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It's no secret that I remain substantially unimpressed with the new 3-3/4" G.I.Joe products from Hasbro. Neither the new-style figures nor the bulk of the new vehicles have found their way into my long-established collection, nor are they likely to. That having been said, there's always an exception here and there, and the new NIGHT ATTACK CHOPPER is that exception. It's been getting rave reviews from even the most die-hard "This new Joe isn't my Joe" collectors. And with good reason. It's pretty darned cool.

I saw it at Target in early August, and decided that I might as well pick it up. I had the money for it, it did seem to be nicely-designed, and overall, I liked what I saw. Once I got it out of the package and snapped the additional parts on it, I was even more impressed. Hasbro's got a winner here, a surprisingly worthy addition to any 3-3/4" G.I.Joe collection, old or new.

The rotor blades are a little peculiar, but I've been told by someone who's a fair expert on military hardware and machines that the design is not implausible, and would actually add a certain amount of lift to the vehicle.

It could use it, too. This is one very solid machine. It's quite heavy, but that's likely due to the amount of equipment that's packed into it. The Chopper has spring-action "wings" that raise upwards, and both have working rocket launchers on them. Throw in a trigger-activated rotor system, sound effects, a glowing LED up front, sliding side doors, an opening cockpit, a winch with a hook, and more, and I can guarantee that no child will get bored all that quickly with the Night Attack Chopper. It looks cool, too. The design is fancy without sacrificing military plausibility.

Curiously, the Night Attack Chopper looks smaller than it actually is. Display it on its own and any longtime collector is going to think, "Okay, it's cool enough, but it's dinky compared to the legendary DRAGONFLY or TOMAHAWK." Well, no it isn't, and this surprised me, as well. Get out your Tomahawk and set them side by side. The Night Attack Chopper is just about the same length. I think the reason it may appear smaller is that it is more "compact" in some regards. Smaller cockpit, smaller side room, not quite as tall. It's also noticably wider (because of the "wings") than either the Tomahawk or the very narrow Dragonfly, which likely affects one's visual perception of it as smaller than its predecessors.

For those wondering, how does it work with traditional-style 3-3/4" G.I.Joes? Just fine. In fact I've read a few reviews from others who say that it actually works better with traditional 3-3/4" Joes than it does with the new-style ones. There were a few Sgt. Savage vehicles like that back in 1995, too. Assign this copter to a spare Wild Bill or Lift-Ticket or Updraft and they'll be fine with it. In fact it needs a pilot as it doesn't come with one of its own, which is a little surprising, but not really distressing.

My complaints with the Night Attack Chopper are minor. I miss not being able to assemble and label the vehicle. I can see why this wouldn't be especially practical, given the amount of electronics and moving parts crammed into this thing, but I still miss it. Then there's the packaging. Hasbro has adopted this sort of "open box" packaging for many of their vehicles, and it not only looks cheap as heck (and reminds me of the packaging they used for Jurassic Park III toys, which is no help), but it's just asking for damage and possible theft. I've seen more than a few ripped and kicked around SAND RAZORS and HISS IV TANKS already.

Apart from that, though, I have to surprise myself here as much as anything and say that I am very impressed overall with the G.I.JOE NIGHT ATTACK CHOPPER, and highly recommend it to any G.I.Joe collectors who are either collecting the current line, or wondering if there's anything in the current line worth collecting. There is, and this is it.