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!
Do we really and truly live in a world where we have a modern update for Skymate? Is that even possible? That crazy dude with the pink knife on his wrist and bright yellow webgear? The dude wearing a baseball hat with a freaking kangaroo on it? That guy?
Yes. That guy.
The vintage version of Skymate was one of my favorite 90s figures in spite of the fact that he liked wearing pink and yellow. I loved that his bow and arrow plugged into his chest, I loved that crazy knife sheath on the back of his wrist, the translucent visor. Everything. He was the 90s personified and a character I really latched onto. I enjoyed the Air Commandos so much in fact, that I worked them into my Kindle Worlds Whisper novella (and did so enthusiastically).
For obvious reasons the updated Skymate can’t quite include all of the nuances of the classic. There really isn’t any tooling that can approximate the knife sheath or chest-mounted compound bow, but the formula they went with for the figure is eminently successful regardless of these facts.
We got a great new head sculpt with Skymate featuring his trademark baseball cap and closely shaven beard along with a nicely different combination of parts including nicely detailed pieces from the Pursuit of COBRA era. Most recognizable are the Recondo arms, which I imagine were chosen to at least somewhat approximate the look of added weaponry on the forearms, even if they don’t exactly resemble the knife from the vintage days.
His colors are well done, a nice balance of green and black underneath the crazy yellow and pink, but the colors are understated enough where an enterprising collector who doesn’t like bright colors could easily swap out web gear and not even worry about the eye-searing yellow. Not much to do about the pink hat, however.
Skymate comes with an interesting allotment of accessories including a newly tooled boomerang! That’s a really fun touch, and of course, since he’s Australian and as we all know, everyone in Australia walks around with boomerangs. If they don’t they damn well should. He also comes with a bow and arrow (the same one initially seen with Shadow Tracker I believe) as well as the removable machete and pistol.
Along with all of these, he also comes equipped with his own huge ass glider! It’s funny to sit back and see all of the different new sculpt era components that make up this set, and while these gliders are not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the jetpacks or wingsuits of some of the other figures, they do fit the Air Commando aesthetic quite nicely. The deco pattern of this glider is matched with Skymate’s vintage version, and it comes equipped with the handlebar and two missiles. Skymate can fit on it really well, and hold the handles firmly, and while this glider isn’t necessarily my favorite vehicle made in the past 10 years…oh crap… maybe closer to 12 years… I can see how the match was made to the Air Commandos here.
Skymate is such a fun character and this is a really fun representation of that character. G.I. Joe is always at its best when it doesn’t take itself too super-seriously, and that’s why I’ve loved sets like this one and the Eco Warriors from a couple years back. They embrace their color brightness and their near-ludicrous sub teams and yet manage to work it into a modernized, slightly more realistic format in a fun and well-executed way.
Another entry from the “Best of the 90s”! While he lacks just a little of the ingrained uniqueness of the vintage Skymate, this updated version packs plenty of fun into a modern format package. Great parts selection, a new head sculpt and some great accessories all come together to provide an exciting update to some old school G.I. Joe greatness.
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!
While I loved the character back in the day, the figure was a weird design that didn’t really resonate with me. This modern design is still weird, but is executed really nicely, with a fantastic new head sculpt and some very vibrant colors that pull off many things that the vintage one could not. He comes with great gear and is extremely photogenic, something that not every figure in this set can boast.
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!
Cobra Air Devil
A great figure build surrounded by good accessories and a nicely updated color scheme gives us another excellent modern interpretation of a 1990s classic. The Air Devil was one of my favorites back in the day and now this version slots in as one of my favorites of the modern era. A great, GREAT update.
Doing these Con Set reviews is always a bit of a mixed blessing. I generally love the convention sets, but at the same time I’m still trying to do nearly 20 reviews simultaneously which is exhausting. I’ve lost track of how many hours I spend each year putting these together, but that’s why they pay me the big bucks, right?
Wait… I don’t get paid for this crap?
Ah, well. Good thing I enjoy it, eh? So, the 2016 “Project: Downfall” Convention Set hit my hands a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been spending nearly all of my free time behind a camera, behind Photoshop, or behind Microsoft Word writing up the reviews! Today I am starting the week of right, with SIX, count ’em SIX of the reviews hitting today alone! The entirety of Sky Patrol is being reviewed today with the rest of the set sprinkling out throughout the week.