G.I. Joe Convention 2013 - Nocturnal Fire Set
This year I'm doing the Convention Exclusive reviews a little bit differently. In years past, I had done a full throttle three page review cramming all of the various items into one single review.
This time around, I decided to break it up and instead of doing one single, really long review, I did... well... 16 separate reviews. Yeah, I'm not sure entirely what I was thinking either.
However I decided to torture myself in the weeks following the Convention, the end result is now here! I have reviewed them all individually, which you can see in the grid above. However, one of the goals of a convention set is to see how all of the figures integrate into one cohesive set. This used to be a main goal of the annual Convention sets, but I feel like that goal has been at least a little bit lost as time goes on.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have an issue with that at all... in some cases in the past, I think some figures suffered for trying to hard to match up. As long as the theme and the team are consistent, I think it works well. The Night Force set here accomplishes this. Not all of the colors match up to their vintage counterparts, and not all of the colors work seamlessly together, but I think enough similar elements are here to bring each figure together with the otehrs in the set.
Greens, browns, and blacks are prevelant throughout, unifying each of these figures into the Night Force subteam, and even some of the metallic blue or teal touches are linked throughout various figures in the set.
The Cobra forces are a bit more strange to consider. The Club obviously has a vested interest in modern updates of classic figures, and they accomplish this with Cobra Mortal, Frag Viper, Letal, and to a lesser extent with the SAW Vipers. The only issue with this is that these are fairly separate Cobra agents, without really a unifying color scheme between them. As such, they don't necessarily make up a cohesive set, but the storyline brings them together nicely, even if the color scheme doesn't.
Along with this great assortment of Cobra agents and Night Force figures, the extra packs work very well, too. Lady Jaye's gray uniform is very Night Force, and Chuckles fit in the same color scheme well. Freestyle is much more dark green, but matches the dark green in Steeler's jacket, and throughout the rest of the boxed set, too, creating another unifying element to the set.
The vehicles drift more towards the black colors, and while the excellent Night Boomer has the appropriate orange trim, both the FLAK and the Ferret ATV are mostly just black and gray. I can see why the Club might want to steer clear of the overly bright trim that littered the Toys "R" Us versions of these figures and vehicles from back in the day, but I think a little orange here and there would have been appreciated.
Speaking of the Ferrett ATV, that was the attendee freebie that came with the boxed set. It's a repaint of the Rise of Cobra Tiger Paw ATV that came with Leatherneck, and is... fine, I guess. There have been several repeats of the ATV throughout recent years, and I'm not especially married to that Rise of Cobra version. The retooled racks are nice new additions, but I much prefer the cannon from the original Ferrett and the spring-loaded rocket launcher doesn't really thrill me.
The gray, green, and black color scheme is interesting, and the silver engine is a great separation of the somewhat drab color scheme besides. I actually don't mind the Ferrett as an attendee freebie, even though we've gotten it before, but there could have been slightly more exciting choices.
It's not a bad attendee freebie exclusive, just among the other stellar additions to the Convention set, it doesn't seem quite so exciting.
Within the thrust of the Convention itself, it's always really difficult to get a good handle on the quality of the exclusives at that moment. Collectors live in such a "give me this cool new thing it's the best thing EVAH" mode, that instant reaction is always exceedingly positive. I usually need to take a few days to sort my head out and make sure that these sets are really as good as I think they are.
In this case, the set absolutely is. It is worth the hype. Every year I wonder how the Club can top what they did, and almost every year the Club manages to do just that. I absolutely loved the Oktober Guard set last year, but there are several figures in this year's set that top figures in that one for various reasons. Some great troop builders, an awesome Night Force team... this is one heck of an awesome and inspired boxed set, that comes up pretty close to the MARS Attacks set as one of the best ever done. Once again I find myself sitting here wondering how the Club can top itself...while at the same time, feeling pretty good about their chances.