Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector's Club Exclusive - Sold with the Adventure Team Copter
The G.I. Joe Adventure Team consists of a team of specialists who travel the globe saving rare animals, uncovering lost treasure, helping fight natural disasters, and righting wrong of all manner. This team of brave individuals can tackle any problem they encounter be it on the land, the sea, or even in the air! It’s this last environment that is the domain of the Air Adventurer! Part test pilot and part aeronautical engineer, he’s the team’s go-to guy for transportation and reconnaissance and he’s handy to have around when the rest of the team needs a quick evacuation! He’s also the third member of the Adventure Team to have been translated into the 1:18 scale by the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club. Did the Air Adventurer successfully make the transition? Is he just straight repaint of the other two team members? Is he even worth picking up? Read on and find out this Joe fan’s opinion!
For the most part the 1:18 Adventure Team figures have a remarkably consistency of appearance-- with the Air Adventurer being the exception. The body construction is remarkably similar to both the Land Adventurer and the Adventure Team Commander with one major change. Rather than utilizing the 25th Anniversary Cobra Viper torso, the Collector’s Club opted to utilize the upper torso of the Comic Pack #115 Captain Ace figure and the lower torso of the 25th Anniversary Snow Job. This change in parts gives the Air Adventurer’s overall design more of a “flight suit” look but it also has the consequence of giving the figure the appearance of having no neck. Even with the gray vest removed, the figure’s head sits almost flush to the shoulders which, combined with the thicker torso, makes this daredevil pilot look far more barrel-chested than one would assume a pilot to be. Even more frustrating is the fact that, at least on my particular figure, the head does not fit very well on the neck socket and detaches at anything more than a casual glance. I don’t understand why the changes were made to the body design when the “AT formula” works as well as it does. It’s a shame too as the portrayal of the Air Adventurer in the Club’s monthly comic as a “hot head” means that this figure should be at the center of the action in any AT diorama and yet his construction issues find me relegating him more to the back. I do enjoy the fact that the Club didn’t shy away from the orange flight suit of the original vintage figure. Some folks may call his color scheme garish but it’s a perfect throwback to the suits worn by test pilots of the early jet age.
The Air Adventurer uses the same vintage ‘fuzz head’ mold as the rest of his teammates only this time with a painted blonde beard. Unlike the twin nature of the Land Adventurer and the AT Commander, the different hair color helps the team’s premiere pilot stand out a bit more from the rest. (As if the orange jumpsuit wasn’t enough.)
As with all 1:18 Adventure Team members, the figure’s kit consists of the standard pistol, rifle, and backpack that was included with both the Land Adventurer and the AT Commander. In this case, it might have been nice to include a pilot’s helmet to go along with the open cockpit of the AT copter. Otherwise, it’s the same as was included with the Adventure Team Commander. This includes:
All of these items make sense for a figure that comes from a time when Joe wasn’t a member of an active military. The rifle is his primary weapon and could have been used for everything from hunting to firing tranquilizer darts. The pistol serves as his back-up weapon and vest is an attempt to recreate the holster found on the original figure. Personally, I found that the vest both limited the range of motion in the figure’s shoulders and covered up the Adventure Team logo so I removed it after a few shots. In fact, my default look for most of the Club’s 1:18 AT members is sans vest. Your individual mileage will vary.
Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I’m a huge James Bond fan-- especially of the 60’s Connery films. Even though the Adventure Team’s tenure was from 1970 - 1976, I’ve found myself associating their missions more with the early Bond films and the classic Jonny Quest series. To keep with the pilot/vehicle theme of this line, the Club chose to issue the Air Adventurer a bright yellow 25th Anniversary FANG helicopter as his signature vehicle. The design of this craft is quite a bit different from the original AT copter and yet it works for me because of it’s resemblance to “Little Nellie”, the tiny modular autogyro seen in the 5th James Bond film “ You Only Live Twice.” While the original AT copter featured a closed cockpit, the FANG’s is wide open which conveys the impression of something smaller, lightly armored, and designed for rapid deployment. In other words, in my mind this is the Adventure Team’s “Little Nellie”!
The FANG itself is molded in bright yellow plastic and comes complete with the original armaments-- four skid mounted rockets, one ventrally-mounted bomb, and the ball-socket nose cannon. Given some of the classic Adventure Team missions I originally questioned the number of armaments this copter was carrying. After all, if you’re locating lost satellites or finding the mummy’s tomb do you need a nose-mounted chain gun? It wasn’t until I really started to delve into some of the Adventure Team lore that I saw their missions as a combination of soldier and scientist-- much like the combination of Race Bannon and Dr. Benton Quest from the classic Jonny Quest series. The Air Adventurer might use the copter to do a fly-over of an active volcano but it also might be used to dissuade poachers from hunting a rare white tiger in a wildlife preserve. The bomb might be used for destructive purposes or it could be filled with water and dropped onto an out-of-control forest fire. All of the sudden this yellow FANG copter began to make sense to me and who’s to say that Cobra didn’t steal the blueprints for their version from the 1970’s Air Adventurer?
Is this set worth picking up? Well, this is where I find myself a bit conflicted. I really like the repainted FANG helicopter quite a lot and I love the character of the Air Adventurer from the Club’s monthly comic. Yet I find the execution on the figure to be lacking when compared to the other members of the team. The shorter neck, ill-fitting head, and stockier torso make the Air Adventurer the odd man out of the team in appearance. Even with the vest removed, the poor guy just has no neck. As such I’m sad to say that this set is the opposite of the Land Adventurer set where the figure was the stronger part of the set. In this case, the Air Adventurer is good but he’s just not as good as he should have been. The set is still worth picking up for a decent price but it’s a case where the buyer should be aware that this figure isn’t up to the standard set by the other team members.
The Bottom Line: The Air Adventurer isn’t up the standard of his team mates with a loose-fitting head and odd proportions. The repainted FANG is definitely worth picking up as it lends itself quite well to the Adventure Team aesthetic.
Questions? Comments? Want your own bright yellow helicopter to buzz your neighbors with?
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