GI JOE: GI Joe Vs Cobra HISS Type IV Tank by Hasbro

I usually love talking about my toys, but its going to take me an extra couple of drinks, just to get through this entry. Ok, so I don’t remember a lot about the GI JOE Vs Cobra line. I was on my own little break from collecting Joes (and proabably all toys) at the time, and while I did go back and get some of these figures and vehicles, they all tend to blur together in my head with SpyTroops and whatever else was out at the time. I wound up selling off most of the shit from that era when the 25th Anniversary stuff came out and I realized that most Joes from this era were garbage compared to the awesome new stuff and neither I nor my closets have any real regrets about doing it. Anywho, among the things I kept were a pair of these god awful tanks known as the HISS Type IV’s. I think the main reason I kept these was because I couldn’t get enough money for them to make up for the trouble of packing and shipping them.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. The fact that the Hiss IV is decorated to look like a fucking snake is not really the reason that I hate these things. That stuff doesn’t bother me because its very much in line with the classic cartoon and comics. Cobra had cargo planes with snake heads, snake robots, and, Jesus, if Cobra can have a friggin zombie emperor that wears a snake suit, then putting a little snake motif on their tanks isn’t going to make me too upset. Its basically just like nose art taken to the extreme.

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Besides, the overall sculpt on these toys is pretty nice. The triangular treads are very much in keeping with the classic HISS design. The snakeskin texturing and paint apps are really well executed. And hey, gotta love those giant fangs on the front. Or maybe not. I’ll also say that having an enclosed, armored cockpit as opposed to having the driver sitting in plain view under a glass canopy is probably a much better idea from a tactical standpoint. There’s also a few cool armaments, like a rocket launcher hanging off the side under the canopy and two firing missiles on each side of the front grill. But beyond that most everything else about this vehicle is pure balls. So let’s look at some of the stuff about this toy that really pisses me off.

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First off, what is the deal with the cockpit? It extends forward and then push a button and it flips up into the air on a set of extended stilts. What possible function does this serve? Its like they just put it in there because they could. Add to that the pointless fact that the canopy will not open unless its in this position. How the fuck is the driver supposed to get in and out? Sure, maybe on some scaffolding back at base. But how the hell does he get in and out in the field? Is this some kind of way Cobra instills bravery into their drivers? “Don’t sssssssscrew up, buddy, because you ain’t getting out until you get back to HQ!” Why would you design something like this? Its clearly the work of an insane person.

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Secondly, the Type IV design replaces the turret from the original HISS with a completely exposed gun seat. Yeah, it wasn’t bad enough that the poor gunner’s head was sticking up out of the top of the tank, Cobra’s engineers had to make it even more dangerous to be a HISS gunner. Now, you have virtually no cover at all. Unless GI Joe is aiming directly at the flimsy iron plating in front of the gun, he’s probably going to hit you. You’re just a sitting duck up there. But then at least if the thing is about to explode, you can get away fast. The guy trapped in the cockpit will be a goner for sure.

Next up, I hate the big ugly sockets all over this thing. If memory serves, these were part of the sound chip gimmick that made different sounds depending on what weapon you plugged into it. Its ugly and stupid. Also, mine doesn’t work anymore and I’m too lazy to put new batteries in it. One other feature of the Type IV HISS is the fact that the back opens up. This is sort of cool, as you can toss gear in there or prisoners or whatever, but in the end, this compartment just reminds me of the little space on the back of a Big Wheel where you could pack your snack if you were going out for a long ride. It was a potentially good idea, which ultimately saw fruition in the DTC HISS, but here its just not executed very well.

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The HISS Type IV came bundled with a Neo Viper figure. As I recall it was a pretty cool figure, but I sure don’t have it anymore, which is why I’m using Major Bludd to show this thing off. I should also mention the packaging, which had no window to cover the toy and just left it hanging out there to collect dust on the shelf and have kids come along and peel off the stickers and rub boogers on it. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.

This design was also repainted and recycled as part of the Valor Vs Venom line, where it got a pretty cool black and blue paint deco, but also a much bigger and dumber looking weapon mounted on the top. The new design made it look a bit more like a traditional Cobra vehicle, but this repaint was notoriously difficult to find as it came in on tail end of the series. I don’t mind owning this thing, or even two of them for that matter, mainly because they don’t  take up too much room and its cool to have a collected evolution of the HISS to display, even if that includes the lamer designs like this one. The real question is whether the new HISS will actually be worse than this one or not. I doubt it could be worse, but I did notice it has the same kind of elevating cockpit gimmick, so its good to know that Hasbro hasn’t learned from their mistakes.

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