GI JOE The Rise of Cobra: Sand Serpent with Star-Viper by Hasbro

My last trip to the Ross Toy Graveyard netted me a cool little surprise, and by surprise I mean it was something that I didn’t even know existed: A repaint of the Rise of Cobra Night Raven. The ROC Night Raven was, of course, an homage to the original Real American Hero toy as well as the jet that was seen at the end of that horrible, horrible Rise of Cobra movie. The toy didn’t seem to be very well received by fans, but in fairness, the original Night Raven was a work of art that still inspires awe in me to this day. The new version… eh, not so much. It also didn’t help that at $40 it was way over priced, just like most of the ROC vehicles. What’s weird is that at stores in my area, the ROC Night Raven seemed to show up, go on clearance, show up again, and it was just all over the place.

Anyway, as you can see from the box, this is not the Night Raven, but rather the Sand Serpent. I like the name, although I was rather dubious as to whether slopping a desert camo deco on the toy was going to make it sell any better. So why did I buy it? Well, just look at that price tag. $15? How the hell am I not going to buy it? Getting back to the box, it’s the same basic packaging as the Night Raven and it has a little window to show off the lamely named Star-Viper figure that comes with it. The front shows some artwork of the vehicle in action and the back panel shows off photos of the toy itself. Technically, the package is pretty collector friendly, but the jet comes in two halves and once you lock them together, you’re going to be hard pressed to get it back into the box. It also comes with a bag of missiles, an instruction sheet and a butt load of stickers. What doesn’t it come with? Batteries.


Once I had this thing snapped together and had all the wings in place, it’s easy to see that the design doesn’t really hold a candle to the vintage Night Raven. I was, however, surprised by how decent the camo deco looked. I kind of expected it to be horrible and obnoxious, and while it certainly isn’t as good as the original black, I still found it to be perfectly tolerable. The design of the aircraft is very angular, and a bit bizarre, but it’s definitely a nice sized toy with a number of play features, some good and some bad.

Probably my favorite thing about the toy is the way the cockpit drops down for access. It’s pretty innovative and it makes for a nice break from just popping open the canopy to get the pilot in and out. It works with a lever located behind the canopy that raises and lowers it remotely. The jet also has three sets of rather chunkly landing gear that are essential to allowing the cockpit to drop down. There are also missile clusters located on the wings that hold six missiles each. From here on in, though, the play features get a little dodgy.

There’s a handle that drops down that you can hold to fly the jet around. I like this idea well enough, as it’s similar to the one Kenner used on the old Star Wars Imperial Shuttle. By pulling the trigger on the handle, you fire the missiles that are queued up in each launcher while the lights around the missiles activate with the sounds of weapon fire. To fire the next missile you have to pump the jet like a shotgun. Yeah, it really is as goofy and weird as it sounds, but then again if I was a little kid, I would probably think it was awesome as I pelted my brother with an endless stream of projectiles.

The electronics require three AA batteries and include the aforementinoed lights in the wings and three different sound sequences. Each sequence is activated by either pressing one of the three buttons between the rear dorsal wings or by pulling the trigger on the handle. One clip is garbled pilot communications, another is a series of sensor beeps, and the last is an extended flyby sequence. All of the sound clips are nice and loud.

I don’t have a lot to say about the Star-Viper, apart from his goofy name. He’s an ok pack-in pilot figure, but nothing much beyond that. His helmet is pretty huge and he’s got some really ungainly breathing apparatus.

In the end, I’m pretty surprised at how much I like this toy. Sure the shotgun gimmick is stupid and it probably adversely effected the sculpt and design, but all in all, it’s a nice sized, well constructed, and cool looking jet and the electronics are none too shabby. At $15 the price is definitely right too. I’d still recommend picking up the Night Raven over this one, assuming you could have it for around $20 or less, but you could do a lot worse than grabbing the Sand Serpent here, should you stumble upon it at your local Toy Graveyard.

2 comments on “GI JOE The Rise of Cobra: Sand Serpent with Star-Viper by Hasbro

  1. In the last image there is a label on the jet that reads £1££7. This has got to be a reference to 31337, which is a hacker joke that can be found in Urban Dictionary. It spells “ELEET” in digits, that in turn being a misspelling of elite. Looks like the toy designer was a computer geek who decided to entertain himself.

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