It can be interesting doing these G.I. Joe Convention Set reviews, because you really do need to take them in chunks. First and foremost, you have to evaluate each individual figure, because there’s intrinsic value in each part of a Convention Set. You may have one or two figures who are the best figures you’ve ever seen that get very high marks, but depending on the rest of the set, it could be seen as a “miss” overall.
I’ll say right up front that I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of Tiger Force. Even as a kid I couldn’t really get my head around it. I know everyone says that I love bright colors, but that’s not necessarily true. I love stuff like the Mega Marines and Battle Corps IN SPITE OF their bright colors. The tooling and sculpting and characters are just so awesome that I am drawn to them and can ignore the bright hues that detract other folks from loving them.
With Tiger Force, you get the older tooling that’s been seen before combined with bright colors, and the two aspects have left me a bit cold since they first appeared in 1988.
That being said, I know there is a segment of the fandom who loves them, so I don’t fault the Club for going that route. Heaven knows I’ve heard plenty of folks clamoring for more Tiger Force. The Collectors Club also elected to dip back into the Iron Grenadier well for the villains, a decision that some folks deride, and I’ll admit, it disappointed me just a bit as well, as much as I love the Iron Grenadiers. To the Club’s credit, however, they were able to produce some pretty amazing looking figures, even if they did go back to that well for a third time in Convention set history.
Speaking of the Iron Grenadiers, the free attendee vehicle this year, an Iron Grenadier themed Mantis sub from the new sculpt era is a really great vehicle. It’s very reminiscent of Destro’s Despoiler, and I think was a really inspired choice for the attendee freebie. A great item that compliments the set well.
From the Tiger Force side of things, there are items I loved and items that left me a bit cold. Wreckage, Stalker, Lifeline, and to a degree Big Brawler, were all figures that brought smiles to my face, some more than others. Dial Tone was pretty disappointing, however. On the Iron Grenadier side, I found myself loving General Mayhem and the Iron Anvils, but was a bit chilly on the Undertow and Metalhead. I think there are elements of Metalhead that are spectacular, but the entire package could have been explored a bit better, in my opinion.
As for the vehicles, the Tiger Shark and Tiger Sting are both very well executed, but remain very similar to their vintage inspirations, something that many fans are ecstatic for, but I’m not entirely certain they’re worth the Convention prices.
The Tigerhawk was a considerably pleasant surprise, being an item I wasn’t all that invested in emotionally, but once I had it in hand, it was a pretty impressive exclusive vehicle.
There are times when the total of the Convention set ends up greater than the sum of it’s parts. That certainly happened last year, but I’m not sure the same thing exists with this set. Definitely everything looks better once it’s all on display together, and there are individual figures I really enjoy, but I don’t feel the same whole-hearted punch from this set that I felt last year. Doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means, it just doesn’t feel quite as cohesive and story-driven. I felt like the Club managed to pull some great disparate characters together into a very fun story-driven Convention set last year. This year it just seems more tied together with team affiliations and homages. But there are a lot of folks out there who like that.