When I was a kid, I saved my allowance for 30 weeks to get the original Skystriker jet. Think about that – it’s more than half a year. And now I have a job where they’ll just send me one in the mail.
Jealous? Don’t be. I might just have something even better for some of you tomorrow. Or multiple somethings. But for the moment, we’re here to review one of Hasbro’s bigger Comic-Con exclusives, with a retail price of $99.99. For an exclusive, that’s actually a pretty great deal, since it includes two vehicles, three figures and unique bonus accessories – individually, in non-exclusive deco, this combo would run you very close to that anyway.
The back of the box is mildly misleading, showing cutaway sections of the toy that do not exist. Look close enough and you’ll see the asterisk that admits it.
It’s been years since I put together a G.I. Joe toy, so I figured I’d enjoy the nostalgia buzz. I did, briefly, until it was replaced by the aching back of leaning over and applying umpteen bazillion stickers. Just like in the old days, Hasbro can’t get enough of microscopic labels with “no step” written on them. They’re like little flies walking over everything. After about an hour, I put the thing away. A decent night of sleep and some booze later, I was ready to face it again.
This Skystriker is designed to look like Autobot Jetfire in his alt-mode – a character Hasbro can’t make in vintage style any more since he was a repainted Macross fighter. Like the figure, this jet comes with a removable booster pack – though here, the booster pack holds one figure and is actually more of a removable extra vehicle. When you’re not using it, the tail fins pop off and go upright on the Skystriker. When you are using it, the lever used to sweep the wings is pretty much unreachable.
That figure in this case is Snake Eyes, with uncharacteristic green pants and an Autobot logo. His gun comes with a tiny removable silencer.
His principle enemy in this set is Bludgeon, a robot ghost samurai. That’s a great combo, but in practice he’s not the best figure – his robe restricts his movement, the helmet doesn’t stay on, and it’s hard to keep him standing up.
Faring better is the impossibly slim (like a Hollywood actress) Baroness, whose headset is supposed to sit by her mouth, but tends to move up her nose, like a Dune stillsuit. She comes with robo-panther Ravage, who looks cool but is only articulated at the neck. Also available is Blaster, and Autobot cassette deck that will prompt your kids to go, “Dad/Mom, what the hell is this thing?” He comes with three tiny tapes, one of which can slot inside, and has a peg to pin him into the back of most Joe figures. The set also includes file cards, sized appropriately for Joes and Transformers (not sure which you’d display Bludgeon with – he’s most definitely a Joe figure even if he’s a Transformers character).
As a special bonus accessory, the cardboard tray has its uses.
The Hound/Vamp is a pretty basic jeep – the engine opens up and it has removable gas cans.
The overall package reminds me a bit of the old MANTA Force toy – it came with everything, including bad guys. This may be designed for collectors, but it’s a decent starter set for kids too. Yeah, the vehicles don’t transform, but I do like the Jetfire color scheme on the plane. It may no longer have the removable parachute seat like my old one, but I’m more of a display guy now anyway.