care of myself fairly easily.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Frostbite

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I gotta admit, this took me by surprise a bit. Rarely do we get an attendee convention figure with new parts. Generally the Club reserves those new parts for the actual boxed set, and the bonus exclusives are pretty much all repaints.

Not so with Frostbite.

Tiger Force Frostbite comes with a new head and new fur “collar” of sorts, both items never seen before in the modern line. This begs the question…did the Club get these new parts made up just for this three pack, or is this a hint that a vintage Frostbite is soon to come? We still don’t know what the 13th FSS 3 figure is…

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All that aside, looking at this figure on its own merits, Frostbite is pretty fantastic. He utilizes a mixture of recent parts, providing a wealth of nice sculpted detail combined with great range of motion. His upper legs look a bit older, from the 25th Anniversary, but they take nothing away from the overall aesthetic of the figure. It’s amazing how easily a figure comprised of relatively common parts can be totally transformed merely with a new head and new secondary, but Frostbite is.

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The two small new parts make a world of difference, but it also goes to show how critical a good build underneath is as well. As awesome as the new parts are, but integrating them with a later generation build, the figure is just elevated all the more, becoming one of the highlights of this year’s Convention set by a wide margin. His articulation is fantastic, the design on the new parts are all great, and I love the twin pistol holsters with removable weapons, too.

Frostbite is a the real deal.

Accessories

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Like many of the other guns in the set, Frostbite comes with green weapons, and pretty awesome green weapons at that. His compact sniper rifle is great (it originally came with 25th Anniversary Zartan, I believe) and the two pistols that slide nicely into twin holsters are great touches as well. He also comes with removable goggles that can be eased over the fur hat to look even more vintage accurate. It’s a nice group of accessories that compliment the figure perfectly.

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Every minute I fool around with Frostbite, I learn to love the figure even more. Back in the day my favorite part about Frostbite was his rifle, but I didn’t particularly care for the character himself. The fantastic work done on building out this updated version has infused him with a ton more character and play value, and he has risen sharply on my list of favorites. Great job by the Collectors Club, and fantastic work by Boss Fight Studio on the sculpting and build for this figure. Here’s hoping we see a vintage version somewhere down the line soon.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Alpine

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I’ll admit I didn’t see this one coming. The Club had some opportunities to think outside the box when it comes to representing their form of Tiger Force, and for the most part, they followed an established formula. Essentially they reproduced modern versions of vintage designs, or took some more current existing designs and melded them into the vintage Tiger Force aesthetic.

For Alpine they seemed to kind of go another way. Yes, I realize that there was a Tiger Force Alpine in the new sculpt era, but it was so drastically different than the typical Tiger Force deco that it’s tough to count it. For that reason, this figure feels like a big departure, and also feels like a repeat, since we just received our most recent FSS shipment a couple of short weeks ago.

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Alpine is the exact same figure as the one we received in the FSS, but the Club went Tiger Force with him, integrating him with the rest of their offerings in a yellow and black stripe designation. His shorts are still somewhat red, and he really does not match the other Tiger Force version in anyway. However, it is a nice looking figure, and I appreciate the fact that they worked him in here alongside Bazooka.

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It’s tough to complain about the figure, too, much, since it’s built upon the solid and fun Kwinn build. Unlike others, I don’t have an issue with him wearing shorts, and he wears the matching deco pretty well.

Accessories

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Alpine comes with many of the same accessories as the FSS version, with his machine gun and submachine gun, as well as the ropes to swing over his chest.

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This was an unexpected figure, but not a bad one. His place on the helicopter crew makes sense, and while he doesn’t fit the same mold as Frostbite and Skystriker, he looks as if he belongs. I just wish it wasn’t a figure that I just received a few short weeks ago.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Iron Anvil Officer (Parachute Figure)

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UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
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Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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What can I say about the officer than I didn’t already say about the Iron Anvil itself? I may be one of the biggest Iron Anvil fans on the planet, and I thought the update done for the Convention set was pretty much perfect.

Considering the officer is the same structural formula with only some minor changes (gold shoulder pads and shin armor) I can’t find much to complain about here either.

The build for this figure is just terrific. Every once in a while you get a G.I. Joe figure that just feels right in your hand. He poses right, he balances right, and he just looks awesome. It actually happens less often than you might think.

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Iron Anvil and Iron Anvil Officer fill both of those roles for me. The parts selection fits together seamlessly to provide the foundation for an armored, but flexible paratrooper for Destro, with a terrific paint scheme and great accessories. Both the regular Anvil and the Officer are fantastic.

Accessories

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Beyond the minor paint adjustments, this is obviously where the figures really differ. While the regular Anvil comes with an Alley-Viper vest and Para-Viper harness, the Officer comes with a red repaint of the Retaliation Cobra Trooper parachute pack, which looks pretty fantastic, I might add. He also comes with the same submachine gun and knife, as well as the familiar blue Retaliation parachute.

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Like his normal trooper counterpart, the Iron Anvil Officer is a great looking, fun figure, with a few color adjustments and cool accessory additions. As a Parachute figure this year, it was tough to get, with only a single figure being allowed per attendee, but the nice thing about that is he is so similar to the trooper, it doesn’t feel like a dramatic loss. That being said, I’m happy I have him, and will proudly place him at the head of my Iron Anvil squad.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Annihilator

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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As one of my favorite late 80s Army Builders, I once was highly anticipating a modern version of the Iron Grenadier Elite Guard, but in all honesty, the variation we got a few years ago left me just a little bit cold. I wasn’t a big fan of the build, using mostly dated 25th Anniversary parts, and a somewhat strange metallic color scheme.

A few years later, I feel very similar.

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Granted this new Annihilator has a pretty cool new shade of red and black rather than the purple and orange of previous versions, but the basic figure build is the exact same as it was with the Oktober Guard set, which does the figure no favors. It’s a somewhat skinny, outdated clutch of parts that doesn’t really protray the muscular bodysuit of the originals, though to be fair, I’m not sure the Annihilator was ever a popular enough troop builder to warrant its own new tooling.

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The head is from Lamprey, with the body mostly from Strato-Viper (which was in turn cobbled together from other 25th Anniversary figures) and while it does help kind of blend this character in with the Strato-Viper, compared to figures using next generation parts, Annihilator suffers somewhat.

Accessories

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Annihilator comes with the Strato-Viper vest, somewhat more ceremonial throwback than his plain uniform, his helicopter backpack, and submachine gun, all carried forward from the 2012 Convention Set.

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The change in color scheme to red and black is the only noticable change (though one can’t help but also notice that we now only get two figures for the same price as three were only three years ago). Don’t get me wrong, I like this color scheme a lot more than the strange bronze/purple from 2012, but at the end of the day, we only get so many new toys in a given year, I just hate to see the same stuff again.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Iron Anvil

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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Up to this point, the original Iron Anvil from 2005 has remained probably my favorite Convention figure to date. It hit that perfect sweet spot of a great 90’s figure that desperately needed a new paint job, and perfectly executing that new paint job. Sure, in a perfect world, it would have remained with Cobra and been painted blue and red rather than black, gray, and red, but beggars can’t be choosers, and the end result was still pretty spectacular.

So obviously it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I awaited these new Iron Anvils… I’m happy to say at the end of the day, I’m quite pleased with the update.

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Boss Fight Studio brought their incredible skills to the table for the new head sculpt for Iron Anvil, and you can really tell. Along with the great head sculpt, the figure itself uses Retaliation Snake Eyes arms on a Shock Trooper body, with Pursuit of Cobra Firefly legs, a terrific combination of pieces, managing to blend sleek with strong, and the figure stands as one of the best in this 2015 Convention Set. I really love the Shock Trooper torso for pretty much everything, and the Ninja Duel Snake Eyes arms have fantastic articulation and detailing. Leveraging the color scheme from the original Iron Anvil allowed for a great looking update here, going with mostly black and red, and just the right hints of gray and gold for trim. This version of the Iron Anvil is modern, but more than that, the color breaks are done just right and he comes across as a significantly effective modernization.

Accessories

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The Pursuit of Cobra Alley-Viper vest provides the row of pouches that was unique to the ’94 Viper (and thus the Iron Anvil) and manages to be extremely successful doing so. Anvil also comes with the slim parachute pack, Annihilator submachine gun, and a great jagged knife, reminiscent of the Battle Corps original. The leg harness from a Para Viper polishes off the accessory compliment quite nicely.

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As an Iron Grenadier Paratrooper, the Iron Anvil works really well with these various accessories (not to mention the Iron Anvil Officer as the parachute figure), but even without the parachute equipment, he is really well developed as a modern special ops looking trooper, too.

All of the right pieces came together in 2005 to produce one of the finest G.I. Joe sets ever made, in my opinion. So many great elements, of which the Iron Anvil was only one small piece. I don’t feel as strongly about this set of course, but the Iron Anvil figure is a beautiful modern era action figure, and one I’m extremely excited to own. Great stuff.


G.I. Joe Convention 2015 General Mayhem

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WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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Just seeing this figure brings me back ten years… it seems like things were so much simpler back then. Not nearly as much convoluted history…no fierce dichotomy between o-ring purists and the modern era fans. Sure, there was a growing divide between “new sculpt” and “vintage” but by and large, anyone who loved the new sculpt also loved the vintage, and Conventions were a time to celebrate the legacy of the o-ring and see what cool stuff the Club could do with it.

It didn’t get much cooler than 2005.

One of my favorite army builders of all time as the ’94 Viper, and getting that figure in good colors was enough to sell me right there. Combine that with an awesome new Iron Grenadier using Night Viper parts… not to mention Mega Marines Gung Ho in better colors, PLUS a real live member of the Oktober Guard? Good stuff.

The Steel Brigade concept felt relatively fresh, with a new look at the idea as an International peace keeping force, and they introduced a new character by the name of General Mayhem. What a great set.

Flash forward ten years later and General Mayhem no longer feels quite so new, but his figure is still really nice.

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Like Metalhead, we have Boss Fight Studio to thank for the great new head sculpt here, with gorgeously sculpted mutton chops, certainly designed with love by one of the bearded wonders at BFS. A close look at the head reveals a ton of great little detail work, and I’m surprised that they were able to take a cobbled together Gnawgahyde and transform it into this work of art. The torso belongs to SDCC Destro/Joe Colton, with arms from Ultimate Cobra Commander and legs from Rise of Cobra Destro. It’s an strange combination of parts that gives us a really great looking update to the Russian Iron Grenadier field commander.

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Like most other figures in this set, the deco is black, red, gray, and a hint of gold, tributes to the Iron Grenadier faction. It’s not amazingly new or interesting, but exceptionally well executed.

Accessories

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The most critical point of discussion with the accessories is obviously the new vest. Boss Fight Studio designed and sculpted this new secondary along with the head, and all of a sudden provided a wealth of opportunity to the Collectors Club and customizers. A good basic dress uniform secondary had not really been available until now, and thanks to this one small addition, there are numerous possibilities down the road.

Along with this, General Mayhem comes with Retaliation Lift Ticket’s flight helmet, which works remarkably well as a replacement for the Long Range helmet from the vintage days. He also has a submachine gun and rocket launcher.

There aren’t a lot of accessories here, but the ones that he comes with are pretty great and suit the character well.

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General Mayhem is great. I love getting new characters introduced to the mythology, and while this isn’t truly a new character at this point, he’s a great addition to the Iron Grenadier story, and it’s pretty cool getting him in modern format.