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SDCC Exclusive – GI Joe and Transformers Shockwave HISS Tank

GI Joe and Transformers are two brands that just seem as though they should go together. They’re both Hasbro staples, they debuted within just a couple years of each other in 1982 and 1984, respectively, so both lines were running full-steam at roughly the same time. Both enjoyed huge success as after-school cartoons and as Marvel comics in the ‘80s as well, and Marvel even capitalized on the popularity of both franchises in 1987 by giving fans a four-issue limited series that brought both brands together in the same universe, aptly titled GI Joe and the Transformers.Even though both properties coexisted at the same time, and even though many fans, such as myself, collected both with equal fervor, there was never a true crossover toy; we had to use our imaginations if we wanted to incorporate one universe into the other, which was totally fine, but something official would have been cool. In 2011 it finally happened when Hasbro released the Starscream Skystriker as an SDCC exclusive. It featured a standard GI Joe Skystriker designed to look like the Transformer Starscream. It proved to be a popular exclusive, so, for the second year in a row, Hasbro has given fans an amalgam of the two lines as an SDCC exclusive, this year’s exclusive being the Shockwave HISS Tank. Does it succeed as a true crossover toy? Yes and no.


First of all, the packaging is enough to put a big, dopey grin on my face. It’s a huge box with artwork that depicts the artwork from the doesn’t-really-exist GI Joe and the Transformers #6. It’s at the same time an homage to and a continuation of the original four-issue comic series (last year’s Starscream/Skystriker was #5). It’s a very clever approach to take and will suck in someone like me immediately. It does make me wish, however, that a real #5 was produced and included with the set, but on the back of the box we are given just a few comic panels to get our imaginations revving. Shockwave and Destro appear to be conducting a business deal involving the Decepticon buying energon cubes from Destro. I can’t help but wonder where Shockwave would get so much money, but I guess, heck, he’s Shockwave and he can get anything he wants. Except energon. He has to buy that from Destro, evidently. It’s a win-win.


 So what’s included with the set? To be brief, a lot. Way more than I was expecting, and if you’ll forgive the pun, there is truly more to this set than meets the eye (I couldn’t resist).

The deal going down.

First, there’s the actual HISS Tank painted up to look like–and actually be–Shockwave. The paint job is very sharp and is a close match to the Transformers character, and the very front of the tank is painted to look like his face/head, so if you’re wiling to buy in to the possibility of Shockwave turning into a HISS Tank, then you’re all set. Included to make the illusion a bit more convincing is a cannon attachment that is a dead ringer for the original G1 Shockwave’s gun attachment. So with the paintjob, the Decepticon logos, and the cannon piece all in place, I’m willing to accept this tank as Shockwave, sure. Unfortunately, it does not transform, so a fertile imagination is definitely required in order to make the “Transformers” aspect here work because, really, all it is, is a GI Joe toy in Shockwave’s colors.

Shockwave’s “face”? Sure!

It’s fun to play with and looks very sharp, so it’s definitely a cool addition to the shelves, even though it’s lacking in the “Transformer” department, technically.

“Shockwave” attachment


Option 2: standard missile

The set also includes two exclusive GI Joe figures: Destro and a Cobra Battle Android Trooper (BAT). Like the HISS Tank, both of these figures are standard GI Joe figures presented in an exclusive “Transformers” paintjob. Destro is sporting black and purple gear and looks oddly similar to Shockwave, but that may be just the purple. He comes complete with a rifle, pistol, and a briefcase full of cash with the Decepticon logo emblazoned upon it—money he was paid by Shockwave, in both euros and dollars, for energon.

Making sure it’s all there.

The BAT’s deco is intended to evoke the Constructicons, the ever-popular sub-faction of the Decepticons. The colors are almost totally spot-on, and I do think this is a clever mash-up. The purpose behind this isn’t very clear to me, though. Is the BAT a drone that works for the Constructions? Does he get to become part of Devastator? Cannon fodder? Again, this is where your imagination is intended to fill in the blanks.

One of us! One of us!


Err… One of us! One of us!

Where this set really shines is in the accessories.  In addition to the tank and the figures is a mini Soundwave cassette deck complete with three deployer cassettes (Buzzsaw, Rumble, and Lazerbeak maybe?) that can actually be inserted into the cassette deck. They’re in scale with the Joe figures and are dead ringers for the original G1 Transformers they’re based upon. The mini Soundwave can be carried on Destro’s back like a backpack, or it can be carried like a boombox while Destro struts around town like Radio Raheem. Either way, it’s a lot of fun and an awesome accessory.

Soundwave and Deployers
My favorite tape! Mister Roboto!
Soundwave as a backpack.
“Can I have my boss back now?”

Also included are three energon cubes and a handtruck to transport them. Energon cubes were always an important staple of the Transformers cartoon, so it’s awesome to finally get some from Hasbro. They add a lot of play value to not only this set, but to a Transformers collection as a whole.

“Deliver the energon to Shockwave.”

So what’s the verdict? I feel like this set is aimed more at the GI Joe collector than it is the Transformer collector because they are, essentially, GI Joe toys and only Transformers in name, apart from the accessories. It’s a fun set, and, as someone who does collect both lines, I’m thrilled to add it to my collection. It gives me an excuse to mix up my shelves a bit more instead of having designated “GI Joe” shelves and “Transformers” shelves, so it single-handedly succeeds in adding some diversity to a collection.

“Shockwave” with his namesake.

Being an SDCC exclusive, it may be difficult to track down, however. should have some available to purchase sometime after the Con for $59.99, but there’s been no definitive mention of a sale date and time. So if you want one, your best bet is to keep an eye on the site and hope you get lucky! It’s sure to sell out quickly.

Thank you to Hasbro for providing this review sample. It is very much appreciated.

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