Friday, February 25, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra - Cobra Flight Pod with Elite-Viper

Cobra Flight Pod with Elite-Viper | Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010 [Cancelled]

An Elite-Viper in a Cobra Flight Pod flies above the city, guarding the secret facility that's developing attack drones. He spots a group of figures scaling the building and alerts Cobra troopers on the ground. Swooping down, he recognizes the intruders as GI Joe Ninjas and fires up his cannon to blast them!

Elite-Vipers are the personal guards of DESTRO and strict enforcers of their commander's orders. These top-notch mercenaries have extensive military training ans are skilled in the use of advanced weaponry developed by M.A.R.S. Industries.

A rather odd-looking toy with an odder history, the Cobra Flight Pod with Elite-Viper is today's GI Joe Review offering...

Released 2010 [Cancelled]?
The Cobra Flight Pod with Elite-Viper is part of a line of GI Joe toys initially intended as Target exclusives (along with the Sand Serpent, Reviewed yesterday). However, due to low-sales or limited shelf-space, Target decided not to go through with the exclusive line, despite the toys having been manufacturer and ready to go (complete with their ''Only at Target'' stickers.)

Thankfully overstock clothing specialists Ross Dress For Less picked-up the unwanted stock and recently began selling these items in their chain of stores. As a result, these toys are not only available to purchase, they're also available at a much lower price - which we'll come to later.

The figures from this wave - described as ''Deluxe Figure Packs'' - use their own version of the GI Joe packaging. About 50% wider than a single-carded figure pack and consisting of a cardboard box (rather than a plastic blister-pack) the packaging includes a small ''hook'' to allow it to be displayed from store spikes, much like the regular figures.

The figure within the pack is visible thanks to the cutaway window. The included vehicle, however, is not, the reason being it's in pieces and must be assembled. There's a photo of the Cobra Flight Pod on the rear of the pack, however.

Once the box is opened, there's another sub-layer of packaging, a combined retaining tray (in which the Elite-Viper sits) and a sealed box, containing the Cobra Flight Pod parts.

The box is easily resealable although you would need to dis-assemble the Flight Pod to get it back into the box.

Let's begin with the Elite-Viper.

For once, this is a GI Joe vehicle/figure combo where the figure is actually a good toy in his own right. OK, so he's a repaint of another Cobra agent, but it doesn't matter, as he looks great. Unlike some of the previous bundled figures (such as Wild Bill and the Star-Viper) I would gladly pay for this figure as a single-carded release.

The sculpt is nice, with the removable combat vest adding a suitably bulky/armoured look to him and the helmet has a good sense of faceless menace about it. I also like that he has a holster for his pistol (see Extras below) that's hung low-enough to allow him to sit in the Flight Pod without it getting in the way.

Paint-wise, things are good. His red/white camo pants are nicely rendered and his magenta armoured-plates have a metallic sheen to them that really conveys the impression of them being plates, rather than simply painted shirt-accessories. It's a colour-combination that shouldn't work - black, magenta, white and red - but it suits the toy and is cleanly-executed.

The articulation is good and he can hold poses very well. My only minor gripe is that my Elite-Viper's left wrist seems a little looser and doesn't quite seem to fit (there's a visible ''join line'' between the two pieces) but the piece doesn't seem in imminent danger of falling-out or anything.

Overall, he's a good-looking, nicely-designed and well-executed figure.

It's just too bad he's saddled with...

Cobra Flight Pod
OK, so I'm sure I'm committing some kind of GI Joe blasphemy here, but Cobra Flight Pod - AKA the Trouble Bubble - is a laughably bad design. Who in their right mind would think that what the world's most menacing secret organisation really needed to scare their enemies was a vehicle that looked like a flying, pimped-out Rascal cart? 

I dunno. Maybe they were trying to appeal to the elderly and ham-beasts by modelling a toy on their preferred mode of Walmart transport. I just don't get it...

But wait! Just when you think it can't be any more laughable...

It's a convertable.

What's really sad is that the production on the vehicle is actually very good. The pieces fit together nicely and the canopy/seat is designed to perfectly fit the figure. The controls are set at the exact distance so he can grip them whilst seated and the ''seat-belt'' C-shaped connector keeps him securely in-place. There are even movable rudders on the rear-mounted jets that can be angled to change the thrust-vector. Even the feed-lines for the cannon fit snuggly. It's just such a shame the actual vehicle's design is such a joke, because the production is top-quality.

The Elite-Viper comes with his own pistol (which can be holstered) and an Assault Rifle (that can be slipped behind him when he's seated.) Both fit well into his hands. Like most vehicle-figure combos, he doesn't include a stand.

There's also a transfer sheet and assembly instructions.

Final Thoughts
This is certainly an oddity. The Elite-Viper figure is superb, a really nicely-designed and produced action figure that's as good as the single-carded figures (no surprise really, given he's a repaint) and one of the best bundled pilots I've seen so far.

But then on the other hand, there's the thing he's piloting. It looks like one of those coin-operated kiddie rides you see outside of stores. It's not even as if it could possibly fly - it's utterly impractical and looks, frankly, stupid (and I don't use that word lightly but here it's the most apt word to describe the vehicle.) It's such a shame, as the actual production is very well executed. The pieces fit together nicely and - given it comes in kit-form - it feels fairly robust and sturdy.

Normally I'd say not to bother with this set, except for the fact that Ross Dress for Less are selling these toys for $5.99. That's less than the RRP of a single-carded figure, which - given the general awfulness of the Cobra Flight Pod - is what you're buying, really. If you can find it that cheap, then base your buying decision solely on the Elite-Viper Scores.  Just don't invest a lot of time trying to hunt it down simply for the vehicle, don't pay the $11.99 RRP and whatever you do, do not pay the online prices people will be charging for this ''rarity.'' 


Production QualityA-
Final ScoreB+

Cobra Flight Pod
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreC

Final ScoreC+

Image Gallery


  1. It's a "Trouble Bubble"! This is a re-do of the old Flight Pods from the original toyline and those were great and it looks like this is the same as well.

  2. Yeah, I saw it called that elsewhere. It's a nice enough toy but it's also quite silly. The figure is superb though.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...