In 2004, Hasbro came through for collectors of vintage Joe molds. The year started with the highly anticipated Cobra Infantry and collector favorite Night Force sets. This lead to great speculation that the follow up sets would be similar. When the Cobra Urban Strike set was announced, collectors quickly got angry that Hasbro had abandoned the 6 army builder theme that was used for the Cobra Infantry. In their rage, they overlooked a quiet gem of the repaint era. The Urban Strike set was a nice mix of molds that hadn't been seen in a while coupled with excellent repaints of collector favorite molds. But, the original design for the set was quite different. And, many of these original figures showed up and were available from Asian Joe sellers in the mid 2000's.
The set below showcases the differences for the figures. The main inclusion is the red color on Firefly, Night Creeper and the Nullifier. While red is a standard Cobra color, Hasbro was seemingly on a quest to crimson-fy every Cobra character during the repaint era. It was annoying. So, them removing it from this set was a huge improvement.
In the end, this is definitely a set that was improved before it went to production. The red creates flaws on each of figures on which is appears. And, the superfluous cammo on Scrap Iron and the Alley Viper overly complicated otherwise solid paint jobs. The grey Stormshadow is nice. If that mold didn't suck and hadn't been used so many times in 2004, I might have a stronger opinion of it. But, since it was generally a bad figure either way, I call it wash between the two versions of that character.
These figures were readily available from 2004 - 2006 or so. Usually, they'd sell for under $20 each with the characters getting even cheaper. Like all these figures, the alternate Urban Strike set has gotten much harder to find and more expensive in the ensuing decade. But, it hasn't found collector interest on par with the alternate Anti-Venom figures who would have been their contemporaries. I'm glad Hasbro made the modifications to the set that they did prior to production. These figures are interesting. But, they are also inferior to the production set. And, the Urban Strike had so much good stuff in it that it remains one of the few bright spots for ARAH molds from that era.