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

As I get into the review for the vehicles for the Vacation in the Shadows set, I must mention a caveat...and that is the fact that Brian Savage informed us during the roundtable at the Convention that a very large percentage of vintage tooling has been lost or damaged over the years, and by the looks of things, that could have permanent ramifications for future convention sets. Where in the past, the Club had a wide assortment of potential vehicle tooling to choose from, it certainly seems like these days, that is definitely not the case.

But I do still think perhaps some other choices could have been made. The 25th Anniversary FLAK would have most likely been available, I think, and even though it's not the HAL as the original was, why not make an updated Exterminator? I'm not necessarily against broadening horizons and utilizing tools from other lines in a G.I. Joe convention set, but the vehicles this year did seem somewhat uninspired.

The Z-Force Silver Mirage

Hell yeah! Patterned after Quarrel's Z-Force RAM from back in the day, this retooled 25th Anniversary Silver Mirage was the attende exclusive vehicle that all box buyers got for free! And it ends up being the coolest vehicle of the bunch, at least in my opinion. The paint is so closely matched with the RAM, and even the yellowish wind screens and lights match Quarrel's blonde hair...it seems amazing to me that the Club went to all of this trouble, and didn't get us an updated Quarrel in the Convention set, even though the original isn't exactly tough to find.

Retaining some remarkable similarities to the Silver Mirage of old, this new version is tooled up to better stay together and be somewhat more stable and sturdy compared to the original. Unfortunately, the soft plastic used in assembly here does still have a tendancy to pop apart at a moment's notice, especially with the front windscreen on the motorcycle itself.

Regardless of this complaint, though, all assembled, this is one awesome looking vehicle that is a welcome addition to my Z-Force team. I love the colors, I love the accessories with it, and I love that the Club worked this in here. It's just too bad that they couldn't have done the same with a few more 25th era vehicles, repainted like the Action Force line.

The Red Shadows Hidden Bunker

I understand what the Club was trying to do, and part of me appreciates it. Diorama fans and diorama lovers are not necessarily the majority when it comes to G.I. Joe collectors, so it's not often that Hasbro will throw us a bone. Well, the Club is well known for taking chances where Hasbro wouldn't, and converting an Endor Bunker into a Red Shadows mini fortress is certainly an interesting tact to take, but ultimately, for the price we paid ($48.00) a piece of plastic that kind of sits there and does nothing does not seem to be worth the price, at least in my opinion.

It's questionable as to whether or not the Club had any other options...certianly there were some 25th era vehicle tools available that could have been used? The VAMP repainted as an SAS Panther Jeep would have been AMAZING. Sure, there were no real SAS members as part of the convention set, but regardless, I think that was an absolutely huge misstep. The black and yellow paint scheme for the Panther is truly amazing, and seeing that applied to a 25th Anniversary newly tooled VAMP? Wow...that had the potential to be one of the highlights of a Convention set.

Alas, it was not to be.

It's not that the Bunker is bad necessarily, I like the diorama attributes they incorporated into the set, but that is a LOT of money to spend on something that doesn't add a whole lot of play value. I'm sure Lucasfilm licensing costs were involved, and I'm not saying the Club overcharged necessarily, but that price and this item just don't really add up, and I really think they should have either gone a different direction or perhaps elected not to offer anything of this scale.

Of course, I bought one, so I didn't exactly vote with my dollars, eh? ;)

High price aside, there are some cool elements to the Red Shadows bunker. The wilderness camouflage scheme is actually pretty neat, and I find myself really loving the blatant Red Shadows logo in the center of the doors.

The bunker itself does add a nice diorama element to the story, and it played a pretty important role in the comic as well, and setting this thing up in my jungle set did remind me of days spent in my backyard as a child, to be sure.

Ultimately it's not so much that the bunker isn't any good, it just doesn't strike me as being worth the price I paid, and as someone who happily shells out the higher end cash for a higher end convention product, that is something that should be of some concern.

Red Shadows Staff Car

This is an example of taking a non-Joe vehicle, and making it work really well. Coming from the Indiana Jones line, this staff car (which initially serviced the Germans) was a stroke of genius. Back in the old school Palitoy comics days, the Red Shadows came across as very European and very old school German...I hesitate to use the word "Nazi" but they certainly had those strong dictator-led European military elements. In my opinion, this car suits them perfectly.

Sure, there are no weapons, no real offensive power of any kind, but using the Red Shadows trademark crimson and black hue, the staff car fits right into their arsenal, whether a ceremonial transport, or a quick way to get along the roads during a quick-strike commando assault.

Without a doubt, the coolest aspect of the staff car has to be the huge Red Shadows logo emblazoned on the hood, shamelessly proclaiming "Blood for the Baron" (or "Blood for the Major", as the case may be).

Still, there is a part of me that longs for the days of Stuns, HISS IIb's, Hydrofoils, and dreams of aircraft that could potentially be a part of the convention set for that given year. Now, it seems we may be reduced to non-G.I. Joe product, or only the recently used tools from retail releases, and the dreams have sort of died.

Don't get me wrong, I have no real issues with migrating to a modern era body style, but the speculation was always the biggest part of the fun for me leading up to the Convention, and unless something drastically changes, it sounds like that is a thing of the past, at least from a vehicle perspective.

All told, this year's Convention set was somewhat of a roller coaster. Finally getting the Red Shadows was something that many fans had been waiting many years for...but disappointment about some of the character selection...the obvious lack of decent tooling to pull vehicles or unique figures from...it kind of added up to a final hurrah that didn't have the impact that perhaps the Red Shadows deserved.

Still, though, these figures cover a niche market that many hard core fans had been asking for (almost begging for) and I love that the Club was able to make this happen for us fans who have been devoted to the o-ring for nearly three decades. It's a sad good-bye, but by the sounds of it, an absolutely necessary one, and hopefully we can get some bones tossed our way here and there. If not, though, I think mentally I'm ready to make the move, and looking at how far the modern era figures have come over the past few years, I'm really excited to see what the Club can do with this new library of tooling to pull from. I think even the devoted o-ring junkies will end up having some things to smile about.

Page One
(Boxed Set)
Page Two
(Attende Exclusive Figures)


Page One
(Boxed Set)
Page Two
(Attende Exclusive Figures)