Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Okay, this review is getting as long as a Michael Bay Transformers movie but we’re nearly done! I’ll keep this next part as brief as possible.
Night Landing Craft:
In 1985 Hasbro released several smaller boxed vehicles including the Cobra Night Landing set. It was a simple and yet fantastic little set which centered on a sculpted inflatable raft with oars, an outboard motor, a mounted machine gun, and a field radio. (There was also a shovel and a knife too.) It was a simple and realistic inclusion to a line that, at that point, hadn’t taken a step off of the deep end into full-fledged science fiction yet.
This NLC is a pretty much a straight re-release of the original in a darker color with some white paint applications on the side. It’s an uncomplicated vehicle from a more uncomplicated age of G.I. Joe and I’m glad to see it return here. Sure, in later years Cobra had Hydro-Sleds and other water craft but this is the type of vehicle you’d expect to see troops like the Cobra Eels use on a stealth mission—slipping behind G.I. Joe lines using the oars for propulsion to conduct all manner of sabotage. I had this set as a kid and it’s remained a perennial favorite of mine over the years. Since Hasbro seems to be regarding the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe as more of a celebration of the A Real American Hero era I’m happy to see this classic piece make a return to the line.
Weapons Crate: (Aka “Magic Murder Box”)
“Last, but not least” definitely applies to the final piece of this boxed set. Referred to on the box only as “Weapons Crate” this newly-tooled plastic box has left fans’ hearts all a-flutter as much for its contents as for its very existence.
I’m a big fan of the Cartoon Network series Venture Brothers. As such, the first time I opened this weapons crate and saw the insane amount of gear inside I was reminded of the character of Dr. Henry Killenger who walked around with his ever-present “Magic Murder Bag”. This lead to me referring to this as the “Magic Murder Box” simply because of the plethora of gear included inside. Here’s the breakdown:
Seriously—that’s 20 pieces of equipment that are guaranteed to give someone a very bad day if used in the wrong hands. (21 if you count the inclusion of the Daewoo Automatic Shotgun that is bagged with the NLC.) It’s like someone emptied the back of the Punisher’s battle van into a hinged crate and then stomped down the lid to ensure that it closed! Many of these pieces will look familiar to fans but not quite in this form. There are lots of modifications such as the inclusion of silencers and scopes that help to make these pieces unique. Also there are three that are worth pointing out as I don’t recall seeing them before. The first is the small angled hatchet, the second is the updated Viper rifle, and the third is the wrist crossbow. If this latter piece looks familiar that’s because it was included with the original 1988 ARAH Road Pig decades ago! That’s right—you can now complete the equipment on the Dreadnok 7-pack Road Pig with this set! Who knew?! Even better—every piece of gear will fit snugly back into the crate for easy storage. I have no idea how this is supposed to fit in the NLC with the Eel but I couldn’t be happier with the Magic Murder Box if I tried! It’s like Christmas came early for characters like Punisher and Deadpool this year!
Whew! That’s a long long-winded review! At this point, you’re probably feeling like the audience of a showing of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction and just want to know when this is going to end so I’ll be brief. The SDCC version of the Danger at the Docks set is easily worth the original list price that posted on ToysRUs.com. Sure, the balance of the two forces is a bit lopsided with the Joes getting a VAMP while the Cobra Eel has to make due with an inflatable raft but the set gives you one larger vehicle, one smaller vehicle, two figures, a Magic Murder Box chock-full of goodies and two sets of blueprints for one price! The trick is that this set is no longer available at this time. The regular retail version should be identical in features but it will feature an entirely different color palette—and won’t have the classic colors for either the VAMP MK II nor for Flint. IF you missed out on this at ToysRUs.com post-SDCC you’ll be very tempted to pick it up—so I’d offer this caveat: beware of the price. It’s a great set but it’s not the end-all-be-all of G.I. Joe boxed sets. If you’re looking at closet to three figures, I’d pass and go for the Toys R Us standard version instead as you’ll be able to spread your budget out more and acquire more pieces from the line. Still, if you have to have this version it’s a good set in spite of some really dodgy paint applications as it offers a lot of pieces in one single package. I know that I’m happy with my purchase but that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: A solid set for the original retail price with a ton of gear and some great vehicles! Beware of some dodgy paint apps.
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