Thursday, November 12, 2009

REVIEW - Dragonhawk XH1

Unfortunately, Wild Bill's 25th anniversary figure was a pegwarmer. Seeing as how there were no Joe aircraft for him to fly, this was understandable. I bought some True Heroes helicopters for him to fly, but it just wasn't the same. Thanks to the new Dragonhawk XH1 helicopter from the RoC line, ol' Bill doesn't have to grounded any longer.

The Dragonhawk is a remake/updating of the classic Dragonfly XH-1 assault chopper from 1983, beefing it up from a humble Fly to a predatory Hawk. It is definitely more angular and futuristic than the sleek, curvy Dragonfly of old. I feel like if you were to give it legs and arms, it'd make a good BattleMech. The futuristic AH-64 Apache look suits the movie line, but I still feel the chopper looks better suited to the Halo universe or a Ghost In The Shell episode.

Sorta like a futuristic AH-64 Apache.
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The Dragonhawk is almost as wide as its box is tall, and longer than the box itself. Some assembly required; no tools needed. Once you apply the stickers [as the copter looks really naked without them], just snap on the tail [with rotating rotor, but static wheel], attach the 2 ailerons, and slide in the 4 main rotors and the 'Hawk is ready for dustoff. It can be easily taken apart to put back in the box, too.

Comes with everything you see here!
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Unlike the Dragonfly, which had landing struts, the Dragonhawk has wheels as landing gear. The front two rotate, but the rear one does not. The chopper has a large wheelbase and needs two '83 Headquarters landing pads if you want to land it nicely!

Cleared for takeoff.
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Visually, the 'Hawk has a lot going on. Plenty of sculpted details such as bolts, rivets, panel lines, vents, and the like. The stickers break up the monotonous green as well as add retro elements [who doesn't remember those "Not a Step" warning labels?]. The interior has details such as mesh on the floor, an instrument panel, and two horizontal joysticks for Wild Bill to use.

Detailed leather interior.
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In terms of accuracy to the original, I would say the Dragonhawk has a lot of similar elements, such as the chin-mounted gatling cannon, the 4 AG-202 missiles, and the removable engine covers. However, I find the '83 Dragonfly to be more versatile than the modern Dragonhawk. The 'Fly had more weaponry: an M-34 grenade launcher/2mm Vulcan gatling cannon nose turret, a pair of Sidewinder HE missiles, 4 Sidewinder air-to-surface missiles, and a 160mm cannon attachment. The 'Hawk has a gatling gun and 4 missiles. The Dragonfly had a winch and hook, a button for spinning the rotors, and could hold Doc's stretcher. The 'Hawk just has a handle underneath. But perhaps most disappointingly, the 'Fly could hold two figures, but the newfangled Dragonhawk can hold but a single one. If Doc need to be airlifted in via Dragonhawk, he'd need to grab onto that handle and hold on tight!

That being said, the Dragonhawk has a few fun features.

The cockpit holds a figure.

Room for one more, ladies.
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The engine covers are removable, a throwback to the original Dragonfly, which had a similar feature.

"Hmm, forgot to install them intakes' sand filters again!"
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The main gimmicks are the hidden side missile pods which slide out when the winged section at the front of the tail is pulled. The missile pods sit flush against the the sides of the body and aren't suspicious-looking at all, but tug on the deploy mechanism and they shoot open, making the 'Hawk look bulkier and more menacing. The firing buttons are hidden on the back of the missile pods, and the springs are surprisingly strong.

Come get some.
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Click to see full size
Other than that, the front wheels roll, the rotors spin manually, and the chin gun can rotate a bit.

The Dragonhawk comes with a new version of Wild Bill. This time, his colours are darker, he has no holsters, no weapons, and no stand. But, he has a snazzy new flight vest [which could really use some paint], and a new helicopter to boot. I think he also has some new lower legs and feet, too, but I'm not 100% sure. His filecard tries to tie him into the movie's story and mentions a weapon the figure doesn't come with. Plus, his mugshot sort of resembles Deputy Travis Junior from Reno 911! It's a tight fit, but the figure sits inside the cockpit with both hands on the joysticks, ready to rain down hell upon some Cobra grunts.

Built Joe tough.
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The Dragonhawk isn't that big of a chopper, and I was skeptical when buying it. It feels overpriced, but it does offer a lot of fun. I like the futuristic look, but the 'Hawk seriously looks out-of-proportion with 3.75" figures. The cockpit feels like it should hold 2 StarCom or M.A.S.K. figures instead of a single G.I. Joe. [It sort of looks like they took a Sigma 6 chopper, changed the cockpit piece, and boxed it up for the RoC line.] If it could hold 2 figures, was a bit larger, and had more weapons, I'd like it a lot more. At is stands, it is hard to recommend, especially for full price. It's a great addition to your Joe air fleet - if you can get it on sale and don't mind the size.

What was that about the Halo universe?
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See you next mission!
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G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra Dragonhawk XH1

  • Wild Bill [w/vest & hat]
  • 4 rotors
  • 1 rear tail assembly
  • 4 missiles
  • 2 stabilizer fins
  • stickers & instructions
  • aesthetically pleasing futuristic design
  • gimmicks do not get in way of playability
  • gimmicks cleverly concealed
  • missile launchers surprisingly powerful
  • new version of a classic G.I. Joe vehicle
  • good Wild Bill figure
  • expensive, even when on sale
  • can only fit a single figure inside
  • minimal paint apps
  • few weapons
  • out-of-proportion with figures
  • rear wheel not functional
4 ON 5

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