Operation: Bear Trap vs. Nocturnal Fire - Tale Of The Tape!
Sorry to take so long with a response, it's been another fun week. Not bad, just extremely busy.
I was going to start this as a reply on an earlier thread, but decided it needed its own attention. Here is the collected meat of the two statements I was replying to:
Originally Posted by FireFox91
You mentioned the attendee exclusives outshining the set itself. Yeah, I would say that is true. And honestly, it should continue to be that way. The club likes to hype up the attendee items by not revealing them until the day of the show. If what they show ends up being less than what we already knew we were getting, it doesn't go over well. Consider the October Guard theme last year. The attendee items were a Indiana Jones cargo truck and a repainted Dragonhawk chopper. Both were completely average if not below average compared to the kinds of things we got in the past.
Originally Posted by General_Hawk
I think the Operation: Bear Trap Convention set was a very nice combination of factions that brought some great stuff to the table, but I don't totally agree about it being all wine and roses. I've heard from many folks that weren't all that happy with the Iron Grenadier figures included in the set, and of course people (like FireFox above and like myself) who didn't have much love for the extra vehicles.
In my opinion, the Nocturnal Fire set was successful on many more levels. Perhaps the highest level wasn't as high as the Oktober Guard, but I think looking at consistency, the overall set should be held at a higher regard. The enemies have been a bit more well received (though complaints are still out there for the Frag-Viper's skinny legs and SAW Viper pinkness), and the Night Force figures themselves have gotten pretty rave reviews.
Add that on to the fact that the Night Boomer is far and away more popular than either of the two vehicles from last year, not to mention Steeler, Chuckles, and the carded Lady Jaye... I think the overall opinion of this year's set might just eek out above last year's.
This isn't a calling out, but more of an acknowledgement that led to the thought process behind this post. (Besides, I have to carry Justin around enough on the podcast to be so cruel as to belittle him in on online forum. ) Now, though, the kid gloves come off... FOR THE FIRST-EVER JOE TALK TALE OF THE TAPE!!
CONVENTION SET: HEROES
OBT: The Oktober Guard, who were introduced to G.I. Joe fans in Marvel Comics' G.I. Joe #6 in late 1982... Fans finally saw these characters in plastic form in 2005, just to have Hasbro hit the reset button on G.I. Joe construction a few short years later, resetting display shelves everywhere... Did not feature a single official GI Joe member... Joe-lebrity appearance by longtime GI Joe honcho Derryl DePriest, who shares a visage with Iron Bear... Home runs: Daina, Stormavik, Schrage, and Col. Brekhov are all outstanding... Disappointments: Horror Show, who needed to be built from a larger-framed figure... GIJCC-original characters: Iron Bear.
NF: GI Joe's Night Force, which featured repaints of characters that were released in the late 1980s, who consequently never appeared in animation and generally received little exposure in the Marvel Comics... most GI Joes in this set have not been released in "normal" garb in modern construction... Home runs: Repeater, Muskrat, and a Psyche-Out that far surpasses the original... Disappointments: Hit & Run, who looks like he should be another character, and Spearhead, whose gear is just too bulky (although the all-new Max is a nice touch)... GIJCC-original characters: none.
EDGE: Operation: Bear Trap in a big way. The OGs have become some of the most-sought-after G.I. Joe figures on the secondary market, despite only being available for less than a year and a second production run. I love the OG, but even removing me from the equation, it's clear the fandom does too. As for the NF Joes, they're great, but many fans are already rumbling about getting the "normal" versions of these characters to replace them with.
CONVENTION SET: VILLAINS
OBT: Iron Grenadiers, led by Voltar, in winter gear... first appearance of Voltar in figure form since his initial release in 1988... did not feature a single official member of COBRA... I wish the GIJCC had done some "stock" IG troopers, since the 25A ones aren't particularly great figures... Home runs: Voltar, who somehow makes gold and fuchsia work for him... Disappointments: all the Iron Grenadier troopers have posability issues because of their long coats, but it's the red ones that are the worst, because he also has the horrible 25A General Hawk arms... GIJCC-original characters: weather-specific IGs were a first by the GIJCC.
NF: COBRA is back, with a mix of army-builders and specific mercenaries... the (oddly singular) SAW-Viper is notorious for killing several Joes in issue #109 of Marvel's G.I. Joe, and this is the first modern-construction release of the trooper... features the first US release of Letal, a repainted hot-green Frag-Viper who was previously a Brazilian exclusive (it works better than it sounds)... Home runs: Crimson Asp, who isn't particularly crimson, but adds a new femme fatale to COBRA's ranks... Disappointments: the three SAW Vipers are really, really, pink, leaving many collectors wishing the GIJCC had stuck to the darker purple in the character's pallette... GIJCC-original characters: Crimson Asp.
EDGE: Nocturnal Fire, albeit slightly. Voltar and Crimson Asp are a push, and the IGs and SAW Vipers each have their poison pills. It's the functionality of Letal and the Frag-Vipers winds up being the difference here. Everyone screaming about how skinny they are needs to just stop. If Snake-Eyes put a big targeting computer on his head so he could whip live grenades jai alai-style more efficiently, he'd look the same way.
This is what I love about writing a GI Joe blog; I just defended the aesthetics of efficient jai alai-style live grenade-whipping.
FREE ATTENDEE EXCLUSIVE
OBT: Brawler motorcycle, repainted as Oktober Guard gear. I think it has it's own name, but I'm not looking for it.
NF: 25A Ferret, repainted as Night Force gear. Justin Bell and I specifically looked for a name here while at Con, and found none.
EDGE: Push. Thank you for continuing to think enough of us to give us free things for coming to the Con, GIJCC.*
* =Hey, I didn't pay any more for them, so they're fine. Both perfectly serviceable little vehicles. Mike's Law #2: Never complain about free stuff. Ever. That makes free stuff go away!
OBT: Darklon is a distant cousin of Destro, and the Sergeant Major is a character plucked from the background of Larry Hama's "COBRA Civil War" in the Marvel Comics run... Darklon's first release since 1989, the update makes better use of his odd color pallette and even tries to explain it away on his file card... Sergeant Major is winter-themed, unlike his comic appearance, but is a faithful representation facially.
NF: Chuckles was never released as a Night Force character previously... Freestyle is a GIJCC-original character, and given the task of piloting the Night Boomer... Chuckles has glow-in-the-dark flowers tampo'ed on his Hawaiian shirt... Originally, a Night Force Chuckles was scheduled to be included with a Silver Mirage motorcycle in the 25th Anniversary line.
EDGE: This category is a heavyweight slugfest. I could dissect it all, but it'd be a waste of space. I love about every aspect of all four figures involved. It's a push.
OTHER CONVENTION SOUVENIRS:
OBT: Featured the IG Annihilators, a three-pack of troop-builders complete with helicopter backpacks... Also featured RoC Dragonhawk helicopter repainted with the OG camouflage pattern... Refitted a cargo truck from the Indiana Jones toyline and packaged it with several lids, including ones with COBRA, Iron Grenadiers, and Oktober Guard sigils.
NF: Featured a Night Force Steeler with a black Night Force FLAK, an interesting accessory for a Tank Commander... Also featured a carded Night Force Lady Jaye, presumably in honor of 2013 Convention Guest Mary McDonald-Lewis... The aforementioned Night Boomer was the most expensive souvenir on record at $145, but featured tampo'ed glow-in-the-dark effects instead of stickers... Lastly, a six-pack of Night Force Kreons was available, featuring Repeater, Spearhead, Muskrat, Letal, and two SAW Vipers.
EDGE: Nocturnal Fire, thanks largely to the Night Boomer. I love the Annihilators, like the Dragonhawk (except for that dinky nose gun), and don't mind the truck, although like every other Joefan I wonder why it cost $100. If the truck had cost $50, no one would've complained or thought twice about it. (It must have been the lids, because the truck is even a stripped-down version of its IJ counterpart.) However, Night Force Steeler and Lady Jaye are fantastic figures (although Jaye loses some points for only being available carded) and the Night Boomer is, as Justin said above, far better than either vehicle offering from 2012. No one has said a word about the price tag on the Boomer since they started coming out of their (glow-in-the-dark) boxes. The fact that the FLAK poops the bed and the community is too fiercely divided on Kre-O (personally, I love 'em) for them to help in this conversation still isn't enough for OBT to make up that much ground.
PARACHUTE DROP FIGURE
OBT: A repainted (lightly painted?) Retaliation COBRA Trooper, complete with parachute and gear like the retail-ready original.
NF: Kreon Night Force Hit & Run, deco'd just like the one in the NF Convention set.
EDGE: If the two-packs were this article's Heavyweight Championship bout, this one's "Celebrity Boxing" with Manute Bol versus William "The Refridgerator" Perry... and like Manute's superior reach and ability won out there, I'll give the edge here to Operation: Bear Trap. The COBRA Trooper has his articulation issues, but they did give him a pretty cool (and ironic, for the purposes of this blog) "night" deco, while Hit & Run is a mini-version of a questionable figure.
So there you have it... an entire evening's worth of writing yields two wins for Operation: Bear Trap, two for Nocturnal Fire, and two pushes. All of this has given what no one saw coming... WE HAVE A DRAW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
Can't argue with you too much. I think I still like this year's box set better than last year's, but probably because I attended this year's con, and I love the SAW Viper's Pinkness (sounds wrong on so many levels, lol)