SDCC Scarlett and Powerglide
I love G.I. Joe and while Transformers was more KansasBrother’s thing, I always thought they were pretty cool. However, despite Hasbro controlling both brands, at least in America, there was never much interplay between the two brands in the toy aisles. Sure, there were the Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe comics that both Marvel and DDP did and there were the occasional Easter eggs hidden in each line, but I always wanted to be able to play with Joes and Transformers at the same time and I really couldn’t. Hasbro finally realized the popularity of this idea and for several years, their SDCC exclusive sets were predicated around Joes and Transformers. While I wasn’t able to afford to dive in during the initial run, apparently the brass at Hasbro basically told the Joe team to go back and do more Joe Vs. Transformers sets and that’s why at SDCC 2016, after a two-year hiatus, the Joe Vs. Transformers sets are back. The Joe/Autobot side isn’t my favorite, but I have to admire Hasbro’s calls here. The Joes teamed Scarlett up with the Autobot Powerglide and while there’s not a lot of common ground between the two characters, it’s a decent pairing of a figure and vehicle and it’s a solid entry to the Joe Vs. Transformers franchise.
Truthfully, I kind of get why the Joe team over at Hasbro had moved away from doing more Transformer crossover sets. With the small number of modern vehicles available, there aren’t a lot of options for Transformers that mesh with them. I supposed they could do an A.W.E. Striker up like Beachcomber, but let’s be fair, over three sets, we got two different takes on a Skystriker (Starscream and Jetfire), a VAMP (Hound), and the Retaliation HISS Tank (Shockwave). Truthfully, there aren’t a lot of other big Joe vehicles that could easily be repurposed into a Transformer. However, someone was thinking the day Hasbro brass told the Joe team to make another Transformer crossover set because Powerglide is one of the few that could be done simply thanks to the Cobra Rattler mold. I’m pretty sure KansasBrother had Powerglide when we were kids and while I don’t recall his altmode being quite so obviously military, his design was clearly inspired by the A-10 Thunderbolt, which also inspired the design for the Cobra Rattler. The Rattler is a great vehicle and while my first experience with it was the weird gold one released during the early days of the 2000s relaunch, it’s still an excellent piece. Truthfully, I’m shocked we haven’t seen the Rattler repurposed for something in the intervening years since it hasn’t shown up since it was used for the Target-exclusive Rattler. It’s shocking that Hasbro has let such a good vehicle lie fallow for so long. Powerglide is a large vehicle and he looks really great. The design is stout and there are a lot of good play features built into this vehicle. You can tell the Rattler was originally designed in a different era of the line because toy companies just don’t make vehicles like this anymore. The overall look is realistic and the only different between Powerglide and the A-10 Thunderbolt that inspired his original altmode is that A-10 has twin engines in the back instead of the one that Powerglide has now. There’s a Vulcan cannon mounted below Powerglide’s cockpit, making him an ideal trooper for ground support missions. The cockpit is surprisingly open and I didn’t realize just how good Scarlett looks riding in Powerglide until I was looking through the photos I took of this set. Powerglide has stowable landing gear, which is always a nice feature in a toy of an airplane. Powerglide can also carry an additional Joe in the gunner’s seat and I figured since Scarlett is working with Powerglide, why not let Snake Eyes come along for the ride. The modern figures fit surprisingly well in Powerglide considering that according to the date stamp on the bottom of the vehicle this is the same mold Hasbro used for the aforementioned 2002 gold Rattler. Thankfully, this time Hasbro remembered to include the windscreen for the gunner so it looks like a complete vehicle. Like the Rattler of old, Powerglide’s wings can tip up so he can take off like a standard jet or vertically. I really like the VTOL option. I remember thinking KansasBrother’s Hurricane VTOL was a pretty badass vehicle back in the day and part of it was because of the unique VTOL feature. There are two large, powerful looking engine mounted into the wings and like with a lot of vintage vehicles, the covers can be removed. I forgot to grab a photo of it with one of the engine covers off but it’s a nice touch. However, it is a little strange that the cover on the right side comes off rather easily while the one on the left is a bit fiddlier. I don’t remember having that problem with my 2002 Rattler, so I don’t know why it’s got an issue now. Powerglide is pretty heavily armed, especially for an Autobot. There’s a trio of bombs mounted underneath the tip of the wing (though somehow, I missed that I hadn’t reattached the bombs to the left side of the vehicle during the entire photoshoot). I have noticed that the triple bomb’s rack doesn’t fit on the attachment point quite as well as it could. I seem to recall this issue from my 2002 Rattler as well, so I don’t think it’s something that happened in the intervening years since this mold was last used. There are also two missiles mounted under each wing and another pair under the cockpit and a pair of large bombs carried under Powerglide’s main body. Clearly, Powerglide isn’t going into battle unprepared. The body of the plane is also very well detailed, with appropriate tech details covering just about every inch of the body. There’s a removable panel on the left side of the tail that can be replaced with a shot up panel and there’s a similar panel that can be replaced on the right side of the cockpit. I do think Hasbro should have taken the time to paint the inner workings beneath these panels, as it looks a little odd for the matching red to be found inside the plane as well as outside. Powerglide is a great vehicle though I have noticed that this version feels somewhat flimsy. It’s still solidly built and I don’t think it’s going to break, but Hasbro is using noticeably thinner plastic on some of their vehicles. I had a pretty powerful desk lamp sitting on the table so I had plenty of light to see what I was working on while I was applying the stickers and I could kind of see through the vehicle when the light was turned right. That’s a little disconcerting. I’ve never had a Joe vehicle feel kind of cheap, but this one does and considering it was a convention exclusive piece, that’s a bit of a letdown.
Though I do have some concerns with Powerglide’s quality of plastic, I don’t have any complaints with how Hasbro decked him out. Like his transforming brother, Powerglide is molded primarily out of red plastic with silver detailing provided by the stickers. I recall a bit of white on KansasBrother’s Powerglide, but that might have been a conceit to the transformation that not all the white could be hidden. There’s silver painted on the leading edge of the wings and the wingtips, but beyond that, all the silver is provided by stickers. Not one to let their fans down, Hasbro us two options for stickers for Powerglide. If you’re not a fan of the Joe Vs. Transformers concept (which means you clearly must hate fun–;)), you can turn Powerglide into a Crimson Guard Rattler with some different stickers. Personally, I prefer using this set as Powerglide, but for just a moment I was tempted to make a Crimson Guard Rattler for myself since I think the Crimson Strike Team Crimson Twins would look pretty great in it. There’s a little black on Powerglide’s engine turbines and wheels. Truthfully, it’s a fairly simple color scheme, but it definitely reminds me of Powerglide so I think that was the right call to make.
The Joes tapped Scarlett to be their team liaison to the Autobots and she rides in Powerglide. I’m glad that Hasbro finally gave us a new version of Scarlett. So far, every modern Scarlett has had some major drawback that’s kept me from liking her as much as I should. However, this version of Scarlett is just about perfect. She does have one tiny problem, but it’s minor and I don’t mind it as much as other reviewers do, so I think she’s great. From the neck down, Scarlett is created using parts from a new combination of parts from other Scarlett figures. The legs and torso come from the Rise of Cobra Covert Operations Shana “Scarlett” O’Hara figure. I recognized the legs because they’ve seen a lot of reuse over the years on female figures, but I truthfully thought Hasbro had given her a new torso because I hadn’t paid that much attention to that piece before. Since the legs and torso were designed to work with each other, the proportions are excellent. I’m not wild about the unzipped top, but at least Scarlett is showing off less cleavage than the 25th Anniversary Lady Jaye figure did. The arms are shared with 30th Anniversary Renegades Scarlett, though it’s very difficult to tell because the paint work is so drastically different. Her arms a tad too slender, but they still fit with her body quite well. Overall, Scarlett’s body leaves her looking lithe but strong and considering she’s one of the Joe team’s premiere martial artists, that’s an excellent look for her to have. Topping off the figure, Hasbro went all the way back to the 25th Anniversary line and reused the first head they tooled up for Scarlett. Personally, I think that’s a great choice. That was a very well- designed head, but it was put on top of a subpar figure. That does mean that he face look a little more cartoony than other, recent releases, but I don’t mind that here. It’s still a solid head sculpt and it’s one that deserves re-release. Finally, rounding out the figure, to help disguise the parts reuse a little more, Scarlett is wearing the same webgear that Hasbro created for the 25th Anniversary Cobra Trooper. I like the look because I kind of see it as part of the harness that holds her into Powerglide, but it doesn’t fit the greatest on her. Much like Project: Downfall Drop Zone, her webgear looks too big on her and that looks just a little awkward. It’s not as bad as it was for Drop Zone, but it’s still a little less than ideal. Despite this small issue, though, this is hands down the best modern Scarlett figure out there. It’s just kind of a shame it took Hasbro almost 10 years to figure out how to make a good modern Scarlett figure and she was released as a SDCC exclusive rather than as a mass market figure.
What really makes me like this version of Scarlett is the paint job. Hasbro excellently referenced her original look while making some tweaks so they weren’t just super imposing her original colors onto a new body. This version still uses the yellow and gray color scheme of the vintage figure, however, the yellow is a few shades brighter and the gray is a few shades darker. The yellow is used on her boots, the front of her torso and her gauntlets while the gray is used on her legs, the back and side of her torso and her arms. Like the vintage figure, she’s got a red pad up on her right shoulder and Hasbro added some red to the figure by using red and black for her belt. The webgear is molded out of black as well. While the yellow is somewhat bright, its brightness is mitigated because it’s used sparingly and there’s a lot of dark over it as well. Scarlett’s head is molded out of Caucasian flesh tone colored plastic, though it’s a tad pale for my taste. Her hair is molded out of reddish plastic and unfortunately, that does leave her hair looking a tad plastic-y. I think a nice wash would have added a bit of depth to her sculpted hair and made it look just a little more natural. This is a solid looking figure and the drastically different paint job really makes it look different from the figures that have used these same parts.
Scarlett doesn’t have a lot of gear, but Hasbro gave her exactly what she needed to be effective. As always, Scarlett comes equipped with a crossbow. Rather than the flimsy model she’s been stuck with so many times, this time around she’s using what looks to be the same version that came with the 30th Anniversary Renegades Scarlett figure. It’s a nice, modern crossbow and it’s large enough that it looks like it has some stopping power. Her backpack comes from Retaliation Zartan, which is a surprising choice until you remember that Retaliation Zartan was essentially a Renegades Zartan figure. The backpack has crossbow bolts in it and it makes sense to include this piece here. It’s not a lot of gear, but Scarlett is still well equipped and she looks ready for battle.
While I’m not sure I’d pair Powerglide and Scarlett, this is still a solid set. I’m glad that Hasbro realized they still have the Rattler mold and that it could be repurposed into Powerglide pretty easily. It’s nice to see a little outside the box thinking for these sets again. I realize that part of the problem is that the modern line just doesn’t have that many vehicles it can pull from, and I’m sure that’s why the Hasbro designers originally pulled away from the G.I. Joe Vs. Transformers sets after a few years. However, I think taking a little time away from it did allow them to think about some other, slightly obscure Transformers characters they could use that work with existing Joe vehicle molds. The Scarlett figure that comes in this set is excellent and is the figure she’s deserved for a long time. This is the first modern Scarlett figure I’ve found without any major flaws. I’m glad they finally did this character right, but it’s a bit of a bummer that she’s not a wider release because I think any Joe fan would appreciate having this version of Scarlett in their collection.