GeneralsJoes Reviews G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary “Vanishing Act” 3 Pack

I wrapped up the two pack reviews over a week ago, and it’s time to move on to the three packs.

First out of the gate is Vanishing Act, featuring everyone’s favorite character Hit & Run!  Check out the reviews of all three figures at the 50th Anniversary Review Page or linked directly below.

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G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Hit & Run

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Is this real life?  It wasn’t so long ago that when folks asked me who my favorite character was and I said “Hit & Run”, I would get a questioning look and the gesture that told me the person asking was trying to remember who that character was.

He didn’t appear in any animated series, he barely appeared in the comics, and by and large he’s a mostly forgotten later-era G.I. Joe infantry specialist.  Certainly not as remarkable to most folks as Grunt or even Footloose, Hit & Run flew under most radar screens except for avid G.I. Joe fans.

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In 2008/2009 I was very pleasantly surprised when Hit & Run was included as part of the Assault on COBRA Island 7-Pack, although the formula wasn’t the best.  In those days, though, there wasn’t exactly a lot to choose from.  For a long time it seemed like that might be what we got for a modern era Hit & Run figure, but then 2012 came, and the now infamous Hasbro Concept Case revealed an amazing Hit & Run upgrade using a mixture of Firefly and Lifeline parts.  Ever since then, Hit & Run has been a fixture in various G.I. Joe figure assortments, most of them from the Collectors Club.  First there was the Night Force version (along with a Kre-O rendition of the same figure), then we got a great version in the Figure Subscription Service, and finally Hasbro has gotten into the game with the Vanishing Act 3-Pack featuring a Wolf Squad repaint of Hit & Run.  Originally viewed as another Night Force version perhaps, the Wolf Squad connection was revealed as part of a Q & A session right here on GeneralsJoes and the figure makes a lot more sense based on that.

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The figure uses the same parts formula as other recent installments, with the Hit & Run head, Lifeline’s torso, Agent Mouse’s arms, and the legs sourced from PoC Snake Eyes, but used and modified several times since.  Unlike previous iterations of this figure, the 50th Anniversary Hit & Run has the same legs as the PoC Snake Eyes, and not with the additions from Lifeline.  I have little issues with the parts build, though I wish there had been a way to use the Ultimate Firefly torso seen in the concept case.  According to the Collectors Club the head doesn’t fit on that torso.  In the grand scheme of things, Lifeline was one of the best figures produced in recent years, so I have no issues with how that build came to be.  The range of motion is great, sculpting is excellent, and he holds his weapons very well.  He’s got plenty of holsters for his various accessories, and the figure’s look and feel from a build perspective is excellent.

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I will say, however, that I am curious about the mindset behind the deco choices.  It certainly looks as if Hasbro was going for either a night operations or urban operations color scheme here with various shades of gray with black trim.  I realize the tie-back to Wolf Squad (and love it) but from purely an aesthetic standpoint, the Hit & Run figure does have some paint related issues.  First of all, the majority of the figure is swathed in a pretty standard shade of gray, which is a relatively blah color to start with.  He’s got some interesting camouflage on the pants, but his torso and arms are completely without camouflage, which might not look so weird if he had webgear, but he doesn’t, so the different in color scheme is pretty apparent.  If the base uniform color wasn’t the same exact shade, too, it might work okay, but instead of looking like camouflage pants with a non-camouflage shirt, it just looks like there were some missing paint applications.  I do understand it was probably a costing issue, I just can’t help but think how much better the figure would look with the great leg camouflage on the torso and arms (to match the helmet and backpack).

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There are some variations in the shade of gray throughout the pouches on his torso, which breaks things up a bit, as does the red underneath his arms.  The black gloves and boots adds some variety, too, but other than those few color breaks, the figure comes across as fairly monotone.  Of course, one of Hit & Run’s trademarks is camouflage skin, and they maintain that here, going with a darker gray, which actually makes the figure look almost rock-like.  It makes me think perhaps he was developed as a mountain specialist, where the rocky colors of his skin might help him blend into the stone surface of the mountains he’s climbing.  It’s a strange color scheme that doesn’t look especially natural, and being gray, it sort of adds to the monochromatic feel of the rest of the figure.  Thinking to the Wolf Squad angle, I could see Hit & Run being a “cave hunter” type of operative, a guy that goes into caves to try and root out COBRA leadership, or what have you.  The darker gray shades look pretty cool within the dark shadows of a cave, and the lines on the skin could work for a rock pattern.

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I love the build, as I have from the first time I saw it, but the color choices are a bit off kilter and not all that exciting.  I am thrilled to have another Hit & Run to add to my repertoire, but I love the continued evolution of Wolf Squad, but I think there could have been some deco changes here and there.

Accessories

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Hit & Run comes with a lot of familiar accessories that we’ve seen in previous versions of the figure. His helmet and goggles are here, with a really nice looking urban operations paint scheme.  There’s an infantry backpack, too, which maintains that great camouflage pattern.  If anything they really make me wish Hasbro had done the urban ops camouflage throughout the entire figure rather than skipping the torso.  Unfortunately the Lifeline torso doesn’t lend itself to having webgear on top either.

He also has his familiar machine gun (the one from the 25th Anniversary, not the Lifeline machine gun from the last two releases), pistols, and knife, which each has a place in a holster or sheath on the figure. His secondary pistol is the one with the silencer from Snake Eyes.

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I will welcome and enthusiastically embrace every new Hit & Run figure we get, and this one is no exception.  The parts build is great, gives him terrific articulation, and some really nice accessories.  It’s a solid figure, which is somewhat held back by a somewhat dull deco pattern.  In the grand scheme of things it’s a figure that had some great potential, but could use some aesthetic improvements.

The Pre-Production Version

I’ve seen a lot of fans question the reasoning behind pre-production collecting.  A lot of folks have this misconception that it’s about getting something “first”, and that is not always the case.  Sometimes it is, but not in all cases.  When it comes to the 50th Anniversary Hit & Run, I jumped on one of the first pre-production auctions that came across the board, and the result is I have a figure that is very nicely different and adds a cool element to my Hit & Run collection.

As you can see from the images below, the pre-production figure is considerably different.

  • Different shade of gray skin color
  • No hair
  • No skin camouflage
  • No uniform camouflage
  • Black boot color goes to the knees
  • No camouflage on the helmet
  • No camouflage on the backpack

Check out some of the comparison images above.  I’m really glad I jumped on that pre-production auction, and this is just a small example of why some collectors focus on them.

Share your thoughts on FSS 3.0 Hit & Run with the GIJCC

If you’re like me and were a bit disappointed about the Concept Case Hit & Run, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club is taking feedback in regards to a possible deco change!

You have to be a G.I. Joe Collectors Club member to vote, but if you are, consider going to the Collectors Club forums and sharing your thoughts.

Hit up GIJoeClub.com and let them know whether you prefer the concept case version or the Club mock up.

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G.I. Joe Collectors Club brings out FSS 3.0 Hit & Run

If you were in the audience during the reveal for FSS 3.0 at JoeCon this year, you may have heard a high-pitched girly screech when they showed the entry for Hit & Run up on the slideshow.

Yeah, that was me.  I’m not ashamed.

Today, the Collectors Club revealed a digital mock up for the Hit & Run figure, and…  yeah, I don’t know.

I thought everyone had pretty much agreed that the concept case Hit & Run was the definitive version of the character and the version that the fans latched onto.  Obviously I latched onto it.  When the Collectors Club released the Night Force version for the Convention two years ago, I was disappointed, but figured maybe a concept case version was down the road. When the GIJCC showed the Concept Case version as a specific example during the presentation, I thought that time had come.  I was excited to say the least.

Today, the Collectors Club revealed their mock up… and I can’t help but come away underwhelmed.

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Obviously the most  glaring ommission is the green skin.  I’m not sure why that was left off, as I would think it wouldn’t require an extra paint application if the plastic was just produced in that green color.  Even if it did require another paint application, the green skin is pretty much Hit & Run’s defining characteristic.  That seems like a weird thing to leave absent.  I actually find myself a little more upset about the parts recipe.  I was thinking maybe the Club would switch up the parts a bit and actually give us what the Concept Case did… namely the Firefly torso and different upper legs.  I know that’s a small issue, but those elements are part of what made the concept case version so excellent.

So instead we’re left with a repaint of the Night Force version, again without the green skin.  I’m sure there are reasons why this decision was made, I hope to find out what they are.  No matter the reasons for it, though, the end result is the crown jewel of FSS 3.0 in my mind has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.  Perhaps others will make up for it.

Keep watching GIJoeClub.com!

What’s on Joe Mind Episode 72 Offends my delicate sensibilities

I promised myself I wouldn’t post about this episode…  the ridicule… the insult…  the depravity performed upon my favorite character in the G.I. Joe mythology was almost too painful to revisit here on my website.  But for the good of the listeners, I decided to be the bigger man.

Unfortunately a 103 degree fever and gut-punching flu bug kept me from participating in this episode, but that didn’t stop the boys and guest Ed Lydon from piling on poor Hit &  Run.  I’ll remember this, fellas.  As an aside, there is a terrific interview (that I did participate in) with Andrew Kishino, the voice of Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: Renegades!  That almost makes it all worthwhile.

Listen to the latest episode via our Podbean page, or the embedded players below, and as always show notes are after the jump.

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GeneralsJoes Concept Case Top 10 – Number 1

Here we are.  Number one.  My most requested, most admired, and most longed after item that we saw in the Concept Case at the 2012 G.I. Joe Convention.  I will admit something, though.  If we’re talking about being impressed by a specific item itself, I would have to admit, the Coyote was probably the most impressive toy that I saw, standing on its own.  But with the thought in mind that we will likely never see this thing at retail, I wanted to place the number one moniker on a more realistic goal.  A figure with some new tooling (but not too much), and a figure of a character that I have loved for a very long time.

1 – G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary Hit & Run

In 1988 I was just starting high school, and trying to figure out what I wanted to be “when I grew up”.  I bounced between being an artist, being a writer, and pretty much as far away from Information Services flunky as you can get.  Back in those days, well before I ever heard the term “fanfic” I explored my writing by diving into the G.I. Joe universe.  With it being 1988, and the last Sunbow G.I. Joe adventures being behind us, it felt kind of like a new start, even though I was a devout comic fan, and the comic was still going strong.  One of the first figures I bought from the 1988 series was Hit & Run, and I was immediately blown away.  As a 14 year old kid, I was especially impressed by his background on the filecard, involving the death of his parents, and it immediately gave the character an immense depth in my mind.

My own personal G.I. Joe universe developed over the next couple of years, and in 1990 I really dove into my writing, which involved the Joe team picking up the pieces after a massive battle had eliminated much of their leadership team.  Stalker was the new commander, Bullhorn played a key communications role, and Hit & Run earned his spot as the trademark “lone wolf” being rather anti-social and angry at the world because of his rocky upbringing and his inability to stay in one place for too long.  As a big fan of Wolverine and The Punisher back then, the whole lone wolf mentality was fresh in my head, and the character was without a doubt the focus of my entire G.I. Joe universe.  He wasn’t a ninja like Snake Eyes, but he was fast, awesome with a weapon, and he just didn’t care about anything but killing Cobra.

The character has just always resonated with me, and continued to when I wrote my fanfic The Price of Peace (which is pretty different than what I was writing in 1990, but still had some of those elements in place), and then when I moved over to my Dio-Stories.  Hit & Run has always remained a constant, and even as I’ve watched several other characters evolve through new designs and concepts, my trusty ’88 Hit & Run has maintained his place.  Yes, we did receive a 25th Anniversary update in the Attack of Cobra Island boxed set, which both surprised and impressed me, but the end result, unfortunately, didn’t really give the character justice in my mind.  I wondered if a new version ever would.

Turns out that yes.  A new version could do the character justice.  Justice in a huge way.  As I walked to the Concept Case up ahead, after grabbing my parachute figures from the Sales floor, I had already heard the whispers of people milling around.  No less than four people walked up to me in the 20 minutes I was in line, a couple of them practically jogging, to excitedly tell me there was a Hit & Run in the case.  I almost couldn’t believe it.

After waiting in line I rushed over, and there it was.  A newly tooled head, with the necessary green facepaint and camouflage.  Lots of borrowed parts, but parts borrowed from as of yet unreleased figures (upcoming 3-Pack Firefly torso, upcoming 3-Pack Agent Mouse arms) and using the fantastic parachute rig that was never included with Lifeline…essentially the figure looks all new, but with lots of borrowed tooling.  Parts choice was perfect, the weapons used were simply fantastic, and the new head, helmet, and goggles simply topped the whole thing off.  This figure is freaking gorgeous.  Gorgeous.  Not only does it look amazing, but it does a perfect job of taking one of my all time favorite characters, as obscure as he might be, and planting him firmly in the modern era, capturing all of the old school spirit, yet making all of the right updates.  If I was allowed to make the perfect update to Hit & Run myself, this figure would be the end result.  I love this figure so much, I’m desperately trying to not imagine a world where it is never released.  I’m trying to convince myself that fan demand will somehow prevail and this figure will end up at retail or as some sort of online exclusive somewhere, some time, and some place.  I don’t care when, I don’t care how, and I don’t care how much, this figure must happen.

Hit up the Concept Case Survey and help me do that.  :)

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Oh, by the way…  VOTE HIT & RUN!