Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper (Project: Downfall)
With the main set covered, it’s now time to move onto the souvenirs from Joe Con 2016. This is the first time I’ve been able to cover these pieces in a series of con reviews since the Crimson Strike Team set, since I was actually able to attend. For Sky Patrol vehicles, the GIJCC picked one vehicle that was a decent choice and one vehicle that was a bit of a headscratcher. For me, the head-scratcher was the Sky Patrol Skystriker just because we’ve seen it so much. The other vehicle was the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper, and I was initially going to pass on it, so KansasBrother was able to use my “limit one per customer” exclusive order form to snag it for himself on registration night. However, after getting back to the hotel with it on the registration night, I was once again reminded how great this vehicle was. Thankfully, I got lucky enough to be able to snag one of the last two from the club store on Saturday when all attendees could make purchases again. I was a little slow to warm up to the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper for a couple of reasons, but it is a great addition to my Sky Patrol set.
Honestly, I should have expected that I was going to like the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper after spending a little time with it. The same thing happened to me with the Rise of Cobra version when I attended Joe Con back in 2009. The Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper uses the same mold as the Rise of Cobra version. That means the base of the vehicle is the 25th Anniversary Firebat, but it’s got additional jet engines mounted to the side and a pair of springloaded missile launchers mounted under the wings. Like the Rise of Cobra version, the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper is just a fun little vehicle to pick up and play with. Like the Firebat, the wings fold up and when the wings are folded up, some Joe reviewers have noticed that you can slip the Sky Sweeper onto the back of the Skystriker, kind of like you could do with the vintage Night Raven drone on the Night Raven. The Sky Sweeper is a fun little vehicle and it was a pretty good call to use it for the Sky Patrol set, even if it wasn’t something that was originally part of Sky Patrol.
When I first saw the photos of the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper, I wasn’t that impressed. It was essentially the same vehicle I bought at clearance prices seven or eight years ago. However, looking at KansasBrother’s Sky Sweeper in the hotel room after registration night, I had to admit that the paint job really made this thing cool and worth the premium price. The base of the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper is silver. The GIJCC said they couldn’t use a vac metal coating on it because of the environmental impacts, but they did manage a reasonable facsimile with just paint. According to the GIJCC panel, they had the factory paint it with the glossiest silver paint they could find and then also had a second coat of clear gloss applied. Yes, it’s not nearly as shiny as the vintage Sky Patrol vehicles, but it’s a fairly elegant solution. I know a lot of people weren’t thrilled about the potential for vac metalized vehicles (though I was since I loved them as a kid), but a lot of people were also equally not thrilled with the idea of a flat silver paint job for the Sky Patrol vehicles. This gave vac metal lovers like me a shiny silver vehicle while not risking destroying the environment and it gave those that weren’t wild about vac metal coated vehicles the same effect without making vehicles with a coating of shiny plastic that could flake off. As for the rest of the color scheme, the wing tips and engine blocks are black and there’s some olive drab trim on the cockpit, engines and missiles. The landing skids, machine guns and missile launchers are a flat silver. The overall look is incredible and I love the olive drab trim on the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper. It’s not a color I recall from any vintage Sky Patrol vehicles, but it meshes very well with the silver. Instead of stickers, the GIJCC tampoed on the details as well. The Sky Patrol logo is done in white on each wing tip and the logo Hasbro used on the Sky Patrol cards and boxes is placed just behind the cockpit on each side. The stickers on the engine and under the cockpit are recreated with tampo work as well and it leaves us with a very crisp-looking vehicle.
My only substantive complaint about the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper is that with mine, one of the missiles does not fit on the port on the underside of the vehicle. That’s a bit of a shame since I know it fits on my Rise of Cobra version. Beyond that, though, it’s a solid vehicle, though I wish the GIJCC had done a couple of things differently. First of all, I was pretty disappointed that the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper didn’t come with a pilot. Yes, in the convention comic, they show Freefall flying it, but considering there were two international Sky Patrol Joes that didn’t get made, Albatross and Commander Eagle, I thought it was a bit of a bummer that neither Joe souvenir vehicle came with a pilot. Truthfully, the lack of a pilot was part of what left me a little unimpressed with it when I first saw photos of it. It will be interesting to see if either international Sky Patrol Joe will get tapped for an upcoming FSS wave since one uses Sneak Peek’s head with Maverick’s body and the other uses Sneak Peek’s body with Maverick’s head. The other thing that kind of bummed me out was that neither Sky Patrol vehicle was a Sky Patrol vehicle back in the day. I have fond childhood memories of the Sky SHARC and the Sky Patrol Sky Hawk and those would have been easy, instant-buy items for me. The Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper is a great vehicle, but I kind of feel the GIJCC missed a major opportunity by not making a modern version of at least one of the vintage Sky Patrol vehicles. They’re very good at thinking outside the box, but they’re also pretty good at reading fan desires and while the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper did sell out, I think it would have been a lot faster sell out had it been either a Sky SHARC or a Sky Patrol Sky Hawk.
Despite my meta-critique of the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper, it is an excellently executed vehicle. It keeps all the fun of the Rise of Cobra Sky Sweeper, but it looks so much more impressive because of the great paint scheme. The Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper is a great looking vehicle and is a perfect addition to the con set. No one’s Joe collection is complete without the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper, but it does add some value to the overall con set. It’s nice that the GIJCC found a decent lower price point vehicle for Sky Patrol. I would have been pretty bummed if the somewhat overpriced Sky Patrol Skystriker had been the only Sky Patrol vehicle available from the GIJCC. Parts of me still wish this had been either the Sky SHARC or the Sky Patrol Sky Hawk, but the Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper is a great vehicle and I’m happy I was able to snag one for myself.