The Eaglehawk was a pleasant surprise when it was revealed earlier this year. The prospect of getting a shot at a new version of a classic GI Joe vehicle brought back good memories of 2011’s Skystriker release. Having the product in hand now, I can see more than one comparison to that remake of an old favorite.
I don’t normally talk too much about boxes here, but this one is worth mentioning, if not simply for the impressive box art. The The overt ninja motifs may not be to everyone’s liking, but it is a bold looking package. I find it more attractive than previous movie box art. Interestingly, though the art carries over the basic look, and some of the copy from the Retaliation packaging, the GI Joe logo itself doesn’t include a reference to the movie. The size of the box, and the way the parts have been economically placed inside, are reminiscent of the 2011 Skystriker release. The body of the Eaglehawk looks like it has been engineered to fit inside the smallest box possible. Parts like the tail rotor and the side landing gear are now separate pieces that attach to the body proper.
When everything’s spread out, it’s apparent that there are a ton of parts crammed into the box. While the build process isn’t quite the model kit experience of vintage Joe vehicles, there is a fair amount of assembly to be done. When it all comes together, the modular nature of the Eaglehawk isn’t readily noticable. In general, much like the Skystriker, the Eaglehawk has a different feel from the old toy. Obviously, the plastic is different, and the vehicle feels at once both lighter and sturdier than its predecessor.
All of the old features are here, from the open rear cabin with seats and gun stations, to the opening cargo ramp, and even the working winch. All of the features have been reworked to some extent. The rear cabin seats are no longer removable, but the positions of the guns have been reversed. The machine guns are also now articulated, and can be removed. The winch is incorporated into the body, and the winding mechanism is located on the vehicle’s side. The winch’s rope however is disappointingly short, especially when compared to the amazing lengths of the zip-lines included with some of the Retaliation figures. Speaking of which, there are various points on the helicopter to which figures with rappelling lines can attach, including the back of the cargo ramp. Some new features have also been added, such as new interior details throughout the ship, hinged engine covers and folding rotor blades. Having replaced a few vintage rotor blades over the years, I have to say that is the single most welcome addition to the vehicle. The old Tomahawk had some great play features, but the improvements open up even more play possibilities.
Comparing it to the old Tomahawk, in addition to the assembly, the Eaglehawk is more than a remold, it’s completely retooled. From big differences like the more detailed cabin areas, to smaller changes like added panel lines, the Eaglehawk is a great update to a classic vehicle, and has really been fine tuned for the modern era. Even if you have a Tomahawk already, I’d recommend picking the new version up, if for nothing other than the improvements.