Saturday, March 19, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra - Cobra Gunship with Firefly

Cobra Gunship with Firefly | Produced by Hasbro | Released July 2009

A military convoy is transporting advanced MARS Industries Nanomite weapon prototypes when a menacing aircraft appears out of nowhere and launches an attack! The plane is fast, deadly - and unlike anything the special operations team has seen before. It's their first encounter with an advanced Cobra aircraft, and for some, it's their last.

FIREFLY works for COBRA in many capacities from explosives specialist to advanced aircraft pilot, with expertise in combat tactics, martial arts, sabotage and demolitions. He reveals little about himself, preferring to show his talents by results instead of words.

You may have noticed I've skipped the packaging section of the Review. That's simply because there's not much really to say about it - it's a sealed box with nice artwork and a cutaway panel showing Firefly within.

Firefly isn't a bad figure, but he's very much of the Rise of Cobra repainted re-release school (being in fact, a near identical version of the 25th Anniversary figure.)

The basic figure is clad simply in a roll-neck sweater, balaclava hood and combat fatigues. Without his gear he's remarkably similar to Beachhead and I think you'd be hard-pressed to tell the two apart. Not that that's a bad thing particularly but he's not a massively exciting/different figure. The sculpt is fine, though and although there's not a massive amount of detail here, he's OK for what he is.

Articulation is fine. There's nothing to complain about and his joints are all perfectly articulated, even in his flight vest (see below.) The only minor restriction is the breathing tube that connects from the vest to his helmet, which will pop-out if you turn his head too far.

Paint is applied fine, but there's not really much to get excited about here. 

Cobra Gunship
The Cobra Gunship comes in two pieces - the main fuselage and the tail section - which clip together quite cleanly and, once together, aren't going to come apart in a hurry.

The Gunship is something of a mixed bag. It has some nice features and the design is cool but it doesn't quite live-up to its potential. Let's look at why.

For starters, the vehicle is cast from solid grey plastic. There's no paint detailing and the only colouring comes from the black plastic accessories (such as the side-mounted missile pods, landing feet and canopy cover.) Firefly is a good match as its pilot, as the vehicle is a little bland-looking, too. Even with the decals applied, there's not much going on, visually, with this toy. It's a real shame, because with a little paint or some extra or different colouring it would have been a great-looking toy.

The other thing is that the side-mounted weapon pods are something of a disappointment. They have a pop-in/pop-out slide effect, which would be a cool ''super sonic mode'' feature if they retracted fully into the vehicle. As it is, they move about a whole half an inch and - as such - really serve no purpose. My guess is it's to make it easier to package, because as a toy feature it's useless.

The cockpit is a little on the small side. Trying to close the canopy cover with Firefly at the controls is difficult and - even if you do succeed - his head will be pressed against the glass cover. I really wish Hasbro would put more thought into the canopy space in their vehicles, as I've experienced this in the past with other vehicles.

And from a purely conceptual point of view, this vehicle fails as a gunship, as it's only armed with a single front-mounted gun. So why is it called a ''Gunship?''

So is all lost? Not really - there are some quite cool features here.

There's a hatch behind the cockpit that opens to reveal seating for two passengers. This is a nice touch, as most of the GI Joe vehicles (with some rare exceptions such as the Wolf Hound, AWE Striker and Ice Dagger) tend to be single-person vehicles. This is a pretty cool feature and makes the vehicle more interesting. There's some nice detail within, such as seats and interior paneling, plus - coolest of all - foot-pegs on the door to allow parachutists to use it as a launching pad.

There are also two side panels that can be popped open and the hinged doors can be raised to reveal the engines within. The detail inside is nice enough but it's also clearly cast from a single piece. 

Above the engines is a bomb-loading hatch, with a slide open/shut panel. The Cobra Gunship includes three small red bombs that can be deposited through this hatch and then deployed from the underside at the press of a button. It's a nice little play feature, but the downside is that the bombs tend to rattle around within the Gunship.

On the underside of the Gunship are three hooks/handles that fit perfectly into any GI Joe's hand. Or alternatively you could attach a cable to deploy ''spider'' shock troops from the Gunship. Again, it's a nice touch and one of the better details on the vehicle.

Also on the Gunship's belly are three fold-down landing legs. 

Everything here works just fine (although the rattling bombs within are a pain) and the hinged pieces all stay shut/open/in place when and where they should. Production quality is pretty high, overall.

Firefly comes with a removable vest and helmet. In this case, this is the red helmet version, although a black helmet variant also exists.

He does not come with any weaponry (despite having a thigh holster) or a stand.

The Cobra Gunship also includes two red missiles and three red bombs, along with an instruction sheet and decals (which must be applied by hand.)

Final Thoughts
The Cobra Gunship is so close to being good, but it just doesn't quite make it. The design is good, visually, but the execution just lets it down. The drab grey plastic does nothing for the design - a little extra paint or a nicer colour (such as black) - would have really made it pop.

The other problem is as a concept, it doesn't work. This is a Cobra Transport, not a Gunship. I'd have loved to have seen a second hatch on the side and more interior space to allow half a dozen shock troopers to sit within, even if that meant losing the bomb and even side-mounted missile pods. Or even an opening underside panel to allow paratroopers to deploy from within. Oh well.

The Cobra Gunship has some fun features, though. The interior space - what there is - is a unique addition and gives your Cobra guys a way to get into battle. The bomb drop action is nice (even if the bombs to rattle around inside) and the Gunship's actual shape is pretty cool (I think Hasbro's designers are fans of Aliens, given this ship looks and feels very much like the drop ship from the movie.)

It's such a shame that - like its pilot, Firefly - it's ultimately just a bland-looking lump of grey plastic.


Production QualityB-
Final ScoreB-

Cobra Gunship
Production QualityB
Final ScoreB

Final ScoreB-

Image Gallery


  1. This set just doesn't do it for me am sorry too say there is nothing unique or that really stands out to me.

  2. That's pretty much it - there's not really much to it to get excited about, which is a shame, as on-paper it's really good: a gunship with a working bomb bay and passenger compartments. It's just very bland.

  3. The Gunship in the movie was way bigger. And cooler. If i could find it around 15 dollars I would buy it.

  4. i can appreciate the high tech edge that G.I.Joe had even from the beginning but sometimes i feel like it's strayed a bit too far into the realm of science fiction.
    i noticed Iok that you've joined Dan's blog IADW recently. that's cool he's a real nice guy and very personable like your self. plus he's got one of the nicest blog sites i've ever seen.
    hey Aries0083, weren't you gonna show us some of your art?

  5. I really should watch the Rise of Cobra movie again, but right now I don't fancy spending the cash to do so - I don't recall it being that great!

    And yeah, David, I saw IADW the other day and thought it looked a cool blog.

  6. indeed it was not great or to put it in terms you will certainly understand it was bullocks. which is why i suggested checking to see if your local library has the DVD.

  7. I have collector mentality - even if it's not a great movie, I want to own it. I'm kind of obsessive-compulsive like that. :D


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