G.I. Joe Heavy Assault Set (H.A.S.)
name: G.I. Joe Heavy Assault Set (H.A.S.)
Price: MSRP $19.99
Availability: September, 2005 - Toys "R" Us Exclusive
At this point, the H.A.S. has retained almost legendary status, but for all the wrong reasons. Where items like the COBRA Infantry set and the like are made famous by their popularity, items like the H.A.S. are potentially infamous because of the state of the Toys "R" Us exclusives at that point. The H.A.S. was really a comedy of errors that was just so screwed from concept to execution that it was almost hilarious.
As such, I haven't bothered to really try and track this set down, although I knew at some point I would pick it up, just for completeness sake. But when I travelled to a not-really-local TRU this past weekend to get some of the new Sigma 6 figures, it was sitting on the pegs, so I just scooped it up, barely even thinking about it, not to mention looking at it. Well...when I got it home, I hate to say, I was pleasently surprised.
Now before I get totally blasted by everyone under the sun, I will come up front right now and say that it is not at all acceptible to pay $20 for a 6-Pack and get 3 different figures, especially when those 3 different figures are barely repaints of three existing figures that we've had crammed down our collective throats over the past 2-3 years. That is NOT acceptible and never will be, and the guy in charge with the Toys "R" Us 6-Pack exclusives should be ashamed of himself for his blatant disregard for a quality product. This 6-Pack is atrocious.
However, the Roadblock and Snake Eyes included are not atrocious at all...and I actually like them quite a bit, I'm almost sorry to admit. While two redeemable figures (of two figures that were already released over the past year) are nice...they are not nearly worth $20, and frankly the rest of the pack almost makes me ashamed to support these exclusives over the past number of years. Perhaps it was a good time for Hasbro to "clean house" and bring the exclusives in house and revamp their policies considering them, because something was definitely not right in that department.
But, let's cover this figure, by figure, so to speak...
We'll talk about Duke first, because we might as well get the bad stuff out of the way first.
Back in 1983-84 Duke was a very cool, revolutionary figure...compared to the 1982 releases, Duke was a large leap above in design, sculpting, and overall execution. But that was over 20 years ago. This is no longer the case at all, especially considering that the arms used here are 100% worse than the arms that were originally used. It seems hard to understand why, with all of the advances in toy making within the past 2 decades that we can't get a figure that is in at least some small way an improvement over the original, produced so many years ago.
In amongst these newer figures, Duke just looks sad. He looked scrawny and sad in the Anti-Venom set, and here, even with a slightly improved color scheme, he still looks very, very scrawny and not at all impressive. The head-to-toe odd green color pallet does nothing to improve the mold and even with a somewhat interesting paint scheme on his legs, he's pretty much worthless. Hasbro managed to take the worst figure in the Anti-Venom set and push him upon us yet AGAIN to remind us exactly how crappy this figure was in that set, and yes, still is. The green doesn't save it, folks. I realize that they were probably desperate at this point to get some money in any way possible, so they shoved some "core characters" down our throats, but c'mon...at least give us an interesting core character, not this chunk. There are no redeeming qualities to this figure at all, and in fact the appearence of this figure in this set actually draws it down a few notches. Even if we had to suffer through another repaint, I'd rather have seen a dark green Barricade or something rather than this crap.
Duke is one of the more hated characters in the Joe mythos, and this figure is worth any anmity that it gets.
Covering Snake Eyes next, I'm at least somewhat happy to say that even though we're getting yet ANOTHER Snake Eyes so soon after the Winter Operation set and the Desert set before that, and yes, even though this is a shameless repaint of that aforementioned Desert version, the figure is actually still pretty neat and I find myself liking it quite a bit.
First of all, the choice of the '91 mold was a great one, as that mold is woefully underrated and a much more "commando" look than some of his others, even with the hockey mask. His sculpted head looks fantastic, the molded web vest is a very effective tactical looking vest and adds some great bulk to the figure. Then we have the armguards which have some neat oriental characters on them and bring a sense of the Asian mystique to the figure. Speaking of those arms, he's got some crazy 90's era biceps which really gives him a hard, muscular edge to him.
The legs are a little more scrawny and unremarkable, but have some cool tall boots and racing stripes up his legs. Very neat little touches that bring the mold alive. It still looks like a Snake Eyes figure, but doesn't have too many of the tired cliches that a lot of other versions of the figure do. He's a great military-type update to the Snake Eyes character.
Now where the previous version of this character was relegated purely to Desert use due to his paint apps, at least this version is more versatile. His uniform remains solid black, and in fact the entire top half of the figure is pretty much identical to the desert version. Different shades of gray and brown on the webgear and vest underneath, as well as the arm gear. However the legs are a completely new shade of paint, although they still have the same camouflage pattern, which gives it an almost odd look. But still, in shades of dull gray, black, and blue the paint apps are at least different, if not necessarily realistic. The dull, dark paint apps look very "Night Ops-ish", which suits Snake Eyes very well. Even though the desert camo pattern looks strange in this night patrol type color scheme, the figure itself actually looks pretty neat, bizarre or not.
From head to toe, even as a mere half-repaint this figure looks pretty cool and works well as Snake Eyes. However it's not nearly cool enough to carry this set, even with another, even cooler figure along with it in this set.
And we end with Roadblock. Half-repaint or not, this Roadblock flat out rocks, I'm almost ashamed to admit.
This mold is purely one of the greatest molds to come out for this character, and in fact is on my short list for the best mold of a character in the 90's. It suits Roadblock to a "T" and is a terrific looking mold over all with the large overall body frame, bulging muscles and well-sculpted, different uniform. His head sculpt is spot-on, and has quickly become the definitive look for the famous Joe machine gunner. The stark, bald head, unique facial hair and single hoop earring have all translated to the modern day as being the classic look for Roadblock, and it suits him well.
His lined vest looks great and that nicely sculpted stiched strapping across his broad chest adds points to the figure overall, too. His legs are kind of a blue jean material, and he's got some strangely designed boots on, but the boots do work and the figure as a whole works, too. He was one of the highlights of the Anti-Venom set, but the tan paint apps made him more desert-based.
However, the dark green paint scheme applied here really makes a huge difference. The top half looks remarkably similar to the Anti-Venom set, and in fact is pretty much identical. But with the pants now painted in the same green color with sharp black camouflage lines really makes Roadblock shine and pretty much makes this version of the figure one of my all time favorites. The unified green color scheme from head to toe with little touches of dark and red throughout really makes for an interesting looking figure, even if he is a pretty unicolor format.
Overall, Roadblock is an absolute highlight of this set, but this one figure is not nearly enough to make this set succeed in general. The three Greenshirts included is practically a spit in the face, especially since they are completely unchanged. It was pretty rediculous. So rediculous in fact that I'm not even going to bother covering the three green shirts, since I've already reviewed that set and there's no need to re-review three identical figures a mere few months later.
It would seem, from head to toe that this 6-pack is utterly forgettible and rediculous. You start at the beginning and see that there are characters mentioned in the set description that don't even APPEAR in the set...character art is shown for characters who don't even look like they're supposed to. It's a "Heavy Assault Set" without any pieces of "Heavy Assault" to be seen! WTF? Three re-released Greenshirts (which were pretty universally slammed throughout the online Joe community) and three half-repainted figures from recent releases. Conceptually this set is completely insane...I can't even believe someone got paid to conceive of this utter garbage, but the fact remains they did and it saw release on store shelves, even though I am 100% confident that any single Joe fan on the web could have come up with a better set on their own.
However, I'm almost sad to admit that there ARE at least a couple of highlights for the set. But a couple highlights do NOT redeem the overall laziness and clutziness that was involved in coming up with this pile and forcing it out on to shelves. It's a damn shame that this is the way the Toys "R" Us classic sculpt exclusives ended their run, because it basically took everything that has been substandard about the exclusives line over the past year and crammed it into one tight, crappy package. Thankfully, Hasbro themselves is still doing these 6-packs in the DTC format, and so far is doing a much better job. Let's just hope it keeps up.
Ratings (out of 10)
Paint Apps: 7
Overall score (not an average): 2.5
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