Tuesday, March 15, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra - Ice-Viper

Rise of Cobra Ice-Viper | Produced by Hasbro | Released July 2009

Another day, another GI Joe Review!

Packaging Shots

Ice-Vipers are Cobra troopers trained especially to deal with arctic conditions. As such, they're clad in protective gear and thermal clothing designed to withstand the harshest of freezes and this is captured perfectly in the figure's sculpt. 

He's clad in thick, protective clothing. It felt strange to be posing a figure with such thick, tree-trunk legs when I first began taking the photos but - as you can see - it looks great. The sculpt really captures that arctic survivalist look well. The parka he wears - really more of a vest - is an individual piece that can be removed (although I don't know why you'd want to) and is covered in detailing. Again, it's also quite bulky and gives the figure a great silhouette.

The head sculpt is nicely done, with a fairly simple black helmet/mask sporting a clear plastic visor, which can be raised/lowered, thanks to tiny peg-and-port joints on either side of the head. I like this, as it adds a lot of character to the figure and also gives more posing options.

The remainder of the sculpt is good, with a lot of detail. There's a tent/sleeping bag stowed on his back, pouches and gear packs adorn his jacket and pants (although he lacks a holster for his pistol, which is an annoying oversight), his neck scarf has a nicely cabled texture to it and there's even a fur lining to his hood. This is a great-looking figure but it comes at a price.

Articulation has unfortunately been sacrificed in order to deliver this great look. His hip joints are somewhat restricted by his vest's ''skirt'' and - given his pants are so large - they're quite difficult to pose. The bulky torso also restricts arm movement (he can't grip his rifle with both hands, for example) and many of the extruding pouches and packs get in the way. His collar can also restrict his head movements. It's possible - as you can see - to get some pretty good stances out of him but his articulation and posing options are somewhat limited.

On the opposite end of the scale, we come to the paintwork. The Ice-Viper looks superb. His camouflage is applied cleanly  (and looks incredibly lifelike) and details on clasps, straps and pouches is all very accurate. There are no rogue splodges or mis-applied blobs of paint anywhere and the use of colour is perfect. This is one of the best-looking Rise of Cobra figures I've seen (even if my exposure to them has been a little limited) and he looks right at home next to the more lifelike Pursuit of Cobra Joes in my collection.

The Ice-Viper includes his own stand (which he doesn't fit very well), plus two firearms - a rifle and a pistol. The former is wrapped with some kind of protective tape or strapping (anybody who's a weapons expert care to explain that one?) which is painted white. The paint isn't applied as cleanly as it is on the main figure but it's still fine. The pistol is cast from solid black plastic.

He also includes the de rigeur Rise of Cobra firing weapon, in this case a snowboard-style... thing. It has skis on the bottom and a flat base, so I'm assuming it's a snowboard. It's too bad Hasbro didn't include a foot peg on here, as it would have made a very nice accessory to mount him on. The missile launcher works pretty well even if the big blue projectile is very silly.

Final Thoughts
The Ice-Viper looks fantastic and wouldn't be out of place in the Pursuit of Cobra figure line. The bulky cold-weather gear looks great and gives him a unique look among the other GI Joe toys. That, coupled with a superbly designed and applied paint-job make the whole thing just come together perfectly.

But the downside is that the posability of the figure is compromised by the sculpt. He's not going to be standing in wide-footed poses or sitting down much (the fact that he doesn't stay on his stand doesn't help, either) and so your play and display options are a little limited.

If you can live with these minor problems though, you'll find him to be an excellent figure and one that will certainly look great on your display shelf.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

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