With G.I. Joe Kre-O all but gone at mass market retail, it was questionable as to whether or not we’d even see a Kre-O set at the Convention this year. I’m happy to say the Club came through with one, and it’s pretty nice to boot.
Like previous year’s, we got a multi pack of good guys vs. bad guys, this time featuring (appropriately) the Tiger Force vs. Iron Grenadiers. Unfortunately the Iron Grenadiers side focuses on the Undertow crew, which is a shame, as I would have loved to have seen Metalhead’s crooked smirk and funky goggles in Kre-O form.
We’ll look at the Tiger Force set first.
Stalker leads the Kre-O Tiger Force crew, and they did a great job approximating his Convention look. I really like the painted green webgear, and I was nicely surprised at the expressive look on his face.
Recondo was the second Tiger Force figure included, and I fully expected it to simply be the same retail release Recondo tampos on a Tiger Force deco, but it’s actually totally different. The holster placement is completely new, and it doesn’t rely on previous deco at all. Very interesting choice.
Wreckage is the third Tiger Force member, and like Recondo, I immediately compared him to Firefly, and while he’s a very close comparison, he’s also not exact, with a slightly tweaked collar. I’m not sure how Kre-O deco’s work, maybe they have to be more individualized, but I do find it curious that tampos that could have been reused weren’t.
For the Iron Grenadiers, we have the Undertow Officer, who looks neat enough with a separate masked head and unmasked head as well as a separate hairpiece and a ton of accessories (including a fish!).
The two Undertow troopers came out pretty well, too, and all three of these figures have great little Iron Grenadier logos on them to boot. The bad guys are loaded down with separate heads and gear.
I was quite surprised to see the Collectors Club doing a Kre-O set this year, and was pleasantly surprised that it actually sold out at the show as well. The character choices are nice (though as I said, I’d have loved a Metalhead/Iron Anvils team on the Iron Grenadier side) and the execution is certainly Hasbro level. Whatever is happening with Kre-O at retail, I’m glad the Club is continuing it and giving those of us who love it some outlet for more product. I also really like the new display stands they went with, a lot lower profile and more functional than the old blocks.
Pretty good set.
Kre-O Six Pack
I’m thrilled the Club is continuing the G.I. Joe Kre-O theme and the execution here is solid. I would have preferred some other Iron Grenadier character choices, but the deco’s are unique and express the look and feel of the characters well. A decent set, and I’m glad we’re getting some new kind of Kre-O product.
I think most of us saw this coming, what with the release of the 50th Anniversary VAMP Mark II last year, but it’s still pretty neat to see it in production.
Like the previous VAMP and the Stinger, Hasbro added some key parts to make the VAMP MK II for Toys “R” Us retail last year, and the Club has now leveraged that into the Tiger Sting, a Tiger Force version of that same VAMP.
Like the retooled vehicle, this one is bulkier and has more “bling” than its vintage counterpart, plus a nicer rocket system with tubes and other tooling adjustments to make it stand out from the original.
Step-for-step this updated Tiger Sting is painted like the vintage version with the yellow and black stripes as well as the unique faded white towards the nose of the jeep. The technique is pretty flawless, and one has to wonder if that was part of the “complicated deco” that lifted prices a bit higher this year than they have been in the past. It’s a great look, even if those of us in attendance did have to fork over some extra bones for it.
The vehicle feels solid and sturdy, and I’ve been a big fan of the modern retools of vintage vehicles since they started doing them. On the surface, it’s tough to tell many differences between this vehicle and a much less expensive vintage counterpart, but if you’re using modern figures and getting your hands on the vehicles often, you will certainly notice the difference.
Then of course, we have Sgt. Katzenbogen, AKA Bazooka behind the steering wheel. Both Bazooka and Roadblock were rumored 25th Anniversary figures before the line phased out in 2009, and so you had to think they would make an appearance here somewhere. I’m actually a bit surprised that Roadblock didn’t appear somewhere in the Con set, but considering his new role as Hollywood icon in G.I. Joe land, it probably makes sense that Hasbro wants to keep him in their back pocket for future use.
Bazooka simply uses the same base figure as the 25th Anniversary version, which is fine, because he was a later generation 25th Anniversary figure and looks pretty good. He’s got a very unique appearance with his baggy football jersey and moustached face, so rather than reinvent the wheel, it totally makes sense to carry that look forward into Tiger Force.
His deco is spot on for the vintage, with the new white jersey and green pants, though it’s an odd departure compared to the rest of Tiger Force. It actually speaks to some of my issues with Tiger Force to begin with… I mean what are they really? They’re supposed to be a cohesive subteam, but there are so many different looks, colors, and decos going on… I struggle with it.
But Bazooka maintains that vintage look nicely into a modern format, and part of me smiles at the fact that they put him an Alpine together in a Con set. It makes sense.
Pretty much the typical stuff here. He comes with his helmet (mine has some unfortunate black splotches on it), rocket launcher, with four rockets, and his familiar backpack which holds the rockets. He’s got everything he needs to have.
The rockets feel a bit soft and “gluey”, and I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s a minor little issue, I suppose.
For vintage fans who are looking for new versions of their Tiger Force favorites, congratulations, the Tiger Sting does that for you. It’s not necessarily what I’m into, but the Club executed it really nicely, so fans who are looking for that (and I understand that many of you are), go crazy. It’s a fun vehicle with a great paint scheme and comes with a really nice looking rendition of Tiger Force Bazooka.
Tiger Sting w/ Bazooka
Vehicle Paint Deco
Vehicle Play Features
Figure Paint Deco
With the 50th Anniversary line bringing us the VAMP Mark II, its appearance in the Tiger Force Convention Set was all but assured. Looking back at the box art for the Tiger Sting, too, we should have guessed who would have come with it. Bazooka comes to us as a straight repaint for his 25th Anniversary version, something that would kind of irk me originally, but Bazooka’s tooling actually still works pretty well, and he matches his vintage colors well. A good update that fits with the Con theme nicely.