SDCC Exclusive "Shockwave" HISS Tank w/ Destro and Constructicon B.A.T.
Just like G.I. Joe, I got one of my most early experiences with the Transformers brand in the form of the Marvel Comics. In fact, I became enthralled with the Transformers comics even before I was able to dive into G.I. Joe, and Issue #5 of the old Marvel series is forever seared into my brain. For that reason and that reason alone, Shockwave remains one of my all time favorite Transformers characters. That image of him standing in front of the brick wall, his arm-cannon smoking with those words painted on the wall behind him. To a kid, that was downright chilling.
I was pretty surprised that Shockwave as a character was considered for an SDCC Exclusive, merely because he's always seemed to me to be a fringe character in the Transformers mythology. If not "fringe" certainly not top tier like Megatron, Starscream, Prime, or Bumblebee. Yet here we are with Shockwave masquerading as a Cobra HISS Tank and doing deals with Destro.
I freaking love it.
I'm not one of those G.I. Joe fans who has been clammoring for a G.I. Joe/Transformers team up...I prefer my Joes to be a little bit more grounded in reality. That being said, the way the Hasbro designers have been able to bridge the two universes in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way without going totally overboard is pretty awesome. The whole Starscream/Skystriker project last year was a great stepping stone that not only gave shout outs to both franchises, but also brought something cool to the regular universe, too, in the form of a fantastic new Cobra Commander figure as well as a great new deco on a classic aircraft. With the Shockwave HISS Tank, they go sort of in a different direction, taking inspiration from a much newer vehicle in the form of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation HISS Tank. They are able to make some subtle changes (the paint app "eye" on the grille, the trademark gun barrel attachment for the main cannon) and suddenly the tank isn't just another Cobra tank, it's a robot in disguise.
With a cosmetic overhaul giving the HISS Tank a more chrome/purple appearance you immediately see the connection between this vehicle and Shockwave, but not so much that it sacrifices the coolness of the vehicle itself. Little touches like the almost opaque semi-translucent gatling guns and canopy are obvious throwbacks to the Decepticon's trademark see-through gun arm, and those little homages are fantastic, but not overwhelming. While the plethora of Decepticon symbols does make it obvious that this isn't your standard Cobra fare, I think they add a great element to the vehicle, and don't take anything away from folks who aren't as fired up about a Transformers connection to G.I. Joe. The overall presentation and revamped design elements make this a terrific looking vehicle, plain and simple.
As with the Starscream Skystriker, the beauty is really in the details. While the "StarStriker" came with a tiny little Megatron hand gun as a cool Easter Egg, Shockwave comes with a miniature Soundwave boombox and three tiny tapes! The small boombox is excrutiatingly well detailed, with all of the right paint applications, joints, Decepticon symbol, and even the tiny eject button is intact. As a great tie-in they also sculpted a backpack peg on it so it can either be worn on the back, or even better, can be held realistically on the shoulder all 80's style.
Such a terrific tribute and a great added accessory.
All in all, this vehicle is not just a great vehicle with some great call outs to two different brands, but it also works flawlessly as an SDCC Exclusive. It has ties to multiple fandoms, it has the potential to be crazy-popular, yet it will never be considered an "essential" part of someone's collection. Two thumbs up.
But for me, I've always been about the figures, more than the vehicles...and the figures from this set each offer some excellent points as well.
Did you ever have one of those moments where you just had to slap yourself in the head? Yeah, I had one of those at Toy Fair this past February, when Hasbro first revealed these items. We had sat through the initial slideshow, showing all of us the upcoming items for the year, including the SDCC Exclusives. All throughout the slideshow and even down into the showroom I was scratching my head, wondering why the B.A.T. was so brightly colored. Seriously, what was I missing?
Well, as I was blasting through pictures, someone next to me called the figure a "ConstructiBAT" and I almost slapped myself in the head. Of course! The homage was easy to see from that point on, and I felt stupid for not noticing it earlier. With Destro working alongside the Decepticons, it only makes sense to have the "worker robot" be in Constructicon colors. While this color scheme might seem borderline useless for more straight-edged G.I. Joe fans who prefer traditional blacks, blues, and military greens, I think the colors are a totally ridiculous and awesome homage to the old school Transformers.
The bright neon green is so over the top that it's awesome, and while I don't see myself using this B.A.T. in a normal display of figures, I can certainly appreciate the inspiration for it and enjoy it in the manner that it was meant. Along with the green the purple trim is a vibrant, exciting color, also a perfect match with the Constructicons of old. Love the colors and how they fit this terrific 25th Anniversary B.A.T. tooling, which is one of the few 25th Anniversary figures that actually has held up over the past few years.
The Constructicon B.A.T. also comes with his normal compliment of accessories, his backpack, three attachments, a Sunbow era rifle as well as two pistols. He also comes with a cart with a trio of Energon cubes, another terrific tribute to the Transformers in the 80's. One thing I'm not certain of is that all of the B.A.T. attachments are purple. The color is fine, and matches the trim of the figure itself nicely, but the mismatch between the awesome metallic arms and the purple attachments seems relatively obvious. That minor complaint aside, the overall look of the figure is really retro and really neat, even if wholly unrealistic.
Now, this... this is freaking cool. This figure right here is part of what makes these SDCC Exclusives so great. Even though Hasbro didn't invest any money in new tooling for this figure, they came up with a fantastic combination of bulky, technical parts and built up one hell of a nice looking update to Destro. This isn't a Destro that reminds anyone of the 80's, but it is a Destro that makes perfect sense.
Using the torso and legs from the Pursuit of Cobra Dusty (and thus, the G.I. Joe: Renegades Cobra Trooper), Destro immediately has a very broad, stocky appearance. Throwing on the arms from the Techno-Viper was the perfect element to finish the figure off, and thanks to that addition, plus the purple color of the figure, you have a great Destro figure that fits right in with the Techno-Viper corps. It's brilliant!
In fact, this Destro figure almost makes me want to go out and buy more 30th Anniversary Techno-Vipers. That's how awesome it is. Putting the great Cobra Trooper vest on him only accentuates the greatness of the character in this particular look.
If I did have any complaint, while the large Decepticon symbol looks awesome on his chest, part of me kind of wishes he didn't have it. He would fit in much better with the more traditional Cobra cabal without it, and I could actually find some great uses for this Destro otherwise. Regardless, the figure looks pretty awesome.
The purple not only ties him in with the Techno-Vipers, but also Shockwave, and brings two pretty drastically separate elements together nicely.
In the accessories department, Destro doesn't come with a whole lot, but I love what he comes with. His "weapon" is a Techno-Viper weapon, again tying him in with that segment of the Cobra faithful, while he also comes with the great City Strike Destro suitcase o' cash with which to gather payment from Shockwave.
I discussed the vest already to a degree, but I want to properly comment upon how awesome it is, and how well suited it is to a protective garment either from explosives or potential corrosive elements from working in the laboratory. This version of Destro could be bulked up for heavy combat, or merely working hands-on with a new weapon. He works in all ways.
Destro alone almost makes this set for me. He hits the right marks in nearly all places. I love the tooling they used, I love the colors, I love how he ties in with the Transformers and G.I. Joe universes both almost seamlessly. A fantastic figure and just one small reason why I love this exclusive tie-ins so much.
Yeah, this is another good one. In fact, I would argue that this one is actually superior to the Starscream Skystriker. Two figures, some great accessories, two of my favorite Decepticons (Shockwave and Soundwave) together in one set. Destro rocks, and the additional accessories throughout are all home runs. This is a hell of a great exclusive, and even if it isn't a blow-by-blow replica of something we saw in the 80's, the homages run amok and do a brilliant job bringing something new to the table while also causing some wistful nostalgia.
Availability: Booth #3329 at ComicCon or through HasbroToyShop.
Disclaimer - This product was provided for review by Hunter PR, Hasbro's Public Relations firm