Monday, December 5, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Assault Sting Raider (TRU Exclusive)

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010 (Toys R Us Exclusive)

Sting Raider boats patrol rivers and swamps searching for intruders. The vehicles are armed with cannons and machine guns to repel invaders and launch pirate attacks. When foot patrols spot the GI Joe Team approaching the Cobra fortress, the Sting Raider races upriver to teach them a hard lesson in the law of the jungle.

Pursuit of Cobra Jungle Assault Sting Raider (Toys R Us Exclusive)
Released in 2010, this version of the Sting Raider was a Toys R Us Exclusive, being bundled with both the 2009 release's Copperhead and a bonus figure in the form of the Swamp-Viper (along with a new ''jungle camo'' paint scheme). 

The set recently re-appeared at overstock specialist outlet store Ross: Dress For Less (minus the Toys R Us Exclusive branding) for the low price of just $10.99 plus tax. So if - like me - you missed-out first time around, now's your chance to grab this very cool toy for yourself.


The Sting Raider comes in a sealed box (i.e. you can't see the vehicle within) with a cutaway window displaying the included figures. It's eye-catching, sturdy and surprisingly lightweight. I have to admit I was a little concerned that - given that some shoppers at Ross seem to think the toy department is a makeshift daycare centre for their children and the toys are provided for their offspring to open and play with - my Sting Raider box would prove to be empty. Thankfully this was not the case and the vehicle was present with all its parts and accessories.

The packaging does a good job of protecting the vehicle and I was surprised to find how little assembly was required upon opening.

But before we look at the Sting Raider itself, let's take a quick look at the included figures.

Copperhead & Swamp-Viper
As previously mentioned, the former TRU-exclusive Sting Raider features two figures, an unusual (and very welcome) change from the usual single-pilot arrangement normally seen with GI Joe vehicles. 

The Copperhead figure included with this pack is - paintwork aside - identical to the one used in the Rise of Cobra Wal-Mart-Exclusive two-pack. Whilst the sculpt isn't great (and bizarrely he only features a single-joint on his knees, rather than the usual double-joint) I have to say I do prefer this version, simply as his paintwork is much more lifelike.

The sculpt is fine for what it is and there's some nice detail on the figure's core body (or as detailed as a guy in a vest and pants can be.) The head sculpt is also acceptable enough, although I do think the side ports on his helmet look like ears...

Articulation isn't bad, although - as mentioned - his knees are only a single joint set-up. I also found his shoulders seemed almost ratcheted and getting them to move took a little effort.

Paint-wise, this figure is a big improvement over the one seen previously in the Gung-Ho/Copperhead pack, with a much more lifelike green, grey and black combo replacing the other figure's more gaudy look.

The second bundled figure is the Swamp-Viper.

The Swamp-Viper is a more interesting figure than Copperhead, although he's not without problems of his own.

Like many bundled figures, the Swamp-Viper is kitbashed together from a variety of sources but the overall look is surprisingly cohesive. Whilst the body armour and plated pieces look cool, I'm not a fan of the head sculpt, which suffers from a mis-positioned visor and a rather sharp, conical appearance. It's a shame, as the remainder of the sculpt works well.

Articulation presents no real problems, although I did find my Swamp-Viper suffered from a slightly wobbly upper-torso. There's also no waist joint, which is a shame, but beyond that there's nothing to complain about with the figure's joints.

As for his paintwork, it's a pretty well-finished look. There's a cool metallic look to the green armoured plates and the grey-green combination works well. There's even a nice little Cobra tampo transfer on his chest.

Again, whilst the Swamp-Viper isn't the best of figures, he works well-enough as a bundled driver/pilot/gunner-type figure. It's just a shame his head is so misshapen.

The Sting Raider
It's not that the figures are particularly awful but when it comes to your buying decision, they're really little more than an added bonus and the real reason you'd lay down your $11 and change is for the Sting Raider. So let's take a closer look.

Sculpt and Design
The Sting Raider is an awesome-looking piece of design. One thing I like is when Hasbro's designers produce vehicles that have just enough of the real-world to ground them in reality but an extra dose of ''what if?'' to push them into the realms of the fun. The Sting Raider has plenty of the former and just enough of a dash of the latter to keep it from being predictable. 

Put simply, it looks great and my lackluster photographic skills really don't do it justice.

Initially the Sting Raider appears fairly plain. It's an air-boat/catamaran-esque speedboat hybrid that - on first appearances - really doesn't seem to be doing anything too exciting. But as you begin to look closer, you start to appreciate just how cool this vehicle's design is.

The basic lines of the Sting Raider look great. It's a sleek, menacing vehicle that looks practical and lifelike. Look closer again and you'll notice the detailing in the basic sculpt, such as the various rivets, panels and intakes that adorn the vehicle's ''flat'' surfaces. There's a massive amount of very intricate detail here that's incredibly engaging to the eye.

The Sting Raider is one seriously-cool looking vehicle.

Play Features
Beyond the basic sculpt, the Sting Raider features some very cool play features.

For starters, there's a rotating gun position that - for once - works remarkably well. I'm sometimes disappointed with some of the compromises Hasbro makes when including features like this. Sometimes figures don't fit properly or the rotation/movement will be limited. There are no such problems here.

The gun position is a superb piece of design. Basically there's a ''hollow'' in the vehicle's hull into which the gunnery position is inserted. This tube-like piece moves freely but - coolest of all - as it's an ''enclosed'' space, the gunner's legs do not catch on any interior pieces, meaning it can rotate freely. The gun itself is mounted on a hinge that allows for a wide range of motion. As a result, the gunner can sit comfortably within the turret and grip the gun with ease.

The air-boat fan also has a little hidden play feature that's - again - very cool. Situated behind the gun turret is the exposed top of a small wheel which, when spun, causes the rear-mounted fan to rotate. The rudder fins can also be (manually) re-positioned and include a connector pin to ensure they move in the same direction.

The underside of the Sting Raider also hides a bonus feature in the form of a stowaway ''hidden drone,'' a 1'' long remote-controlled vehicle used for... well, whatever you'd use a remote-controlled drone for. When not in use the drone slides snuggly into the underside of the hull but it's a simple-enough process to slide it free.

It's also nice to see a vehicle that both pilot and gunner can fit into so easily. Granted the pilot's legs do tend to get a little bent and he'll spend most of his time with his head against the canopy cover but the vehicle sits both figures with ease.

But wait - there's more! To the rear of the boat are a pair of removable storage covers. Pop them off and you'll find space to stow additional weapons or other evil Cobra items. There's also a removable cover that - when popped-off - reveals the boat's engine detail. The pilot's position also features a removable panel to allow access to the cockpit. Whilst it would have been nice to see this utilise a hinge or joint (rather than simply be a removable piece) it's a nice touch that allows the vehicle to retain its lines but at the same time also allow access to the driver's position.

If I had one criticism it's the fact that I'd have personally liked to see a set of wheels on the underside of this vehicle. I know it's a boat and it's designed to work in water but given how many kids will be playing with this on land, the addition of a couple of wheels would have been nice.

The Sting Raider features a few articulated parts, namely the gun turret and the fan/rudder. As mentioned above, each of these pieces moves fluidly (the turret especially.)

The Toys R Us-Exclusive Sting Raider is the ''Jungle Assault'' version and so features a jungle camouflage-inspired paint job. Although the brown paint is perhaps a little too reddish for my tastes, it's fairly well applied, with the combination of green and red paint being sprayed on then black plastic parts (and a tiny amount of black paint detail) being added to complete the look.

It's a quite unusual palette choice but it works well and avoids the problem many GI Joe vehicle suffer, namely that the large, single-colour panels can look ''plastic-y.'' There's no such problem here and the overall effect - especially with the pre-applied decals* - looks great.

*(The Sting Raider includes some basic decals pre-applied along with a transfer sheet, should you wish to add additional detail.)

Extras And Accessories
Although the Sting Raider doesn't really include any extras (unless you count the transfer sheet and the removable drone) both figures come with a rifle, combat dagger and - surprisingly for bundled figures - their own stands.

Whilst Copperhead's rifle and combat knife (which fits into his thigh sheath) are nicely designed and a good fit in his hands, the Swamp-Viper is saddled with a dagger that's simply too small and a rifle that's too large to fit in his hands. The latter is also molded from a rather cheap-looking silver plastic, compared to Copperhead's black rifle.

It's also a little annoying to see that the Swamp-Viper's rifle is too long to fit in the Sting Raider storage bays, but it can at least be stowed with him in the gunnery turret, so it's not all bad.

Final Thoughts
Let's start with the bundled figures.

If you've bought a GI Joe vehicle in the past then you'll probably know what to expect here. The Swamp-Viper and Copperhead figures are both fine for what they are - essentially ''free'' figures bundled with the vehicle - but they're not the sort of thing you'd want to buy as single-carded figures. But let's face it, the fact that you get two of them is an added - and welcome - bonus but not the reason you'd buy this toy.

The real star is the Sting Raider. And it's superb. This is a great example of Hasbro taking an awesome-looking concept and doing a fantastic job of turning it into a toy. It looks great, the extra details like the storage panels are great, the execution of the play features is awesome and - coolest of all - everything just works as it should. That may not sound that exciting but given the number of times the execution of a design can fail to deliver on the promise, that's high praise and illustrates just how well designed and assembled this toy is.

And just when things couldn't get any better, you discover this toy can be found at your local Ross store for $11 and change.

Seek this out immediately. You won't be disappointed.

Sculpt and DesignC+
Extras and Accessories B
Final ScoreC+

Sculpt and DesignB-
Extras and Accessories B
Final ScoreB

Sting Raider
Sculpt and DesignA
Extras and Accessories N/A
Final ScoreA

Overall Score
Final ScoreA

Image Gallery


  1. Closest Ross is over an hour away. I'm hoping to make a pilgrimage before these all get scooped up during the holiday buying frenzy. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Yeah, I'm certainly most pleased with it.

  3. wow. i got mine when it was first released in the philippines for 1000 pesod (20 USD). But it later went on sale for 500 pesos (10 USD) and they're still widely available to this day.

    i didn't know that this set's a TRU exclusive, because here they're being sold at Toy Kingdom, TRU's main rival.

    amazing review bro, very informative as always.

  4. Thanks P-Dub. Yeah, this colourway (and 2-figure set) was a TRU-exclusive for a while. Hasbro I think maybe over-saturated the market with a few too many exclusives, as it seems no store wants to touch them now!

  5. Hehe - I just spotted you'd grabbed the TRU-exclusive Barbeque. The TRU-exclusive Rise/Pursuit of Cobra figures are really difficult to find here now. Like I say, I think Hasbro maybe pushed the ''exclusive'' thing too far with a few stores (who were probably left with a lot of unsold toys), as I can't remember the last time I saw a store-exclusive Joe.

  6. Other TRU-exclusive joes are quite easy to find here. the last ones that were a bit hard to find were the POC spirit and quick kick figs. in fact, i still don't have a POC quick kick.

    the old ROC ones like shipwreck, bench press, doc, and snow serpent were widely available here.

  7. Yeah, I've never seen Spirit or Quick Kick (thankfully the former is in the 7-pack my wife ordered me for Xmas from Big Bad Toy Store) but I think I started collecting GI Joe just on the tail-end of the RoC releases and so missed-out on quite a few. Indeed, I still need some ''regular'' RoC releases to complete the full line-up. I just pick them up cheap where and when I can, as I refuse to pay the Ebay prices!


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