[Howdy, Figure Fans, I’m tossing in a quickie for today’s update. It’s a departure from what I had planned, but I managed to really mess up my back this weekend and sitting at my computer desk for any length of time is absolute torture. Considering I wrote a fair portion of today’s feature in agony, I may have been a little bit hard on poor Destro here. Nonetheless, I’m hoping it’ll either start mending or I can get my hands on some decent painkillers before I’m back in the saddle tomorrow. -FF]
Somewhere on FigureFan, I’m pretty sure I did a commentary on what was shown at Toy Fair last year. I’m also pretty sure I spent some time there pontificating at how much I hated the Pursuit of Cobra HISS toy. The thing that really stuck in my craw about it was how Hasbro incorporated the elevation feature last seen in that terrible HISS TYPE IV design. I eventually warmed up to it a little bit as I saw better pictures, but I was still in no rush to get one. Unlike the Fury from yesterday’s feature, I probably would have never picked up this vehicle if I hadn’t found such a good deal at it at Ross. Let’s see if it managed to win me over.
Yep, love that Pursuit of Cobra packaging. It’s a simple box with fantastic artwork on the front and a nice picture of the toy on the back, detailing its many features. Unlike the Fury, the box for the HISS is really thick and even bowed out a little on the sides. There’s a window showing off the HISS Driver figure and his filecard is printed on one of the side panels. Open up the box and pull out the tray and you can instantly see that you’re going to have some assembling to do. It’s nothing too complex, but I think it’s pretty cool to be getting vehicles that actually need to be put together again. I was also happy to note that I scored a black one and not the crappy brown colored version that shipped first. There’s also a ton of stickers to apply, but I skipped a number of them, either because they don’t show up well against the dark plastic or they’re in spots that I’d never notice.
Once I got this baby together I was suitably impressed by its size. Granted, a lot of it is because the chassis rides so high on the suspension, even when it isn’t in the elevated position. Still, it’s fair to say that it dwarfs the original HISS. It’s an extremely formidable looking vehicle, easily capable of greasing its wheels with the guts of GI JOE fools. It still has the iconic triangular treads that every HISS vehicle has had since Cobra rolled the first one off the assembly line way back when, but the rest of it has been completely overhauled. The first of my favorite updates is the discontinued use of the clear cockpit in favor of a completely armored one. It’s essentially what Pursuit of Cobra did for the Tiger Ghost Hawk. It makes more sense and it looks better. Second, gone is the rear gunner position for the poor Cobra who might as well have held up a sign that said, “Look at me, I’m a target!!!” Instead, there’s a drop down hatch under the back for a gunner to sit, fully encased in the HISS’ armored bowels. Oh, did I mention it has real rubber treads? Major points for that.
The new armaments consist of a double chin gun right under the cockpit, a belt fed machine gun and a shooting missile launcher. The later two can be positioned in any of four hardpoints, with two located on the top and one on each broadside. I’d love to get a second one of these just to load all the weapons on one of them. And then there’s that elevation feature. It’s not nearly as ridiculous as it was in the TYPE IV HISS, but it still seems pretty useless. Unlike the MARK IV, however, you don’t need to elevate it to get into the cockpit, so you can conceivably forget that feature exists at all. I know I will!
The HISS comes with a Driver figure, which is extremely faithful to the original design and the one seen again in the 25th Anniversary Collection. In fact, the head is practically identical. New touches include a strap on breastplate and backpack. He comes with a revolver and a Cobra standard that can be plugged into one of the holes on the HISS.
If ever there was a fine example of why it’s bad to prejudge toys based on some quick photos from a convention, the Pursuit of Cobra HISS is definitely it. I hated this thing the first time I saw it. Yeah, when I saw some better photos, it started to grow on me a little, but I still wasn’t excited about adding it to my collection. Now that I actually have one in hand, I’m completely in love with it. The size, the design, the modular weapons, the rubber treads… it all really clicks. It’s one of the coolest Cobra vehicles I’ve seen in a while and easily a worthy successor to the mainstay of the Cobra land fleet. Simply awesome.
Holy crap, it’s GI JOE on FigureFan! Seems like it’s been a long time, but between poor distribution in my area and too many other things contending for my money, I haven’t been buying a lot of GI JOE stuff lately. As luck would have it, though, I was out shopping this weekend and decided to duck into Ross when I found both the Cobra Fury and the Cobra HISS sitting on the shelf, all by themselves and just one of each, and there was no way I was going to turn them down. I’ve been looking forward to getting the Fury since I saw the first pictures at Toy Fair last year, and this is actually the first time I’ve seen it at any retail store in my area. Let’s see if it turned out as good as I expected.
The Pursuit of Cobra packaging is beautiful and it definitely makes me want to buy the toys when I see them. The packages are all themed to some specific mission, and the Cobra Fury is part of the Urban Strike Mission. The front has an exciting piece of artwork showing the vehicle in action and the back shows off a nice photo of the toy itself, while detailing many of its features. There’s a cut-out window on the front of the package to show you the figure you get and his filecard is printed on one of the side panels. The Fury’s box is remarkably thin, and when you pull out the tray inside you can see why. The vehicle comes in several pieces and the chassis is really flat. You also get an instruction sheet, a sticker sheet, and a catalog/poster. Everything is really packed in there like sardines.
As a vehicle, I have no idea what you’d call this thing, or even if it has anything close to a real world counterpart. In the world of GI JOE, it’s an urban assault vehicle. Obviously, it’s main armament is the huge dual cannon mounted on the top and it also has a number of missile and rocket hardpoints, plus a minigun mounted dead center in the front. There’s room for two drivers in the front cabin and a gunner up top on the turret. It’s pretty well sculpted with a lot of detail and there’s a ton of stickers to apply. I had fun applying a lot of the stickers, but a number of them are pointless since the black lettering doesn’t show up against the dark plastic.
The Fury’s main gimmick is the elevating turret. It pops up, which allows a secondary cannon to swivel around from the back and face forward. This also reveals a mine dispenser on the back. Give it a pull and it starts dropping land mines. There’s also a flip out weapon on one side and an opening panel on the other that can offer engine access or just be used for storing the extra missiles. I like the Fury’s design and the way it packs a lot of weaponry and gimmicks without getting too outlandish or crazy. I also like the fact that the running boards are equipped with pegs so you can load this thing up with troops.
Unfortunately, there are some disappointing things on this vehicle as well. The pop up gimmick on the main turret feels really wobbly. When it’s extended it sits at an angle and really doesn’t look convincing at all. It also tends to knock the firing missile launcher off the hardpoint when you extend it. And while the chassis itself is nice and sturdy, the plastic on some of the additonal parts, like the side hatch and the driver seat doors, feels kind of soft and cheap. I don’t think it’s in danger of easy breakage, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see stress marks turning up before long. It sure doesn’t feel like the quality of plastic we were getting on the 25th Anniversary vehicles or even a lot of the Rise of Cobrastuff for that matter.
The Fury comes with the Alley Viper Officer figure and I’ve got absolutely no complaints about this guy. He looks fantastic and he’s a welcome addition to my collection since the carded PoC Alley Viper has been really tough to find in stores and rather pricey online. He doesn’t come with any guns (ok, I guess that’s one complaint), but he does come with two combat knives, both of which fit into scabbards molded onto the figure. There’s a ton of sculpted detail all over this figure showing off all his pouches and gear. His helmet is removable and has a visor that can be raised and lowered too.
When they first showed the Pursuit of Cobra vehicles at Toy Fair last year, I really wanted the Fury and I was kind of cool on the HISS. Now that I have this thing in hand, I can’t help but be a little disappointed. It’s still a cool vehicle, but I guess my imagination really ran away from me when I saw the pictures, and in person it just doesn’t live up to the anticipation. I’d still recommend getting it if you find it, especially if you can grab it at Ross for $11.99 like I did. Hell the figure alone is practically worth that. Overall, an ok vehicle, better if you ignore the elevating turret gimmick, but there are just a few little nagging things about it that keep it from ranking up there among the great Cobra attack vehicles.
Hasbro has of late been a little sporadic in showing their love for the Dreadnoks, and that’s a sad thing for someone who loves them as much as I do. Granted, most of my affection goes toward Ripper, Buzzer and Torch, but there have still been some cool additions to the gang since they first debuted. Now, it’s been a while since we’ve seen anything from them. They weren’t featured at all in the Rise of Cobra movie, nor did they get any of the “off-screen” figure treatment that also came out of the RoC line. It’s only fitting that they finally get a nod inThe Pursuit of Cobra. Bring on the Doom Cycle!
The Doom Cycle is one of the smaller, Alpha Class vehicles, but don’t let that deter you. The few PoC Alpha vehicles we’ve seen thus far have been so much better than the puny, simpistic, and overpriced ones offered in The Rise of Cobra line. You wouldn’t think that a motorcycle designed for a 3 3/4″ figure could be all that much to crow about, but Hasbro sure put some real love into this thing. As an Alpha Class, the toy comes in a simple window box that shows off the cycle and figure very well. The back shows photos of the toy and Shadow Rider’s filecard can be found on the bottom of the box. The insert can be removed and converted into a little backdrop diorama. These backdrops have been hit and miss with me, but I absolutely love the one that comes with this toy, as it’s basically a burning apocalyptic city-scape that I can imagine using for all sorts of things.
The Cycle itself is a three wheeled chopper, cast mostly in black and grey with a little red. The sculpted detail work on the engine is very nice and the gas tank has great custom artwork with the words “Doom Cycle” and a screaming skull. An additional paint app or piece of clear plastic for the headlamp would have been a good touch, though, as it is it’s just left grey. The Cycle rolls along really well on rubbery tires and it’s designed to work perfectly with the figure, so you don’t have to wrestle with him to stay on.
The hidden (ok, not so hidden) weapons on the Doom Cycle reminds me of one of the old MASK toys. Press the button near the back and you deploy a fan of blades. Press the button on the front button and two shotguns flip up by the handlebars and two skewer blades deploy by the front wheel. The great thing about these gimmicks is that they really don’t detract from the design of the toy itself. I’ll admit, the fan blades on the rear don’t strike me as all that useful, but you can’t go wrong with a pair of combat shotguns mounted on your handlebars or two giant blades protruding from the front of your bike.
And then you also get the new Dreadnok figure, Storm Rider. On paper, Storm Rider may sound somewhat generic. Yeah, he’s a biker dude in a leather jacket and blue jeans, but he’s executed really well. His jacket is personalized on the back with “Dreadnoks” and “Australia” and the sharp detail in the tiny badge on his pocket is very impressive. His arms have various finely illustrated tatts, including the Cobra emblems partially obscured by his rolled up sleeves. His right leg has a sculpted holster, which will hold the revolver that comes with him. His mask is black with what looks like two streams of bloody tears coming down and really reminds me of Raziel from the Soul Reaver games. Even if I wasn’t starved for a new Dreadnok figure, I’d still love this guy. And he suits the Doom Cycle perfectly.
Storm Rider’s black mask can be removed by popping his head off and on again. It looks good on him when he’s riding, but I like the figure just as much with it off. The face sculpt is good (is that a little James Marsters in there?), his shades are sculpted to his face, and he’s got a cool little gray mohawk sculpted onto his bleached white hair.
I do have a couple of nits to pick with this figure. First off, his hands seem to pop off pretty easy, and they’re small enough that you need to be careful about losing them, so if you get him, be careful! Second, his elbow hinges are painted black, which looks rather unsightly against the skintones of his arms. Lastly, my Storm Rider will not stand for love or money, and a figure stand was not included. I robbed the one in the pictures from one of my RoC figures. Hasbro seems to frequently change their minds a lot as to whether to give pack-in figures stands or not and it can get a bit aggrevating.
As most of the Dreadnok’s have signature weapons, Hasbro gave Storm Rider here some kind of spike shooter. It looks like an industrial power tool, like a nailgun of some kind and it has a hose attached to it. You can peg the weapon onto the Doom Cycle and there’s a place to plug in the hose too, but the hose just danlges when Shadow Rider is using it while off the bike.
Even with the few missteps, I absolutely love love both the Doom Cycle and Storm Rider. I’ve wanted a generic bike for my Dreadnoks for a while, and this one certainly fits the bill. If space weren’t such a concern for me, I’d have no problem picking up three more of these for Torch, Buzzer and Ripper. But first, I’d have to pick up Buzzer as he is still woefully absent from my Dreadnok gang. First the Ghost Hawk and now this. After the average-at-best Alpha Class toys from Rise of Cobra, it’s so nice to see some really decent stuff coming out in Pursuit of Cobra.
The Rise of Cobra line was really starting to get long in the tooth, so its a good thing that the new Pursuit of Cobra toys are starting to hit the shelves. My last trip to Toys R Us didn’t net me any of the new carded figures, but the initial assortment of vehicles were out so I picked up the Ghost Hawk here. Obviously, the Ghost Hawk is supposed to be an update to the vintage Sky Hawk, which was re-released in the 25th Anniversary line under the new name, Ghost Hawk. When I saw the initial brief shots of this vehicle, I thought it was going to be a remold of that reissue, but as it turns out, this baby is a brand new toy, and one fantastic update to a classic design.
The new Pursuit of Cobra packaging is fantastic. Its a pretty simple window box, showing off the toy and the figure, but I love the way Hasbro has themed each of the toys into a type of mission and then decorated the package with that theme. The Ghost Hawk is part of the Jungle Attack mission, which apparently entails hunting for the location of the Terrordrome base in the jungle. [No fair, Hasbro. Don’t drop the name unless you plan on releasing the playset!]. This year, Hasbro is taking a page from their defunct Indiana Jones line and having the toy box’s inserts convert into dioramas. I don’t have a lot of use for the gimmick, but its a nice idea. The Ghost Hawk comes mostly assembled, but with a whole mess of stickers that need applying. And some of those stickers are ridiculously tiny.
Once out of the package, the Ghost Hawk is ready for action. The toy features rotating engines, an opening cockpit and two detachable weapon pods on the undercarriage. One is a missile launcher, the other is a chain gun. The missile is ridiculously long, but if you’d rather have realism over play features, you can remove it and launcher could double as just an extra fuel pod or a bomb or something. There’s also two chin cannons under the cockpit that can swivel a bit from side to side. That’s about all the features this thing has. Like I said, its a simple toy, but the beauty is in the design.
The sculpting on the vehicle is extremely well done. There are lots of panel lines on the hull and every inch of the toy is brimming with details.The Pursuit of Cobra line definitely looks like its going for realism in the sculpts, even if they are based on fictional vehicle designs. The original Sky Hawk featured a completely open cockpit, and the reissue had clear plastic added, but this new model has an enclosed, armored cockpit with a small red tinted clear window. There’s also a sticker to go inside that shows a digital Heads Up Display on this screen. I also like the new streamlined stablizers in the back, as opposed to the big square ones on the old model as well as the modernized VTOL engines.
The Ghost Hawk’s pilot is called Tomahawk. He’s a pretty nice figure, especially for a pack-in, but I hate the name. Hasbro must really be taking a beating with the copyrights on their character names, because they’ve come up with some real stinkers lately. Tomahawk has a removable helmet and flight vest and he comes with a combat knife that can fit into the scabbard sculpted onto his leg. No gun or stand, though. Right away, he reminded me of 25th Anni. Mutt and after comparing the two I see its because they share the same bottom half. The only difference is Mutt’s holster has been resculpted into a scabbard for Tomahawk.
In case you haven’t guessed, I’m really happy with this vehicle. Its an Alpha Class toy, so it retails at around $16.99. I think its a much better value than the Alpha Class toys from Rise of Cobra, all of which I passed on. The Sky Hawk was always a favorite of mine, and this is an awesome redesign that brings a lot of realism and grit to the original concept without sacrificing anything that made it so cool to begin with.