The original Cobra Rattler was one of my all time favorite vehicles as a kid. Of course, as a kid, I didn’t really know anything about the equally cool real world A-10 Warthog on which it was based. All I knew was the Rattler was prominantly featured in the GI JOE cartoon, it could take off and land vertically, carry two figures, and was great for the Cobra head hanchos to fight over while trying to escape capture my incoming Joe forces. My original Rattler is long since gone, and considering how many sandbox crash landings it made during its lifetime, there probably wouldn’t have been much left of it anyway. I really wanted to pick up the more faithful Target exclusive reissue from a few years back, but never found it. Looks like I’ll have to settle for this consolation prize that I picked up for five bucks at a garage sale last weekend.
This repaint of the original Rattler was released as a Toys R Us exclusive back in 2002. Besides the new deco, the gunner station no longer came with an enclosed canopy and the toy was retro fitted with the gimmicky soundbox that came with many of the GI JOE VS COBRA toys of the time. This one that I found still has the original box and instructions and incredibly enough all the parts. The box is a tad worn, and there are no inserts, but all in all, not bad. I really love the box art and the back panel shows the toy itself with all of its features. This one is missing the Wild Weasel figure, so I grabbed a couple of contemporary Cobras to serve as stand ins.
There’s a few things that need to be put together when you dump this thing out of the box. I really miss the good old days when you had to put toys together. Actually, mine came with a lot of stuff already done. I just needed to attach the wings, soundbox, landing gear and bombs and missiles.
I actually really like the new paint deco for this toy. The copper and black with red trim really pop. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the traditional Cobra blue of the original toy, but as far as re-decos go, this one isn’t too bad. You could almost use it for Serpentor’s private Rattler, since the gold sort of matches his Air Chariot. The stickers on mine were already applied and they all look nice and fresh.
What I absolutely hate is the use of the neon red plastic used for the gunner station ring and the bombs and missiles. Not only does it look awful, but the plastic used on the missiles and bombs is so soft that they don’t want to stay plugged into their sockets. The result is you’ll get a lot of inadvertantly dropped bombs if you try to woosh this thing around the room. I’m also not thrilled about the lack of the canopy on the gunners station.
One nice touch is the inclusion of two battle damaged panels that can be snapped in to replace the normal ones.
I’ve never been a fan of the soundboxes used on this era of Joe toys, but the one on this Rattler isn’t too obtrusive. Its mounted onto the piece that holds the wings to the fusilsage and there’s a corded piece that plugs in under one of the engines and holds a nice big minigun. The whole rig stays together very well. The soundbox on mine isn’t working, and I’m just not motivated enough to open it up and replace the batteries.
The current Joe figures will fit into both seats of this Rattler, but its a pretty tight fit. So, overall this piece is a pretty mixed bag. The redeco is nice and the toy itself retains most of what was cool about the original mold. I could have done without the soundbox,but its tucked neatly under the jet, so it isn’t as big a deal as some of the other vintage molds that were retrofitted with this gimmick during the time. Overall, the plastic used for the weapons payload is the only really awful thing about this toy. I am by no means a customizer, but in this case, I plan on getting some black and silver paint to do over the obnoxious neon parts. It’ll go a long way to making this one sweet ride.