GeneralsJoes Reviews Backstop, Dee Jay and Corrosion

G.I. Joe Convention 2017 reviews continue today!  The boxed set is behind us, so now we’re moving on to some of the extra’s.  Today we’re looking at the parachute figure Backstop, and both figures from the “Ultimate Enemies” two-pack Dee Jay and COBRA Corrosion.

You can check out the latest reviews at the links below.

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G.I. Joe Convention 2017 COBRA Corrosion

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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Okay… this is what G.I. Joe Convention exclusives are all about.  It seems like ever since 2007 all we’ve been doing is wading perpetually through endless rehashes of vintage figures, combing the tiny, dark corners of G.I. Joe history to try and find something redeeming about isolated pockets of Real American Hero that we can mine for modern updates.

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As much as I love 1990, I still question the need for an updated Sub Zero, and in fact, even within the context of this convention set, I questioned the decision to resurrect DeeJay, especially at Collectors’ Club steep pricing.

A guy like this one, though?  COBRA Corrosion?  I’m all in favor of stuff like this.

Mostly because it explores a pocket of history that many domestic G.I. Joe collectors still haven’t properly explored and have no exposure to.  I was legitimately shocked at just how many fans, many of whom are long time G.I. Joe members of the online community, had no idea what the inspiration was behind COBRA Corrosion.  They had never come across Corrosao, the Brazilian repaint of DeeJay that belonged to Eco Force south of the border.

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But it occurred to me then that not all of these long time fans lived in a world where there were no domestic G.I. Joe releases.  At all.  Like anywhere.  No Collectors Club, no Toys “R” Us exclusives, no statues, no high end 12″ figures.  Not. A. Damn. Thing.

During times like that, fans gravitated towards things they hadn’t explored yet, like foreign figures.  So for the Club to dip into that well, as they so often do, is a much appreciated aspect of these Convention Sets, and with DeeJay a part of this set already, it just made so much sense for them to bring Corrosao to the table.

At the core, this figure is the same as DeeJay, using the same parts and the same head sculpt, with some color tweaks to better resemble the foreign original.  This all makes perfect sense, considering the figure was a DeeJay repaint back in the day.

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However, the Club does something interesting an gave Corrosao a different piece of chest armor, electing to go with the Nitro-Viper one rather than the Techno-Viper one that DeeJay had.  It changes things up a bit and gives him a little variety, which is a cool idea to establish him as a different character.  With the same modern parts allowing for the same great range of motion and sculpting as DeeJay, this figure feels like a win on all levels.  Even the colors are unique and fun.

Accessories

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Another place they changed some things up in comparison to DeeJay was with the accessories.  Marketed as a gas trooper, they included a grenade launcher with Corrosion (Hardball’s Grenade Launcher which caused a roar of celebration among Joe fans who have longed to explore yet another super obscure corner of previously unwanted G.I. Joe mythology) as well as a Rise of COBRA laser rifle.  The weapons selection is nice, and it’s cool to see Hardball’s grenade launcher again.

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COBRA Corrosion is another previously foreign exclusive that the Collectors Club is working into the more mainstream G.I. Joe universe, which is something I’m always a fan of.  Some of my favorite figures from last year’s set were Black Vulture and Flying Scorpion, I just love seeing these foreign figures in a domestic setting.  Nice job on this figure, and the ultimate enemies 2-pack as a whole.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Dee Jay

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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If you told me, twenty years ago, that eventually one of the most highly sought after G.I. Joe convention exclusives would be a version of DeeJay, I would have called you a damned liar.  DeeJay, quite frankly, was a horrendous vintage figure.  From his scrawny, weirdly shaped legs to his out of proportion super-muscled arms, to his squished-head helmet, and downright bizarre color pallet, he was one of those late 80’s figures that gave G.I. Joe a bad name.

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Granted, I think most of those figures that gave G.I. Joe a bad name get a bad rap, and don’t deserve the hate.  But DeeJay?  Damn, son, DeeJay deserves every single iota of that hate.  One of my least favorite figures ever.

So how exactly did the Club make him not only a desirable convention figure, but actually a pretty darn cool one at that?  Somehow they managed.

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DeeJay has a new head sculpt that looks much better than many of the others in the convention set I must say, even though his face does look a tiny bit squeezed.  The body parts are relatively modern, though the 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier legs are somewhat older, they work amazingly well.  He uses the Retaliation Snake Eyes torso, which remains one of my favorite figures in the modern era and the gauntlets on his arms definitely retain a certain look of technical design as well.  All of the parts come together to build out a pretty nicely proportioned, great looking figure that retains some of the vintage look, but in a nice modern way.

The colors also use the vintage design as an homage, combining white and blue with a nice, rich green to give DeeJay some nice variety to his color pallet, and the color applications make a lot of sense, not just slapped together in various places, but applied with some thought and consideration to the texture of the figure in those places.

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All in all, a very nice update, surprising to me, considering DeeJay’s less than stellar source material.

Accessories

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DeeJay continues the trend of the other BattleForce: 2000 figures with a replica of his vintage weapon as well as a blue version of Dial Tone’s backpack, which calls back to the fact that he’s the BattleForce: 2000 communications specialist.

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This is a pretty great figure.  I’m certainly no fan of DeeJay, which goes right along with my feelings on BattleForce: 2000 as a whole, but I can’t argue that this update was very well done and gives us a character that perhaps we didn’t think we needed (especially since he’s a charred corpse in Trucial Abysma).


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Backstop

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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I suppose it was inevitable.  Once Static Line was released with Sky Patrol last year, many folks suspected it was just a matter of time before Backstop got some modern era love.  Turns out it happened just about exactly one year later.

As this year’s parachute figure, Backstop was a bit tough for fans to get their clutches on, though I have to admit, his connections to Canada were an interesting way to tie him to the story, even if him parachuting didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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Like Static Line last year, Backstop’s new head sculpt does the figure no favors, with the colors and sculpt bleeding together into a somewhat amorphous, sorta head shaped thing with a helmet that is way too small to realistically fit a head inside.  The figure build is the same as Static Line as well with Pursuit of COBRA Beachhead torso and Resolute Duke legs doing an okay job approximating what the vintage figure looked like back in the day.

The dark green and yellow combination, with the right hints of light gray are all reminiscent of the 1987 figure, and this sort of feels like another example of digging into G.I. Joe obscurity simply because the tooling exists.  I know there are some very dedicated Backstop fans (or at least one of you… ;) ) and for your sake I’m glad this figure made it out in some way, but it does seem to be stretching the limits of necessity.

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In truth, I actually do like the figure’s  build, the combination of armor and tactical uniform is blended really well and he’s got some great articulation, even if the head sculpt doesn’t help things much.  I may talk a little crap about the need for a modern version of this particular character, but the figure itself isn’t a bad one.

Accessories

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Being the parachute figure, Backstop comes with the parachute and webgear/backpack along with a revolver and knuckled knife.  The knife is a nice homage to the sheathed blade that was sculpted onto Backstop’s chest back in the day, and the silver pistol he came with then was pretty slick as well.

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Did we really need an updated Backstop?  I’m going to catch flack from at least one person for saying this, but probably not.  That being said, the figure is good.  I like the build, he moves well, the paint apps work and overall it’s a fun figure, even if I’m not a big fan of the squishy head sculpt.


GeneralsJoes Reviews 2017 Convention Set B.A.T. and B.A.T. Officer

I’ve covered the BattleForce: 2000 parts of the Convention Set review, and now it’s time to take a look at the bad guys!

The COBRA B.A.T.s have been a mainstay at retail ever since their debut in 2008.  They are fantastic figures, no doubt about that, but their prevalence impacts their desirability, and I don’t feel like there’s anything in these versions that warrants the steep Collectors Club price tag.

Check out the reviews below or on the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page.

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G.I. Joe Convention 2017 COBRA B.A.T.

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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Instead of “it’s Malibu Stacy with a new hat”…it’s Malibu Stacy with a new head.  It’s nine Malibu Stacies, with ten new heads, and it still doesn’t feel worth the cover price.

Believe me, I don’t want to railroad the point of the repeated uses of the B.A.T., I do wish the Collectors Club hadn’t done it, especially now with only one more opportunity for a convention set before losing the license, but it’s said and done, I suppose I should move on.

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Plus I pretty much said everything I needed or wanted to say with the B.A.T. Squad Leader Review.  I was kind of a dick.

Like the regular B.A.T. releases we’ve received over the years, this figure is good from an aesthetic and functional perspective, with some great accessories, fantastic sculpting and very impressive articulation.  They managed to capture the essence and energy of the original Battle Android Trooper and make all the right improvements to it, offering dual replaceable limbs and maintaining the backpack storage unit (though with only room for two attachments).  Later on in the line they came up with a battle damaged head sculpt and chest plate which added some fantastic variety to the figure, and the chest plate is carried forward here, though not the head, because they’ve evolved to the second generation B.A.T. head for this release.

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I might have appreciated this update a bit more if the Club had taken some steps to make it feel like more of an evolution, rather than just repainting it from the neck down and slapping a v2 head on top.  If you remember, the version 2 of the B.A.T. was pretty structurally different than its predecessor, more streamlined, a more rounded shape, and overall a pretty different look.  Calling this B.A.T. an “upgrade” when it’s basically just a new head feels kinda hollow.

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Even with the limitations on the sculpt, though, they did a good job trying to mirror the v2 paint deco at least.  The black, orange, and hints of florescent  green all call back to the vintage version and work surprisingly well even on this older body.  That being said, though, it’s still exceptionally difficult to view this as a proper version 2 B.A.T.

Accessories

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Like the Squad Leader, this B.A.T. includes a bunch of accessories.  All of the same attachments you’re accustomed to (as well as the newly tooled sword that came with the Inferno B.A.T.) and the busted chest plate.  He’s equipped for just about anything.

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Yes the B.A.T. is a good figure.  No I can’t rationalize including nine of them in this set, or the idea that simply dropping a new head on the existing body is a suitable upgrade.  This one ranks high on my list of Convention Set disappointments, hopefully next year the Club can go out on a high note.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 COBRA B.A.T. Squad Leader

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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I’ve long established that the COBRA B.A.T. was pretty close to the best figure in the 25th Anniversary era.  The combination of sculpted detail, articulation, vintage aesthetics and modern improvements all came together into a single package of perfection that defined what collectors should be looking for in their modern updates to vintage figures.

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I loved it.

Heck, I liked it even after Hasbro re-released it three times.  I liked it a little less the fourth time.  The fifth time, yeah, kind of got a little “been there, done that”.  The sixth time?  Come on now.  Then the Club gave us the Nano B.A.T.  Then the Inferno B.A.T.

Now… in a boxed set that costs over $400, you expect collectors to invest their hard earned, too easily disposed of cash on more B.A.T.s?  Not just more B.A.T.s but essentially TEN MORE B.A.T.s?!  

Yeah, no bueno.

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In fact, the whole ten B.A.T. fiasco is probably the single most reason I did not buy a Convention Set this year (you can thank noted author James Kavanaugh, Jr. for this review!) and to this day the mere idea of paying Collectors Club cash for ten figures that are essentially barely repainted versions of retail figures that were eight dollars a few years back seems pretty ridiculous.

I know, I’m an adult collector, stomping my feet and proclaiming the “unfairness” of it all.  ‘You don’t like it, don’t buy it’.

Well, I didn’t like it.  And I didn’t buy it.  But people still wanted me to review it.  :)

The B.A.T. Squad Leader is your basic Battle Android Trooper with red parts and a version 2 head sculpt (that probably should have been originally produced for the FSS Inferno B.A.T. a short while ago).  The head looks nice and the B.A.T. is a great figure, but at the end of the day, I have around ten B.A.T.s in my collection already, (ten individual B.A.T.s, not even counting army builders) I really am struggling to find a reason to stockpile any more, especially at nearly thirty bones apiece.

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I do like the shade of red here, it contrasts nicely with the black and even the bright green, but ultimately it’s just a slightly darker B.A.T. version 2.  You’d think for collector money that perhaps we could have at least gotten some semblance of an Overkill or something, but no such luck.

Accessories

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The B.A.T. Squad Leader comes with the same accessory layout as every other B.A.T. so far, with the addition of a spring-loaded rocket launcher.  He has two hands, claw, flamethrower and laser attachments, his backpack, the glass covering for his chest panel as well as the shattered glass panel as well.

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Don’t get me wrong, the B.A.T. is and has always been a great figure.  Pretty much everything you could be looking for.  But it gets to a point where enough is enough and expecting to pay for 10 versions of a figure we’ve already gotten 10 times at retail and elsewhere feels more than a little unreasonable.


GeneralsJoes Reviews 2017 Convention Dodger, Knockdown, and Maverick

We’re continuing the reviews of the 2017 BattleForce: 2000 Convention Set today with three more members of the futuristic fighting team!

  1. Dodger
  2. Knockdown
  3. Maverick

You can hit the direct links or click the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page for the latest reviews!

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G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Knockdown

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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One good thing about this review is that you won’t have to hear me complain endlessly about the quality of the new head sculpt…  because there isn’t a new head sculpt.

Knockdown comes with Kwinn’s noggin underneath a repainted  General Mayhem helmet, which actually approximates the Knockdown look far better than I thought it might.  Not only that, but it actually gives us a removable helmet, which is something we don’t get very often these days from the Club.

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That’s about the only good thing I can say about this particular figure, however.  Knockdown is, unfortunately, kind of a mess otherwise.

The Club chooses an assortment of parts that you would never think would work together, but somehow they do, at least from an aesthetic perspective in attempting to replicate Knockdown’s vintage look.  Unfortunately, even if they look like Knockdown, they don’t provide much in the way of function or fun.  His arms are especially painful, coming from the Pursuit of COBRA Storm Shadow (the crappy one, not any of the good ones) which limits the elbow range of motion and makes the figure a frustration to pose.  Knockdown uses Techno-Viper’s legs, which are a good choice, but the combination of the short arms with the legs makes him look squat.

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Techno-Viper’s vest over his torso replicates the shape and design of the vintage Knockdown as well, but the stickers on the front are a pretty poor substitute for actual textured containers there.  I’d almost prefer they simply left off that deco entirely rather than trying to replicate something three dimensional with decals.  It doesn’t work.

Accessories

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Knockdown comes with the removable helmet, the huge and bizarre vintage pistol and one of the pulse rifles that came during the Rise of COBRA era.  It’s a strange conglomeration of accessories that I suppose accentuates the strangeness of the overall figure as well.

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I wasn’t a big fan of the vintage Knockdown, and I’m not a big fan of this modern interpretation either.  The parts combination is strange, the decals on the torso armor make little sense, and he just leaves me pretty cold altogether.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Maverick

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

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One year after the movie Top Gun changed the landscape of fighter jet films, a pilot joined BattleForce: 2000 named “Maverick”.  Coincidence?

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As far as pilot figures go, Maverick didn’t blow my socks off (notice a trend with these BattleForce: 2000 characters yet?).  A strange flight suit with bizarre chest armor and  a flat out weird flight helmet all add up to a bizarre amalgamation that doesn’t really fit the specialty.  Not as detailed or realistic as Slipstream, not quite as unique or interesting as Ace, Maverick just kind of hovered in between and didn’t make much of an impact.

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Heck, he didn’t stick around long enough to make much of an impact.

So what could they do with this current iteration of Maverick to improve on him?  Well, turns out they did a pretty good job.  The figure is tall and slender, much more streamlined than the vintage version, and while this more stylized helmet somewhat resembles Maverick’s, it looks a lot cooler (in my mind).  Bulky arms and legs fill out the flight suit style quite nicely and the modern parts provide decent articulation and sculpting crammed full of excellent  detail.  I actually love Maverick’s build a lot more than I thought I would.  Unlike the vintage figure it looks and feels much more like a flight suit, but with the addition of Matt Trakker’s armor system, still retains that technical look of the original BattleForce: 2000 pilot.

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The updated parts, the updated helmet, and you have a pretty awesome new version of the character which actually makes me wish he wasn’t dead.

Accessories

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Maverick comes with a great helmet (repurposed from Rise of COBRA among other places) a reproduction of his vintage submachine gun and a removable pistol that slides back into a holster on his right hip.  Great accessories, all told, and unlike many of the vintage weapons, I actually don’t mind this one at all.

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Maverick’s a really solid update to the original.  Great flight suit build, cool accessories that compliment it, and a paint scheme that pays homage while still feeling somewhat fresh.  Good job on this one.