G.I. Joe Convention 2013 - Nocturnal Fire Night Force Hit & Run

So here we go... I'll be honest, I'm battling myself a bit on how to review this guy. As one of my all time favorite characters ever to grace G.I. Joe packaging, I was understandably excited to see him announced as a Convention exclusive. So, do I review him based on my huge expectations? Or do I review him solely on his own merits as an action figure?

As a direct opposite of Charbroil, my love of Hit & Run goes all the way back to 1988. He was a huge early favorite of mine straight when I bought him off the pegs way back when, and his existence actually spurned my first fanfiction project, which I wrote in the early 90's. Back then, much of the original G.I. Joe team had been wiped out, and Stalker was the leader of the G.I. Joe team, with Hit & Run being his top operative.

Elements of this story carried over to The Price of Peace, which I wrote in the late 90's/early 2000's and helped define and shape my own personal G.I. Joe "universe" over the past several years. Anyone who has read my dio-stories knows I consider Hit & Run as a central character, and I greatly look forward to any new renditions of this great character.

I must admit, his appearance in the 25th Anniversary Line was an extremely awesome surprise, but the end result wasn't perfect. Then we saw him in the Concept Case last year, and my heart skipped about 17 beats. THAT was the Hit & Run figure I always wanted. THAT was the perfect plastic representation of the Infantry commando that played such a central role in my G.I. Joe universe. That was him, right there.

When the Collectors Club announced that Hit & Run was going to be a part of their Convention set, I totally flipped out. While I love the character, I wouldn't presume that he's a very critical component of G.I. Joe mythology, and I didn't think the Club would consider him important enough to feature in a Convention set. Once I heard about it, my mind started wandering, and my expectations grew... would this be the concept case version? Could it be? Dare I hope?

Well, as all now know, the Concept Case version remains out of touch, and instead we got what you see above. I will fully admit, my initial reaction was crushing disappointment. I loved the Concept Case version so much that anything less seemed like a leap in the wrong direction. But as time has passed, I've gotten over that initial disappointment and have started to appreciate this figure for what it is. The Collectors Club thought enough of Hit & Run to not just put the figure in their set, but also use his new head sculpt, and use the formerly canceled parachute pack from Lifeline. Granted, I will fully admit that I'm not 100% pleased with some of the part substitutions... where the concept case Hit & Run had the 3-Pack Firefly's torso, the convention version uses Lifeline's. Lifeline certainly has a great torso as well, but because of the pouches, not much webgear will fit on the figure. I like the parachute pack fine, but I'd like to have some flexibility for other webgear as well, but this torso does not allow that. Not to mention I just think using the Firefly parts is more homogenous, and the Club obviously had access to them as one look at the Convention Steeler will tell you, so I'm not entirely sure why they didn't use it with Hit & Run.

The black painted hair on his head looks a bit off, as do the black "kneepads" which really aren't supposed to be kneepads, but a simple extension of his cloth pants. These are two pretty minor aesthetic complaints, though.

Even though I do wish he had a different torso, I can't argue that the mixture of Lifeline and Agent Mouse forearms is a very effective combination, providing a ton of great articulation and the opportunity for some excellent design elements. From a conceptual standpoint, too, it makes sense for someone who is always mobile to have as many places on him to store items as possible. Plus, the chest holster is a nice touch, too, leaving the part choices as some sound decisions, and without my high expectations for Concept Case perfection, there would be little to complain about.

Speaking of the Concept Case version, while it jumped out at us with green camouflage uniform and green painted skin, this figure has neither, and many folks think he suffers for that. Granted, Hit & Run doesn't always need to have painted skin, and he can't always wear his green camouflage uniform, but speaking as someone who feels like those traits really do define the character, the lack of both was a bit jarring to me. However, I think we do need to give the Collectors' Club the benefit of the doubt. When this convention set was in the design stages, I suspect that Hasbro hadn't made final decisions about what to do with those Concept Case figures. Heck, I suspect Hasbro still isn't sure what they're doing with those figures. Because of this, the Club probably took the traditional green Hit & Run off the table, thinking that Hasbro just might be doing it themselves. So, they took some inspiration from Tim Finn's revealed tank driver variation, and I believe may have added some elements of Night Force Sneak Peek as well, and gave us an amalgamation of all of these. The colors are certainly appealing... a nice mix of black, light green, and dark green, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't still a bit disappointed about the end result color-wise. I know the reasoning, I accept why it all shook out the way it did, part of me just wishes it was different. The good news is, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Club (or perhaps even Hasbro) offer a more traditional Hit & Run at some point in the future, I just know he's not a highly sought after character, so I wish they had hit a grand slam home run with their opportunity this time.

Hit & Run Concept Art Courtesy of A Real American Book

But hey! The figure is excellent, even if it doesn't quite match up to what I was envisioning in my head, and it's Hit & Run! I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. The mere fact that we've gotten two Hit & Run figures since 2009 is all good in my book.


As far as the accessories go, the Collectors Club nailed it, in my opinion. He's got a new helmet and goggles, that I believe were shown with the Concept Case Hit & Run last year. They fit the head perfectly and look great. He also comes with Lifeline's fantastic assault rifle, and two pistols, which both fit in holsters that weren't even initially supposed to carry guns. It's a fantastic touch. He has the Spy Troops Agent Faces duffle bag as an homage to his own that the original version came with, and a grappling hook and twin mines. These are all pretty light weapons, and I love the extra mobility Hit & Run has in this figure. Tons of pouches on his body for carrying small gear, and light weapons all around.

He also has the parachute pack which was originally intended for Lifeline before some accessories were dropped from the final assortments. I have a hard time considering this an accessory, because it can't be removed unless you take the figure apart. Of course, I did that...

As I've already mentioned, the only issue with these Lifeline parts is that webgear cannot fit over his torso very easily, so there does seem to be a bit of a gap here without the parachute pack. I'd prefer my light infantry trooper to not always have to wear a parachute, and I guess he doesn't look terrible without it, but I just wish he had a smooth torso so other webgear was an option.

I feel like I'm nit picking. I think everyone knows how much I was looking forward to Hit & Run, and it seemed like even if the Club had stuck with a dark green and black paint scheme, it would have fit right in with the rest of Night Force (again... see Steeler). I understand what hurdles they had to deal with, and the end result of this figure is still pretty darn nice. Perhaps I had lofty expectations.

I am a huge fan of the Lifeline figure and the Lifeline tooling, so I feel like I have no room to complain. It's like I was expecting perfection and only got a really good figure instead. At the end of the day this version of Hit & Run slides pretty seamlessly into my collection and I have absolutely no issues using him as the character he is meant to portray. The new head sculpt is fantastic, with a great angry looking scowl, and I love that some never before seen accessories are here. There were just a few other things I had in my head that this figure did not match.

Ultimately, if I look at my own expectations, this figure, unfortunately did not measure up. However, I think my twisted expectations set some unreasonably high standards. If you take this figure out of that situation and simply look at him as a figure in its own regard, I think it's a very nice one.