Have you ever watched MASH? I’m not talking about the television series but rather the motion picture version with Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland? That film was responsible for my admiration of military doctors—especially those who go into the field. Field surgeons work under “less than idea conditions” on wounds that require truly expert care. The Joes have always been well staffed when it comes to medical personnel—Doc, Lifeline, Stretcher, and Sideswipe. Sure, they’re not all surgeons but at least these guys could patch up their wounded teammates. Cobra, on the other hand, never really had much in the way of medical care. Oh sure, there’s always Mindbender but, call me crazy, I’d rather see an actual MD than some self-induced former dentist! Along came Scalpel and Cobra boasted a whopping one surgeon. Things have changed, however, and now Cobra can staff its own field hospital.
I’ll be perfectly honest—it’s about time we got a Cobra medic! I love the character of Scalpel but he’s just that—a named character. He’s one man that has to tend to all of my Cobra troops. (You think the wait at your doctor’s office is bad!) By simply providing a new head, Hasbro has created a uniform medical corps in line with their chief surgeon. This is the exact same body that was released at the end of Spy Troops—right down to the retractable circular saw on the right arm and the removable shoulder pad/light unit! I loved this mold the first time around and I really love it here. It’s really quite amazing what a simple change in color can do for an existing figure body. Hasbro simply took the entire color palette down a few notches and the end result is a much more believable surgical look. In fact, my favorite change to the body is found on the chest plate. Previously, Scalpel’s chest was covered in a white panel with surgical instruments attached to it. While the detail stood out on the white it never made sense for two reasons. First off, do you really want white used in a surgical environment? Secondly, under all of the bright lights of a surgical theatre, the white would put up a fair amount of glare. By reissuing the body in a “scrub green”, the entire figure body is much easier to accept. Bravo to the Hasbro design team for a fantastic modification to a truly terrific mold.
Okay, if you thought the body looked great just take one good look at the head. I’ll argue that this is the single best head sculpt we’ve had in the DTC line thus far. (Yes, I realize that this is just wave 1 but I have the feeling that this will be the head sculpt to beat.) First off, the proportions are terrific—the spacing of the eyes, the distance from the nose to the chin everything is perfect. Secondly, the details really make this head come to life. The use of the head light and microphone take what could have been a blueshirt clone and transform him into a high-tech surgeon. The design is grounded enough in reality to be instantly recognizable as a surgeon yet looks just futuristic enough to be Cobra. Lastly, the Cobra sigil on the cap ads the final touch of affiliation. Imagine being the Greenshirt that loses consciousness after being wounded on a mission. You wake to a bright light over your head and a voice asking you if you know where you are. You open your eyes to see a surgeon leaning over you, telling you about your injuries. It’s at that moment that a chill of terror slides like an icy blade into your spine. A red Cobra is on the cap of the very man who holds your life in his hands. I’m telling you—these are my new favorite troops!
Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I miss have GIJoe in stores. I miss being able to go out an impulse buy a few troops at a time. However, if the Medi-viper is indicative of the quality of the figures we’ll be seeing in the future, sign me up! I’m already planning on ordering more of these guys and doubling my initial number. Hasbro has produced a figure that will not only be appealing to collectors but also fills a much-needed role in my Cobra army. Bravo!