Pursuit of Cobra AWE-Striker w/ Night Fox

There was a time in my life when I loved the AWE Striker...I considered it a cooler, more functional vehicle than the VAMP, and the play value was off the charts. It was awesome when I was a kid, and even in the 2000's when it got it's first new release, I was all on the AWE Striker bandwagon.

Not any more. I'm not entirely sure if it's the fact that I'm just sick of them after seeing so many released over the past several years, or if it's this particular AWE Striker, which is a pretty dreadful mish-mash of mixed color schemes that give it a serious identity crisis.

If not for a very cool new character, I strongly doubt I would even consider recommending this, however the former Navy SEAL turned desert operative saves this Alpha vehicle from the junk pile.

Even I can't quite figure out where my vehemence comes from. After all, the AWE Striker is a legend. It's a small, handheld vehicle with some serious durability, a great working suspension, an awesome offensive cannon, and even some great little touches like the twin antennas and the surveillance camera. But first and foremost, I feel like we've been inundated with these things lately, and secondly, this particular rendition does absolutely nothing to impress.

Throughout the 25th Anniversary line, we got a standard green AWE Striker as a Target Exclusive, and then later on, received a desert repaint with Leatherneck. Both vehicles were indentical other than their color schemes. Previous to this, we also had a Night Ops AWE Striker as part of the Real American Hero Collection, and a pretty neat urban operations version which came with the Spy Troops line. Haven't we gotten enough AWE Strikers already? I don't mind getting the same vehicle multiple times if they can do something cool and different with it. The Spy Troops version was actually pretty awesome, I thought, with the urban color scheme and updated weapons...but this one? Not only does this one not add anything new and different, but it seems to try to take the Night Ops version, the desert version, and the regular version, and pile it all together, which simply makes it look horrible.

The base body of the vehicle itself is jet black, which is nice enough...but then the roll bar and front grill are desert tan. Sort of an odd combination on its own, but then the engine cover is a light olive drab along with the top cannon. Wha? Who thought that these three colors just haphazardly mushed together would look even remotely okay? Sure, Night Fox himself as a different assortment of colors on his uniform, but it looks okay on him, and far from okay on the vehicle itself. There are some neat elements, like the spray mud deco on the tires and the side rails, but beyond that I really can't find much to recommend here. It just looks like the designers picked a bunch of random parts and pieces from past AWE Strikers and lumped them all together into one somewhat messy combination.

Night Fox

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel...and it's Night Fox.

Using the parts from the Rise of Cobra Desert Duke figure, but giving him a much more subdued paint scheme, Night Fox looks suitably military. The knit balaclava conceals his identity nicely and adds a cool element to a figure that's pretty much a combination of existing parts.

Around his waist is the holster from what appears to be the Elite-Viper, but due to the somewhat stocky legs, it has a tendancy to stick out at an odd angle, which kind of stinks, but it's one of the few low points of an excellent figure. The range of motion in his elbows, wrists and knees are all excellent as well.

If I have any complaints, while I can dig the use of the trigger fingers, they can sometimes get in the way of more standardized grips that could be useful, especially for a driver who needs to grip a steering wheel. Still, by and large, I have way more compliments than complaints about this figure...he's a great addition to the Joe team. Nicely understated and realistic, with a cool Navy SEAL background, Night Fox looks very cool. It definitely seems like the Joe designers tried to build the AWE Striker around his color scheme, which is a pretty strange choice...as you can see, the colors work for the figure, not so much for the vehicle.

While Night Fox is a somewhat bland figure underneath, the gear is what really sets him apart, and he comes with a ton of it. The scarf fits nicely around his chin, and if you arrange the webgear and the scarf properly, it all fits together remarkably well. Speaking of the webgear, it appears to be totally new tooling, though someone correct me if I'm wrong. I don't remember seeing it before.

He comes with a great pump action shotgun, three pistols, Roadblock's massive machine gun, a baseball hat and night ops helmet. All of the different gear combinations possible with these accessories makes for a very flexible figure with a lot of cool options.

Yes, the figure is just a rehash of mostly existing parts, but the way those parts are put together works amazingly well, and believe it or not, almost totally makes up for the substandard vehicle. Fans of the AWE Striker will probably enjoy this set as it is, but for me, it's all about Night Fox. Of course, that makes the final grade a bit tricky. Is a figure worth the $15 price tag? That's a tough sell.

Buy this vehicle at BigBadToyStore!