Not only is the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention “Sky Patrol” themed, but it’s also “Sky Sweeper” themed. The COBRA Hydra in a former life was a G.I. Joe vehicle called the Sky Sweeper. Now, we have this Sky Sweeper, which is an update to the original Rise of Cobra vehicle also called the Sky Sweeper.
The Rise of Cobra Sky Sweeper was one of my favorite vehicles released in that line, which is surprising since it leverages so many elements from the COBRA Firebat. Obviously the entire core of the vehicle is the Firebat, with the addition of some gun-mount skids and external engines, which honestly make a lot more difference than one might initially suspect. They take an iconic and unique COBRA vehicle and make it look different enough and cool enough to appear completely separate.
Ever since I got my first Terror Drome for Christmas in 1986 I’ve been infatuated with the Firebat. A small, nimble, and potent vehicle, at that time it was one of COBRA’s only real viable air-to-air attack craft. The Rattler was a bomber (though not really treated as such) and the Night Raven was a high altitude surveillance plane, which left the Firebat controlling the skies. The fact that it was small enough to comfortably fit my 12 year old hands and the functionality of the Terror Drome launch silo only helped things. It remains one of my all time favorite vehicles 30 years later.
It’s no surprise then that the G.I. Joe version, with some added enhancements, retains a good deal of the charm and joy of the old school Firebat. The rounded, sleek shape, awesome sculpted armor panels and the fold-up wings all remain intact with this vehicle, but some minor tweaks have greatly improved parts of it, too. Blocky external engines are now mounted on each wing, adding a sense of “oomph” to the vehicle, and in a much more subtle adjustment, sculpted guns on skids enable the vehicle to land more logically and add some great firepower.
Since this is a Sky Patrol version, obviously the main color scheme here is a very vibrant and shiny metallic silver, an especially eye catching and interesting color scheme, balanced off nicely by black trim on the wings and a great shade of olive green throughout. The Sky Patrol logos break up the blank spaces very nicely and I am always in favor of tampos over decals. This version of the Sky Sweeper maintains the spring-loaded missile launchers on the wings, but compliments those with the standard Firebat rockets to offset the gimmick (which really doesn’t look all that gimmicky to be honest).
Speaking of gimmicks, the Collectors Club has fully admitted it was a mere coincidence, but if you wedge the Sky Sweeper between the tail fins of the Sky Striker, it fits in there and holds almost as if it’s meant to. A neat little touch, an homage to the Sky Patrol Night Raven (even though that plane actually didn’t come with its drone), and a way to tie the two air vehicles together. Neat!
The Sky Sweeper is a very fun addition to your Sky Patrol arsenal. It’s a small vehicle with a very pleasing design aesthetic complimented by equally pleasing and vintage themed Sky Patrol colors. I really dig it, in fact, I like this vehicle far more than the Skystriker.