Sky Sweeper Jet with Air Raid | Produced by Hasbro | Released August 2009
Sky Sweeper Jets provide air support to the GI Joe team's aerial combat fleet. Advanced avionics and an innovative design enable these stealth jets to fly at super-low altitude to avoid radar detection and reach speeds approaching MACH 3. Compact, swift and highly maneuverable, Sky Sweeper Jets aggressively confront threats from enemy aircraft and deliver air-to-ground attack and support.
Air Raid is an air assault trooper on the GI Joe team and an airborne-qualified combat officer. He has flown in numerous missions that demand the ultimate degrees of skill, quick-thinking and expertise with advanced flight technology.
From the same Rise of Cobra wave as yesterday's Mantis Attack Craft comes the Sky Sweeper Jet, with trusty pilot, Air Raid.
PackagingLike the Mantis Attack Craft, the Sky Sweeper Jet uses the small-sized vehicle packaging, which features a nice, windowed-box that's pretty sturdy and - best of all - can be resealed once it's opened.
There's also the cut and collect character ID card on the base of the box.
The packaging does its job well - it's robust, gives a good view of the toy and is resealable, all definite pluses in my book!
We'll start with the craft's pilot, Franklin ''Air Raid'' Talltree.
Air Raid is not a bad figure. I think he may be recycled from a previously-released Joe but that's not too much of an issue, as it's not like there are any overly-distinguishing marks on the toy. Interestingly though, his left leg has a holstered-pistol molded on it, which isn't referenced in the character bio, nor can it be opened and the weapon removed.
Unlike other characters, Air Raid is a little bit ''blank'' and not the most exciting-looking of Joes. There's nothing wrong with his look particularly, but it is primarily a jumpsuit with a few details, most striking of which is his removeable parachute pack, which sits at his waist. Interestingly his ''flight vest'' is sculpted onto the figure, rather than being a separate chest-piece. My guess is Hasbro tried to keep the figure relatively slim, given that the cockpit of the Sky Sweeper Jet is rather cramped.
Air Raid comes with a helmet that - sadly - is a little too-tight for his head and, when it's in place, it tends to obscure most of his face, with the exception of his eyebrows. But when the helmet is removed, we see that Air Raid is in fact, WWE Star, John Cena.
The joints are just fine on Air Raid and he's pretty poseable. One minor point is the weapons he ships with are quite difficult to get into his hands. For some reason, the hands seem to be cast from a fairly stiff plastic and so it can take some effort to get the weapons in-place. Once there though, they don't tend to fall out.
The paint-work on Air Raid is nicely executed and very neat. His pants feature a two-tone blue camo effect and his upper body uses a dark blue with black detail design. His black helmet features some nicely-applied chrome detailing. It's a shame the parachute pack is cast in a single-colour plastic, without detail, as it does look a little out-of-place on the figure.
Sky Sweeper Jet
What of Air Raid's vehicle?
The Sky Sweeper Jet - like the Dragonhawk XH1 - takes its cues from a real-world aircraft, in this case the A10 Tankbuster, an aircraft that clearly inspired the engine-arrangement on the Sky Sweeper. It's also somewhat reminiscent of smaller glider-style aircraft, but with the addition of engines and weaponry, all mixed-up to produce a sci-fi tinged fighter jet that we might see in 20 years or so. I like that.
The wing-tips fold-up for storage (and possibly some non-combat flight mode or similar) and the canopy cover is hinged to allow access to the interior. Unfortunately the cockpit arrangement isn't that impressive. Air Raid can only just squeeze inside and is pinned in-place once within. There are also no controls within. Oh well, at least the outer design is cool...
Out of the box, the Sky Sweeper Jet requires a little bit of assembly, but nothing too taxing - clip the runners onto the jet struts, clip them into the wing and then attack the rocket launchers and you're done. Yes, like the other vehicles from the line, the Sky Sweeper features spring-loaded rockets that may be fired at the press of a button. They're quite powerful and fun to play with, although I wish they'd gone with a better colour, as the neon-blue stands-out like a sore-thumb against the more subdued plastic the fighter is made from.
Like the other toys, it also requires you apply peel-off decals to the bodywork. I'm not a fan of these and so used them sparingly. They work but I'd prefer to see painted-on detail.
The engine pods are cast in blue plastic with white painted detail. The application is fine on the whole, although it is a little wobbly around some of the edges. There's no other paint applied to the toy, which I think is a shame. Rather everything is made from coloured plastic - a pale blue for the upper body, white for the under-side and black for the weapons, jets, intakes and runners. It all works nicely together but - like the Dragonhawk XH1 - the lack of washes or paint detail make it appear toy-like.
That aside, though, everything here works just fine.
The set includes two (bright) blue missiles and armament for Air Raid in the form of a pistol and an assault rifle, both of which are nicely produced and finished. Air Raid comes with his parachute pack already attached (although it may be removed) and also has his pilot's helmet,. Unfortunately the helmet isn't so well designed and sits too high on his head, obscuring his eyes. The paint detail on the helmet is well-applied though.
The Sky Sweeper Jet with Air Raid is another well-produced, nicely-designed mid-range entry from the Rise of Cobra line. Like the Mantis Attack Craft, it's great value for money but I think the Mantis craft just wins-out over the Sky Sweeper. The Mantis' production design is simply better, with the cockpit detail and space within the canopy just edging it ahead of the Sky Sweeper, which loses-out due to the cramped flight compartment and lack of interior details.
The exterior of the Sky Sweeper looks great and feels sturdy enough. Kids I'm sure will enjoy playing with it and the launching missiles are a nice addition. For collectors there's enough going-on with the design to draw the eye and it looks great on the shelf. I just wish there wasn't such a ''plastic'' look to the whole thing - some painted-detail or a matte plastic would have been nice. It's just too bad it's got a slightly more toy-ish vibe to it than some of the recent Pursuit of Cobra toys.
As for the included pilot, Air Raid is another nice-but-nothing-more bundled figure. He's better than Wild Bill but not as good as the Aqua-Viper Officer. There's not much wrong with his design - it's just he's not really as strong a character as the others. And it's a shame his helmet isn't a better fit.
But minor points aside, this is a great little play-set. It's affordable (especially if you can find them on-sale, which is quite common, as many stores are clearing-out their older GI Joe stock), the design is nice and it feels solid-enough for a good play session.
Personally I think the Mantis Attack Craft just has the edge and if you find both and can only afford one, I'd go with the Cobra craft. But this is still an excellent toy that's just fractionally-weaker and well-worth the investment.
Sky Sweeper Jet