G.I. Joe Convention 2010 Vacation in the Shadows - Page Two

As cool as the basic figure boxed set always is for the G.I. Joe Conventions, many times the Attendee Exclusives are really where it's at.

Sure the "Tanks for the Memories" set was great, but Starduster and Grand Slam really helped make that set what it is, in my mind. The MARS Attacks set in 2005 was awesome, of course (probably my favorite G.I. Joe Con Set ever) and yes, the Iron Anvil and Iron Grenadier were incredible, but so were Gung Ho, Dragonsky, and the various Steel Brigade figures that came in the attendee exclusive sets.

Last year I was a big opponent of the somewhat rehashed feel of a modern era Crimson Strike Team, but the Argen 7 and Blades figures were very cool, and to many folks, that was where the success of last year's Convention set remained. This year, I'm not sure I feel that way.

Sure, there are some positive elements of the 2-pack and 3-pack, but I'm not certain any of them outshine the greatness of the boxed set...you'll have to tell me if you agree.

Lt. Dolphin - Q Force

I have to say that the inclusion of Dolphin threw me for a bit of a loop...in my opinion, he's not one of the better known European Action Force members, so I wasn't entirely sure what the reasoning for his inclusion was, but perhaps that explains it right there. The Club has a tendancy to eschew the mainstream and go a bit more obscure than the fans might think.

Where the initial release of Dolphin was a straight up Zap repaint in gray and black, this version updates him for a more modern look, which suits me perfectly fine. This is the kind of treatment I wished the Cobra Mortal received back in the Mercenaries set, and I was fairly vocal about my disappointment at the time. The use of Muskrat's base figure here makes sense, since the Q-Force serves as Action Force's aquatic division, and Muskrat has the handy airtank on his leg as well as the buckle down vest that almost looks like a life perserver.

The majority of the colors done here are the familiar gray and black of the original Q-Force uniform scheme, the the Collectors' Club also offers a healthy helping of green trim, which I love. This ties these figures back in with Z-Force in a nice way, and adds some flash to the figure that might not otherwise exist with the straight up gray.

If I have any complaints, using the comic pack head sculpt is a bit off-putting, as he looks somewhat squished and small on top of the bulky, muscular late 80's Muskrat tooling. Regardless, though, the figure is quite nice, and I love the short-cropped sleeves and fingerless gloves to boot.

For accessories, both Lt. Dolphin and Natalie Poole come with the Tundra Ranger Stalker's kayak, which is an awesome idea. Since they're both Q-Force specialists, it makes sense to have a water based vehicle, but from what we learned at JoeCon, much of the tooling has already been lost or discarded. Including these relatively small kayaks gives us a water infiltration craft for the characters without dealing with cross-brand tooling, or expensive additional vehicles that might not be as desirable. I really love the black color, and the very cool Q-Force logo on the tip as well.

Along with the kayak and the assorted gear to go along with it, Dolphin has the 25th Anniversary Dusty's retooled FAMAS assault rifle with bipod, which certainly isn't one of my favorite weapons, but it seems to do the trick okay here, and fits the European aesthetic.

Lt. Dolphin really wasn't on my list of "desirables" when this Convention set theme was announced, but I think he makes a great addition to the international team, and I like his new look. Not one of my all time favorites, but I can certainly find a place for him in my head.

Natalie Poole - Q Force

Wait, what? Who? I can imagine if most G.I. Joe fans are like me, they probably have no clue whatsoever who this even is. Thankfully, in anticipation of this convention set, I spent a considerable amount of time on Blood for the Baron and did some heavy research into the various international characters and their backgrounds. I certainly am not intimately familiar with Natalie Poole, but thanks to Blood for the Baron, I was able to at least get somewhat up to speed. As always, they are intimately familiar with the international characters, and put up a Natalie Poole DeClassified post as well as a cool post reviewing the Natalie Pool 12" figure, which kind of helped put things in perspective.

Even looking at that information, though, while I'm happy that the Club tries to stay as obscure as possible, I'm still not entirely sure why we couldn't at least get a Quarrel in this set, instead of Natalie. I'm sure there are those Action Man diehard fans who are praising the inclusion of Ms. Poole in this Convention set, but it seems to me that they could have even used the exact same figure above, only messed with the coloring a bit to get us a decent Quarrel update.

Regardless of that, the figure itself is a nice one. The Sonja Blade head sculpt is a great representation of Natalie, and from the sounds of it, they totally retooled the torso, another very cool touch, in my mind. The Lady Jaye legs are great, the basic arms work well, and the figure as great range of motion, and a cool aesthetic. She doesn't necessarily match the Q-Force color scheme very well, just using a blue tank top with the Z-Force colors from the waist down. It does incorporate her into an aquatic theme well enough, yet still uses the right shades of green and black to tie her in with the other Action Force members, too.

Back when Palitoy was doing this, it seemed as if each branch of Action Force was a totally separate and unique entity. Here, they've used some nice color pallets to tie them all together well.

Similar to Lt. Dolphin, Natalie Poole comes with the '89 Stalker's kayak, oar, and mounted machine gun, but she also comes with his automatic rifle, where Dolphin had Dusty's FAMAS. The weapon selection is very nicely done, and suits the Q-Force well, giving them a dark, sleek water based vehicle. I like that Natalie has a different rifle than Dolphin, even if the majority of the other gear is the same.

While Natalie Poole wouldn't have been my first choice, I can appreciate the devotion of the Action Man fandom, and it will be cool to display her alongside my Night Force Action Man figure. Sure, I would have preferred Quarrel, and it seems like she could have been done easily with the same parts and some minor updates to the colors. Still, though, the Club makes a habit out of finding unique new characters to introduce and this is no exception. The execution is nice, and while I've heard complaints of the figure looking a bit "manish", I don't necessarily agree with those. I think it's a very nice figure, all told, and a welcome addition to my international cadre of special forces.

Gaucho - Z Force

As iconic as the Gung Ho character is in the G.I. Joe mythos, his initial figure release did nothing for me whatsoever. With his oddly blue uniform, his large blocky head sculpt, and the total lack of a physical presence, he just didn't strike me as accurately representing his character in the cartoon. As such, the original Gaucho was never a figure I had any real desire to own either, and he wasn't tops on my list of carry overs for this Convention set. However, the Club takes someone who was, to me, a somewhat forgettible figure and make it something very interesting.

Using the 90's Battle Corps Gung Ho body for the figure rather than the somewhat scrawny '83 model bulks up the figure considerably and gives him immediate appeal. But the real stroke of genius is the fact that they used the vintage Gung Ho head retooled to fit on a ball joint neck. This gives the figure the resemblance of the vintage Gaucho, but allows a better, beefier body sculpt to be used, which is very cool.

From a paint standpoint, the majority of Gaucho is colored up in the Z-Force color scheme of green and black, with a nice hint of red under his shirt, calling back to his old school uniform.

Gaucho's weapons are pretty straight forward with a grenade launcher, machete, and backpack, and they're fine, though not all that exciting. In fact, that kind of sums up the figure in general...it's fine, though not all that exciting. It's a character that I didn't feel an absolute need for, a color scheme that's cool in the fact that it merges Gaucho with the more visible Z-Force rather than his generic brown uniform back then. But other than that, it's just kind of there. Not bad, certainly...but nothing really eye catching either.

LT Jammer - Z-Force

For reasons I can't explain, I really love the Action Force Jammer figure. It's essentially a Stalker with a red beret and modified race, and these are very small changes, but I still find myself really loving the minor alterations.

The Collectors' Club took these minor alterations and gave birth to a dramatically different character, which is very successful in concept, but only moderately successful in execution, mostly due to the unfortunate tightness of the o-ring that the figure comes equipped with.

Honestly, though, the o-ring swap out is quick and easy enough that this seems like a fairly trivial complaint, but in the interest of fairness, I think I do need to make mention. Beyond that, I really love all of the little changes the Club implemented into the figure to make it stand apart from the vintage original. The Z-Force style camouflage looks great, the Z-Force logo on his chest, and using the Cobra Officer torso all make this figure much more than just a comic pack Stalker repaint, and help morph it into something with it's own unique identity.

Lt. Jammer doesn't come with a plethora of accessories, but the ones he comes with do make sense. Being a communications officer, having Stretcher's backpack and walkie talkie is a very nice touch. And of course, so strongly based off the Stalker tooling, using his original machine gun was a very cool addition, too. Somewhat obscure choices, to be sure, but they work remarkably well.

Unfortunate o-ring issues, aside, this is one really nicely designed and nicely executed figure. The colors are great, I love the camouflage pattern, and he fits seamlessly into the rich Action Force mythology. One of my favorite figures in the set, to be sure.

Lifeline - Z-Force

When images of this figure leaked from overseas, instant hypothesis pointed to it being a reproduction of the Action Force medic, "Doc". For obvious reasons that code name isn't something that the Club wanted to translate here, so they surprised everyone by instead making it Lifeline himself, only working alongside Z-Force. I absolutely love the look.

I'm a huge fan of this tooling. I loved it in 1994, I loved it in 2005, and I love it now as well, with the intricate sculpted detail of the medical tools, the various padding throughout, and I'm psyched to see the original head sculpt back in full effect, too.

The figure looks amazingly appealing in the stark green and white contrast, and the hints of black throughout are just the right darkness to tone everything down. This figure looks like a medic, and he works very, very nicely in the way that the Collectors' Club portray him.

Since the figure was originally thought to be "Doc" it only makes sense that he comes with a few of Doc's accessories. The retooled stretcher and satchel from the mail away Doc are both terrific additions to this figure, and I love seeing them in the Z-Force medic colors to boot. He's got the same strange hyperdermic injection weapon that he came with in the 90's, and a grappling hook just to finish things off. Excellent choices.

Lifeline (or "Doc" for that matter) certainly wouldn't have been one of my first choices for inclusion in this set, but unlike Gaucho, the execution here is fantastic enough, that I can look past it and appreciate this as a great figure, regardless of my own personal preference. Great colors, a great mold, and a nice, unique character add some depth and interest to the team.

Flint - Orange Uniform

Nearly every year the Collectors' Club comes up with a unique "para-drop" figure, and this year was no different. However, unlike past years, the fans didn't get to drop this one off a building, it was done in a private ceremony to support Hasbro Childrens' Hospital, and Joe fans got figures as an additional bonus.

Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what the Club was going for here. Obviously it's a Flint repaint...and I've heard people call this "Convict Flint" because of the orange jumpsuit look. I've also heard folks say it's an homage to both Action Man and the Adventure Team, so I suppose you can write it whichever way you want.

I do love the mold here, as much as I do for the regular Flint release in this pack, but I'm really not sure where to go with the orange color. It's a very bright figure, almost too bright for me (and this is coming from a fan of the Battle Corps neon nineties!) and it doesn't really fit in the set. But it's a striking figure, and hey, it was free.

Like past para-drop figures, Flint comes with the trusty G.I. Joe parachute and Jinx backpack. Nothing too exciting or different, truth be told.

With no real story, and no real reason, this version of Flint kind of gets lost in the shuffle. There isn't much that's remarkable about him, and even as a freebie, I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to do with him. I kind of miss the days where we got a figure like Dusty or the Air-Viper as a parachute figure, but perhaps the Club is trying to limit the desirability a little bit to avoid chaos during the drop process, or more likely, they're just running out of choices for vintage tooling. Whatever the reason, while Flint is certainly a unique addition, I'm not sure I can really rationalize a particular place in my collection for him.



Page One
(Boxed Set)
Page Three
(Vehicles and More Images)

Page One
(Boxed Set)
Page Three
(Vehicles and More Images)