IRON GRENADIER v.9 (2012)
The other day I reviewed Iron Grenadier version 10 which was included in the 2012 Joe Con convention set, Operation: Bear Trap. Today I’m going to talk a little bit more about that set and review Iron Grenadier version 9 which was also included. I love getting toys in the mail. It’s always a pleasant surprise to come home to a new box of goodies. But when that toy is “special” in some way it’s even more exciting. This is one of the reasons that I recommend that any Joe fan who can afford to should sign up for next year’s Figure Subscription Service. Receiving limited edition Joes in the mail each month makes me feel like a kid at Christmas, especially if the identities of the figures hasn’t been spoiled beforehand. Collectors Club figures almost always increase in value and while I don’t really care about the value of my toys the club figures seem to have a prestige about them. It’s a safe bet that you’ll likely never find them in a dollar bin at the flea market so their rarity adds value. I gotta say though that the thrill of opening those FSS figures was eclipsed by the excitement I felt when the 2012 convention set arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. This was my first convention set and even though I’ve seen the sets online plenty of times, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As soon as I opened the exterior box and rescued the set from its cardboard prison I realized I was handling a quality item.
The convention set box had a nice weight to it. The solid black back half of the case has a textured alligator skin feel to it. The front is thick and sturdy with a glossy finish. The exterior art isn’t anything to call home about but it looks like worn metal and seems appropriately Russian somehow. Inside is custom cut foam which holds the 15 figures snuggly in place, as well as a collectors pin in the center. The good guys are all on one side and the bad guys on the other. Beneath the foam lies all of the individually wrapped weapons and file cards. The whole thing just looks very impressive. I feel even my mom, who tends to shake her head at each new toy I purchase, would be impressed by the presentation of this set (just don’t tell her what it cost me).
The set also includes a specially made convention Joe comic that fleshes out the story presented by the set. I almost forgot to mention it but it’s actually a very important component. Sometimes all it takes is one good comic to make me fall in love with a character. The comic tells the tale of an attempted train hijacking by the Iron Grenadiers, led by Darklon , in a remote part of Russia. Luckily Russia’s special ops teams the Oktober Guard, led by their new commander General Iron Bear, are there to stop them. The comic panels I showcased in my Darklon review come from that very comic. The Darklon and Annihilator figures that Vanessa bought me for my birthday this year were also convention exclusive figures in 2012, intended to be companion pieces to this set.
It was established long ago that Destro was not an actual member of Cobra, but rather an arms dealer who found hanging out with Cobra Commander to be a mutually beneficially situation. Destro has his own forces consisting of Iron Grenadiers, Nullifiers, Annihilators, various other types of troopers, as well as individual characters like Darklon, Metal Head and Voltar. They act in the interest of Destro’s M.A.R.S. industries, not Cobra. I owned the first Iron Grenadier figure that was released back in 1988 alongside the ceremonially dressed Destro version 2. Those two figures looked great together. They established the M.A.R.S. look to be much more regal than that of Cobra. Their costumes were black and red with gold trim and they carried sabres alongside their pistols. They were very cool. I don’t have much use for pointless sub-teams like Tiger Force or Night Force but I’m all for injecting new threats into the Joe mythos. The red ninjas, the Iron Grenadiers, the Dreadnoks, the Coil, and the Red Shadows all serve as foils for G.I. Joe outside of Cobra.
When the first modern style Grenadier were released in 2008 I was immediately impressed. They were largely made up of reused parts but they were repurposed well and I thought the overall look was a very nice update to the ’88 original. I especially liked the new helmet. It had been refined just enough to add some bulk and detail which far surpassed the 1988 Grenadier helmet.
The convention set included 3 new variations of the Iron Grenadiers. In my last review I covered the heavy weapons specialist and today I’ll be covering the standard infantry trooper. There were 4 identical infantry troopers in the 15 figure set. They’re made up of parts from the 2008 Grenadier as well as parts from a variety of previously released Cobra Commander figures. The commander parts leave these guys less armored than the standard Grenadiers. This look serves as a nice middle man between the standard armored Grenadier and the long coat-wearing heavy weapons Grenadier. The infantry Grenadier also has a long coat but it’s open and flowing which allows for more movement. He has a front skirt piece as well which, when combined with the coat, make this guy look a little too well dressed to be running around on a battlefield as general infantry. I really like his thigh high jack boots. They look like they’d be a bitch to get in and out of but maybe I’m over-thinking things.
The most interesting aspect of this figure is his color. He’s quite different from other Grenadiers we’ve seen with a base of light gray and brown. However there’s enough red and gold highlights to tie him to the rest of the team. I think these colors work really well together. The red trim on the coat, gloves, and helmet looks great.
Weapons wise this guy/these guys came with a gold pistol, a machine gun and a sword which can he sheathed in the scabbard on the figure’s waist. These guys are actually a bit shorter than many Joe figures and they look even smaller when displayed next to the extra tall heavy weapons specialists. I really like that modern Joes come in a variety of sizes like this, it adds to the realism. 9 out of 10.