GI JOE Valor Vs Venom: Cobra Sting Raider by Hasbro

The impromtu GI JOE week rolls onward with another Cobra vehicle from deep within my totes. Will this be a Cobra only week? I don’t know, maybe. Right now I’m just making it up as I go along and going with whatever strikes my fancy. Today we dip beneath the waves to look at the cool little one man Cobra submarine called the Sting Raider. Of course, not to be confused with the more recent Sting Raider, which was a repaint of the vintage Cobra Water Mocassin. [Look back far enough, as I’m sure I featured it here on FigureFan. -FF] Just a heads up, the pack-in figure with this vehicle was the Electric Eel. He sucked and is no longer part of my collection. I have since paired this sub with the very awesome 25th Anniversary Collection Cobra Diver, released in 2008.

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No packaged shot, but suffice it to say this baby was released in 2004 as part of the dubious Valor Vs Venom line. Let’s just get right to the toy. The Sting Raider is a little attack sub that holds one figure under a glass domed cockpit. I love this thing so much because with it’s stingray inspired design it really looks like something that could have shown up in the Sunbow cartoon. Since the Cobra Diver was released, I’ve grown even fonder of this little toy because the color scheme matches the Cobra Diver so well, that it’s like they were made for each other. The Sting Raider is sculpted with lots of detailed panel lines and has Cobra emblems printed right on the wings. Mine have started to scratch off a bit from being bounced around in a tote for four years, but I think it gives it a nice whethered look. There are some pre-applied stickers too, which have held up pretty well.

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For a small toy, this thing is loaded with little gimmicks. It sits on three tiny wheels, so if you aren’t going to float it in a fishtank, it’ll still sit nice and level on the display shelf. [Although, if you have a spare DCUC Flight Stand from Mattel handy, that works well too! -FF] The canopy lifts up to reveal the roomy cockpit. The Diver can actually fit inside with his oxygen pack on and you can dump all the rest of his gear in there too. The steering column is hinged so you can flip it back when he’s inside and clutch the sticks in his hands. The front of the sub has a big red capture claw, which is spring loaded and slams closed at the press of a button. The wings are hinged at the tips and can be pulled out to expose a pair of firing missiles. The engine fans rotate on the back independently of each other for controlling the pitch and yaw of the sub. There’s even a little swiveling aft gun under the tail.

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The Cobra Diver is a great figure, although I think he tends to get overshadowed by the equally awesome (ok, possibly more awesome) Cobra Eel that was released as part of the 25th Anni. Collection in the same year. Yep, remember, this figure came out about four years after the Sting Raider and it’s crappy pack-in figure. Sure, he’s basically just a repaint of Torpedo, but this is one repaint that works really well. The paint apps are nice and clean and he comes with a ton of accessories. You get a removable facemask with a hose that connects to his removable oxygen pack. He has a pistol and a knife that fit in the holster and scabbard, and he gets an assault rifle, although I think Torpedo’s harpoon gun would have been a better fit. He’s also got a pair of pegged flippers for his feet.

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I could spill a lot of electronic ink over whether or not Valor Vs Venom totally sucked or not. I tend to think it gets treated a little more harshly than it deserves, but then I’ve long since purged most of the VvV figures from my collection. Maybe someday I’ll commit myself to better analysis of the line, but for now I’ll just point out that at the very least it spawned an occasionally decent vehicle, as evidenced by this awesome little Sting Raider. I’m guessing I paid around ten bucks for it, which is not bad at all for what you get. I’m sure you can pick it up nowadays for next to nothing, or you could opt for the more recent repaint.

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