Monday, March 7, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra - Jungle Assault Skydive

Jungle Assault Skydive | Produced by Hasbro | Released March 2011

Skydive is an airborne combat specialist on the GI Joe team. He is experienced in HALO (High-Altitude, Low-Opening) and HAHO (High-Altitude, High-Opening) jumps. Using an advanced rocket pack, he flies to a mysterious Cobra base under construction in the jungle. On the ground, he heads for the building, unaware that Shadow Tracker is following him and preparing an attack.

The last of the latest 2011 Wave 2 figures to be Reviewed, is Skydive more Destro or more Low-Light? Read on and find out!

Skydive comes in the usual carded figure blister-pack. All is fine for what it is.

Skydive is a superb-looking figure, although as a toy he has some minor limitations. We'll get to that later though. For now, let's take a closer look at his sculpt, articulation and paintwork.

The basic figure is a great-looking toy. His torso - and indeed, most of his body - is clad in his jump vest, which includes a variety of harnesses, pouches, leg restraints and breathing equipment, which connects nicely to the helmet (more on that below.)

The sculpt here is superb. The straps, for example, have a remarkably realistic fabric-like texture to them, armour plates look solid and separate from the cloth vest and there are even tiny stitch-marks. The longer you look at Skydive, the more details you notice.

I also love the futuristic styling of the design. It captures perfectly that ''10 minutes into the future'' look of the best GI Joe toys and has a great sense of the real combined with the what-if. He wouldn't look out of place next to the Master Chief from Halo to be honest and I mean that in a good way.

His torso and arms are covered in armour plates, straps and other protective pieces, which would be needed to survive at (and landings from) high altitudes. The rest of his uniform consists of armour-plated combat pants and boots, with a pistol holster at his ankle. Perhaps coolest of all is his helmet, which has a clear visor, fits perfectly over his head and connects to his breathing system via two (very well-tooled) pipes. The overall look is great and Skydive really has the appearance of a high-altitude diver.

Indeed, it's in the sky that Skydive is at home and his design reflects this. That of course comes with a downside - he'd have to shed most of his gear when he touches-down, as the vest prohibits any major leg movement. The helmet also tends to restrict movement, thanks to the breathing tubes and the high-collar on his protective vest. The rest of his articulation is fine, though and if you choose to remove the vest you'll find his legs work without any issues. Although I don't know why you'd really want to do that, as it looks superb on the figure.

Skydive's paintwork is very well-applied on the whole. It's clean and crisp, with only a couple of very minor mis-applications (one of my Skydive's harnesses is not painted right to the point at which it connects.) The only real misstep is the fact that the helmet is painted in a lighter tone than the rest of the blue-greys on the figure. Perhaps it's deliberate. I'm not sure. It just looks slightly off, though.

I've yet to come to Skydive's coolest feature, though, which we'll now address in the...

I love toys that do things you don't expect. It's great when you find something you didn't know was there or a very cool piece of design that doesn't jump-out immediately. And Skydive has an absolute doozy: his Zeta Rocket Pack.

The pack - which attaches to the port in Skydive's back - features four ports itself: two are used for the small bombs Skydive carries and the other two are for his air supply pods. These pieces clip into place in a very snug fashion (the air pods especially) and stay there. I like that with my toys.

Coolest of all though is that when the large button in the pack's centre is pressed, the wings spring out.

I swear somebody on Hasbro's design team is a Microman fan, as this is straight out of the M21X Dash Wing playbook. Not only that, but the wings themselves also have an echo of AcroVena and AcroCleve about them in my opinion. Not that this is a bad thing at all.

The Dash Wi - I mean, Zeta Rocket Pack is nicely sprung. The wings pop-out smoothly and rapidly but remain in-place when locked down and there's never a feeling that they're going to randomly engage and send the figure flying (well, not that it flies in the literal sense but you know what I mean). It's a very well-designed, well-crafted piece and it really pushes Skydive from the ranks of being very good into the realms of the excellent.

Accessories are all nicely painted, with the Zeta Rocket Pack having disruptive white/grey sky camouflage on the underside of its wings and a dark brown on the upper face. There's some nicely applied detailing here, with the GI Joe logo and a serial number being cleanly painted and adding a nice extra touch to the wings.

Skydive also comes with a pistol (which fits perfectly into his ankle holster) and his own stand. 

Final Thoughts
Skydive is a phenomenally good GI Joe. His vest may limit his leg articulation somewhat and his Zeta Rocket Pack makes him a little unsteady on his feet, but these are both very minor points that can easily be overlooked when you see just how cool this figure's design is.

As a skydiver, of course he's slightly less-agile than a front-line soldier. He's not only carrying his combat armaments but also a couple of parachutes, breathing equipment and skydiving gear. So yes, that's going to make him more awkward to pose and not as articulated as some of the other Joes. But at the same time, there are very few of them with such a great look.

The Zeta Rocket Pack is just the icing on the cake, though. It's a superb-looking, well-designed and perfectly-executed accessory that really makes Skydive pop. So it may be a little cumbersome and it may make him a little unbalanced, but it doesn't matter - it looks just so freaking cool.

Everything about this figure is just right. Like Destro, pieces that fit together not only do so but also stay together. He feels sturdy (despite the potential energy stored in that spring-loaded backpack) and there's never any feeling that something is going to fall-off or be lost. That's the sort of good quality control and design I like to see in toys.

Overall, I think Skydive is the definite winner from this new Wave. Although City Strike Destro is an excellent figure, Skydive just pips him to the post. Even if you're not a GI Joe fan, track down Skydive, as he's a superb toy.

Production QualityA
Final ScoreA

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  1. I'm not to crazy about these new joes. But as soon as I saw Skydive I knew I had to have him.

  2. See, I really love the PoC Joes. I'm not a fan of the older ones due to their primary-colour outfits and stuff. They remind me of the Adventure People or something. But the new ones are really cool, IMO.

    And yeah, Skydive is superb.


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