G.I. Joe Convention 2017 Blocker

MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

blocker-01 blocker-02

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.


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.


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.


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.



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).


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

MaverickB.A.T. Squad LeaderCobra B.A.T.BackstopDee Jay
COBRA CorrosionLaser ViperSky Serpent w/ Laser Viper OfficerMarauder SnowmobilesBAT Rocket Packs
Conquest X36Con Set Recap

blaster-01 blaster-02

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.

GeneralsJoes Wraps the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention Reviews

Whew.  Is everyone as sick of reading these as I am of writing them??

With today’s update, I am officially finished with my written reviews for the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention Set.  While more videos may still be to come, my reviews today of the Sky Sweeper, Skystriker, COBRA Hydra, and JUMP Jet Packs constitutes my last gasp at the written word for Sky Patrol and the G.I. Joe Collectors Club.

Check out these last reviews at the G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page or the link below.


G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap


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.

Confused yet?

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.

G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Sky Patrol Skystriker

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap


I still remember when the launch of the Skystriker during the 30th Anniversary line was considered a monumental event, something to be celebrated and cheered from the rooftops, and to be fair, it was a pretty damn awesome event.  The first new iteration of G.I. Joe’s flagship aircraft was a pretty major thing, and Hasbro knocked it out of the park.

However, it’s been a few years since then…a few years and more than a few more Skystrikers.  In fact since its debut in 2011, we have seen this vehicle used as Starscream & Jetfire, used by the Collectors Club as a Night Boomer, and used in the 50th Anniversary as the Wolf Squad Sky Striker and as the Cobra Scythe.  So yes, since this vehicle’s debut 5 years ago, this is the 7th iteration of the Sky Striker.


Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  The vehicle is awesome.  It continues to be a great update to the classic vehicle, but especially when you’re looking at a price tag north of $150 you can’t help but wonder how much “new” is here, and is it worth the steep price.  I know throughout many of these reviews I will reference “cost” and “value” because that’s a tough thing to get away from.  I think many will agree that purely from a design and execution standpoint, much of what the Collectors Club does is very good, but at Convention prices (which could be justified due to low production runs) you need to consider such things as what you get for your money.


Just from a design standpoint, the Sky Patrol Skystriker is a heck of a cool vehicle.  The metal surface isn’t chrome like the old school Sky Patrol vehicles (a limitation due to environmental hazards according to the G.I. Joe Collectors Club) but the polished shine of the metal paint is pretty impressive and does a great job almost approximating the same silver look.

For whatever reason I find the silver color exceedingly appealing, even though I was never deep into Sky Patrol as a kid (not the vehicles, anyway, I LOVED the figures).  It’s polished, shiny surface really draws the attention, and the dark tampos on the plane contrast really nicely, giving you a vehicle that looks sharp, clean, and very nice.


Like the previous versions of this venerable vehicle, the missiles work well, and stay on a bit better than some of those first released versions of this plane.  It’s only a single-seater like every other one is (but I’m totally okay with that) and has the same swing-wing functionality.  It’s a really nice plane that unfortunately does suffer somewhat from a lack of excitement due to the fact that so many iterations of this vehicle have come and gone in the five years since its initial release.


That being said, for Sky Patrol fans, this is a nice addition to your vintage line up, even if it’s not quite as shiny as its predecessors.

GeneralsJoes Continues 2016 Con Set Reviews – Attendee Figures!

Today I dip my toes into the pool outside of the standard Convention boxed set and cover the attendee exclusive figure-based items! This includes Cloudburst, Skymate, Air Raid, Free Fall, and the Heli-Vipers!

Go to my G.I. Joe Collectors Club Review Page or just click the link below to check them out.


G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Air Raid

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap

sky-patrol-air-raid-01 sky-patrol-air-raid-02

Back in 2009 when Hasbro originally released the Sky Sweeper, they included a pilot carrying the name Air Raid.  However, one look at the filecard for that pilot, and it was easy to tell that the pilot was actually supposed to be Airborne, not Air Raid (Franklin Talltree is a pretty unique file name, after all…).  So now with Sky Patrol front and center, and a new pilot being needed, the Collectors Club has provided us with a brand new Air Raid, only one look at the figure tells us this is not Franklin Talltree.

It’s pretty widely accepted that at least one character in the G.I. Joe Convention set will be a new one, and for 2016, Air Raid is it.  As the free attendee figure this year, he was included for anyone who purchased a boxed set and in the comic serves as Sky Patrol’s main test pilot for the Skystriker.


The figure itself is pretty good.  He uses more or less the same formula as previous versions of Ace (and COBRA Commander) so he definitely looks the part of pilot.  His head is repurposed from Resolute Duke, only in an African American skin tone.

I do like the parts, with a nice mixture of Resolute and Pursuit of COBRA, providing great articulation and nicely sculpted elements.  He moves pretty well, even though his limbs are pretty thick, and I like the sense of cohesion we’ve got going on with past pilot figures in the line.


One place that Air Raid could use some improvements is with his paint scheme.  Granted, as a “free” figure, you can understand where some paint apps had to be trimmed, but the somewhat bland blue of the base uniform lacks some of the necessary detail to really accentuate the nicely detailed mold underneath.


That being said, it’s nice to get another new character, and a new addition to the Sky Patrol after twenty-six years.



Air Raid comes with the large, bulky vest from Pursuit of COBRA Skydive (and canceled Rise of COBRA Ripcord) as well as the helmet with twin hoses.  The two removable engines on the back are the same that came with the previous figure as well, as is his included pistol.

That’s really all that comes with the figure, but as an fighter jet pilot, he probably doesn’t need a whole lot else.


Air Raid is a decent figure with an interesting build, but a somewhat bland color scheme.

G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Sky Creeper

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap

sky-creeper-01 sky-creeper-02

Where you have the Air Devil and Night Vulture, you simply must have Sky Creeper. This guy was an anomoly to me as a kid, an exciting and vibrant looking character with the trademark 90s colors who I just could not figure out. His flat out bizarre sloped and pointy helmet and those super thick pads on his legs just looked strange, and while I loved and appreciated the character of Sky Creeper, the figure itself fell far below the other two
Air Commandos on my favorites list.

However, this modern update takes those elements that I did love and pulls them up into the 21st century in some great ways.


First of all, the newly sculpted head is great. I’m surprised that they invested serious tooling dollars in a head like this that would be very difficult to use with any other character, but I’m glad they did. It’s a nice rejuvination with twin cameras on each side, and a slightly less pissed off face sculpt going on there. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Sky Creeper’s perma-scowl, but at some point you have to figure he’s going ot have to
close his mouth and not be snarling at everyone.

The Retaliation Snake Eyes torso works nicely here along with the Ultimate COBRA Commander arms. Like in the old days, I’m not quite figuring out the thick pads on the legs, and these Jungle Snake Eyes legs really leave me cold. I understand they’re reminiscent of the vintage look, but those weird gaps in the thighs and the strange texture of the pads themselves just don’t work for me, and I wouldn’t mind if they were retired in favor of some kind of new engineering.


From a color perspective, Sky Creeper is just what you’d expect, chock full of teal and yellow, and I still can’t get my head around the whole Air Commando color scheme concept. None of these guys are color matched in any kind of way, and they seem much more like three groups of individuals who happen to be working together rather than an actual cohesive team developed from the ground up. Still, even though the colors feel completely distinct and separate, I love them each for what they are.



Sky Creeper follows the Air Commando trend, equipped with the awesome color-matched wingsuit, his COBRA logo the winged COBRA of the Night Vulture. His stark, yellow webgear is the one that came with Retaliation Snake Eyes and I love, love LOVE it. Some of my favorite webgear ever produced, and it’s used to perfection here. He also sports two submachine guns to round off his great group of weapons and gear.


Sky Creeper is terrific. While I often considered the vintage version to be the weak link in the Air Commandos, this version stands at the head of the class in spite of the legs. Although I am struggling a bit to figure out the command structure. Sky Creeper has always been the Air Commando leader, and the group was pretty small. But now we’ve got Black Vulture, Flying Scorpion and Sky Creeper. Do these tiny Air Devil and Night Vulture groups really need sub-commanders? Ah, probably not, but the two figures are flat out awesome, so we’ll roll with it. Sky Creeper certainly looks worthy of leading the charge.

To check out a video review of the COBRA ADDERS half of the Convention set, watch below!

G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Cobra Black Vulture

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap

cobra-black-vulture-01 cobra-black-vulture-02

Could the Collectors Club have worked this out any more perfectly? Really, it’s almost as if it were meant to be.

When I first discovered the online G.I. Joe community in the late 1990’s, YoJoe became my home away from home as it did for nearly everyone. The website and the mailing list quickly drew me in and what completely fascinated me was this concept of foreign figures that I had absolutely no idea even existed.


Back in my childhood days, I was the resident G.I. Joe expert. If my friends wanted to sell their Joes, they called me. If they found a pile of discarded weapons and didn’t know who they went with, they called me. I knew it all. But when I discovered this whole world of South American (and European for that matter) G.I. Joe and COBRA characters that I didn’t know about, I was instantly captivated, and especially captivated by Abutre
Negro and Escorpaio Voador. We’ll talk more about Flying Scorpion later, but what was so intriguing about these figures was that in Brazil, they actually mixed and matched some parts and created this whole new person. They weren’t just paint variations or the same characters with different file names, these were completely new creations and I loved that.

I have no doubt these guys have been on top of many collector surveys for many years now, and considering Black Vulture was a Sky Patrol figure down in Brazil, including him here lines up perfectly.


Not to mention the fact that one of the COBRA Air Commandos is Night Vulture, and this character’s name translates as Black Vulture. Again, it’s almost like it was meant to be.

So not only did the Club make a genius call with the character, but the execution is spectacular. His head is from the Renegades COBRA Trooper, which works pretty well, and they went with one of the Rise of COBRA Accelerator Suits for the torso, with the paint applied just right to approximate the look of the raised COBRA logo on the chest. Beyond that distinct pattern of red, the rest of the figure is a striking contrast of black and silver, all applied to expertly developed parts. G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes arms are great, and I always support the use of Pursuit of COBRA Beachhead legs. The filecard developed writes Black Vulture as some kind of next generation computer hacker, so the technology strapped to the leg makes sense as well. From head to toe, Black Vulture is terrific. If I had any complaints it would be that the black and silver color scheme doesn’t necessarily jive with the Night Vulture, who this guy is supposed to be the leader of, but to be honest, I’m thrilled that they just maintained the classic color scheme rather than try to work in purple or orange somewhere that would look way out of place.


If I had to dig around for a complaint, it would just be that the sloped back of the torso does keep the jetpack from sliding down the post all the way, which can cause it to fall off somewhat easily.  This is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things, but it should be noted.



The Club hit a home run with pretty much every accessory compliment for the COBRA A.D.D.E.R.S. and Black Vulture is no exception. He has that wonderful jetpack that was initially released with the Pursuit of COBRA Skydive, a nice, different look from the wingsuits of the other Air Commandos.The color scheme of this jetpack matches him very nicely and he has the winged COBRA logo on each wing.

Along with the jetpack and removable bombs he’s got a great, jagged blade knife and machine gun which he can hold to perfection.


Black Vulture was an early infatuation of mine when I discovered the online International world of G.I. Joe and I’m thrilled that the Collectors Club has given him a modern update. Not just a modern update, but a fantastic modern update. Excellent all around.

To check out a video review of the COBRA ADDERS half of the Convention set, watch below!

G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Cobra Air Devil

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap

cobra-air-devil-01 cobra-air-devil-02

Even back in the old days (if one can consider 2000 – 2002 the “old days”) I was infatuated with 90s COBRA army builders, and the Air Devil was near the top of that list. The Air Devil was that rare breed of COBRA trooper in the 1990s that had a great design as well as quality colors, decked out in classic black and red, a color pallet that was appealing to G.I. Joe fans of all era’s. In a year when many of his fellow COBRA operatives were roaming around in purple, pink, and yellow, the Air Devil stuck with the classic black and red, and as such became a big favorite of mine. As I’ve said many times, my love for the 90s figures isn’t necessarily because of their bright colors, but in spite of it. I didn’t have to worry about that with Air Devil.

Now, obviously with such a love for the classic figure, I was a little hesitant when I heard the Club was revisiting these soldiers, because I was worried that these modern versions wouldn’t be able to live up to the classics.


Well, I’m happy to say I was wrong. The Collectors Club took all of the cool elements of the Air Devil and brought them forward in intriguing ways, but also managed to inject some of their new style, and it all comes together pretty spectacularly. The majority of the Air Devil is made up of the fantastic Pursuit of COBRA Jungle Viper, which has that unique quilted style uniform that looks like a great update to the vintage COBRA Air Commando.
The splits of red and black are perfect, and the silver pouches are a great link back to the grenades that the classic sported on his thick quilted chest. The arms here are the Pursuit of COBRA Alley-Viper which are great, and I never get tired of the removable knife on the wrist.


Where the original Air Devil had a clear plastic mask that flipped down over a mostly exposed face, the new version goes completely covered, which was an excellent idea, especially considering the goggles of the alternate Ultimate Duke head are a good match for the classic. Joints are nicely poseable and the figure feels exceedingly well put together. All of the great colors and design aesthetics of the original are represented here with some excellent updates, and this feels like a true evolution of the original rather than just a carbon copy.



COBRA Air Devil is a terrific figure and he comes with great accessories. To mimic the look of the original, he has the head piece with clear facemask, along with the Retaliation Snake Eyes firearm that I love. He also has the removable pistol and knife from his ankle holster and wrist sheath.

But obviously the focal point accessory here is the wingsuit. Originally released with G.I. Joe: Resolute Snake Eyes, the Collectors Club repurposes here for their COBRA Air Commandos, and it is wonderful. Each wingsuit is color matched to the requisite COBRA air trooper, and the appropriate COBRA logo is decoed on the cloth surface of the wings. Air Devil’s wingsuit has the unique Air Devil logo with the COBRA and arrow tail, and it’s a great look. I absolutely love the concept of this wingsuit, and they executed it spectacularly well.


Air Devil is a fantastic introduction to the COBRA A.D.D.E.R. team. Great colors, excellent figure build and nearly flawless accessories bring this figure into the 21st Century with plenty of vintage throwbacks, but a nice helping of modern twists. Great, great stuff.

To check out a video review of the COBRA ADDERS half of the Convention set, watch below!