John-Edward “Altitude” Jones (Project: Downfall)
If there was one Sky Patrol member I was a little concerned about the GIJCC making, it was Altitude. The vintage altitude figure used Slipstream’s body as a base, and the modern Slipstream wasn’t all that great. Thankfully, the GIJCC decided to think a bit outside the box with him. The vintage elements are there, in a form, and they managed to create a much more solid entry than I was concerned they’d make. John-Edward “Altitude” Jones isn’t a perfect figure, but he’s definitely better than I feared he would be.
Looking at Altitude’s parts list, I think he’s got one of the more complicated builds out of this year’s con set. There are a few issues with it, but it’s nice to see a few figures in the con set that aren’t super simple head swaps. The legs come from Pursuit of Cobra City Strike Firefly. That’s not a choice I was expecting, but it works. The vintage version of Altitude had a lot of straps on the sides of his legs so this was a decent way to replicate them, even if it’s not 100% vintage accurate. Unfortunately, the legs do create a little problem with the overall build of the figure. The Firefly legs are quite tall, but the arms and torso the GIJCC used are not. It winds up giving him some kind of wonky proportions. They’re not as awkward as some of the Joe Vs. Cobra era figures, but it’s close. The torso comes from Pursuit of Cobra Desert Battle Duke. I know there were a lot of comments about how sick people are of seeing this piece used by the GIJCC but, short of tooling up a new piece that really can only be reused for Slipstream, this was the best choice to recreate the armored, tech-y chest piece that the vintage figure had. I’d much rather see this piece used instead of the build Hasbro used the couple of times Slipstream showed up in the modern line, since for whatever reason always reused the 25th Anniversary Snow Job torso. I get that the first time Hasbro made Slipstream really early and didn’t have the tooling budget to make him right, but seriously, that choice wasn’t a good stand in when Hasbro made it but they just kept using it. At least the GIJCC used a slightly armored piece to make Altitude’s chest here. Altitude’s arms come from 25th Anniversary Lift Ticket and that’s a slightly surprising choice, but it works. The Lift Ticket arms have the shoulder pads and wrist pouches that the vintage figure had. Yes, that means both Altitude and Airborne have the same arms, but it still works. I only wish that the arms and legs meshed a little better. I think if the arms were a tad longer, it could have reduced the slightly funky proportion issues that the figure has. Finally, Altitude’s head come from 30th Anniversary Mercer. This is a choice that surprised me a little. I knew he reused someone’s head when I saw the Photoshop mock up, but it’s kind of amazing how well Mercer’s head works here because I couldn’t quite tell who it was until I had the figure physically in hand. I’m still not wild about the earring, but the flat top haircut and stern stare reference the vintage figure very well. Altitude does have some slight proportion issues, but the parts come together quite well to recreate a modernized version of the vintage figure. Truthfully, I think if anyone on Sky Patrol needed an update like this, it was Altitude. Using the vintage Slipstream mold back in the day always left him looking a little dated to me. This is a version of Altitude that looks perfectly comfortable inside or outside of a vehicle, and that’s a pretty important part of making Sky Patrol work for me.
The vintage Altitude figure also had kind of an awkward paint scheme. Unfortunately, that awkwardness extends to the modern version as well. The vintage figure used dark green, dark brown and a brown-ish orange color and those are the colors the GIJCC chose. On the upper body, those colors actually work pretty well together. The base of the flight suit is dark green and that carries onto his shoulder pads. The gold chest armor pops nicely against the dark green. The brown-ish orange is used on his arms from his shoulders to the middle of his forearm and the brown is used for his long gloves that reach to the middle of his forearms and down to his hands. It’s colorful, but it’s not overly busy. The same cannot be said about his legs. The dark green is used up at the top of his thighs, which makes sense since it’s a continuation of his visible flight suit. All the straps on his legs, the base of the thigh and shin armor and boots are brown and the cloth under the armored parts is the brown-ish orange. Finally there’s also a little gold on his knee pads. It does reference the vintage look pretty well since on that figure the brown-ish orange was used on the material he wore over the flight suit and the brown was used on the boots and the straps over it. However, there were a lot fewer straps and details over that on the vintage figure and I think that using all those colors on the lower part of the figure leaves it looking just a bit too busy below the waist. The colors still work well together, but they’re kind of distracting. Add in the silver Sky Patrol logo at the top of his left thigh, and you have a figure that’s very colorful below the waist and it just looks a little off compared to the rest of the figure. I appreciate that the GIJCC made sure to paint all the details on the Firefly legs, but with all the details and the added colors, it just looks a little weird to me. Up on the head, the GIJCC made sure that Altitude’s skin tone reflects his Native American heritage and the black hair is cleanly painted and looks excellent.
The vintage Sky Patrol Altitude figure had a pistol that a rocket plugged into. It was kind of a weird looking piece. Thankfully, the GIJCC decided to ignore the stranger Sky Patrol accessories and gave Altitude some good pieces. Altitude’s firearm is a green version of the Viper rifle. Full disclosure, I can’t quite tell if it’s the 25th Anniversary version or the one we got in the 50th Anniversary Danger at the Docks weapons crate. I think it’s the retooled version, but I don’t have easy access to a 25th Anniversary Viper rifle to compare it to, so I’m not 100% sure. Regardless, it’s a great weapon, and I like seeing it in Altitude’s hands. It fits with the character and it’s a good piece. Altitude also comes equipped with a great knife. This is a piece that was first released in the Danger at the Docks set but I believe was originally supposed to come with Pursuit of Cobra Clutch. It’s a good piece and I don’t know why, but I kind of like it when Native American Joes come with great knives. The handle is green, but the blade does get a nice silver paint application. Those are Altitude’s two weapons, but they’re good pieces, so I’ll take quality over quantity. To reference the original Sky Patrol parachute packs, Altitude comes with the same parachute that came with 30th Anniversary Renegades Ripcord. As I’ve said before, I like this piece because it does actually kind of look like the vintage functional parachute pack, but it’s much more compact and realistic. Topping off the figure, Altitude uses the 30th Anniversary Renegades Law helmet and face shield. I’m not really wild about that choice. The face shield doesn’t fit that well on the helmet and it doesn’t really reference Altitude’s vintage helmet all that well either. The set does look nice in silver, but that’s about the only nice thing I can say about it. I think the Rise of Cobra PIT Commando helmet with the full face blast shield would have done a bit better job at standing in for his vintage helmet. I’m not sure how well it would have fit on the Mercer head, but it would have looked a lot closer to the vintage helmet than the Law helmet and face shield. The only thing I wish the GIJCC could have done with Altitude is found a way to reference his secondary specialty of multimedia illustrator. The filecard talks about how Altitude’s artistic skills, combined with this scout training, give him the ability to create sketches of enemy installations that are almost more accurate than satellite imagery. I thought that was a cool touch once I learned about it, and I appreciate that the GIJCC found ways to reference Airwave’s, Airborne’s and Static Line’s secondary specialties of audible frequency specialist, medic and demolitions expert. I know a pad or paper doesn’t exist in this line, but even another satchel would have been a nice addition to Altitude’s gear kit. If they’d used the comic pack Beachhead version, there would have even been an open spot that could have kind of looked like his satchel was a little open so he could quickly reach in and grab his pencil and pad to sketch out the enemy position while he was in the field. Altitude doesn’t really have a lot of gear, but what the GIJCC equipped him with makes sense, which is truthfully more than can be said about the vintage figure’s equipment.
Altitude does have some problems, but he’s still a solid figure and a better one than I think he had the potential of being. I think the GIJCC made the right choice by tapping the Pursuit of Cobra Desert Battle Duke torso to replicate the vintage figure’s chest. It’s the closest option they had and it works decently. The proportion issues are a pain, but they can be minimized by making sure Altitude his holding both his weapons. I do wish the GIJCC could have done something different with the helmet, but that’s the only real complaint I have. I can even accept the busy legs because it references the vintage look, there are just more straps on the modern legs than there were on the vintage ones. However, that helmet is just awkward and doesn’t reference Altitude’s classic look at all. I wasn’t sure about Altitude, but he’s a good figure and the GIJCC has kind of turned me into an Altitude fan with this figure.