Vitruvian Hacks Reviews – Series 1 (Greek Mythology)

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Night Creeper (Figure Subscription Service)

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I loves me some Night Creepers!  Even with the strange purple and gray camouflage of the vintage versions, I always really dug the overall look and concept of the Night Creepers.  Ninja assassins and saboteurs who leveraged next generation technology was always a really awesome concept, and Larry Hama executed it pretty nicely in the Marvel Comics throughout the 90’s.  The way the legs were somewhat thick but still moved really nicely, as well as the elbows on those classic o-ring figures just made the toys felt really “natural” for me and made the figures really easy to play with, which was important back in the day.  More modern repaints (specifically the COBRA Urban Strike Force version) made me love the figure even more, especially because the softer plastic for the hands made the thumbs a lot less breakable.  And before anyone says anything, no I don’t really consider the Rise of Cobra Night Creeper to be a proper “Urban Strike” repaint.

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When Hasbro revealed an updated build for the much maligned 25th Anniversary Night Creeper at JoeCon a number of years ago, I was pretty ecstatic.  I wasn’t wild about the COBRA Island 7-Pack version with those dated 25th Anniversary parts, and the more modernized parts combination was fantastic.

The Collectors Club seemed to take a page from that book, but instead of giving us just a new classic looking (or even better, an Urban Strike version!) they used the parts combo as a modern interpretation of the 1998 Toys “R” Us exclusive Arctic 3-Pack.  I’m pretty sure I could count the number of fans who wanted a modern update to that figure on one hand, but as a devout fan of the Night Creepers in general, I’m pretty happy to see any iteration of that figure in modern format.

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Replacing some of those dated parts with limbs from the Wave 1 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow makes a world of difference, giving us a more modern iteration of the arctic Night Creeper with parts that are better sculpted, larger, and have far better range of motion.  The seamless integration of martial arts and technology lives on in these Storm Shadow parts and suits the Night Creeper to perfection.  I am a big fan of this updated parts recipe, that is for sure.

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Looking at the deco of the figure, he certainly resembles the arctic 3-Pack version from 1998, and from a cost perspective, I suppose I can see why the Club went that way.  By eliminating paint masks for elaborate camouflage, they can bring costs down, fitting this figure better within their constricted budget.  If money were no factor, I would have much rather preferred an updated vintage deco Night Creeper or the Urban Strike.

ACCESSORIES

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The COBRA Night Creeper comes with a decent set of accessories, including a crossbow and the trademark wavy sword that initially came with the vintage figure.  He’s got a modern version of the Night Creeper backpack as well as the shoulder cape that originally came with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper.  Somewhat strange is that he cannot wear the cape and the backpack at the same time, so you have to pick and choose one or the other.  While the cape does have the backpack hole, the peg of the backpack isn’t quite long enough to accommodate for it. He also has the familiar head dress and chest armor that we’ve been getting on versions of the Night Creeper since the COBRA Island set.

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I love the Night Creeper.  I don’t necessarily love the arctic version of him, and desperately wish the Club had found a way to use this much improved parts combination on a figure with a somewhat more exciting deco.  Even as this figure stands, he’s got a great selection of parts and decent accessories, and is a fun figure overall.  I just wish his paint scheme was a bit more exciting.

Here is my YouTube review of the figure as well:

Barricade (Figure Subscription Service)

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While many a G.I. Joe fan will bemoan the Battle Corps era for its outlandish colors, spring-loaded weapons and plethora of sub teams, I remained quite interested in G.I. Joe even through those somewhat strange years.

It’s nice to see the Collectors Club pay some attention to the Battle Corps years within the Figure Subscription Service, though I have to admit, somewhat begrudgingly, that the execution leaves a little to be desired.

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Back in the day, Barricade was a “Bunker Buster” soldier, the guy who broke down the doors, took volleys of gunfire, but led the rest of the team into the breach.  The vintage version of the figure was very large and blocky, yet managed to maintain the great range of motion of those classic o-ring figures, a combination that I really loved, even if some of the colors of the time were questionable.

This version of Barricade seems to want to continue that philosophy, but ends up looking more cybernetic than armored (likely a result of a lack of parts choices that fit the aesthetic well).  Using parts from the Rise of Cobra Accelerator Suit figures, the parts are exceptionally well sculpted and have great articulation, and from a pure visual perspective, the figure parts look outstanding.  Instead of the Accelerator Suit arms, the Club went with Battle Armor Cobra Commander arms, which is a little unfortunate, as the elbows aren’t quite as flexible as some others, and the arms end up looking just a little “stumpy”.  They’re also pretty distinct for Cobra Commander and it’s tough to see them utilized in a different way.

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The head sculpt here is a re-use of the 25th Anniversary Chuckles  Rise of Cobra “Aqua Viper Officer” which has been used here and there (I believe it was also Dice’s head sculpt) but it works okay as a generic head that doesn’t look too much like anyone else.

In the past, the Club has had a tendency to take really bright figures and mute their colors somewhat for a more modern release.  Barricade is actually somewhat the opposite.  The blue used is brighter than the vintage version, and even though they added some paint wipe detail to the deco work, the gold ends up looking a little brighter as well.

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As for the paint applications themselves, that’s where I really struggle.  There is a ton of sculpted detail throughout these Accelerator Suit figures, but Barricade himself is just mostly gold with just a few hints of the blue.  He could have been much better served with some additional areas of blue deco where there was armor separation, even if it didn’t completely match the vintage paint masks.  Looking at Barricade from the front, it just looks like there’s way too much gold, and they don’t quite capture the “metallic” look of the original.

ACCESSORIES

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One thing I have to give the Club some props on with Barricade are the accessories.  The figure gets a nice spring-loaded grappling hook launcher, a great shotgun, very nice submachine gun, removable pistol and helmet, as well as a really cool breacher tool/battle axe.  There’s a lot of gear here, and a lot of it looks really great.  I love the blue pistol, even if it does look somewhat futuristic (either that or it’s some kind of taser).  Regardless, I really like the blocky barrel and how well it fits in the holster, even though the holster really struggles to stay flush with the leg.

He’s got the Accelerator Suit helmet which doesn’t jive real well with the original look of Barricade, but it’s still a neat helmet that I really like the design of.

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Barricade has been one of my favorite characters and vintage figures, and I was really excited to hear the Club was bringing him into FSS 4.0.  Unfortunately the end result isn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be.

Check out the YouTube video review below!