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By Thomas Wheeler

The CONQUEST X-30 is arguably the third or fourth most popular aircraft in the G.I.Joe roster, after the SkyStriker and the original Cobra Rattler, which later saw use as the G.I.Joe A-10 Thunderbolt. The Conquest is probably on a par in popularity with the Cobra Night Raven. This medium-sized, forward-swept winged fighter jet was first released in 1986, and was based partially on the real-life X-29, a combat jet with the same seemingly odd wing configuration.

The Conquest turned up again in 1989, as part of Cobra's Python Patrol. G.I.Joe has taken several Cobra craft for their Tiger Force, so apparently turnabout was fair play here. The Conquest's last appearance was in 1998, done in a superb green and brown camouflage pattern, with a recoloring of the original 1983 Ace, who frankly looked a bit better in dark grey than he did in his original off-white.

The G.I.JOE CONQUEST X-30 has returned for 2003, one of several classic vehicles being offered as a Toys "R" Us exclusive. Fortunately, the new color scheme for the Conquest is a lot better than early pictures indicated. Early images seemed to have the plane bearing the same arctic camouflage scheme as the G.I.Joe Snow Cat, also a recent Toys "R" Us exclusive (see review elsewhere). However, the final version of the product is actually quite different.

Remove the plane from the box and you're treated not to an arctic camouflage, but a very interesting pattern of light beige, very dark green, and black on the top, and white on the bottom. A friend of mine whom I described this to said that the pattern isn't too far removed from what some Navy aircraft use, so this new Conquest should look quite good on the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Flagg if you happen to be fortunate enough to own that behemoth.

Not a lot has changed about the Conquest from its original incarnation, fortunately. It has been outfitted with Sound Attack equipment, this year's gimmick, but it's tucked on the underside of the aircraft and isn't too obvious.

A nice bonus is that, unlike the Snow Cat, which came with labels printed on paper, the Conquest's labels are printed on clear plastic, meaning that applying them to the airplane will not obscure much of the camouflage except where the label's design itself is placed, and in most cases, the labels are appropriate enhancements for the aircraft, although I personally did get a little creative with their placement, so don't go by the photograph included with this review for reference..!

The CONQUEST X-30 comes with a pilot figure named SLIP STREAM, which was the name of the original Conquest pilot, and the file card does have the correct background information. But it's not the same figure. It's not a bad figure, though. It is a traditional-style G.I.Joe, utilizing the 1991 Ace body, with a newly sculpted head. My only slight complaint is that the figure's helmet and face mask, sculpted as part of the head, are really too small. They both look like such tight fits they seem more grafted into place than anything. That had to hurt.

But, overall, I most highly recommend the CONQUEST X-30. It's a superb aircraft, with a color scheme that is MUCH better than what's been seen in photos and even the pictures on the box itself! And Slip-Stream is a very decent figure. The G.I.Joe Conquest X-30 is a Toys "R" Us exclusive that is available NOW, for the very reasonable price of $19.99, but I suspect supplies may be a bit limited, so don't wait too long to get one! YO JOE!