G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Maverick

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesCOBRA Rocket Packs
Conquest X-36Con Set Recap

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One year after the movie Top Gun changed the landscape of fighter jet films, a pilot joined BattleForce: 2000 named “Maverick”.  Coincidence?

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As far as pilot figures go, Maverick didn’t blow my socks off (notice a trend with these BattleForce: 2000 characters yet?).  A strange flight suit with bizarre chest armor and  a flat out weird flight helmet all add up to a bizarre amalgamation that doesn’t really fit the specialty.  Not as detailed or realistic as Slipstream, not quite as unique or interesting as Ace, Maverick just kind of hovered in between and didn’t make much of an impact.

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Heck, he didn’t stick around long enough to make much of an impact.

So what could they do with this current iteration of Maverick to improve on him?  Well, turns out they did a pretty good job.  The figure is tall and slender, much more streamlined than the vintage version, and while this more stylized helmet somewhat resembles Maverick’s, it looks a lot cooler (in my mind).  Bulky arms and legs fill out the flight suit style quite nicely and the modern parts provide decent articulation and sculpting crammed full of excellent  detail.  I actually love Maverick’s build a lot more than I thought I would.  Unlike the vintage figure it looks and feels much more like a flight suit, but with the addition of Matt Trakker’s armor system, still retains that technical look of the original BattleForce: 2000 pilot.

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The updated parts, the updated helmet, and you have a pretty awesome new version of the character which actually makes me wish he wasn’t dead.

Accessories

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Maverick comes with a great helmet (repurposed from Rise of COBRA among other places) a reproduction of his vintage submachine gun and a removable pistol that slides back into a holster on his right hip.  Great accessories, all told, and unlike many of the vintage weapons, I actually don’t mind this one at all.

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Maverick’s a really solid update to the original.  Great flight suit build, cool accessories that compliment it, and a paint scheme that pays homage while still feeling somewhat fresh.  Good job on this one.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Dodger

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesCOBRA Rocket Packs
Conquest X-36Con Set Recap

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As the lone survivor from BattleForce: 2000’s ill-fated mission to Trucial Abysma, Dodger has gained somewhat mythical status in G.I. Joe lore.  He became an active character in my dio-stories for that reason and when Bench Press comics was poised to reinvigorate the G.I. Joe comic license, Larry Hama’s team featured Dodger front and center.  For that reason, he’s generally the central focal point of most everyone’s BattleForce: 2000 memories, myself included.

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This current iteration of Dodger does a pretty good job of updating him for modern day action.  While not excellent, the new head sculpt does the job it’s meant to do (though without the microphone, grumble, grumble) and looks a lot better than Avalanche and Blocker.  Dodger uses some great modern parts with excellent articulation (I will always love those arms) that retain some of the vintage aesthetic, yet also look nicely modernized.

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Dodger has a great muted paint scheme, evocative of his vintage look with well orchestrated camouflage patterns on his legs and a great combination of gray and green to mimic his vintage look.  I love that they gave him the brown tank top underneath the armor as well, and all told, this is a pretty great modern interpretation of the BattleForce: 2000 field commander.  I still wish they were able to give him his microphone and dangit where are all of my removable helmets?!?

Accessories

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Dodger comes with his familiar crazy two-handled rocket launcher (with spiked knuckles, naturally) as well as a great shotgun.  As far as BattleForce: 2000 weapons go, Dodger’s might be the one I hate the least, and I’m a big fan of the shotgun (and love the fact that they included the shells on his wrist).  Like the other members of the convention set, he doesn’t come with a lot of gear, but what he comes with makes sense.

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The Club did Dodger right.  Well, about as right as we can expect these days with non-removable helmets and no microphones, I suppose.  Those additional details would have put this figure over the top, but as it stands, it’s a pretty decent addition to the ever-growing army of modern era characters.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 “Force of Battle” Review

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesCOBRA Rocket Packs
Conquest X-36Con Set Recap

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Two years in a row that I’ve been unable to attend JoeCon and I’m starting to question what my life has become… even though I missed hanging out with some of my best friends in the world down in Orlando, Florida, the immortal James Kavanaugh, Jr. has stepped up in a huge way and assisted me with product so I could still get this review done and out to folks.  I can’t thank him enough for his help and support, and to show him some love, check out his G.I. Joe guides at RAHCGuide.com.

So… BattleForce:2000.  I’ll be honest, even in the vintage era the BattleForce:2000 concept never really grabbed me.  In general I love the idea of the near future soldier, and it was some of those elements that really drew me into the 1990’s era of G.I. Joe, but the execution of BattleForce:2000 back in 1987 didn’t really appeal to me.  I loved Dodger and Blocker was a fun figure, but many of the rest were just too far out there from a design perspective and ended up feeling a little chunky and not as fun.

That being said, you can’t argue with their importance in G.I. Joe lore, and they represent a chunk of characters from 1987 – 89 that fans have been asking for.

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The Collectors Club brings us BattleForce:2000 but also works in some new renditions of the COBRA  Battle Android Troopers to flesh out the set, an idea that was met with mixed reviews (myself included).  Hasbro has been relatively relentless releasing B.A.T.’s ever since their first retail release in 2008, it’s difficult to see a need for yet another edition of the COBRA android, even with a head more resembling the v2 version from 1991.  Not just the idea of the B.A.T. itself, but the huge amount of troopers in the box set generated some questions and concerns among the community, especially when you think about the cost of the set and the perceived collectible value of the figures within.

So with a concept that I’m not wild with against a squad of COBRA’s that don’t bring a whole lot of new things to the table…what would my reaction be once I got these in hand?

Let’s say I didn’t really have high hopes, but let’s dig into the set itself and see how it all shaped out.

G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Blocker

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesCOBRA Rocket Packs
Conquest X-36Con Set Recap

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Blocker holds the dubious distinction of being my favorite vintage BattleForce: 2000 figure, narrowly eclipsing Dodger.  Dodger is my favorite character, but Blocker was always my favorite figure.

The modern version?  Not so much.

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Don’t get me wrong, Blocker isn’t a bad figure, he’s got some redeeming qualities, but he doesn’t stand above and beyond the crowd.  A lot of that is do to his head sculpt.  Where the vintage Blocker had a great look with a lot of personality, this version has the same soft sculpt issues as Avalanche, but the worst issue is the paint on the face with the cross-eyed, vacant stare.  I’m not sure if this is a persistent problem on all Blockers, but it certainly was with mine.  The hat itself fits nicely and there is a bit more detail on the face (better than Avalanche, not as good as Blaster) so it’s not terrible, but the eyes do take away from the overall look of the figure.

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From a parts perspective, Blocker is great from the waist up.  A good selection of modern parts gives him a slender, well-articulated look, and I always applaud the use of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper vest.  One of my favorite accessories.  Unfortunately, below the waist, the figure suffers from the use of those horrid armored legs from Snake Eyes that look awful and restrict ankle movement.  I have no idea why these legs continue to be used, as I think any benefit to vintage resemblance is completely eliminated by the way they look and move.  I am not a fan of these legs at all.

The Club did a good job with paint applications on the figure, nicely mirroring the dark gray and brown camouflage, and you can immediately tell this is Blocker.  The head is unique, the colors work and overall the figure doesn’t look terrible, he just no longer sits as one of my favorites.

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And of course the other remaining issue is the lack of a visor on his hat which is a real shame.  It seems redundant to continue complaining about these additional face pieces that the Club didn’t include with these new heads, but I’m doing it anyway.  Humor me.

Accessories

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Blocker follows the formula we’ve seen, including a reproduction of his vintage weapon as well as a more modern one, this time being a great shotgun that he holds exceedingly well.  I’m a big fan of this weapon and love its inclusion here (much moreso than his vintage weapon which I’m not a big fan of).

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Blocker is good, but not great, mostly due to his head sculpt, lack of a visor, and use of the lower legs.  There is potential there, but it feels like some potential lost.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Blaster

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesCOBRA Rocket Packs
Conquest X-36Con Set Recap

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An interesting thing has happened with the release of the BattleForce: 2000 convention set… I’ve been somewhat forced to go back and look at the original figures and I’ve been somewhat surprised about the realization that BattleForce: 2000 as a concept, something that never worked for me with the vintage aesthetic, is a lot more appealing in their modern forms.

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Blaster is a perfect example of this.  While I appreciated what they were going for back in 1987 with the cool futuristic battle helmet, the thick torso armor and padded legs, the figure looked a little off, as did most of the Battleforce: 2000 figures back in the day.  Rather than look bulky and imposing like the majority of the 90’s figures did, they looked mostly chubby and clunky.

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That problem has been mostly resolved with these modern figures, especially in Blaster’s case.  While the majority of the new head sculpts for the convention figures look soft and lack crisp features, Blaster seems to be the best of the bunch.  His helmet looks great and has some cool sculpted detail throughout, and the face actually looks like a real person, not a facsimile of one. The choice of relatively modern parts gives him a streamlined, yet reinforced look and feel, but he has some really great articulation in spite of that.  Unlike the vintage figure, he manages to look futuristic and well equipped without being overstuffed and mal-proportioned.

Interestingly, my favorite part of this figure are his legs.  They use a combination of two different legs for the uppers and lowers, yet they fit together seamlessly and look great, but also look nicely different and don’t immediately resemble already existing parts.  A nice combination.

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Like the vintage figure, Blaster is a nice green shade throughout with some pretty interesting camouflage placement on the chest and legs, with hints of blue trim.  He matches the vintage figure fairly well, but makes improvements in some key areas, which is appreciated.  The removable holster is definitely a cool element as well.

It would have been nice if the figure had come with a removable mask as the vintage version did, those seem to be some key pieces of all of these BattleForce: 2000 figures that were neglected in pretty much every case, which is a shame.  Investing in tooling for a new head, you’d think masks and mouthpieces could be accommodated for as well.  Personally I’d rather have had the masks or microphones over the reproduced vintage guns (since most of them are somewhat ludicrous) but the Club elected to go the other way.

Accessories

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Blaster isn’t loaded with gear.  He comes with his stand, a reproduction of his vintage weapon and a machine gun that I believe was originally released with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper.  A small selection of weapons, but one that makes sense, and while the Club is releasing the vintage weapons with these figures, I’m glad they’ve also elected to include other weaponry as well that feels a bit more functional and less ornamental.

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Blaster is probably one of my favorite figures in the boxed set.  He’s got good colors, great articulation and a decent parts selection all combining together into a fun figure that is a decent update (and actually even an upgrade) to the original.


G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Avalanche

AvalancheBlasterBlockerDodgerKnockdown
MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesCOBRA Rocket Packs
Conquest X-36Con Set Recap

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Avalanche epitomizes everything that I didn’t really like about BattleForce: 2000 back in the 80’s.  His helmet is strangely shaped and doesn’t make much sense, his uniform attempts to look armored and padded, but just kind of looks fat, and his weapon is a bizarre radar dish on a block of metal that doesn’t manage to look especially futuristic or even very interesting.  Combine that with the fact that I’ve never loved arctic figures to begin with, and I didn’t find a whole lot to love about Avalanche back in the day.

I don’t find a whole lot to love about this one either.

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While I like the use of Retaliation Firefly’s torso and the way they combined armored pieces on the right shoulder, the rest of the figure feels relatively blah.  His slender legs and knee-high metal boots are an interesting contrast and provide some great range of motion, but the use of 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier Destro arms completely kills any sense of decent articulation with this figure.  Elbows that only bend at a 45 degree angle should really be banned from all future use, no matter how accurate they might look to the source material.  Aesthetically they are intriguing, but functionally they disappoint, preventing the figure from carrying any weapon in a realistic way.

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Like several of the other BattleForce team members, Avalanche gets a new head sculpt, but I gotta tell you, it’s not real pretty.  The head bleeds into the helmet and ends up looking pretty uncomfortable for poor Avalanche.  Sculpt wise, the face is smooth and flat and unfeatured and just does not do the figure any justice whatsoever.

Using the vintage figure as a template, Avalance is mostly white with assorted brown camouflage and the paint scheme is fine, though again, nothing too special.

Accessories

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Like the other BattleForce members, Avalanche comes with a reproduction of his vintage weapon as well as a modern weapon as well, and I actually really love the sniper rifle he comes with.  It’s a great choice.  The radar dish weapon, not so much.  Also, it would have been great if his microphone could have been sculpted and tooled alongside the helmet, but the Club elected not to do so, apparently.  Avalanche also comes with a removable knife for a sheath on his left thigh.

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Avalanche was never my favorite BattleForce: 2000 figure and he remains my not favorite one today.  The head sculpt is soft and not up to spec for what I expect from a modern G.I. Joe figure.  Not the best foot forward here.


The Full Force Series 4 Episode 2 mega episode is online

The Full Force has launched their latest episode, and it’s a big ‘un!

Nearly four action-packed hours of G.I. Joe talk post JoeCon with the latest news and intel, as well as an interview with Boss Fight Studio’s own Andrew and Erik to talk about Bucky O’Hare and all sorts of other awesome stuff.

But wait…  there’s another pretty massive surprise…  Hasbro Vice President, Global Brand Management Derryl DePriest himself also joins the show!  What did I tell you?  It’s a big one!

Check it out over on the Full Force Podbean Page as well as embedded below.

Full Force Post-Convention Recap Episode

The 2017 G.I. Joe Convention is over and Chris from The Full Force Podcast has pulled together a panel of experts to talk about what was shown, what was seen and what exciting things happened during the week down in Disney.

Join Chris, Troy and IDW artist extraordinaire Adam Riches as they discuss the trials and tribulations of JoeCon 2017.  Check out The Full Force on Facebook, or just hit up the podbean page below.

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G.I. Joe Convention BattleForce: 2000 Video Review Onslaught

Wow!  Once again, huge props to Chris McLeod from The Full Force who has come through HUGE upon returning from his whirlwind trip to JoeCon.  He was kind enough to send along video reviews for all of the rest of the JoeCon exclusives and they have all been posted to the GeneralsJoes YouTube Channel.

I couldn’t make JoeCon again this year, a fact that I was quite disappointed about, and Chris came through in a massive way.  Huge thanks to Chris from The Full Force and check out the embedded videos below.

Ultimate-Enemies

Some more thoughts and updates from G.I. Joe Con 2017 Comic

Good morning!  So the rush of the Golden Ticket pick up is over and we’ve had some time to digest some more information from the comic book.

Some random thoughts:

  • The original Corrosao was a Brazilian DeeJay repaint.  He appears in the comic both looking like Tele-Viper AND looking like DeeJay.  Which is it?
  • It definitely looks like the B.A.T. Rocket Glider 2 Pack are repaints from the old COBRA Jet Pack (last used as a Target exclusive from Rise of COBRA).

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  • The pilots of the COBRA Sky Serpent looks like it might be a variation of the Laser Viper.  Perhaps a Laser Viper Officer?  You can see a slightly different colored Laser Viper in the pilot’s seat and jumping from the exploding Sky Serpent below.
  • The Vector Jet was up in question for a bit, based on the design of the jet in the comic, but more and more I’m suspecting that it might just be the Conquest, especially based on the uneven artwork elsewhere in the comic itself.

Below check out a bunch of other images from the comic.  Big thanks as always to Phil from YoJoe and Chris from The Full Force for these great images!