A.W.E. Striker with Night Fox | Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010
The A.W.E. Striker (All Weather and Environment) vehicle blasts across the desert sand. With its rugged suspension and highly responsive steering. This 4X4 glides over the toughest dunes and roughest rock trails in its path. Cobra forces are in trouble when the A.W.E. Striker aims its advanced cannon system and opens fire.
Night Fox is the GI Joe team's special combat and operations expert. This former Navy Seal takes control of challenging situations with tactical force and strategic impact. Calling on a broad range of skills including marksman, explosives expert and combat diver. In the desert battle he blasts through a Cobra blockade to weaken the enemy's defenses and open a path for his team.
Hey Ho! Let's Joe! (That's better...!)
The AWE Striker comes in a clear-fronted box that's does a good job of showing-off the toy within, thanks to the front and top ''windows.'' The box front is printed and cut to give the impression of rocks in the foreground and - with the box's interior doubling-up as a diorama backdrop - it's a nice way of situating the vehicle.
The rear shows the AWE Striker in-action and highlights some nice detailing.
Opening (and re-sealing) the box is simply a matter of using one of the flaps at either end of the box. The cardboard interior tray then simply slides out with the vehicle attached. To remove the vehicle, simply remove the twisties/retaining bands.
The set includes Night Fox, a desert combat specialist and driver of the AWE Striker.
Desert Fox is a nicely-produced figure, overall. The is possibly a recycle from a previous figure (I think it might be Beachhead but I could be wrong) but given that it's simply a balaclava mask, it's not really an issue. The head is also partially-covered by a mask/scarf that's superbly-sculpted. The cloth covers the lower-half of his face and then falls under his chin to his neck in a very realistic fashion. So even if the basic head is a recycled part, it doesn't matter because the scarf gives Night Fox his own look.
His basic outfit consists of tan combat pants and a black shirt, over which he wears a combat vest and equipment belt. Sadly these two pieces don't fit together particularly well, with the belt forcing the vest upwards, resulting in some shoulder-pieces that wouldn't look out of place in an 80s funk band. The vest itself is well-sculpted with a lot of detailing. Similarly the belt has a variety of pouches and details. One thing that doesn't work so well though is his pistol holster. Due to being packaged in a sitting-position - and his low-slung holster being pushed out-of position - the holster bends outwards at an angle.
I guess I'll just leave him seated then...
The joints are all good, although I did find my Night Fox's hip connections seemed a little looser than those I've experienced before with other Joes. I'm not sure if his thigh-pieces are properly connected, as in some poses he does have quite visible join-lines on his legs.
Paint-wise the figure is nicely rendered. Although is pants and shirt are simply cast in one-tone plastic, his vest and scarf use a number of washes and dry-brushings to produce some nicely textured details.
Given he's a ''free'' figure bundled with a vehicle, Desert Fox is a very nice piece.
The AWE Striker is - overall - a well-designed and nicely produced vehicle. Like the Sand Serpent and Dragonhawk, it's a vehicle that takes cues from reality but adds its own sense of Joe-ness.
Out of the box, the AWE Striker requires a little bit of assembly. One rear wheel must be attached (which simply involves popping it onto the axle.) The cannon and whiplash aerials must also be popped into place. My AWE Striker's left wheel was not connected to the steering mechanism, which required a little bit of brute force and delicate manipulation to get it back in-place. Once attached though, the piece has remained in-place since.
The AWE Striker rolls nicely, with independently-mounted wheels. The front wheels are also interconnected, so by turning one the other moves. Although the box claims independent suspension for each wheel, they are actually mounted on the same pieces (the two rear and two front sharing the piece, respectively). Thankfully these pieces are flexible-enough to disguise their connection well-enough to give the impression of independent movement.
As for other details, the engine cover can be removed to reveal the engine within and the roof-mounted cannon can tilt and swivel. I'm surprised it doesn't include a firing missile, though, given that a lot of the other Joe toys include this feature. Two running-board/storage bays are present on either side, complete with pegs that can be used to stand Joes within or store the additional pieces the set includes.
Getting Night Fox into position can take a little effort, thanks to the awkward angle at which he must be placed and the presence of the roll cage. Once in-place though, Night Fox sits well at the wheel, with the controls being perfectly at-hand in the sitting position.
A second seat is reserved for a gunner and includes a firing control, connected to the chassis via a thin rubber tube. It takes a little re-wiring and effort to get a figure and the pipe to both sit in there, but it's not too difficult to figure-out with a bit of work.
The sculpt and design, then, is very nice, overall.
Sadly though the vehicle feels fairly light, which is fine given it's supposed to be a high-speed support-vehicle but it also feels a little fragile. I wouldn't - for example - fancy its odds if it were to be driven with force into a base board or over undulating terrain. The AWE Striker is not so robust as some other toys feels more as if it's pitched more toward the collectable toy end of the market.
Paint-wise the toy is schizophrenic. The wheels and side plates are decorated with an excellent dirt/dust build-up effect, which looks superb. Unfortunately though this effect is not used anywhere else on the vehicle, with the black plastic body and olive drab/desert tan details being cast from solid-coloured plastic. I wish the GI Joe vehicles had the same, more-lifelike paint-work seen on the Pursuit of Cobra figures...
The AWE Striker - as well as including Night Fox - comes with a number of accessories.
Night Fox has a removable vest (as mentioned) plus two pieces of headgear: a green, peaked-cap and - coolest of all - a helmet with a tilt-up/tilt-down nightvision scope. The piece fits nicely into the helmet and works well for such a small accessory. I like being able to display the figure with either an up or down position. The helmet also fits snuggly onto the head, unlike the cap, which is slightly too-small and tends to either sit on the very top of his head or pop-off when pushed into position.
He also comes with two pistols and a shotgun, both cast in an odd-looking desert brown that looks more like gold. Again, a few painted details on these weapons would have made them much more effective. There's also a large calibre, tripod-mounted machine gun with an ammo case (that fits into Night Fox's back) with ammo.
The extra pieces are nice, overall, but I wish some thought had gone into storing them. The AWE Striker should include, for example, a small port on the chassis into which the ammo case could be slotted when not in use and the machine gun tripod should have folded-up or had some way of connecting it to the vehicle when not in use. These are minor inconveniences and it's possible to overcome them with some though, but I just wish Hasbro's designers would be more considerate when it comes to the storage/display of their toys.
The box may also be used to create a desert diorama, which is a nice touch, and the pack includes a sticker sheet (some of which are already applied to the vehicle) and instructions. The base of the box includes Night Fox's cut and collect card.
The AWE Striker with Night Fox is very good, but just not quite great.
Night Fox himself is a nicely-designed figure. The night-vision helmet is a superb piece (for all its tiny scale) and his mask/scarf is a great-looking accessory that gives him a unique look. It's also another figure where the second layer of the vest works superbly. It's nicely designed and well-painted, but it's just a shame that the belt pushes it out of position slightly.
The AWE Striker has some nice features but just lacks that extra oomph that would make it a must-have. The use of coloured plastics, for example, make it look like an unfinished model kit, especially when the lower-half has paint applied (and very well-applied at that.) and the lack of storage for the extra pieces just seems off, as if somebody designed the whole thing then looked-around to see what other stuff they could bundle in with it.
But then it just feels a little fragile as a plaything. Maybe it's just the way the suspension is mounted or the fact that the tires are cast from solid plastic but way the whole thing seems to rattle when you move it gives the impression that something is going to drop-off at any moment. For a robust, desert-conquering vehicle it just feels very femmer.
The real problem is that it looks like a toy and feels like a collectable, rather than the other way around.