Black Spider Rendezvous

In 2001 Hasbro surprised long-time Adventure Team fans by introducing Black Spider Rendezvous, which was a very accurate reproduction of the vintage set, Black Widow Rendezvous (#7414).

For Adventure Team fans, this set, in my opinion, met all requirements for an excellent reproduction. I was eccstatic to get my first one. Target was discounting them after Christmas that year, and I picked up at least another four down from its original price of $24.95 (a completely reasonable price for this set) at $12 and even down to $6 and $4. I couldn't get enough of these.


The Story

Apparently, a mysterious agent known as Black Spider has information Joe needs, and she is willing to rendezvous with Joe in the mountains, but an airplane can't reach the spot. Joe, of course, has the answer. The Turbo Copter.

GI JOE is assigned to transport top-secret plans for a new defense system to the United States government. A mysterious agent known as the Black Spider currently has the plans, and GI JOE must rendezvous with her to get the critical information. The ADVENTURE TEAM transports him to the remote, mountainous region where he is scheduled to meet the Black Spider. But the plane can only go so far into the impenetrable mountains, so GI JOE straps on his helicopter backpack to travel the rest of the way to the rendezvous point. Suddenly three figures appear from a mountain crag, and GI JOE fires off a warning round from his rifle to scare them off long enough to meet the Black Spider and obtain the plans. But the ominous men are still in the area, and it's a long way back to the place where he is scheduled to meet the plane. It's another daring and dangerous mission for the GI JOE ADVENTURE TEAM.

I didn't know where Hasbro was going with the story, but providing kids with a basic background for an adventure always worked for the Adventure Team. Kids can then take the story to their own conclusion.

To honor this set, I created a photo story called Black Spider Rendezvous based on my own premise. In my story, the Black Spider is an enemy agent dabbling in genetic experimentation. Joe tries to rendezvous with an Adventure Team agent who has information from the Black Spider's hidden lab, but when Joe arrives, the agent is dead, and Joe has to face a menace much greater than the Black Spider agent.

This photo story got the best response than almost any of my photo stories. I guess it had the pulse of the Adventure Team's theme, and the production quality was pretty good if I do say so myself, for a two-hour shoot with almost no preparation.


The Figure

This figure re-introduced Kung Fu Grip on a flocked hair Timeless Collection figure. The figure was the "Man of Action" figure, which had dark brown hair and no beard.

The set includes a TC KFG flocked Joe wearing black pants and shirt (with AT logo), standard AT boots, excellent reproduction of the AT shoulder holster and pistol, helmet, sten gun, map case with map, knife and scabbard, and communicator.

One major complaint (and it is understandable) is that this figure had no variation. Rather than providing just the brown-hair, beardless Joe, collectors hoped they would provide optional heads including the Air Adventurer, which would make sense considering this is an aerial mission.

Hope sprang that the next TC AT set would have a different flocking setup. (Sadly, that hope was unwarranted.)

One excellent thing: This figure came with a shiny metal Adventure Team dog-tag.


The Gear

The outfit is a nice reproduction of the classic set, with simple black pants, a snap-front shirt with elastic wrist-cuffs. Joe wears standard AT black short boots. The shoulder holster is a great reproduction, as is the AT pistol. Although in the original set, the shoulder holster was brown, according to the photo Derryl DePriest's reference book. I'm glad they went against the original here. All black looks much better.

The map case in the original set, I believe, was silver, this one is orange. The map inside is a standard map that I seem to recall came with just about every AT set they made back in the 70s.

(Click for a larger map)

The sten gun is a good reproduction, but I believe the paint is different. Again, if anything, an improvement over the original. The communicator is a good reproduction as well.


Visit my Motor Pool

This set's showpiece, however, is the wonderful Turbo Copter, one of my all-time favorite GI Joe vehicles, though I prefer the yellow version. Yellow would make no sense in this set, however, since it's a covert stealth mission. There are obvious differences including the fact that the Turbo Copter (later made popular in yellow as an Adventure Team Backpack vehicle) has slightly different details, and rotates the wrong way around, with the turbo intakes on the rotors facing back when in motion.

Slight differences in reproductions can be explained easily. Collectors need to know the difference between vintage and reproduction, and Hasbro actually helps them out here. Most parts are very similar, but will not easily be mistaken for vintage.

Vintage "Black Widow Rendezvous" Set
(From The Collectible GI JOE by Derryl DePriest)


The Box

This box recalls the nostalgic feeling of the vintage 1970s sets. Perhaps not that particular set, but the line in general. Using a painting of Joe kitted out with the helmet, turbo-copter, and flying near a rocket launch site.

The back of the box shows a close-up detail of the Joe painting against a background of a mountainous region at sunset. Also featured are paintings of the original GI Joe Adventure Team with the various hair colors and styles, including the AA Land Adventurer.

However, the painting shows the Joe Land Adventurer, with beard.

(Click to read the back)

The side of the box shows Joe approaching a refinery of some kind of rocket launch site complete with sattelite dishes.


This set, the first in a line of Timeless Collection Adventure Team reproductions, made my hopes for the line soar. Hasbro, in my opinion, did everything right with this set (apart from, of course, making various flockings, and making the Turbo Copter rotate in the wrong direction.)

As I said, I bought about five or six of these, and I loved it so much it inspired one of my favorite photo stories. What better tribute can I give?

Overall Rating


GI Joe

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