Tuesday, May 31, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra Polar Sharc with Ice Storm

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010 [Cancelled] Re-Released 2011

The GI Joe team's Polar Sharc subs battle the Cobra Mantis Attack Crafts in the chilly waters of the arctic. The mini-subs are unleashed from the team's main underwater vessel and plunge into combat, blasting the enemy with Dive-6 Depth-Impact Vortex Energy Torpedoes. These one-person subs are swift, silen and can reach depths of up to 2,700 feet below sea level.

Ice Storm is the GI Joe team's cold-water marine combat and survival specialist. Take the worst battle situation then add subzero temperatures and freezing water: that's his environment, and he makes sure the team can fight and win under those conditions.

Packaging Shots

Alpha Class Vehicles Wave 3
Like the previously-Reviewed Tiger Claw ATV with Leatherneck, the Polar Sharc with Ice Storm comes form the cancelled Wave 3 of Alpha Class vehicles. Following lower-than-anticipated sales of the Rise of Cobra toys, retailers were left with a lot of unsold stock and due to that, a number of releases ready to roll-out to stores were instead mothballed until recently, when a number of discount outlets such as Ross Dress for Less, TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Gabriel Brothers started selling this left-over stock. The Alpha Class Wave 3 vehicles are among those toys now available at selected discount outlets and it's from this Wave that the Polar Sharc comes.

Ice Storm
Ice Storm is a cold-water combat and survival specialist. Although his look maybe doesn't work as a submarine pilot, he certainly looks as if he'd be at home in extreme weather conditions.

Ice Storm is definitely kitbashed together from a few other figures. I recognise the jacket and legs from a the Artic Snake Eyes but Hasbro has done an excellent job of giving him his own identity, thanks to the paint work and new head/accessories.

The parka jacket looks suitably warming and the high collar really accentuates this impression. He may not be the most exciting-looking of Joes and yes, perhaps he'd look as equally at home as Deadliest Catch Ice Storm but that's beside the point. The figure looks equipped to serve his role and looks good doing it.

I think what I like about this figure though is that he doesn't look like a military Joe. I know I've spoken many times about how I dislike the ''cartoonish'' Joes but Ice Storm doesn't fit into that category. I could see him as part of the Adventure Team exploring the depths of the ocean or seeking wrecked ships. I like that concept.

The figure's sculpt does cause some problems with the articulation, though. His hip joints are somewhat restricted in their movements by his parka tails and arm articulation isn't as free as it should be, thanks to the folds and creases of the parka's sculpt. Head movement is also limited, with Ice Storm being unable to tilt his head forward or backward. On the plus-side his harness doesn't restrict movement at all.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of Ice Storm is his paintwork. The combination of blue, red and black works well and the silver trim just pushes it over the edge from being average to being good. It's also very cleanly applied on the whole, although there is a slight splodginess to the cap's trim.

Polar Sharc
The Polar Sharc is a one-man submarine intended for use in arctic combat conditions. It's a pretty fun vehicle with a couple of good play features and overall it looks good.

One thing that immediately strikes me when I look at this toy is that it looks more like something from the Star Wars toy lines. I can't help but think of X-Wing fighters whenever I see it. Which is fine, but some purists may not be so keen on the sci-fi-ish-ness of the Polar Sharc. I personally like it though.

The other thing you'll notice is how light it is. I actually thought somebody had stolen some parts out of the box before I opened it, as it simply didn't feel as if there was an entire vehicle within (there was - it's just really light.) This can of course be attributed to the fact that the pilot's position occupies the majority of the fuselage and this is, of course, a hollow space. And who knows - maybe it's designed that way so it will float in water.

Hinged on the left-side, a large portion of the chassis can be opened to reveal the cockpit. Add to this the fact that the canopy space within is more than large enough to accommodate Ice Storm (indeed you may find your pilot rattling around a little within) and you'll find getting him in place offers no problems whatsoever. 

Speaking of the clear canopy, one touch I love is that the floor includes another porthole/viewing window in the same shade of clear plastic which, given it's position at the fore, is probably what gives the vehicle its name (as it looks like a shark's mouth.)

The Polar Sharc includes a firing torpedo launcher that can be attached to the underside port. The firing action is pretty good but thankfully the torpedo stays in position, even when the vehicle is resting upon the launcher.

The rear of the Sharc features a rotate-able tailplane, ratcheted to lock into 12 different positions. I'm not sure  what purpose this serves beyond being able to reposition the two small cannons on the tailplane section (I assume that's what they are, anyway...) but it does look cool and if I were still a child, this is what would happen when the Polar Sharc went into Flight Mode. The actual tail piece is also detachable, again though, I don't know why.

The Polar Sharc colour scheme is great. I love the muted blue-grey tone and the white disruptive camouflage works well and is cleanly applied. The dark blue detailing also works well although the propeller casing is perhaps a little toy plastic-looking. I'm pleased to see the use of different coloured plastics on the vehicle though (especially ones of a matching palette), as too many GI Joe vehicles rely on a single tone which can often make them very toy-like.

Ice Storm includes a bullpup rifle and removable harness, both of which work well with the toy. He does not include a stand.

The Polar Sharc comes with a transfer sheet and instructions.

Final Thoughts
Although in terms of design and function the Polar Sharc is pretty basic and feels a little cheaper than some of the other GI Joe vehicles thanks to the weight, the engineering on the hatch and rotating tailplane is actually very good and the toy is produced to a high standard. The details like the canopy cover and front-view window are nice, plus the sculpt has some good details (although perhaps a few too many rivets) and the colouring looks good.

At the suggested retail price this would feel like a rip-off, to be honest. But for $9 and change this is a good deal. You get an interesting, well-produced and quite cool-looking Adventure Team-ish pilot, plus a vehicle with a few cool play features that's fun to handle, looks good and does most of what you'd expect from it.

It's just an odd one to call, because the vehicle is much more than the sum of its parts but if you asked me why I think that, I honestly couldn't tell you. Maybe it's the sci-fi nerd in my digging the spaceship-esque design or my inner child seeing it as an awesome flying speedboat space submarine. Whatever it is, I'm liking this toy a lot.

Ice Storm

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Polar Sharc
Production QualityA
Final ScoreA

Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. Not crazy about the Polar Sharc but colors on Ice Storm i like.

  2. It's kind of space-shippy but quite cool. I've been flying it around and shooting the missile at my wife. :)


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