Wednesday, June 22, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe City Strike Cobra Deviant with Cyber-Viper

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010

The Cobra Deviant Mobile Mech Suit gives extraordinary speed and power to the person inside it! Using advanced technology, this battle armor changes its operator into a devastating weapon that can battle an entire squadron!

Cyber-Vipers have biocybernetic implants, which allow them to organically interface with computerized systems like the highly advanced Cobra Deviant Mobile Mech suits. Using these interconnections, they operate the suits as extensions of their minds and bodies, giving them a powerful advantage over the GI Joe team when they encounter them in the night-shrouded streets of the city.

Packaging Shots

The Cyber-Viper is the pilot of the Cobra Deviant and comes bundled with the vehicle.

Like most bundled pilots, he's not a figure you'd pay full-price for as a single carded figure but he's not a bad figure ''for free.''

The sculpt is pretty simplistic. He's clad in a ribbed shirt, armoured pants, a (removable) harness/vest and a helmet (not removable.) Given he's going to be sitting in the Deviant's cockpit for most of his life, it doesn't really matter that much that he's a fairly generic-looking toy (plus unlike the Steel Marauder's pilot, Kickstart, he's supposed to be a ''faceless grunt'') and the sculpt is fine for what it is.

The head sculpt is actually pretty good. The helmet looks suitably menacing and the clear-plastic visor is a cool touch. I like this design a lot.

Articulation is good, on the whole. The harness can be a little restrictive but beyond that there are no problems. Although the images here may look a little wooden, that's due to his lack of accessories and a base and is no reflection on the articulation of the figure.

The paint app is clean and nicely designed. There's some well-applied silver trim around his boots, cuffs and harness and his armour panels are picked-out in black very cleanly. It's not a massively exciting look but what's here is well done and clean.

Cobra Deviant
What of the Cobra Deviant?

If you read my Review of the Deviant's release-mate, the Steel Marauder, you'll know I was a little disappointed with the toy. Thankfully the Deviant - whilst not perfect - is a big improvement.

Much of the core sculpt is identical. Indeed, from the ''waist'' down, the two share the same pieces, with Hasbro simply reversing the legs to create a ''new'' look. The cockpits both appear identical, too but the big difference comes with the ''arms'' and their mountings. Where the Steel Marauder used slightly wimpy-looking ratcheted mounts, the Deviant doesn't have these and connects directly to the ''ball''-type connectors that fit right into the core of the vehicle (and formed the ''shoulder'' joint on the Marauder). This is both a positive and a negative. On the plus side, the limbs are much sturdier and don't tend to ''sag'' so much. But on the downside movement is quite limited when compared to the Steel Marauder and even with these new joints, there's still a feeling you're simply bending the plastic rather than moving a joint.

The ''arms'' themselves are also new pieces, featuring a grappling hook and punching mace arm. The former is a lot of fun and works well. By pressing a small button on the top of the unit, you can launch the spring-loaded grappling hook. What's particularly cool is that the hook is attached to a cable that's reeled around the side of the arm and unwinds as the hook launches. I think a little winch on the side of the unit would have been a definite bonus but it's easy enough to reel the cable back in.

The left arm features another pop-in/spring-out weapon in the form of a punching mace. Push the spiked mace into place and then press the button (interestingly, on the underside of the arm) and the mace punches forward an inch or so. It's not as much fun or as well-designed as the grappling hook but it's still cool in its own way.

Both arms suffer from the same issue, though: limited mobility. The right, grappling hook arm is especially difficult to pose, given its bulk. Similarly, due to the lack of ''reach'' on the arm mounts, the left, mace arm tends to be limited to 45 degrees below the horizontal or higher and can't be re-angled to punch at lower targets. Add to the arm's bulk the fact that the ''legs'' have large hydraulic pipes attached to them (which are perfectly positioned to get in the way when moving the arms) and you'll see why this toy is a little difficult to pose well. Both limbs also have some quite cheap-feeling ratchet joints that click loudly when moved (and feel quite fragile.) 

One other improvement over the Steel Marauder is the fact that the canopy cover fits and works properly. I found it annoying that the Marauder's canopy was such a poor fit (especially when manned) so I'm pleased to see the Deviant's canopy cover closes perfectly - even when the Cyber-Viper is seated within.

There's no paintwork on the figure, but it does come with a set of transfers (not yet applied.) The toy is cast from a deep burgundy similar to that used in the Alley-Viper, with grey and black accessories. The grey i sa little too ''cheap silvery plastic'' for my tastes but it's not bad. I'd have preferred to see the limbs cast in black plastic.

The Cyber-Viper pilot comes with a dagger, that fits into his boot sheath, but no rifle or stand. The set also includes a decals sheet, instructions and a GI Joe colour catalogue.

Final Thoughts
The Cobra Deviant is a big improvement over the Steel Marauder in terms of its construction. The pieces fit together better - especially the canopy cover - and the whole thing just feels more polished and completed. On the downside though, whilst the grappling hook works superbly, the actual design really inhibits poseability. Similarly, whilst the mace arm works just fine, it's not as fun or exciting as the Steel Marauder's Gatling gun or pincer arm.

According to the packaging, the arms are interchangeable between the Deviant and the Marauder, so you could in theory build a ''best of'' if you should so choose to do so. I just wish Hasbro had applied the same level of design to the Deviant's limbs as they did Marauder's and the same level of quality control to the Marauder's canopy mounting as they did to the Deviant's. It comes down to personal taste as to which one looks better (my vote goes to the Marauder) but the Deviant is certainly the better-constructed of the two.

It's a pretty fun toy, overall though, despite a few flaws.

And one final thing to note is that discount outlets such as Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx have started receiving shipments of both GI Joe Mechs at discount prices (around half the original RRP.) If you've ever been tempted to pick-up either, now is the time to do so, because at around $10 each, they both represent excellent value for money. 


Production QualityB
Final ScoreB

Steel Marauder Mobile Mech Suit
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB-

Final ScoreB-

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