Friday, June 1, 2012

G.I. Joe Retaliation: Cobra Fangboat w/ Swamp-Viper

Get 'em while you can.  That's what was going through my mind over the Memorial Day weekend when I came across some freshly stocked G.I. Joe Retaliation toys at Target.  By now I'm sure you have heard that the movie has been pushed back to March, 2013.  Because of this move by Paramount, Hasbro has decided to leave the first wave of toys on retail shelves - but not ship any additional waves until closer to the release date of the movie.  I'm not sure what this means to the toys, but my guess is after they sell out most retailers won't bother to try and re-stock them.  Some Walmart stores aren't even carrying the new Retaliation toys because of poor G.I. Joe sales in the past.



When I first saw pictures of the Cobra Fangboat online I laughed.  Honestly.  That said when I found it recently on the shelf I started to sing a different tune.  The toy is based on the original Water Moccasin...a childhood favorite of mine.  When the Water Moccasin was re-released as the Sting Raider in the 25th Anniversary series I quickly bought it.  I skipped on the later Rise of Cobra release, but I felt compelled to buy this on sight.  Chock it up to my curiosity of the included Swamp-Viper figure.



The first thing I noticed is how small and compact the box is.  I knew Hasbro was making some cost saving moves with this line, but dang is this box small.  Gone are the big window boxes used for the 25th Anniversary vehicles.  The toy comes partially unassembled...part of the charm of old school Joe vehicles.



Pop in the center gun placement, snap on the new spring loaded torpedo launcher, snap on the engine cover, rear compartment covers, cockpit cover and assemble the fan mechanism.  Done.

Things I like about the Fangboat:

- Tampographs.  The large red Cobra symbols on the rear compartment covers and on the black hull aren't stickers!  The rest of the decoration are your standard fare clear stickers.
- Torpedo Launcher.  I thought it was silly at first, but I like how they took the original tooling of the boat and made the launcher fit in place of the original gun.  If you have an extra gun you can remove the launcher to have that more classic look.
- Swamp-Viper.  I love the head sculpt and the overall look of the figure.  More on him in a bit.

Things I don't like about the Fangboat:

- Canopy cockpit piece.  Call it mold degradation or back luck, but the plastic on the red portion of the cockpit is warped.  This makes the clear canopy piece not want to snap into least without a lot of force.


The included stickers are pretty cool.  I love this new (is it new?) Cobra decal for the side of the boat.


Here is a close up of the issue I referred to.  See how the tabs on the front of the canopy cover don't tab in?  The red painted plastic dips down in the middle.  Not sure if this is a defect of mine or a problem they all suffer from.  I was able to take a flat head screwdriver and apply enough force to snap the piece in place, but now I'm afraid to remove it fearing the tabs will break.


Don't like the look of the new torpedo launcher?  Have no fear, just snap it off and steal a gun from your 25th/ROC Sting Raider!


I did notice a few changes to the mold when I put them side by side with my 25th Anniversary Sting Raider.  The engine cover has been remolded - using less plastic.  Notice the cover doesn't surround the wheel that spins the rear fan.


The other change I noticed was to the copyright info on the bottom of the boat.  This was has the blurb:

" Represented by: Hasbro Europe "

Not sure what that means, but this isn't printed on the bottom of the Sting Raider.


The included driver is a new version of the Cobra Swamp-Viper.  I'm sure a lot of Cobra fans were happy to hear the news of a new Viper figure, but alas keep your excitement bottled up.  Remember when I said Hasbro implemented some cost saving measures for this line?  Well look no further than the vehicle figures.  Here is Swamp-Viper in all his glory...with a T-crotch.  Yup, we're back to the days of G.I. Joe vs. Cobra figures!  Notice there isn't any elbow or knee articulation either.  Static poses is all you get!  His hands and arms are also molded in an odd position.


He can wield a weapon, but it doesn't look very natural.


This is about the limit of his poseability.


The best part of the figure is the head sculpt.  It immediately reminded me of the old Lamprey figures that piloted the Cobra Hydrofoil.  The head doesn't rotate side to side, but the molded "bandana" limits how far the head will turn.  The head does pop off rather easy allowing for customizers to work their magic.


Side by side w/ Copperhead you can see how much of a step back the Swamp-Viper is.  It's a shame Hasbro took this route as the Swamp-Viper figure had potential.


At the end of the day the Water Moccasin / Sting Raider and Copperhead win.  There are some redeeming merits about the Fangboat however that warrants a purchase.  It's not for everyone and I'm sure I'm in the minority when I say I like the new colors of the boat and the articulate challenged figure.


  1. As a kid, I was never into G.I. Joe that much. My favorite figure was always the B.A.T. Any Joes I had were given to me by my parents to break up the Transformer monotony.

    At any rate, when the 25th Anniversary figures came out, I bought every one I could get my hands on. The sculpts were obviously better, as was the articulation. They were just awesome. I skipped the Rise Of Cobra figures, but came back for Pursuit of Cobra and after.

    It's just a shame that the later lines were just such shelf warmers. They were always impressive. You'd think that with as many accessories that they cane with and the articulation, they wouldve sold better. Now that I see the Swamp Viper up close, I can tell that things may go backwards for the brand, which is unfortunate.

    1. Not all the Retaliation figures suffer like the Swamp-Viper. As far as I can tell it's just the figures included w/ vehicles that have gone through a sense of de-evolution. The Red Ninja figure is based on the Renegades Storm Shadow which for me (and a lot of others) is the definitive SS figure. Crazy accessories and articulation (including articulated ankles!) make it a great figure.

      That said I don't have a whole lot of faith that these Retaliation toys will be of the same quality as the Pursuit of Cobra or 30th Annivesary stuff...

  2. Whoa! They pushed the movie back 9 months!?!?! What the hell? I don't think I've ever heard of a movie so close to release being moved back that far! They've already been showing all those promos and everything. Was there something really wrong with it? I mean, they have to be taking a major hit by doing that, especially with the toys already starting to show up. How can this be a good thing?