G.I. Joe Collectors Club 2009 Convention Set Review - The Crimson Strike Team (Page 2)
Guest Review by Mysterious Stranger

Crimson Command Copter

As with most JoeCons there is an attendee exclusive vehicle and if you’ve seen the box art you know what it is – the Crimson Command Copter.  A repaint of the popular R.H.I.N.O. copter, the CCC is everything that copter was in red.  The crimson, black and silver color scheme is carried over from the figures and looks dynamic on this sleek and angular helicopter.  There are silver Cobra sigils tampo stamped onto the sides and top and the Crimson Guard symbol is on the nose of the canopy.  Nice touches and I’m glad to see them stamped and not just as stickers.

The spring-loaded winglets and retractable blades are still there.  The large roomy cockpit that fits 25th style figures easily is there.  The removable weapons are there… wait what?!  They included the weapons?  Oh yes they did.  Not just the small round chin guns or the small black machine gun.  No they threw in the single missile launcher AND the two big triple missile launchers from the R.H.I.N.O.  The only downside that I see is that they made the missiles blue.  Why blue?  Not black or silver or crimson but blue.  Perhaps to match the blue glass in the canopy?  That’s still a stretch but for me it doesn’t matter as I don’t display anything with spring-loaded missiles loaded.

I really like this vehicle.  The fact that they threw in all the weapons is a great bonus and I really wish I had a crimson R.H.I.N.O. to dock this bad boy with.  But I’m perfectly happy with the Crimson Command Copter as it’s a lot of fun and a great match up with the rest of the exclusives.

Attendee Exclusive FANG

The attendee bonus gift is a great little vehicle, the Commandos Helicoptero.  A repaint of the new and improved 25th F.A.N.G. helicopter, the ‘coptero is an international vehicle and just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the awesomeness of the attendee items.  If you have the 25th F.A.N.G. then you know this is a great vehicle.  Basically a retool of the vintage F.A.N.G. the new version has a new posable flight control stick and modified seat peg to fit the 25th style figure backpack holes.

Molded in silver with black and light blue highlights, the ‘coptero is a great bonus.  The silver is nice and smooth and the blue highlights in the front cannon, missiles and engine cage really make this vehicle pop.  The only painted details appear to be the markings, an Argentinean flag, blue and white bull’s-eye on the tail and the words “Ad Astra Per Aspera” printed below the pilot seat.  The translation of that latin phrase is “To the stars, through difficulties” and the only reason I know that is because it’s the state motto of Kansas, where I went to school.  Like the CCC, the graphics are tampo stamped and not stickers.  The only sticker is the control panel which goes over the two halves of the fuselage and wouldn’t be easy to stamp on.

When you partner this vehicle up with the Pilot Scarlett figure from the 25th line, you have a perfect ride for “Glenda” and she looks like the ‘coptero was made for her (which I choose to believe was the case).

SAS Copter w/ Blades

The other vehicle was available for purchase and is the SAS Copter with Blades figure from the Action Force SAS.  When the rumors began that the convention exclusives would be international in flavor my first guess would be the SAS Copter and Blades as they were the most obvious repaints.  I’m pleased that I (along with several others) was right.

Molded in black, the SAS Copter is just like the Commandos Helicoptero in that it’s a repaint of the 25th F.A.N.G.  Molded in black with light gray and yellow highlights, the SAS Copter is a modern version of the Action Force SAS Copter.  It has all of the ups and downs of the 25th F.A.N.G. including the retooled control stick and back peg as well as loose fitting missiles.  I had a harder time keeping the SAS Copter missiles on than I did with the Helicoptero but that might just be my fumbling fingers and not an indication of tooling issues.

Like the ‘coptero, the SAS Copter has tampo stamped markings.  The U.K. flag, the SAS logo on the tail and a SAF I.D. number on the nose.  These markings along with the color choices and designs really show the level of quality put into these vehicles.  The SAS Copter is another very cool little vehicle and came out great.

And its pilot is no slouch either.  SAS Blades is, as expected, a repaint of 25th Tripwire right down to the quilted pads on his torso.  He’s molded primarily in black with gray boots, gloves and torso pads and the color scheme is a nice homage to the original Blades.  His face is a nice smooth flesh tone and the goggles on his helmet a very vibrant blue, making them stand out.

Blades has a few details I want to point out.  First, he has his SAS logo and a U.K. flag tampo stamped on his torso and left shoulder respectively.  Little touches like these are carried throughout all the exclusive figures and really make the price tag easier to swallow.  The second detail is that unlike most vehicle drivers in the 25th line, Blades gets a figure stand!  Molded in a silver gray it’s marked with just his codename and is a nice addition to the figure.  I won’t be using it as Blades belongs in the cockpit but it’s nice to have it just in case.  Blades is also armed with the rifle from the first 25th Beachhead and a knife that I can’t identify.  At first I thought it was the 25th Snake-eyes knife but it’s got notches in the back of the blade which I can’t identify.  Still a nice touch to have weapons with a vehicle driver, something that we didn’t get a lot of in the anniversary line.

International Operations 3-Pack

In addition to the vehicles, the Club put out 2 figure packs.  The first I’m looking at is the International Team 3-pack featuring Sgt. Redmack, Sgt. Shimik and Sgt. Topson of the Comando Espianaje, the Argentinean version of G.I. Joe.  Most of the figures share the majority of their tooling but the paint applications and accessories really make them stand apart.  I’m not familiar with the international figures so I won’t be making any comparisons to the ARAH inspirations.  Instead I’m going to review the figures as I see them.

Sgt. Redmack is a very dynamic looking figure.  Using the head from v.1 Hawk, the torso and legs of v.1 Snake-eyes (fixed crotch) and the arms of Airborne this figure has a very cool feel to it.  I’m surprised how well the arms go with the Snake-eyes torso but with all of these exclusive figures the real winner is the paint work.

Redmack is molded in a light reddish brown with a darker red/brown camo pattern and green highlights on his boots, gloves and collar and black straps on his thighs.  I love how they painted the collar to look like it’s an undershirt.  It definitely makes it look like the figure has more sculpted detail than what is actually there and the effect is really cool.  His head is molded in a reddish tan flesh tone and his hair is a nice red/brown as well.  I think I’m seeing where his name comes from.

To go with this great looking figure we get some good accessories.  Redmack has the v.1 Snake-eyes webgear, molded in green with black and silver accents at the buckle and straps.  He comes with a light red/brown helmet and clear visor, from the Hawk figure as well as Dusty’s backpack.  Redmack’s armed with a knife, pistol, M16 and MP5, the latter two with black painted accents, a very cool touch.

My Redmack suffers from some loose joints especially in the hips.  I believe this is due to molds being used a LOT but he stands okay and aside from the hips (and knees to a lesser degree) everything else is nice and tight.  I have to say that Redmack isn’t my favorite of these figures.  I’m not sure why because he’s a very good figure.  Maybe it’s the scowly Hawk head.

Next up is Sgt. Topson.  Using the same body parts as Redmack with the v.1 Rock ‘n’ Roll head, Topson is one of my favorites from this set.  Again the Snake-eyes torso and legs with the Airborne arms make for a very cool figure.  Unlike Redmack, my Topson has no loose joints and even the hips are nice and tight.

Topson is molded in light gray with a dark gray camo scheme that looks very cool.  He’s accented with black for his boots and again has the same collar painting as Redmack, with the faux undershirt painted black.  The straps on his legs are again in black and the figure has a very sleek, almost night-ops look.

Geared out in a similar way to Redmack, Topson gets the Snake-eyes webgear in black with silver accents, breaking up the gray of the figure nicely.  He also has a gray Dusty backpack.  I really like the Dust pack and its inclusion here is welcome.  He’s armed with the same knife and pistol as Redmack but gets a M16 w/ underslung grenade launcher for his main weapon.  Again this is painted with black accents.  Topson is topped off with a light gray helmet and carries a black cell phone (that came with Firefly).  The cell phone/radio is a nice touch and fits the characters communications specialty perfectly.

The last of the Commando 3-pack is Sgt. Shimik, the machine gunner.  Shimik is different in that he doesn’t share the same body tooling as Redmack and Topson.  Instead Shimik uses the Snake-eyes torso with Rock ‘n’ Roll legs (Duke legs with the Snake-eyes knife sheath) and Tiger Force Flints arms topped with Bazooka’s head.  These parts mesh really well together and we’ve seen this same basic combination before so it’s no surprise.  What makes him a standout is the detailing.

Molded in black with only a little green detailing on his boots, Shimik is a very dark figure.  The plain black is a nice change from the camo of the other two Commandos in this pack and when you add in the gear it makes for a nice visual.

Speaking of gear, Shimik gets his primarily from Rock ‘n’ Roll.  He’s got the double gun belts in olive green across his chest and the familiar Hasbro belt buckled belt around his waist.  These parts really break up the solid black without obviously drawing attention to themselves.  Shimik also comes with Rock ‘n’ Rolls machine gun and ammo belt, both primarily in silver with painted black highlights.  He has a knife and AK-47 with collapsible stock for when he runs out of machine gun ammo.  And he also gets Bazooka’s helmet in black with an olive green strap.

Topson is my favorite of these three with Shimik close behind (the Rock ‘n’ Roll elements of these two clearly influencing my opinion) and Redmack is a nice contrast to these two making the set very cool.  This three pack is a great set.  The little details on each figure like the Argentina flags on their sleeves and the painted V-neck collars really make the figures stand out.  From the character selection through execution I’m really pleased with how they turned out and can’t wait to get a spot cleared off my shelf to display them.

Jet-Pack Trooper 2-Pack

The other figure pack is a familiar one – a jet-pack trooper 2-pack featuring Starduster and Manleh.

Starduster is the same figure we saw in the Anniversary line TRU 3-pack.  He has the v.1 Hawk head, Duke torso, TF Flint arms, Snake-eyes upper legs and Clutch lower legs.  The parts work really well for the jet-pack trooper and aside from the hand issues there aren’t any real problems with how they look together.

Starduster is painted in a bright sky blue with a darker blue camo pattern that I really like.  It’s very reminiscent of the ARAH figure but updated and different enough to be unique.  The black accents of the boots, gloves and thigh straps really set off the blue and makes what could be a gaudy figure really pop in a good way visually.  His flesh tone, like all the others in this set is a dark reddish tan and batches all around.  Like the Commandos, Starduster has a U.S. flag tampo stamped on his left shoulder, a very nice touch that makes these figures so cool.

He comes with mostly the same accessories as the TRU version with a combat knife, pistol (for the ankle holster), helmet with visor and grenade launcher.  Instead of the Duke bandolier, Starduster gets Steeler’s webgear which I find to be a much better fit for him.  The yellow/tan of the webgear and ankle holster, again, ground the bright blue color of the figure.

No jet-pack trooper would be complete without a jet-pack and Starduster gets the same pack we’ve seen a few times in the Anniversary line.  Molded in a dark olive green with silver accents this pack has a real military feel and harkens back to the original J.U.M.P.  The G.I. Joe star is tampo stamped on and helps identify this as Starduster and not his pack-mate Manleh.

Like the Commandos, I’m not familiar with Sgt. Manleh but I can tell you he’s a pretty cool figure.  Using the same body as Topson and Redmack helps tie him in with his ground based teammates.  The Snake-eyes torso and legs with the Airborne arms makes for a nice basic uniform and the parts flow nicely.  The Stalker head gives him a nice ethnic look that really fits with the South American nature of the character.

Like Starduster, Manleh is molded in the same bright blue with the darker blue camo and black accents painted on.  Matched up with his yellow/tan webgear and the blue beret, Manleh makes for a very visually appealing figure.

While not as heavily armed as his Commando teammates, Manleh is still packing some decent firepower with a submachine gun, pistol and combat knife.  Using the Snake-eyes webgear again creates a nice uniform look between all the Argentinean figures and it works for Manleh really well.

Manleh comes with a J.U.M.P. jet-pack molded and painted the same as Stardusters only with the Argentinean bull’s-eye symbol in place of the Joe star.

The use of Starduster again so soon after his inclusion in the 2007 set could be considered a bit rushed.  But the story in the convention comic explains why he’s included and makes sense in that respect.  Personally I love the idea of jet-pack troopers and Starduster is one of my favorite figures from the Anniversary line and the 2007 convention set.  Plus the great execution of Manleh really helps sell this pack.

One other small exclusive made available at the convention was a set of additional weapons – 1 Joe and 1 Cobra.  These appear to be extras of the weapons included in these sets but they are more than that.

Weapons Pack

Included in these packs were additional rifles, machine guns and knives.  What makes these different from just being extras is the fact that they all have paint applications on them.  The handles of the knives are painted black and the rifles have black accents, making these somewhat simple weapons really stand out.  These are just that little extra that the Club doesn’t have to do but they do it anyway to enhance the convention experience and I for one appreciate it.

Overall, while the decision to remake a past set in 25th form caused some controversy, the Club did a bang up job executing it.  While there are some misses (Baroness) there are also some true hits (Argen 7) and I’m quite pleased with this set and the exclusives.  I give the exclusives a solid 4 and ¾ stars and the entire set 4 ½ stars overall.



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Main Boxed Set