Is this real life? It wasn’t so long ago that when folks asked me who my favorite character was and I said “Hit & Run”, I would get a questioning look and the gesture that told me the person asking was trying to remember who that character was.
He didn’t appear in any animated series, he barely appeared in the comics, and by and large he’s a mostly forgotten later-era G.I. Joe infantry specialist. Certainly not as remarkable to most folks as Grunt or even Footloose, Hit & Run flew under most radar screens except for avid G.I. Joe fans.
In 2008/2009 I was very pleasantly surprised when Hit & Run was included as part of the Assault on COBRA Island 7-Pack, although the formula wasn’t the best. In those days, though, there wasn’t exactly a lot to choose from. For a long time it seemed like that might be what we got for a modern era Hit & Run figure, but then 2012 came, and the now infamous Hasbro Concept Case revealed an amazing Hit & Run upgrade using a mixture of Firefly and Lifeline parts. Ever since then, Hit & Run has been a fixture in various G.I. Joe figure assortments, most of them from the Collectors Club. First there was the Night Force version (along with a Kre-O rendition of the same figure), then we got a great version in the Figure Subscription Service, and finally Hasbro has gotten into the game with the Vanishing Act 3-Pack featuring a Wolf Squad repaint of Hit & Run. Originally viewed as another Night Force version perhaps, the Wolf Squad connection was revealed as part of a Q & A session right here on GeneralsJoes and the figure makes a lot more sense based on that.
The figure uses the same parts formula as other recent installments, with the Hit & Run head, Lifeline’s torso, Agent Mouse’s arms, and the legs sourced from PoC Snake Eyes, but used and modified several times since. Unlike previous iterations of this figure, the 50th Anniversary Hit & Run has the same legs as the PoC Snake Eyes, and not with the additions from Lifeline. I have little issues with the parts build, though I wish there had been a way to use the Ultimate Firefly torso seen in the concept case. According to the Collectors Club the head doesn’t fit on that torso. In the grand scheme of things, Lifeline was one of the best figures produced in recent years, so I have no issues with how that build came to be. The range of motion is great, sculpting is excellent, and he holds his weapons very well. He’s got plenty of holsters for his various accessories, and the figure’s look and feel from a build perspective is excellent.
I will say, however, that I am curious about the mindset behind the deco choices. It certainly looks as if Hasbro was going for either a night operations or urban operations color scheme here with various shades of gray with black trim. I realize the tie-back to Wolf Squad (and love it) but from purely an aesthetic standpoint, the Hit & Run figure does have some paint related issues. First of all, the majority of the figure is swathed in a pretty standard shade of gray, which is a relatively blah color to start with. He’s got some interesting camouflage on the pants, but his torso and arms are completely without camouflage, which might not look so weird if he had webgear, but he doesn’t, so the different in color scheme is pretty apparent. If the base uniform color wasn’t the same exact shade, too, it might work okay, but instead of looking like camouflage pants with a non-camouflage shirt, it just looks like there were some missing paint applications. I do understand it was probably a costing issue, I just can’t help but think how much better the figure would look with the great leg camouflage on the torso and arms (to match the helmet and backpack).
There are some variations in the shade of gray throughout the pouches on his torso, which breaks things up a bit, as does the red underneath his arms. The black gloves and boots adds some variety, too, but other than those few color breaks, the figure comes across as fairly monotone. Of course, one of Hit & Run’s trademarks is camouflage skin, and they maintain that here, going with a darker gray, which actually makes the figure look almost rock-like. It makes me think perhaps he was developed as a mountain specialist, where the rocky colors of his skin might help him blend into the stone surface of the mountains he’s climbing. It’s a strange color scheme that doesn’t look especially natural, and being gray, it sort of adds to the monochromatic feel of the rest of the figure. Thinking to the Wolf Squad angle, I could see Hit & Run being a “cave hunter” type of operative, a guy that goes into caves to try and root out COBRA leadership, or what have you. The darker gray shades look pretty cool within the dark shadows of a cave, and the lines on the skin could work for a rock pattern.
I love the build, as I have from the first time I saw it, but the color choices are a bit off kilter and not all that exciting. I am thrilled to have another Hit & Run to add to my repertoire, but I love the continued evolution of Wolf Squad, but I think there could have been some deco changes here and there.
Hit & Run comes with a lot of familiar accessories that we’ve seen in previous versions of the figure. His helmet and goggles are here, with a really nice looking urban operations paint scheme. There’s an infantry backpack, too, which maintains that great camouflage pattern. If anything they really make me wish Hasbro had done the urban ops camouflage throughout the entire figure rather than skipping the torso. Unfortunately the Lifeline torso doesn’t lend itself to having webgear on top either.
He also has his familiar machine gun (the one from the 25th Anniversary, not the Lifeline machine gun from the last two releases), pistols, and knife, which each has a place in a holster or sheath on the figure. His secondary pistol is the one with the silencer from Snake Eyes.
I will welcome and enthusiastically embrace every new Hit & Run figure we get, and this one is no exception. The parts build is great, gives him terrific articulation, and some really nice accessories. It’s a solid figure, which is somewhat held back by a somewhat dull deco pattern. In the grand scheme of things it’s a figure that had some great potential, but could use some aesthetic improvements.
The Pre-Production Version
I’ve seen a lot of fans question the reasoning behind pre-production collecting. A lot of folks have this misconception that it’s about getting something “first”, and that is not always the case. Sometimes it is, but not in all cases. When it comes to the 50th Anniversary Hit & Run, I jumped on one of the first pre-production auctions that came across the board, and the result is I have a figure that is very nicely different and adds a cool element to my Hit & Run collection.
As you can see from the images below, the pre-production figure is considerably different.
- Different shade of gray skin color
- No hair
- No skin camouflage
- No uniform camouflage
- Black boot color goes to the knees
- No camouflage on the helmet
- No camouflage on the backpack
Check out some of the comparison images above. I’m really glad I jumped on that pre-production auction, and this is just a small example of why some collectors focus on them.