G.I. Joe Eaglehawk w/ Lift Ticket

As many of you have commented in the past, from a G.I. Joe perspective, I'm very much a "new stuff" kind of guy. Sure, there are elements of nostalgia that influence much of my collecting habit, but for the most part, I just love G.I. Joe toys and they don't necessarily have to remind me of earlier times.

For some reason, though, the Eaglehawk is different. It's a very faithful reimagination of the vintage vehicle, and while normally that would be cause for less excitement, not more, in this case, the Tomahawk holds a very big place in my G.I. Joe world, and because of that, nostalgia is a big reason why I'm a fan of this vehicle.

I'm going to go until a little background here, so if that bores you, feel free to scroll down to the good stuff... my mom and dad got divorced when I was very young, and my mom moved out to the East Coast with nothing really to her name. We ended up living with my grandparents for a while, so obviously money was tight. By the time 1982 came around, she was in school and balancing parenthood at the same time, so money was still tight, even though my dad would send me some good G.I. Joe stuff for Christmas. I think I've told the story of the package I got in Christmas of 1982 with almost the entire run of G.I. Joe items for that year...and Dad's visit out East is what netted me my original Destro as well.

That being said, I understood money was tight, even at that young age, so when I got a FANG for Christmas, it was a pretty big deal. Fast forward a few years to the mid 80's, and my mom had finished school and actually had a full time job, but money was still a bit tight. I had grown quite attached to the Tomahawk and reluctantly put it on my Christmas list. Reluctantly, because I had grown used to not getting items that I had requested... but this year was different. That Christmas I received both the Terror Drome and the Tomahawk helicopter, and it was one of my favorite childhood memories. But as much as I loved the Terror Drome, it was the Tomahawk that I was really attached to, and it represented a significant time in my life, where our financial struggles were slowly coming under control. A year or two later, mom bought our first house and the rest is history.

Fast forward again quite a few more years, and I was digging out my old G.I. Joe toys in the late 90's as I had discovered the Internet and the wonders of YoJoe.com...but I couldn't locate my old Tomahawk. I never really found out what happened to it, but I suspect a number of yard sales that occurred at my house while I was in college probably consumed it. When I moved down to Massachusetts with my soon to be wife, one of the first things I did was start searching out vintage toy stores. While I didn't find anything in the nearby area, a Toyfare magazine did reveal a little nugget called The Toy Vault (then called Die Hard Toys) in Warwick, Rhode Island, just a couple of hour drive away. I scheduled my trip, and two weeks later, I found myself walking into their front doors.

The first thing that caught my eye in that store was the Tomahawk. Sitting on top of a USS Flagg that was also in the store, my eyes narrowly focused on its brown camouflage hide, and about 90 minutes later, I walked out with it (and with about $300 worth of other stuff...which in the late 90's was quite the haul). Since then, this Tomahawk has seen its own up and downs, from being featured in my dio-stories to getting crushed by a falling lamp. Currently its rotors are held together by super glue, but it remains one of my most treasured items.

And then we get the Eaglehawk...

Even before it was getting applauded by fanbase far and wide, the Tomahawk was one of my all time favorite vehicles. A decent size, lots of troop capacity, some serious armament, and lots of face time in the comics and cartoons, it was pretty much the perfect toy for me. It had a bad ass chin gun, tons of rockets, and lots of space for G.I. Joe troops to deploy from. Sure, it had some fragile components (especially those damn rotors) but for my money as a kid (or an adult) it had everything I was looking for.

To nobody's surprise, based on Hasbro and John Warden's track record, the new one does as well. The best thing is, it not only has everything you were looking for in your vintage Tomahawk, but it manages to make several improvements and makes it fit pretty perfectly with your modern figures as well.

The size, shape, and overall design of this transport copter is the same as we got back in the day. In fact, a cursory look makes it somewhat difficult to tell which one is a vintage one and which one is the new one. But the similarities are all superficial. The meat is what's important, and the meat of this new Eaglehawk is spectacular. Every part and piece here is brand new tooling, with several parts that disassemble so the vehicle can fit in a specific box as dictated by retail desire, and this ability to disassemble is actually a benefit to customizers everywhere, as many of the pieces pull back apart. Making that Cobra Transport Copter has never been easier!

Feeling amazingly solid and sturdy (especially compared to vehicles like the Ghost Hawk II, which felt surprisingly chinsy), the Eaglehawk has the heft and durability of the vintage version. The cockpit still holds two pilots, and the control panel is completely redesigned with much more detail, including some much improved control sticks. My only possible complaint is that it's a bit tough to get the pilot to hold one of the sticks, but the intended pilot, Lift Ticket, does have the range of motion to pull it off, which is great. I'm not sure exactly how Warden pulled it off, but he managed to make the cockpit large enough for two modern figures, yet still get an extra seat in the open section in back as well. Speaking of seats, unlike the old school Tomahawk, these seats are not removable, which suits me fine. if I have any complaints about the seats it would be that they lack any way to keep the figure in them. I suspect that they didn't tool back pegs on the seats so that collectors could potentially use this vehicle with their vintage figures if they wanted. However, some seat clips would have been great, and would have worked with either style figure. As it is now, if someone is playin-- errr... trying to display this vehicle like any respectable adult collector would... --- the figures kind of jostle around in there and threaten to fall out.

The interior of the copter itself is full of added detail with cool diamond plated armor throughout the walls, and tons of footpegs on the ramp and on the interior itself. Along with footpegs there are also some holes so that backpacks can be plugged in there to ride along with the troops. With the seats we have two mounted machine guns like the original, but unlike the original, these guns are mounted more towards the rear of the cabin rather than near the front. I don't mind the change, and I'm glad they made these a bit larger and more imposing, but it does make it just a little tricky to get someone in the back seats while holding the weapon. Perhaps that's another reason they didn't give us a seat clip, though, so the figure could adjust back there a bit better. That change would make some sense. The guns also are removable from their mount points, and as mentioned by Hasbro at JoeCon, the upcoming Roadblock comes with a massive machine gun that can plug in there instead. That will be an awesome touch once the figure appears.

The front of the Eaglehawk is very reminiscent of the original, with a nice clear canopy, though the lower glass is replaced by painted plastic for cost reasons. Not a huge deal. The chin gun is a lot better detailed, and for some reason swaps around the gun and the camera, but not a huge deal. In fact, I prefer the new chin-mount gun a lot over the old. That added chain gun detail makes all the difference.

Man, I've written hundreds of words here already and I haven't even talked about the rotors yet, which is probably one of the nicest changes. Instead of the flimsy join points of the vintage version, we have some great new rotors that clip in very securely, and also allow for some rotation, so the blades can flip back for easier display (or less risk of smashing). I wish I'd had these rotors on my vintage Tomahawk, when that floor lamp fell over! The missiles all look very familiar to the old school missiles as well, and stay on quite well, to boot. Lastly, they also reconfigured the winch mechanism in this vehicle, with a more internal system that doesn't require an additional piece to be clipped onto the bottom. The winch wheel is just next to one of the rear landing gears, and works pretty well. If I have any complaints, it's just that I wish the string was a bit longer, but I imagine the internal mechanism ends up sacrificing some string-length.

Lift Ticket

Oye. I kind of suspected this review might run long when I originally specced it out in my head, but it's stretching out even longer than I thought it might. I haven't even talked about the figure yet!

First and foremost, can I just say how happy I am that we already got a vintage themed Lift Ticket so that Hasbro could give us a better, cooler, more modern figure with this helicopter? I absolutely love this version of the character. Using the Data-Viper base body (also appropriately used for Sgt. Airborne in a recent 3-Pack) we get a fantastic "flight suit" looking figure, which also just happens to mesh nicely with the aforementioned Airborne, too. Fantastic detail work, amazing articulation, and a figure that works really nicely with new Retaliation stuff as well as more real world military stuff, too. If you want this to be an updated Lift Ticket for your movie universe, you can, or if you want it to be a modern PoC style update, he works for that, too.

The colors are very similar to Airborne, which is a great touch again, as you have an instant flight crew if you have a few Airbornes (as I do).

Lift Ticket comes with a pretty neat new head sculpt as well, which I can't really identify as coming with anyone else, so I'm thinking it's new. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.


For accessories, Lift Ticket comes with the same vest as the Rise of Cobra Wild Bill and Renegades Air-Viper came with, which works nicely as a flight suit. He's got an amazing new flight helmet as well as a pair of great headsets that can fit with other members of his flight crew. Lastly, he has the same machine gun that came with 30th Anniversary/Renegades Law, which was also carried over to Sgt. Airborne as well.

In short, this is a fantastic modern pilot figure, and I'm quite thrilled with him, especially since folks who want it already have a vintage Lift Ticket to use if they so desire.

So, there you have it...as a notoriously "new and different" collector, I am drawn to the Eaglehawk for my strong nostalgic ties. Frequent reminders of earlier times, the Tomahawk just happens to be a pretty significant element of my G.I. Joe collecting life, and I'm thrilled that Hasbro was able to make this work. I find it equally significant that it comes at a time when G.I. Joe may or may not have an immediate future. The Tomahawk was present during many changing events in my personal life as well as my G.I. Joe life, and it's bittersweet and poignant to me that the Eaglehawk is happening the same way. Time will tell what the ultimate direction of G.I. Joe is at mass retail, but if things change dramastically, I find it very interesting that this particular vehicle will once again be a catalyst of that change, at least to me personally.

As you can imagine, even aside from the nostalgic significance, this is just a damn fine toy, and an amazing example of what the dedication of the design team can pull off, in spite of resistant retailers and an environment that doesn't seem condusive to military toys for kids. A hearty congratulations and thanks to John Warden and the rest of the folks in Hasbro who worked long and hard to make this awesome vehicle happen. This particular G.I. Joe fan appreciates it greatly.