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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Silent Strike Skystriker w/ Sightline & Capt Ace

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It was a moment at JoeCon that I’m not likely to forget any time soon.  The Hasbro round table as regularly been the highlight of many a JoeCon, mostly due to the product reveals and exciting announcements, and while the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention was no different, it was the context of those announcements that really brought the good feelings to the surface.

While the 50th Anniversary product was a highlight, to be sure, the source of so much praise was the reveal of the new character Sightline and the fact that he was being developed as an homage to G.I. Joe fanatic Gary “Goggles” Head who passed away suddenly early this year.  Using Gary Goggles as his file name, Sightline was slotted into the Silent Strike boxed set, working alongside Captain Ace as his forward observer and recon expert.  As if that wasn’t enough, the figure design was slated to come with goggles.  It all seemed to come together perfectly, and the raucus audience let Hasbro know how they felt during the reveal.

Like I said, a great moment.


(Video Courtesy of Dave and Duvall and Toy World Order)

The only thing left to see would be whether the execution of the Silent Strike boxed set would live up to its conceptual development, and I’m happy to say, I believe it does.

I had some mixed reactions with the Crimson Strike ComicCon set, but from end-to-end I find myself really enjoying Silent Strike.

SKYSTRIKER

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I asked the question during the ComicCon version of this set review, about whether or not we really needed another Skystriker.  The answer to that question is obviously a “no”, but it’s tough to argue that point when they execute it as well as the Crimson Scythe was executed, and frankly, the vehicle in this set is pretty darn nice as well.

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Sure, there’s not a whole lot of outside the box thinking or ingenuity here, this is essentially a “stealth” Skystriker, the familiar F-14 Tomcat in a darker gray, almost black paint scheme.  It’s the same version of the plane that we’ve gotten several times since its 2011 debut, and there’s not a whole lot to complain about, really.  The newly tooled structure of the plane is great, the “swing-wings” work well, and the missiles have been greatly improved since it’s debut, staying hooked onto their mounts on the plane far better than they have previously.

I’m not sure exactly how they achieved the effect, but the gray on the Skystriker has an almost metallic or reflective quality, which is a pretty neat design aesthetic.  I don’t know if it’s marblized or not, but it comes across looking really “shiney” which is a nice separation from just a traditional dark gray color.

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Sure, the plane is still just a single seater, but I maintain that this isn’t a huge issue, as you can’t really clearly see inside when the vehicle is on display, and if you want to “play with it” as a double seater, just use a little imagination, it’s not a huge deal.  This version of the famous assault plane is a lot more solid and durable feeling than its predecessor, and I must admit I really do like the darker color scheme here.  The canopy is a very nice diversion from the original, too, with some great red highlights.

One of my favorite elements of the Skystriker is probably the great new Wolf themed logo on the rear fin.  It also matches a patch that can be found on Ace’s arm as well.

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As I said, this isn’t an extremely clever or unusual concept for a Skystriker update, but it looks very cool, which helps.

CAPTAIN ACE

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One of the most unheralded figures in the Pursuit of Cobra/30th Anniversary line was the version of Ace that came with the original Skystriker.  Using a fantastic mix of modern parts, that version of Ace existed as a great pilot figure, but also a very cool figure altogether.  Both him and the ComicCon COBRA Commander based on him are great examples of how a vehicle driver can be designed as a great driver without sacrificing the basic qualities of a good figure.

The 50th Anniversary update to Captain Ace retains the same parts formula as that one, but done in the now well known “Wolf Squad” color scheme of dark gray with some subtle red highlights, which works really nicely as a flight suit, but also as part of the Wolf Squad ground team.  It’s a combination of unusual individual parts that make up a really solid final figure that has great articulation as well as a fantastic looking somewhat futuristic flight suit.  This version of Ace maintains all of that and I really love the colors as well.  Interestingly, Hasbro balances the gray with a reflective “gun metal” type of paint scheme that just compliments each other so well and looks fantastic.  It ties Ace into the Wolf Squad, but also gives him a very technical look, which works well.  I love how the reflective gray colors on Ace’s uniform trim matches the same reflective gray look on the attack plane.  It ties them both together really well and is a nice effect on its own to boot.

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Another link to the aircraft is the Wolf Squad logo on Ace’s arm, which is pretty tiny, but it’s definitely there.

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The Wolf Squad aesthetic has evolved into something very cool, and I hope Hasbro leverages that going forward.

Accessories

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Captain Ace comes with some familiar gear, some of the same stuff as previous versions of the figure came with.  He has the flight vest that the original figure came with, as well as the leg harness from Para-Viper.  The flight helmet is straight from the Pursuit of COBRA Skydive, which is a change from the previous Ace figure, but still works nicely.  He also has a small submachine gun and the pistol that slides neatly into his ankle holster.

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I really love the evolution of some of these pilot figures.  Both Ace and the G.I. Joe: Retaliation version of Lift Ticket have evolved past being drivers and into really excellent looking military themed updates, who can exist behind the control stick, or behind a machine gun.  This new version of Ace is no different, and I’m excited to have him.

SIGHTLINE

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For as much as G.I. Joe has been based off of existing vintage concepts for many of the modern releases, in my mind the bread and butter is with new characters.  It’s what really helped the line push on through its original 12 year run, and for many folks, it’s what continues to interest long time fans.  As a figure, Sightline works quite well.  For the most part, he uses the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Ultimate Duke template (though the armored torso is from Retaliation Duke version 1, not the Ultimate version) only in a great digital camouflage urban deco instead of desert.  He uses the alternate head that came with that figure, and even though, from the surface, the figure looks identical, the camouflage paint scheme does wonders to differentiate him.  Heck, the Ultimate Duke figure is a fantastic figure anyway, so tough to complain about him being the base.

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He’s one of those great toys that has a pretty bulky armored uniform, but still maintains significantly great articulation, with elbows and knees that move quite well.  I’ll admit, though, as time goes on, I have less love for the rocker ankles, and they feel a little weird on this figure as well.

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So, take one of the greatest figures from the G.I. Joe: Retaliation line, give it a terrific urban camouflage paint scheme, and base his new character identity on a good friend who passed away?  Yeah, that’s a good formula for success in my eyes.

Accessories

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Sightline comes with a sniper rifle, the Duke vest, a laptop, pistol, knife, and shovel.  I’m going to assume the inclusion of the shovel wasn’t meant as an homage (Gary Head unfortunately passed away due to heart failure from shoveling snow) and was merely an accessory that made sense for the character’s specialty.  The sniper rifle and laptop are both terrific accessories, and I love the idea of Gary Head’s character having a computer within reach at all times.  The knife and pistol fit the holster and sheath and I really like those base weapons anyway.

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Yes, this figure was a highlight for collectors, and in many ways the end result meets our lofty expectations.  It’s a great figure based on a great friend, and I’m glad to have him in hand.

Looking at the G.I. Joe side of the Silent Strike set, I’m extremely happy with how this all came together.  Although the Skystriker is on the verge of overuse (heck, some might argue it crossed that line a while ago), I do like this new paint scheme.  Both Ace and Sightline are highlights of this second run of 50th Anniversary figures, and the core of the Wolf Squad concept is done amazingly well in this boxed set.  Thumbs way up on this side of the fence.

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G.I. Joe Convention 2015 Skystriker

Big BrawlerDial ToneLifelineRecondoSgt. Stalker
WreckageGeneral MayhemIron AnvilMetalheadUndertow Officer
UndertowIron Anvil OfficerAnnihilatorAlpineFrostbite
SkystrikerTiger Sting w/ BazookaTiger Shark w/ FelinoTigerhawkMantis
Con Set RecapKre-O Six Pack

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I remember actually really loving Skystriker as a kid, mostly because he was actually a new character, unlike the bulk of the Tiger Force crew. Back in the day I was a completist, and I already had all those characters, so felt no drive nor desire to buy them all over again, not to mention I was very attached to how my characters appeared in media, and Tiger Force didn’t appear anywhere, so these new looks were somewhat meaningless.

However, among all that, a new character emerged…a jet pilot who was completely unique to Tiger Force in general. So I did have some attachment to him as a kid.

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This new Skystriker hits some of those same buttons. Like the original, this version of the Tiger Force pilot reuses many parts from Wild Weasel (though some originally belonged to Snow Job) including the torso and upper legs, with the maps on the thighs immaculately reproduced.

However, the arms are now Data Viper arms, as well as the legs, and I think the figure is far better for it. The somewhat bulkier, more flexible limbs help bring what could have been a dated figure to the modern age.

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But all is not perfect with Skystriker. His head could certainly use some work, but that may have been beyond the Club’s control. In talking with Dave Lane, he mentioned testing out a few alternate heads for Skystriker, but at the end of the day, the helmeted Slipstream/Ace head was a known commodity and one they felt comfortable running with. I can understand that, and swapping a head isn’t a really major issue on our end.

The colors are great here, following the color scheme and design elements of the vintage version as well as the rest of the Convention set. Tagging Skystriker as the Tiger Hawk pilot is a neat idea, and he’s presented pretty well here.

Accessories

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Skystriker doesn’t come with much, just a machine gun and pistol, but really, he doesn’t have to. Ultimately he’s a pilot and his real accessory is the Tiger Hawk, so no complaints from me there.

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Skystriker is a nice addition to the Tiger Force clan, and I’m glad the Club got him worked into this Convention assortment. He has a clear purpose, a decent build, and a nice color scheme. I would have preferred a new head, but that’s something I can take care of myself fairly easily.


GeneralsJoes Reviews SDCC Starstriker and Zarana Cold Slither variant

It’s a San Diego ComicCon wrap up!  I reviewed the standard release Zarana a couple of weeks ago, but had to wait a little while before I could the reviews wrapped up on these other two items.  As always, a big thanks goes out to longtime GeneralsJoes friend Gyre Viper for doing me yet another favor and getting me a line on the Cold Slither Zarana while old pal Mysterious Stranger is always there with the hook up for the SDCC Starstriker.

You can check out the review in the 30th Anniversary Section, or just hit the links directly below:

Skystrikers are touching down at online retailers

For folks who don’t have Targets locally, good news!  The super popular G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Skystriker has started hitting online retailers!  Click the links below to buy yours today, and don’t forget to check out my review to see if you want to drop the cake.

GeneralsJoes Reviews the G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Skystriker!

Many collectors have been patiently waiting…  I got lucky with a random Target a little over a week ago, and have slowly (but surely) been gathering my thoughts and well over 100 images.

For the first time in 28 years, the Skystriker is on retail shelves across the country.  While this obviously pleases a great many Joe fans, is the end result worth the wait?  Check out the GeneralsJoes 30th Anniversary and G.I. Joe: Renegades review page (which also includes the pre-production Black Dragon) or just hit up the link below.

Enjoy!

SDCC Preview Night shows much, but reveals little

I think we all had some idea that G.I. Joe wouldn’t have a strong showing at SDCC, and if Preview Night is any indication, that will be the case this year.  That’s not to say that there is nothing cool to see, however.  G.I. Joe was a pretty heavy presence throughout a chunk of Preview Night, just not much stuff that hasn’t already been revealed.

With big thanks to HissTank.com for providing some swift on-the-spot photographs, there are some great Sideshow Collectibles images as well as a very cool diorama of a vintage USS Flagg littered with Pursuit of Cobra figures.

Check out the original threads over on HissTank.com, and I’ve also mirrored some images below:

USS Flagg Diorama (Courtesy of HissTank and JoeArmory.com)

Hasbro Booth (Courtesy of HissTank)

Sideshow Collectibles 12″, Premium Format, and Statues (Courtesy of HissTank)

Some items of note to talk about:

  • Hasbro is using a vintage USS Flagg as a display piece.  No it does not mean they are considering re-releasing or releasing a Flagg.  Sorry.
  • Many of the 30th Anniversary and Renegades figures are now sporting “Spring, 2012” release dates on the placards.  Grrr.  Generally a “Spring” release date means anywhere from the holidays of the previous year through Easter.  Makes me a bit concerned to see how they’re going to get this all out before the big migration to sequel movie product.  Time will tell.
  • There doesn’t appear to be any new product (at least not yet).  I wouldn’t sweat this.  It is still Preview Night.  Something tells me there are still some new items to see throughout the weekend, hopefully starting tomorrow.  Hasbro keeps talking about these mysterious “7-Packs” during their Q & A sessions…I’m still holding out some hope for those.  Not to mention the GIJCC, who I’m hoping uses this as an opportunity to reveal some juicy details about their subscription service.
  • Damn it all, those Sideshow figures and environments look awesome.
Keep your eyes peeled to GeneralsJoes throughout the weekend, while I’m not on the ground in San Diego, I will endeavor to track and detail as much information as humanly possible.  Slow start, but I suspect things will pick up.

What’s on Joe Mind Episode 13 is Online

In spite of Gary’s unreasonable superstition, What’s on Joe Mind Episode 13 has now been posted online!  We welcome a guest contributor from Fwooshcast, Craig, and take some time to talk to Terry Dizard, admin of YoJoe.com.

We also discuss the latest round of Sideshow announcements, Episode 25 of G.I. Joe: Renegades and attempt to have an intervention for Chuck, who has clearly lost his mind.

All of this and more on What’s on Joe Mind!  Check it out as usual on our Podbean page, subscribe through iTunes, or listen to the embedded player below.

Looking for a Skystriker at Target? This might help

First of all, a big thanks to Outbakk from the Terror Drome for providing this link.  This is a link to a Target product finder, which auto-fills the Skystriker DCPI.  All you need to do is enter your zip code or city/state and it will search neighboring Target stores and let you know which ones have it in stock.

For the record, I’m 0 for 12.  :/

Check it out right here, and please let me know if it works for you.  It definitely generates a result for me, but I have no idea how accurate it is.  For the record, the DCPI for the Skystriker is 087-06-1686.

Happy hunting!

Collectors, start your engines… the Skystriker has hit US Retail!

Over at HissTank.com, OSOK reports that he found a stash at his local Target, and he has pictoral proof.

Check out the thread right here.  Then stop reading, and GET HUNTING!