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GI Joe Battle Pack #2

GI Joe Generation 3
by yo go re

We've referred to this set many times, as parts and pieces introduced here were repainted to create other characters. It only seems fair we finally review it.

Although he is a top-notch commando who completed Advanced Infantry Training and Ranger School, Snake-Eyes is better known for his martial arts skills, which have made him one of the two most accomplished - and deadliest - ninja masters in the world. His past is a labyrinth of heroism, tragedy and mystery. When he joined the GI Joe team, he brought not only his military and ninja skills but also his expertise in mountaineering, underwater demolitions and extreme environment survival. Silenced by a disfiguring helicopter accident, he nevertheless speaks volumes with actions that are always determined and courageous no matter the threat or the odds. During one mission, he saved the life of a wolf that became his loyal companion and brave comrade from that moment on.

This figure was Ultimate Snake-Eyes before Ultimate Snake-Eyes was even a thing, and this one doesn't suffer from gigantism. He's a slight update of the "Pyramid of Darkness" Snake-Eyes (the torso is a new mold), but he's painted in blacks and greys rather than cartoony tints. He has pouches on his biceps, those weird things on his ankles, and a few metal darts on the back of his right glove. His belts and the bandolier across his chest come from that older figure as well, but the paint makes them look better as well.

The sword comes from the same source, but the Arashikage symbol near the hilt gets some red paint apps this time. He has a new backpack, which sadly does not feature any storage for the sword. There are two guns in the tray below SE's feet: a new Uzi and an XMLR-3A laser rifle. We also get a new sculpt of Timber, with three feet on the ground, one raised, and a thick ruff of fur on the withers - no articulation, though.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr and Trinity College, Dublin, Lady Jaye joined the military and completed Airborne and Ranger training and graduated Military Intelligence School. She is also an accomplished actress, mime and linguist who can easily pass as a native in France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Germany, Afghanistan, Spain, and Portugal. These combined skills made her an expert in covert operations, which drew the attention of the GI Joe team. Her exceptional skill with the crossbow has also earned her the admiration of her team - and even the begrudging respect of Cobra troopers.

When reviewing the Revenge of Cobra box set, we said that the included Lady Jaye was nice, but that a better one was released soon after. This is that better one. While the head is same DVD Battles Lady Jaye had, the rest of the body is entirely new. Her shirt is more detailed, with lots of wrinkles and sculpted pockets, plus her sleeves are rolled up higher, and she's not unzipped as far. Much more professional! Her boots are taller and she has no weapons strapped to her ankles. Her gloves are better detailed, and this time she even gets joints in her wrists! The hair has more of a reddish tint than before, but the height of her collar does limit the range of motion slightly. Still, just as Social Clash provided the ultimate toy-based Lady Jaye, this is the best cartoon-based Lady Jaye.

She wears a free-floating belt with a few pouches and a canteen, but that's not removable, so we wouldn't count it as an accessory. Same goes for the knife on her shirt. She gets the same quiver and build-a-javelin as the DVD figure, which is awesome - that's a great accessory - but rather than the matching piece, she gets a normal spear. Finally, she gets the second of the set's three laser rifles.

GI Joe Hawk was the original field commander of the GI Joe team before he got his General's star and was booted upstairs to honcho the entire GI Joe operation. He's a West Point graduate and has a list of special education credits as long as his arm, but he acquired the main body of his experience out there where it counts - on the battlefield. GI Joe Hawk is the type of commander who goes out and gets shot at like everyone else. Troops respect that. They know he won't ask them to do anything he isn't willing to do himself. And that's why they are willing to do anything he tells them.

Of all the figures in this set, Hawk is the only one without any sculptural changes: from head to toe, every bit of him is the same as the single-carded figure. The only difference between the figures is the paint - since this box set is about honoring the cartoon, his colors are brighter and more vibrant. Surprisingly, the camouflage on the pants is more complex on this figure than the other, which really breaks with tradition for "animated" figures. His jacket is a very light tan. It no longer has his name on the chest, but all the ribbons are still fully colorful despite being hidden behind his shoulder holster. The brown used for his hair has more of a red tint than before, and the goggles on his forehead has white lenses rather than being solid black.

Even his accessories are unchanged: in addition to the removable helmet, he's got a pistol that's about twice the size that it should be, and a complex backpack that's been painted light green, rather than dark. There were no real problems with the first Generation 3 Hawk, so there were no problems that needed to be fixed, but there was also no real reason to make a second one.

Flint was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a degree in English Literature. Growing restless with academia, he sought new challenges and enlisted in the Army, where he tapped into his tenacity and concentration to complete Airborne School, Ranger School, Special Forces School and Flight Warrant Officers School with top honors. His self-confidence and arrogance may irritate some team members in the Pit, but they're driving forces to a mission's success out in the field. He's led many dangerous rescue operations, most of which are classified for security reasons. Once you get past his blunt, forceful nature, you quickly realize that his entire focus is on supporting the team with no thoughts to his own safety or the praise of others.

We may not have needed a new Hawk, but we did need a new Flint. The first was okay, but his sleeves were rolled to the wrong length, and he didn't have any gloves. Yes, those are minor issues at best, but they've been fixed here. His webgear is much more intricate than before, with clearly sculpted logos on his two belt buckles - one "US," one eagle - and he has a new head. It's still too gaunt for the character, but the mouth is open slightly, and it was never used for any other figures. It's a bit surprising that this figure uses the classic toy colors: like we said, the box set seems to be inspired by the Sunbow cartoons, and his colors there were more green and brown than black and green.

Flint also gets some nice accessories. There's the same big pistol that Hawk had, plus a brown backpack and a new shotgun. The gun was rubberbanded to Flint's leg in the package, which seems very weird until you realize that the brown hand grip is actually a separate piece that slides back and forth! Finally, he gets the set's third laser rifle.

Shipwreck grew up in the shadow of the sprawling San Diego Navy Yards and dreamed of a life at sea. With his parents' permission, he enlisted in the Navy at the youngest possible age and graduated the Great Lakes Naval Gunnery School. He has fought river pirates, smugglers and other assorted thugs during his career before joining the GI Joe team. With his parrot Polly perched on his shoulder, he has faced the Cobra enemy on every watery battleground from vast oceans to murky swamps. As salty a seadog as ever sailed the sea, Shipwreck is nevertheless a steadfast teammate who will go to Davy Jones's locker and back to complete a mission.

Shipwreck is another figure who wasn't in desperate need of an update, but this is still an improvement. Like Lady Jaye, the detailing in the sculpt has taken a step up, and the figure is more robust overall. The colors are bright, and he has a new, more impressive head. His belt buckle has no pattern in the center, and the tattoo on his right arm has now turned into an anchor with an eel wrapped around it.

Polly got a new mold for this box set, with her wings spread wide. Ship's accessories include a grey satchel that has pegs on the shoulder that Polly's feet can clip onto. He's also armed with a revolver, a new harpoon gun, and a hook on a rope. The harpoon isn't something he's ever carried before, but it makes sense for a sailor.

The packaging for this set is similar to the boxes for the 25th Anniversary Collection sets, though it's a rectangle rather than a parallelogram, and you have to take the tray out of the side rather than the front. The cardboard insert behind the figures shows the deck of the USS Flagg, so at last Keel-Haul will have someplace to stand. Most of the figures in the box are better than their previous versions, but it's a shame that Hasbro couldn't have found someone better than Hawk to include.

-- 01/29/16


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