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Operation Landscape

Retro Review by Phillip Donnelly

Operation Landscape, or Operatie Landschap in its original Dutch, is a mail-order diorama from 1990.  Yes, long before the backdrops were included in Rise of Cobra and Pursuit of Cobra vehicles in 2009 - 2011, there was this.  Of course, it was a mail-order item from one European country, so... limited market.  Either way, once I knew this thing existed, I needed to track one down.  Surprisingly, it wasn't that hard!  While not plentiful by any means, there were a few for sale on ebay for decent prices.  (Well, there were....  A side effect of publicizing things on YoJoe is that those things tend to shoot up in price.  That has burned me a time or two, let me tell you!) 

Operation Landscape is itself a simple, two-piece chipboard backdrop composed of two parts.  Though the gebruiksaanwijzing are in Dutch (That's "instructions" for those of you too lazy to look it up in Google Translate.  Sure, I could have said "instructions" from the start, but honestly, where else will I ever get to use a word as awesome as "gebruiksaanwijzing"?), the layout is simple enough to position without needing any directions.

The backdrop itself is fun!  The image is illustrated, as opposed to painted or photographed, and appears to depict a sort of abbreviated version of Mexico.  It's the only place in the world I can think of that can transition from a high mesa desert to a tropical jungle with vaguely Mayan ruins.  Maybe you can consider this Sierra Gordo?  Obviously, the transitions here are a bit too close together to represent any place realistically, but I appreciate the variety of environments shown here.  It adds some options for where you can place you figures and smaller vehicles.  Dusty on one side, Recondo on the other! 

Now, Operation Landscape is not without its flaws.  Obviously, being one piece would have been preferable, though I suspect the two halves have more to do with the ease of shipping it.  The details like the empty jerry can near the car tracks and the tiny pier are neat, but what's with the half-baked toucan lounging on the tree stump?  He's a little too cartoony for the rest of the environment.  And being 27 year old chipboard, the durability of this backdrop is questionable.

But if you can look past these small flaws, Operation Landscape is a fun little addition to your GI Joe collection!  You can add some environment to your display shelf and make your play area just that much more immersive.  Pair it with your Battle Sounds box and you've got the sight and sounds for your epic battles!


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Operation Landscape

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October 13, 2016
Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly

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