IRON GRENADIER v.10 (2012)
Every year, for more than a decade now, the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club has been releasing an exclusive box set of figures available only on the annual Joe Con and for a limited time on their web site. The club doesn’t have the resources that Hasbro does so the sets have traditionally consisted of straight repaints. The first 15 figure set released in 2002 was called The Crimson Strike Team and consisted of the original Baroness and Crimson Twin figures repainted in new red uniforms. They were accompanied by 12 identical red vipers. This was a pretty cool idea and had I been at the con I might have shelled out the big bucks required to own one of those limited edition sets. But in 2002 I was just getting back into the revived toy line and traveling to conventions wasn’t an option. I couldn’t afford to purchase it on the secondary market so I was forced to admire it from afar via reviews on GeneralsJoes.com. As nice as it would have been to own that set, it really was just red versions of characters that I already owned so I wasn’t to heartbroken about not owning it.
I felt the same way about the next couple of sets but by 2005 the Club was really putting out some nice sets. We were now getting a few unique characters and 2 different types of troopers instead of 12 identical figures. The 2005 set was the Iron Grenadier themed M.A.R.S. Invades. 2006 and 2007 also brought us great sets giving us the first ever female Cobra troopers and soldiers from Serpentor’s splinter group The Coil. Oh how I wanted those sets. But they were a couple of hundred bucks and I just couldn’t warrant spending that much money on sets containing multiple identical figures.
One of the things I liked most about the Joe brand transitioning from the vintage O-Ring style figures to the modern style was that it almost immediately made me lose interest in any old school style figure that I had previously been pining for. I was 100% behind the taller more detailed modern figures so I no longer cared that I didn’t have any female Cobra troopers or Coil soldiers. In 2009, 2 years after the change, the Club caught up to the fans modern style preference and gave us a new version of the Crimson Strike Team in the new format. This was a pretty cool set and a nice nod to the club’s origins but again it was just a bunch of red repaints of figures I already owned so not worth my hard earned cash.
But by 2011 I could no longer sit idly by and watch the ever improving convention sets roll out without me getting a piece of them. 2011’s Mission Brazil set really upped the ante. It contained 6 unique Joes, including two characters never before released in the modern format, 6 python Cobra troopers, 2 python Tele-vipers and the first ever American release of Cobra De Aco. De Aco shot to the top of my want list and Vanessa ended up getting me him for my birthday. The complete 15 figure sets cost close to $400 which works out to about $27 a figure, not unreasonable but a lot to spend in one toy purchase. However De Aco cost Vanessa over $100 for the one figure on the secondary market. It was then that I vowed to purchase the complete sets in the future if they contained at least 1 must-have figure.
When the 2012 Con set was revealed I was torn. It had a bunch of great figures but none that I couldn’t live without. It went up for sale on the Club’s site one night and I placed it in my cart but I hesitated on pulling the trigger. $400 was a lot of cash and I had recently committed to the Club’s $400 Figure Subscription Service. I decided to sleep on it. I woke up to find that the set had sold out in minutes and that I was lucky to have even got it in my cart the night before. There was fan outcry about the limited number of sets. Now that I couldn’t have it, I had to have it.
Because of the outcry the club sent out an email to it’s members asking if there was enough interest to warrant them putting the set back into production for a second run. I committed to buy one if they chose to do it and so did many other Joe fans because the Club soon charged my credit card and told me to watch my mailbox. It took a long time but my 2012 Convention set finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, just a few mere weeks before my 2013 set is scheduled to ship.
The 2012 set is called Operation: Bear Trap and it stars Russia’s version of the G.I. Joe team, the Oktober Guard vs Destro’s Iron Grenadiers. I’ll talk about all of the figures in detail in upcoming reviews but I’ve rambled so much already here today that I think I’d better cut to the chase and start reviewing a toy. On the bad guy side of things, there was Destro’s General, Voltar, who was the most important figure to me from this set and there was also 3 different variations of the Iron Grenadier trooper. There were 4 standard troopers, 2 elite guards and 2 heavy weapons specialists.
Today I’m covering the heavy weapons specialists. These 2 identical figures are totally badass and undeniably awesome. All 3 variations of the Grenadier are nice but these are my favorite. The body is made up of the Resolute style Destro figure. I don’t own that figure so this body is unique to these guys in my collection. It’s quite tall with an extended torso which makes these guys tower over the standard Grenadiers and other Joes. The long coat is a dark solid gray which looks really nice. The Nazi influence is obvious and as horrible as those guys were they did wear some cool stuff. The gold trim and detailed crest makes the coat look that much better. They have the same decorative shoulder armor that we’ve seen on the standard Grenadier trooper and they have the same head as well. The helmet has some new gold highlights added which seem to signify a higher rank than the troopers in the solid black helmets. The first run of these figures had brown gloves and boots which has been changed to gray for these second run sets. I think the gray looks much better.
For accessories each one includes a large rifle, a bazooka and 2 pistols which can be holstered on their waists. They each have a display base and file card as well. This set was worth the cash I shelled out, I absolutely love this figure. 10 out of 10.