Usually I’m not a big fan of repaints. In the early days of the GIJoe vs. Cobra relaunch I used to lament the fact that sizeable percentage of the figures released in each wave consisted of repaints of already released figures. Combine that with the fact that in most cases, I thought the repaints were far superior to the original paint scheme and you can see where my distaste of repaints came from. After all, why couldn’t Hasbro have nailed the color scheme on the first try? It’s time to eat some crow, however, as I’ve found a repaint worthy of purchase. I’m talking about the Night Force Patriot Grizzly Tank.
I’m not going to go into a full review of this vehicle. I’ve already reviewed the Patriot Grizzly once before so I don’t see the need for a complete recap. Everything that I liked about the tank the first time is still there. The design, mold, decals, action features, etc are virtually unchanged. However, what separates this tank from its predecessor is it’s color scheme and it’s one that I think hits on all cylinders.
Let’s face facts—almost every major combat action of the last 50 years has been in desert terrain so I can hardly fault Hasbro for releasing the first PiG in a desert color scheme. Yet there is just something truly striking about a tank in a green camo deco that the desert colors just don’t match. The green and black camouflage pattern is a perfect fit for this armored behemoth. The darker colors make it look less like a large-scale piece of plastic and more like a real tank in miniature. It’s an effect that is hard to describe but easy to see in person. This tank simply WORKS in this color scheme.
The other major change to the PiG since the first version is the inclusion of a driver. It was something that always bugged me about the first tank—as if Hasbro were doing things a bit “on the cheap” by not including a tanker as they had in the waves of my childhood. Switch Gears would be an ideal figure to include but Hasbro is still feeling the influence of the Spy Troops movie and so we get Wild Bill as our included figure. It’s the same bald cowboy that was a part of the Spy Troops line—just now in olive drab. While I liked the original version of this figure as well as the Tiger Force repaint it is time to let this mold lie. We’ve had 5 repaints of this figure and that is enough. While I find this mold superior to the Valor vs. Venom version even I have grown tired of seeing it. Hasbro—give Bill his dignity and let him rest in peace.
So, should you buy the Night Force Patriot Grizzly? It all depends on a couple of factors. If you are a fan of heavy armor, tanks, and see the color scheme as a terrific variation on this vehicle, then by all means grab it. If you’ve got spare cash I’d recommend it. However, if you’re by no means a completist and feel that the desert version is good enough, you’re safe on skipping this version, as the differences are purely cosmetic. Personally I’m glad I picked it up as I feel that this color scheme really suits the design of the vehicle!