And that’s a wrap. It always feels like the annual convention reviews are a sprint, with coordinating all of the images, the Photoshopping, the organizing and the page layouts, and then by the time the whirlwind week is over, there’s a feeling of some sort of satisfaction.
I have to be honest, though, I didn’t feel a whole lot of satisfaction with this one. Ultimately, most of the figures and vehicles felt underserved and overpriced, which is unfortunate.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the Collectors Club is able to put together these figures for a fanbase that has no other outlet currently, but in looking back even to just 2015 the blatant and obvious degradation of quality is a shame. There were some highlights last year with Sky Patrol, several of them in fact, but this year everything felt pretty run-of-the-mill with very few exciting surprises. I felt there was a handful of serviceable figures that did the source material right, but there really was nothing that surprised, impressed, or blew me away. Perhaps I’m asking too much given the limited tooling supplies and resources available, but when the Club is asking nearly $1,000 for a set of exclusives, I gotta say, I expect more.
Anyway… the last three reviews can be viewed below:
In 1987 Maverick piloted the Vector, a brand new, pseudo-futuristic jet as an addition to the G.I. Joe air arsenal which was even featured a few times in the G.I. Joe comics. Fast forward several years and even though he’s dead, he gets an upgrade to a new variation of the Conquest, this time marked the X-36 instead of the typical X-30 moniker.
Fans got pretty excited when they saw the artwork for this potential upgraded plane in the convention comic with the wing format looking remarkably like the COBRA Hurricane. But alas, when the actual physical items were revealed, it was a Conquest repaint, a new deco for the newly molded 25th Anniversary Conquest.
The new version of the Conquest originally released several years ago was a marketable improvement over the ’86 original. The fins stayed in far better as well as the missiles, though beyond those structural improvements, the plane looked much the same. This one does as well. The swept wing design of the Conquest looks nicely futuristic, although the shape of the plane is so iconic for G.I. Joe that it’s tough to see it as anything other than a Conquest with a different paint scheme.
That being said they did a decent job mirroring the paint scheme of the Vector, and it matches Maverick pretty well, too. I like the fact that the decal work is all applied with paint apps rather than actual stickers. The vehicle is a pretty fun addition to the growing convention air force and makes for a neat foil for the Sky Serpent. I’m not sure it’s worth the cost that it requires to acquire one, but on its own merits it works.
The Collectors Club seems to have a thing for jet packs, huh? Last year they released two 5-Packs of JUMP repaints, and then this year, the B.A.T.s have their own “rocket packs” they can use to launch airborne salvos at their BattleForce: 2000 enemies.
This rocket pack is the retooled version that we got as part of the Rise of COBRA line as a Target exclusive several years back, and I have to admit I don’t truly understand the idea behind this particular vehicle. G.I. Joe released small form factor “jet packs” in 1982 in the form of the JUMP, so I’m a bit curious why five years later in 1987 the jet pack was somehow larger and more cumbersome than it was in ’82. Heck the ’87 jet pack even looked more clumsy than the Claw which was mostly the same exact thing a few years earlier.
I’ve never been a big fan of the design of this particular rocket pack, it’s basically a large square thing with teeny wings and four top-mounted cannons which isn’t all that streamlined or aerodynamic.
In the capacity of this convention set, though, it’s actually not too bad. I could see COBRA strapping B.A.T.s to this massive, fuel-loaded rocket pack and just basically throwing them headlong into G.I. Joe enemies with no concern for their well-being.
The color scheme works as well, being mostly black with the right hints of orange and green to match the aesthetic of the B.A.T.s within this convention set. I do like the colors, and I get the idea, but this doesn’t feel like an item that’s a critical piece of the set.
Back in 1987 the BattleForce: 2000 subline wasn’t just about figures, but was also about vehicles. The whole “Future Fortress” concept has never been a big focus of fan attention (and honestly, it probably doesn’t deserve to be) but BattleForce: 2000 was very much about their vehicles as well as the characters themselves.
For that reason it was pretty critical that vehicles play a role in the convention set, and the Club accomplished that by releasing a 2-pack of Polar Battle Bear snowmobiles repainted in the old Marauder colors and calling them “Marauder Snowmobiles”.
Not sure how I feel about this whole thing.
First and foremost, there really is nothing about the Polar Battle Bear that looks “futuristic”. It was first released in 1983 and although this version is the updated modern era retooling, it still maintains the same dated look and feel. The Marauder was originally Dodger’s vehicle, and was actually a pretty neat two-part motorcycle/tank with some interesting playability. None of that playability really exists in this modern interpretation. The color scheme is nicely applied and does look reminiscent of the older Marauder vehicle but the base vehicle here is very vanilla and doesn’t at all bring up a feeling of state-of-the-art future warfare.
I’m also not entirely sure why the Club felt it necessary to package two of them together at a steep price. Ultimately I see very little redeeming qualities with this particular choice of vehicles, much less two of them and it kind of feels like they were tossed in there because we’re swiftly running out of ideas and tooling to work with.