G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Silent Strike Skystriker w/ Sightline & Capt Ace

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It was a moment at JoeCon that I’m not likely to forget any time soon.  The Hasbro round table as regularly been the highlight of many a JoeCon, mostly due to the product reveals and exciting announcements, and while the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention was no different, it was the context of those announcements that really brought the good feelings to the surface.

While the 50th Anniversary product was a highlight, to be sure, the source of so much praise was the reveal of the new character Sightline and the fact that he was being developed as an homage to G.I. Joe fanatic Gary “Goggles” Head who passed away suddenly early this year.  Using Gary Goggles as his file name, Sightline was slotted into the Silent Strike boxed set, working alongside Captain Ace as his forward observer and recon expert.  As if that wasn’t enough, the figure design was slated to come with goggles.  It all seemed to come together perfectly, and the raucus audience let Hasbro know how they felt during the reveal.

Like I said, a great moment.


(Video Courtesy of Dave and Duvall and Toy World Order)

The only thing left to see would be whether the execution of the Silent Strike boxed set would live up to its conceptual development, and I’m happy to say, I believe it does.

I had some mixed reactions with the Crimson Strike ComicCon set, but from end-to-end I find myself really enjoying Silent Strike.

SKYSTRIKER

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I asked the question during the ComicCon version of this set review, about whether or not we really needed another Skystriker.  The answer to that question is obviously a “no”, but it’s tough to argue that point when they execute it as well as the Crimson Scythe was executed, and frankly, the vehicle in this set is pretty darn nice as well.

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Sure, there’s not a whole lot of outside the box thinking or ingenuity here, this is essentially a “stealth” Skystriker, the familiar F-14 Tomcat in a darker gray, almost black paint scheme.  It’s the same version of the plane that we’ve gotten several times since its 2011 debut, and there’s not a whole lot to complain about, really.  The newly tooled structure of the plane is great, the “swing-wings” work well, and the missiles have been greatly improved since it’s debut, staying hooked onto their mounts on the plane far better than they have previously.

I’m not sure exactly how they achieved the effect, but the gray on the Skystriker has an almost metallic or reflective quality, which is a pretty neat design aesthetic.  I don’t know if it’s marblized or not, but it comes across looking really “shiney” which is a nice separation from just a traditional dark gray color.

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Sure, the plane is still just a single seater, but I maintain that this isn’t a huge issue, as you can’t really clearly see inside when the vehicle is on display, and if you want to “play with it” as a double seater, just use a little imagination, it’s not a huge deal.  This version of the famous assault plane is a lot more solid and durable feeling than its predecessor, and I must admit I really do like the darker color scheme here.  The canopy is a very nice diversion from the original, too, with some great red highlights.

One of my favorite elements of the Skystriker is probably the great new Wolf themed logo on the rear fin.  It also matches a patch that can be found on Ace’s arm as well.

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As I said, this isn’t an extremely clever or unusual concept for a Skystriker update, but it looks very cool, which helps.

CAPTAIN ACE

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One of the most unheralded figures in the Pursuit of Cobra/30th Anniversary line was the version of Ace that came with the original Skystriker.  Using a fantastic mix of modern parts, that version of Ace existed as a great pilot figure, but also a very cool figure altogether.  Both him and the ComicCon COBRA Commander based on him are great examples of how a vehicle driver can be designed as a great driver without sacrificing the basic qualities of a good figure.

The 50th Anniversary update to Captain Ace retains the same parts formula as that one, but done in the now well known “Wolf Squad” color scheme of dark gray with some subtle red highlights, which works really nicely as a flight suit, but also as part of the Wolf Squad ground team.  It’s a combination of unusual individual parts that make up a really solid final figure that has great articulation as well as a fantastic looking somewhat futuristic flight suit.  This version of Ace maintains all of that and I really love the colors as well.  Interestingly, Hasbro balances the gray with a reflective “gun metal” type of paint scheme that just compliments each other so well and looks fantastic.  It ties Ace into the Wolf Squad, but also gives him a very technical look, which works well.  I love how the reflective gray colors on Ace’s uniform trim matches the same reflective gray look on the attack plane.  It ties them both together really well and is a nice effect on its own to boot.

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Another link to the aircraft is the Wolf Squad logo on Ace’s arm, which is pretty tiny, but it’s definitely there.

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The Wolf Squad aesthetic has evolved into something very cool, and I hope Hasbro leverages that going forward.

Accessories

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Captain Ace comes with some familiar gear, some of the same stuff as previous versions of the figure came with.  He has the flight vest that the original figure came with, as well as the leg harness from Para-Viper.  The flight helmet is straight from the Pursuit of COBRA Skydive, which is a change from the previous Ace figure, but still works nicely.  He also has a small submachine gun and the pistol that slides neatly into his ankle holster.

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I really love the evolution of some of these pilot figures.  Both Ace and the G.I. Joe: Retaliation version of Lift Ticket have evolved past being drivers and into really excellent looking military themed updates, who can exist behind the control stick, or behind a machine gun.  This new version of Ace is no different, and I’m excited to have him.

SIGHTLINE

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For as much as G.I. Joe has been based off of existing vintage concepts for many of the modern releases, in my mind the bread and butter is with new characters.  It’s what really helped the line push on through its original 12 year run, and for many folks, it’s what continues to interest long time fans.  As a figure, Sightline works quite well.  For the most part, he uses the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Ultimate Duke template (though the armored torso is from Retaliation Duke version 1, not the Ultimate version) only in a great digital camouflage urban deco instead of desert.  He uses the alternate head that came with that figure, and even though, from the surface, the figure looks identical, the camouflage paint scheme does wonders to differentiate him.  Heck, the Ultimate Duke figure is a fantastic figure anyway, so tough to complain about him being the base.

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He’s one of those great toys that has a pretty bulky armored uniform, but still maintains significantly great articulation, with elbows and knees that move quite well.  I’ll admit, though, as time goes on, I have less love for the rocker ankles, and they feel a little weird on this figure as well.

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So, take one of the greatest figures from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation line, give it a terrific urban camouflage paint scheme, and base his new character identity on a good friend who passed away?  Yeah, that’s a good formula for success in my eyes.

Accessories

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Sightline comes with a sniper rifle, the Duke vest, a laptop, pistol, knife, and shovel.  I’m going to assume the inclusion of the shovel wasn’t meant as an homage (Gary Head unfortunately passed away due to heart failure from shoveling snow) and was merely an accessory that made sense for the character’s specialty.  The sniper rifle and laptop are both terrific accessories, and I love the idea of Gary Head’s character having a computer within reach at all times.  The knife and pistol fit the holster and sheath and I really like those base weapons anyway.

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Yes, this figure was a highlight for collectors, and in many ways the end result meets our lofty expectations.  It’s a great figure based on a great friend, and I’m glad to have him in hand.

Looking at the G.I. Joe side of the Silent Strike set, I’m extremely happy with how this all came together.  Although the Skystriker is on the verge of overuse (heck, some might argue it crossed that line a while ago), I do like this new paint scheme.  Both Ace and Sightline are highlights of this second run of 50th Anniversary figures, and the core of the Wolf Squad concept is done amazingly well in this boxed set.  Thumbs way up on this side of the fence.

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New G.I. Joe Kre-O SuperPage has been launched!

I’ve been considering this page for a while, and in fact had most of it drawn up shortly after Toy Fair, but with the recent collector craze over these little guys, I figured it was time to get this thing rolled out here.

On the SuperPage you’ll find a wave-by-wave break down of the Kre-O figures with all of the press images, and the known codes for the blind bags.  You can find it in the SuperPages menu up above, and also directly at the link below:

On this page you’ll also find a ton of images from Toy Fair 2013 featuring most of the Wave 1 Kre-O items, and even the build sets from Wave 2!  Enjoy!

Some more great artistic updates from Robert Atkins blog

One thing that IDW artist Robert Atkins does that I love is showcase some of his commission work on his blog.  Because of this, we get some awesome detail into the thought process behind work that we might not normally even know existed.

Today he provided some terrific inks for a commissioned Flint and Ace piece, with links to each step in the process.

Previously he also supplied an update to a terrfic Zartan, and a very nice classic Firefly piece that he had done as well.  All of these items are awesome and deserve some Joe fan attention.  Check out the various links below:

Excellent work, and don’t forget, Robert Atkins is scheduled to make an appearance on the What’s on Joe Mind podcast this week, too, and I’m already fighting myself not to just geek out for 2 hours straight.

GeneralsJoes Reviews the G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Skystriker!

Many collectors have been patiently waiting…  I got lucky with a random Target a little over a week ago, and have slowly (but surely) been gathering my thoughts and well over 100 images.

For the first time in 28 years, the Skystriker is on retail shelves across the country.  While this obviously pleases a great many Joe fans, is the end result worth the wait?  Check out the GeneralsJoes 30th Anniversary and G.I. Joe: Renegades review page (which also includes the pre-production Black Dragon) or just hit up the link below.

Enjoy!

Collectors, start your engines… the Skystriker has hit US Retail!

Over at HissTank.com, OSOK reports that he found a stash at his local Target, and he has pictoral proof.

Check out the thread right here.  Then stop reading, and GET HUNTING!

Okay, the Skystriker just went up a few points on the cool meter

While everyone out there has been drooling about the upcoming Skystriker, I’ve felt a little luke warm, just because I’ve got my vintage ones already, and wasn’t really sure what the appeal of this one was going to be.

Well, here’s a step in the right direction.

Hasbro has been mentioning over the past few months that the Skystriker would come with “customizable” stickers, but without much detail.  Over at HissTank.com, The Commander has unboxed a pre-release version of the venerable G.I. Joe aircraft, and turns out the customizable stickers are pretty kick ass!

They come with different decals for the tail fin and cockpit, depending on who you choose to pilot the plane.  There’s a deck of cards for Ace, a Killer WHALE logo for Shipwreck, a skull and shotguns for Flint, and the Arashikage Clan symbol with dice for Snake Eyes.  How damn cool is that?

I know, in a way, it was obnoxious that everyone and their brother could fly a state of the art fighter jet back in the Sunbow days, but I love it when Hasbro calls back to those good old Sunbow episodes, and this was an awesome way to do that.  Check out the mirrored image below, and hit up HissTank.com to see the entire unboxing.

Gyre Viper launches onslaught of Skystriker Images!

Without a doubt one of the most hotly anticipated releases in recent memory is the upcoming Skystriker.  And, as we should come to expect, Gyre-Viper got his hands on one and has posted a plethora of images over on JoeDeclassified.com.

Being the kind of guy he is, he’s also let me mirror them here on GeneralsJoes.  And let me just say…  ROCK.

Yeah, this thing looks impressive.  It’s got the size and the scale of the original, but with a healthy dose of retooled parts.  That cockpit looks freaking awesome with all of the updated controls, and I love the fact that we’re getting the black tailfins like the Sunbow model.

And maybe I’m in the minority, but I’m in love with that Ace, too!  I’m a big fan of the Skydive tooling, and with that vest and awesome helmet?  Great looking figure.  This will be a set to get your hands on.  Check out the JoeDeclassified thread here, and the images hosted below.

Formerly cancelled Target exclusives on sale at ROSS!!

Woah!

Granted, I’m one of the lucky ones who grabbed the full set of four of these from eBay last week, but this is just crazy.  Just as the Rise of Cobra was morphing into the Pursuit of Cobra, a number of items were solicited, and some items were destined for the dustbin of history, including the final wave of Target Exclusives.  Initially this wave was slated to come with the Trubble Bubble w/ Elite-Viper, Twin Battle Gun w/ Range-Viper, Air Assault Glider w/ Capt. Ace, and the RAM w/ Sandstorm.

These items have sold for upwards near $300 on the secondary market, and now you can get them for six bones a pop at your local Ross stores.

At least, I’m assuming some folks have these locally.  Myself?  The nearest Ross is 350+ miles away.

If anyone gets their hands on a few Twin Battle Gun w/ Range-Vipers, feel free to let me know.  I’d love to have a little squad of these babies, but I’ve got no Ross stores locally.  I will be getting my eBay one this week, and at least this makes my decision to open them much easier.  Reviews will be coming!

Check out some mirrored images below, and a huge thanks to japanX80 of HissTank.com for the info.

Boxed images for upcoming mini-vehicle Pursuit of Cobra sets

dawg99 over at HissTank.com has posted a nice image of all four of the upcoming Pursuit of Cobra mini-vehicle sets mint in their boxes…and I’m really surprised.  The packaging is surprisingly nice!  For the record, this appears to be the breakdown:

  • Air Assault Glider w/ Capt. Ace (Arctic Assault)
  • RAM Cycle w/ Sandstorm (Desert Battle)
  • Jungle Terror Twin Battle Gun w/ Range-Viper (Jungle Assault)
  • COBRA Flight Pod w/ Elite-Viper (City Strike)

I’m amazed that they managed to get that Whirlwind shoe-horned into that tiny box…impressive.  If these sell for the same price as current versions, I’ll buy a few of those if I can find ’em.  Check out the image below.

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Loose images of Pursuit of Cobra Target Mini-Vehicles emerge

We’ve seen other images already, but they were pretty low on detail…now HissTank.com has some loose images up which are looking at least a bit better and clearer.  Mirrored below are images for the following:

  • Cobra Twin Battle Gun w/ Range-Viper
  • Flight Pod w/ Elite-Viper
  • RAM w/ Sandstorm
  • Glider w/ Capt. Ace
  • Water Moccasin w/ Copperhead & Swamp-Viper

When Hasbro does good, they do really, really good, but when they do bad, it’s pretty bad.  And I gotta say that Glider and Water Moccasin, in my opinion, are pretty damn bad.  I mean, Capt. Ace with a moustache?  That’s Tripwire’s head anyway, so why the heck paint a fake moustache on there for a guy who’s not supposed to have one?  Or if you must paint one on there, why not just make this Slipstream?  I gotta tell you, too, I’m feeling pretty sorry for poor AVAC…he keeps getting saddled with terrible paint schemes and new specialties.  First he was a pretty bad ass red and silver, then he turns into pukey purple with the CLAW, and now he’s poop green and brown as a “Swamp-Viper”.  Enh.  Not high on my list.

The others, though, are impressive.  Love the Range-Viper and Whirlwind…that Elite-Viper in red is pretty damn cool, too, I gotta admit.  Hell, even Sandstorm with the basic Reactive Armor torso and desert camouflage pants is pretty bad ass, and he’ll fit in real nice with the Toys “R” Us Troop Builder packs.  Considering I haven’t loved any of the Target exclusive mini vehicles I’ve seen yet (except the SNAKE) these are looking really nice.  Check out the images yourself: