Skydive (Project: Downfall)
The only other member of Sky Patrol I was familiar with as a kid was Skydive. He was part of KansasBrother’s collection so he’d show up in joint adventures and I was pretty impressed with him. I still liked Airborne more, but Skydive was pretty cool. I was very happy when Skydive surprisingly got some attention during the Pursuit of Cobra line when Hasbro had to repurpose Desert Battle Ripcord into Jungle Assault Skydive since they couldn’t release him as Ripcord because of likeness rights. I was glad to see Skydive get tapped for that duty instead of someone like Grand Slam who had gotten a modern figure. However, I was slightly disappointed that Skydive looked nothing like the hard-as-nails Sky Patrol commander I remembered from my childhood. Because of my memories of the figure, the modern Skydive had a lot to live up to, and the GIJCC really succeeded with this version of the Sky Patrol squad leader.
Skydive was another figure that could have had a few different part builds. The last time I parted Skydive out, I went with the 25th Anniversary Snow Job torso, even though I wasn’t wild about it because it was a pretty dated look. The GIJCC went a different way and it was a great call because it gives Skydive a much more sleek and modern look. From the neck down, Skydive uses the Retaliation Data Viper body. That’s a smart call since Hasbro has used it for a paratrooper before, but it’s never been completely visible. The Data Viper had its elaborate armor over the top of it while Retaliation Airborne had his extensive parachute rig over it. As such, Skydive manages to look very different from these two other figures even though they all share the same body. The Data Viper body also does a decent job of referencing some of the molded details on the vintage version. The reason I tended to lean towards the 25th Anniversary Snow Job torso for Skydive was because of the straps on the chest. While Skydive’s modern chest straps aren’t as prominent as they are on the vintage figure, they get the idea across without having to rely on older parts. The Data Viper body does an excellent job of standing in for a flight suit or a paratrooper’s jump gear and I think it was a great call to use this body for Skydive. It’s not the first thing I would have thought of, but it’s the right call and it works very well for him. Up top, Skydive shares his head with 25th Anniversary Mutt. There’s a tiny part of me that wishes the modern Sky Patrol figures had gotten all new heads like back in the day, but the Mutt head works fine for Skydive. Personally, I would have preferred him to look just a little older than this, but Mutt’s grimace still fits with Skydive’s personality quite well. Skydive is a deceptively simple figure. At his core, he’s just a head swap, but everything works together so well it’s hard to fault the GIJCC for going this way. After all, the vintage Sky Patrol figures were all head swaps as well. I kind of like seeing that referenced with Skydive as well. If they were all head swaps, I think it would be a problem, but as it stands, Skydive being a slightly cheaper figure because they didn’t have to license a bunch of disparate tooling to create him is fine by me. He’s a solidly-designed figure and that’s all I’m looking for.
While I personally liked Airborne a little more than Skydive back in the day, it was hard to deny that the vintage figure’s color scheme was excellent. The combination of dark blue, white and silver was striking yet still realistic. The GIJCC wisely cribbed the vintage figure’s paint scheme and applied it very well to the modern version. The base of the figure is blue, though it is a shade or two lighter than the blue used on the vintage version. The blue is still dark, but I think it would have worked just a little better if it had been darker. The pads on his thighs and shins are white, like the holster and pad on the vintage figure’s legs. The pads on his forearms are also white, bring some white detailing on the arms like the vintage figure had. The straps, zipper and ports on Skydive’s chest are done up in silver. The silver pops well against the blue and it helps tie him to Sky Patrol a little. Skydive also gets some silver on his helmet and some black on his goggles. It brings the helmet in line with the vintage look and it’s a nice touch. Up on the head, Skydive has a nicely painted face, though I do wish his mustache was a little darker. On the vintage figure, his hair is very dark brown, so dark it almost looks black. This time around, his hair is quite a bit lighter and while that makes it easier to tell if it’s brown or black, I do think he looks just a little off with the slightly lighter hair. Rounding out his paint work, Skydive has the Sky Patrol logo tampoed on the left thigh pad. While I’m still not wild about how many Sky Patrol figures have the logo in that place, it’s a nicely unifying touch. Having started looking at the vintage versions that I picked up at Joe Con, it does surprise me how few vintage Sky Patrol figures had the logo somewhere on them. Tiger Force and Slaughter’s Marauders all had unifying paint schemes, so they didn’t need the team logo on their uniform. However, the rather disparate looks the Sky Patrol figures had meant they didn’t really look like a team without the insignia, so it’s nice to see that touch here.
Skydive is probably the best-equipped modern Sky Patrol figure and I think it’s a good call for the squad leader to be one of the better equipped figures in a team. Skydive’s helmet comes from Retaliation Agent Mouse while the goggles appear to be shared with 25th Anniversary Para-Viper. The Agent Mouse helmet stands in surprisingly well for Skydive’s more basic helmet, though I do wish the goggles sat a little better on top of it. Though the vintage figure didn’t have a jet pack, since the Pursuit of Cobra version had one, I like that the modern Sky Patrol version has one as well. I still really like Rise of Cobra Hawk jet pack and it fits well with the Sky Patrol look. The jet pack looks great in a matching blue and silver paint scheme. “SP16” is tampoed on the right wing while the left wing has the Sky Patrol insignia again. The jet pack is primarily blue with silver for the trim and like on the figure itself, that’s a very striking combination. For weapons, Skydive has modern assault rifle and a Rise of Cobra pulse rifle. Both weapons look great in his hands, though I do wish they had found a way to give him a pistol. It would have been a little bit of symmetry since the original figure had a modern assault rifle and a pistol. I like the sleek pulse rifle and it fits with Skydive’s overall look, but there’s a part of me that would have liked to have seen his original gear recreated here since he was one of the vintage figures that actually had decent equipment. The gear works well with Skydive, though, and I think it’s a nice touch that his weapons, like his overall look are a combination of sleek and futuristic and more realistic. It’s a solid look and I always prefer the accessories to have a degree of synergy with the figure.
While I only ever worked with Skydive when KansasBrother and I were having joint Joe operations, I still have some pretty fond memories of him. I’m sure if KansasBrother had been interested in a different Sky Patrol figure back in the day, I would have had a tougher choice to make between Airborne and Skydive back in the day. The beauty of the GIJCC doing Sky Patrol in a set is that I don’t have to choose. Skydive is a great modern representation of an excellent vintage Joe. There are a few changes made here and there, mostly in the paint scheme, but everything still works together well. Skydive looks like an old war horse who is very good at what he does. That’s the vibe I got from the vintage figure as well, so I’m glad I still get that feeling here. While I may not have had him growing up, Skydive quickly became my second favorite Sky Patrol figure when I started getting interested in them about fifteen years ago. I’m glad the GIJCC did such a great job with him because, as the squad leader, it would be a real shame if the commanding officer looked lame compared to the rest of his troops.