I actually posted these reviews a while ago, but stupid me forgot to announce the reviews out on the main page.
Check out my 50th Anniversary Review Page or the direct links below:
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to the way some folks have approached G.I. Joe is that everyone seems so hung up on re-doing vintage figures they don’t leave room for new concepts. Hasbro, in my opinion, has been doing a good job, especially with this recent rendition of their 50th Anniversary line, to explore new ideas as well as revisiting some classic looks.
We got great versions of Gung Ho and Storm Shadow, but also a brand new character in Sightline, and a whole new team in the Wolf Squad. It’s enough to satisfy two different camps. With this “Sneak Attack” 3-Pack there are some new concepts brought to the table, though I’m not sure how successful they all are.
Hasbro elected to put together a different parts formula for Bazooka rather than rely on his 25th Anniversary version, and from a sculpting perspective, I’m glad they did, though using the Retaliation Roadblock parts makes the character a lot larger and more muscular than he might otherwise be perceived to be. The larger base figure also makes the head look pretty small sitting on top of those tall, broad shoulders.
Bazooka uses the torso and arms from Ultimate/Battle Kata Roadblock, but uses the legs from the Wave 1 Roadblock, which unfortunately has reduced knee articulation. Of course, the original Bazooka did as well. One nice thing about the use of the Roadblock Torso is that the split-torso joint is far enough down on the body so the entire “14” from his football jersey sits above it, which means no unsightly split in the middle of the numbers. I like that aspect a lot.
What has me scratching my head, just a bit, is the paint scheme. Designers went outside the box a little bit with the paint apps here, going with a darker blue and very light blue camouflage scheme for reasons unknown. Now, G.I. Joe in the past has certainly been known to use strange camouflage colors and patterns, so I don’t have any major issues with those decisions necessarily, but I do wish some reason had been used for it. Bazooka’s super light (almost white) blue jersey with powder blue numbers doesn’t really resemble anything specifically (though at JoeCon, Mark Weber mentioned, tongue firmly in cheek, that perhaps this was Bazooka’s “away jersey”). The colors here are somewhat bright, though not obnoxiously so, I just wish some reason was given for the eclectic choices. His pants are blue and white camouflage, which might work for a water based operative or parajumper (in fact on one of my early customs, I used a blue and white “Cloud” type camouflage for a parajumper) but Bazooka is really neither.
Again, though, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time a G.I. Joe figure was given a bright, odd color scheme, and it hasn’t bothered me terribly in the past. I think the reason it gives me more pause now is that G.I. Joe in recent years has tried hard to make itself more grounded, and this feels like a departure from that, but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Heck, I’m just glad to see a figure that isn’t meticulously tied back to how the figure looked 30 years ago.
Bazooka comes with lots of his familiar gear, including his excellent backpack with four removable bazooka rounds, plus the bazooka that the rounds can actually fit into. He has his trusty helmet with chin strap, and in case he fires all four rounds, he has a nice tactical shotgun as his backup weapon. Not a ton of gear, but enough and it all works well for the character.
Bazooka’s portrayal in the Sunbow animated series had always soured me on the character, but I’ve learned to appreciate what the cartoon writers were doing with all of these over-the-top characterizations of some of these guys. He’ll never be a character that is central to my G.I. Joe mythology, and this update doesn’t blow me away. I think it makes sense to get Bazooka out there in the same year as characters like Shipwreck, Alpine, Dusty, Gung Ho, and Spirit and it’s quite interesting to stand back and look at this collected group of vintage favorites and see how things have changed.
|Big Brawler||Dial Tone||Lifeline||Recondo||Sgt. Stalker|
|Wreckage||General Mayhem||Iron Anvil||Metalhead||Undertow Officer|
|Undertow||Iron Anvil Officer||Annihilator||Alpine||Frostbite|
|Skystriker||Tiger Sting w/ Bazooka||Tiger Shark w/ Felino||Tigerhawk||Mantis|
|Con Set Recap||Kre-O Six Pack|
I think most of us saw this coming, what with the release of the 50th Anniversary VAMP Mark II last year, but it’s still pretty neat to see it in production.
Like the previous VAMP and the Stinger, Hasbro added some key parts to make the VAMP MK II for Toys “R” Us retail last year, and the Club has now leveraged that into the Tiger Sting, a Tiger Force version of that same VAMP.
Like the retooled vehicle, this one is bulkier and has more “bling” than its vintage counterpart, plus a nicer rocket system with tubes and other tooling adjustments to make it stand out from the original.
Step-for-step this updated Tiger Sting is painted like the vintage version with the yellow and black stripes as well as the unique faded white towards the nose of the jeep. The technique is pretty flawless, and one has to wonder if that was part of the “complicated deco” that lifted prices a bit higher this year than they have been in the past. It’s a great look, even if those of us in attendance did have to fork over some extra bones for it.
The vehicle feels solid and sturdy, and I’ve been a big fan of the modern retools of vintage vehicles since they started doing them. On the surface, it’s tough to tell many differences between this vehicle and a much less expensive vintage counterpart, but if you’re using modern figures and getting your hands on the vehicles often, you will certainly notice the difference.
Then of course, we have Sgt. Katzenbogen, AKA Bazooka behind the steering wheel. Both Bazooka and Roadblock were rumored 25th Anniversary figures before the line phased out in 2009, and so you had to think they would make an appearance here somewhere. I’m actually a bit surprised that Roadblock didn’t appear somewhere in the Con set, but considering his new role as Hollywood icon in G.I. Joe land, it probably makes sense that Hasbro wants to keep him in their back pocket for future use.
Bazooka simply uses the same base figure as the 25th Anniversary version, which is fine, because he was a later generation 25th Anniversary figure and looks pretty good. He’s got a very unique appearance with his baggy football jersey and moustached face, so rather than reinvent the wheel, it totally makes sense to carry that look forward into Tiger Force.
His deco is spot on for the vintage, with the new white jersey and green pants, though it’s an odd departure compared to the rest of Tiger Force. It actually speaks to some of my issues with Tiger Force to begin with… I mean what are they really? They’re supposed to be a cohesive subteam, but there are so many different looks, colors, and decos going on… I struggle with it.
But Bazooka maintains that vintage look nicely into a modern format, and part of me smiles at the fact that they put him an Alpine together in a Con set. It makes sense.
Pretty much the typical stuff here. He comes with his helmet (mine has some unfortunate black splotches on it), rocket launcher, with four rockets, and his familiar backpack which holds the rockets. He’s got everything he needs to have.
The rockets feel a bit soft and “gluey”, and I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s a minor little issue, I suppose.
For vintage fans who are looking for new versions of their Tiger Force favorites, congratulations, the Tiger Sting does that for you. It’s not necessarily what I’m into, but the Club executed it really nicely, so fans who are looking for that (and I understand that many of you are), go crazy. It’s a fun vehicle with a great paint scheme and comes with a really nice looking rendition of Tiger Force Bazooka.
Nice! Along with G.I. Joe: Renegades, the online home for The Hub, Hubworld.com has now launched a section devoted to G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero! Featuring some awesome 80’s style artwork, video clips, and tons of other cool details, it’s a sure draw for any 80’s G.I. Joe fan.
Check it out right here! Just try not to blow your entire work day looking at the site like I’m about to…