I hesitated a bit before buying this one because I knew I had the SDCC Starscream version on the way. Did I really need two Sky Strikers, even if they do sport extremely different decos? After all, I had just passed on the new Toys R Us Exclusive Y-Wing fighter that was just a repaint of the one I already have.
But, yeah – I had to buy it. The Sky Striker was one of the first truly outstanding GI Joe vehicles I ever owned and was definitely one of the most frequently deployed units; second only to the Tomahawk. So it isn’t going to hurt to have an extra. I just don’t know where the crap I’m going to put it. Most of my Joe aircraft (and Star Wars spacecraft) are hanging from the ceiling, but I’ve only got so much ceiling. The Star Wars side is already more congested than the Coruscant sky in the opening of Episode III.
First Glance: The box is beautiful. I almost always prefer vehicles be in a closed box with artwork rather than a window box. This is for two reasons: 1) I love the heck out of some good toy artwork and it means an artist somewhere got paid. 2) Typically, vehicles packaged in window boxes require no assembly or sticker placement and those are two facets of a toy vehicle purchase that I consider essential to the experience. So I am extremely happy with the Sky Striker’s package.
Sculpt: I’m honestly not sure if this is the same mold as the original Sky Striker or not. It has the same look and the same functionality – the lever that moves the wings and deploys the landing gear – and the same basic coloration. I know the cockpit is different. Hasbro had already stated this would be a one-seater due to the larger size of the 25th Anniversary style figures. That did give us a more detailed cockpit, though.
Assembly is very simple, but still fulfilling. The nose/cockpit portion plugs into the body, the wings attach to their mounts and the four tail fins plug into their appropriate spots. Then you pop in the turbine cylinders and plug the canopy into the cockpit and you’re good to go. I love putting stuff together and have been very happy with the last few Joe vehicles because of that.
The landing gear seems to be upgraded. I remember the old Sky Striker had holes where the landing gear pulled up into the body; on this one each hatch closes completely. The turbine inserts that go in the back fit the same way as the original but look much nicer and have a paint deco. The mechanism to operate the wings and landing gear is smoother as well. No more of that stalling in the middle – it’s a smooth transition now.
Ace fits perfectly into the cockpit and his hands can be wrangled around enough to grip the new joysticks. I like the flip-up view screen, but I could have used some stickers in there. All the sculpted detail is nice, but some color would have really made a big difference.
The included Ace figure is a cleverly done mix of farmed parts. I like that Hasbro put a little effort into him rather than just repainting one of the existing 25th Anniversary Ace figures. I believe that’s even a new head.
His gear and helmet are all new and nice and high-tech-looking. He has a holster on his left ankle and the included pistol fits perfectly.
Design: Of course, once you have your vehicle assembled there should always be a sheet of stickers to apply. Or in the case of the Sky Striker, two sheets. I was in sticker heaven with this one. Not only are there tons of labels to apply, you have several choices as to which ones to put on. Two different striping colors, three different tail fin logos and four different possibilities for the wings means that Hasbro has once again been very clever and given us a reason to buy a few of these. They did this before with the Toys R Us Exclusive Star Wars B-Wing fighter. They didn’t get me with that one (though I was sorely tempted, especially when they got marked down) and I don’t plan on falling for it this time, either. Well, except for Starscream.
Ace has a very basic paint job, but with just enough color variations to look slick. The detailing on his head is clean and his gear has a great paint job.
This guy is one of the better pack-in figures I’ve seen of late, and none of them have been bad by any means.
Accessories: Included with the Sky Striker are Ace’s helmet and pistol and a bunch of rockets and missiles. The pistol is just a tiny piece but does what it needs to do – fit in Ace’s hand and holster. The helmet looks really cool with its transparent yellow faceplate, but doesn’t seem to fit on his head exactly right. It’s not terrible or really all that noticeable, but the faceplate doesn’t quite line up where I feel it should. But that’s just me being nitpicky.
The deployable armaments are pretty much the same ones you remember from the old toy. The two larger missiles don’t fit on perfectly; they’re a bit loose. Everything else fits well and looks good. I didn’t bother putting the labels on mine because they always peel off of rounded surfaces anyway. I also stopped putting on the eight-hundred-plus cautionary stickers that every vehicle in this line tends to come with: “Not A Step”, “Caution: Blast”, “Warning: Bullets Fly Out Of This Tube – Do Not Put Your Head In Front Of It”. Not only are these stickers a pain because they’re all so tiny, they’re kind of stupid. I mean, these are supposed to be the two most elite military forces in the world. Do they really need to be advised not to stand behind a jet engine? Granted, Cobra may not seem like the sharpest knives in the drawer from time to time, but even the Dreadnoks aren’t going to stand in front of the Rattler’s Gatling gun.
Ace comes with a pistol and a helmet with an attached air hose. The pistol looks as good as any other Joe weapon and the helmet lokks great and has a clear amber faceplate.
Packaging: I kind of blew my packaging load above in “First Glance”. Go read that again.
Overall: This is a great toy at what I think is a great value. While I would have preferred the $29.99 I thought this was going to be, $34.99 is still a deal. Just don’t get it from Toys R Us – theirs are $39.99. Absurd.
5 out of 5
This is a fantastic toy and a huge win for Hasbro. I don’t think it’s going to revitalize the GI Joe line or anything, but it is a wonderful release for what is probably the twilight of this iteration of A Real American Hero. I’m surprised they went this big at this point in the line. Now if only we could get a Killer W.H.A.L.E.
Until next time, stay creepy