G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Airtight (G.I. Joe: Renegades)
Well, dangit, Hasbro did it to me again. They took a character and an action figure that I had no real attachment to and made them so frikken cool that I couldn't help but fall back in love with them.
Just like Sci-Fi, I never really understood or appreciated the attachment folks had for Airtight. As a described "pencil necked geek" his most major appearance in the comics involved figuring out a way to defend against mutant plant spores and I just couldn't find many other ways to integrate him into my G.I. Joe universe. It didn't help that the figure was very bright, somewhat generic, and just not all that exciting.
Well, Hasbro took this figure that was uninspirational and weaved together something incredible.
The most fascinating thing to me, though, is that Hasbro dipped into the G.I. Joe: Renegades waters to get this figure to us. Granted, Airtight looked very familiar in the Renegades series, but with all of these 30th Anniversary inspirations sprinkled throughout the line, it is striking that they went Renegades on Airtight, but I guess I'm glad they did.
Many fans have questioned some of the character choices with the Renegades figures (myself included) when we get guys like Firefly or Law & Order before The Baroness, Destro, or Roadblock, but you can tell Hasbro was kind of trying to get Renegades figures out there, yet still appeal to those vintage purists who need to fill their classic displays. Airtight fills both roles perfectly. He doesn't look a whole lot like his Renegades self, but does retain some more modern style, yet still fits in perfectly with the '85 ideals.
Using mostly new tooling, Airtight is wearing a nice thick protective suit that is chock full of sculpted wrinkles, a recessed hood, a tall collar, and just amazing amounts of detail. Where the original Airtight looked like a yellow blob without much depth, this figure just oozes it, yet still manages to retain a relatively impressive amount of articulation. We've seen figures in the past (most notably Blowtorch) who were sculpted with baggy uniforms that ended up sacrificing some movement, and while Airtight's movement isn't perfect, it's a damn sight better than we got with the 25th Anniversary flame thrower.
Along with the sculpting on the figure, the paint apps are nearly perfect. Some of the green seems just a tad bit lighter on this figure than it was with the vintage version, but not enough to make a huge difference, and it certainly is close enough to draw you back to 1985 as an inspiration.
I love how the yellow and green compliment each other, and the great details on the chest harness only help make this figure "snap".
Airtight comes with some awesome accessories. His removable helmet is very classicly themed, yet fits perfectly over his head, that gives us our first look at Airtight's face. The cinched hood is a terrific touch. He comes with the very familiar classic backpack, with some nice modern modifications. I really love those miniature turbines that can ventilate hazardous chemicles from the air. Along with the standard pack, he also comes with an elaborate oxygen tank pack that hooks up to his familiar vacuum hose, and he also comes with a nice pump action shotgun to defend himself from crazed Compound Z infected monsters.
The removable chest harness gives collectors the flexibility to make some more generic hazmat troopers and the end result is a figure that is designed incredibly well, sculpted perfectly, and has a great compliment of gear. The best thing, too, is that Hasbro is coming close to perfecting that side-clasp. There are still some issues to work out here and there, but both Sci-Fi and Airtight have that clasp on the sides of their harnesses that snaps in very tightly, and doesn't give us the "rib poke" that many of their comrades have.
This is a great, great, GREAT update. I can't speak highly enough of it. This is coming from someone who really doesn't have a place for Hazmat troopers in his G.I. Joe mythology and never really loved the character of Airtight to begin with.
I'm sure by the time Wave 4 reviews are done people will be sick and tired of seeing all the stars, but I call 'em as I see 'em, and this is an exceptional figure. A perfect vintage homage, and a great example of the right way to do these toys. Give them some classic elements, upgrade them in the right spots, keep added articulation, and blow the fans away. Wash, rince, repeat. I fully expected to like this figure, but to really go crazy over Sci-Fi, but in the end, it was the opposite. Sci-Fi is cool, for sure, but Airtight absolutely blows me away. Fantastic.