In the war for your retail dollars, Hasbro and Toys R Us have been pulling out the “big guns” with their reissue six packs. These sets, which retail for a paltry $20.00, bring back old sculpts with dramatic new color schemes. In fact, some characters are actually improved with the updated colors—as is the case with the Cobra Strike Team: Urban Division. Comprised of six members (Storm Shadow, Scrap Iron, Firefly, Alley Viper, Nullifier, and Night Creeper), this set brings some old favorites back into circulation and reinvigorates some previously gaudy characters. Is it worth the $20.00 price tag? I think so—but with some mixed emotions.
Cobra Alley Viper:
Here’s an example of where my mixed emotions on this set come into play. On one hand, this is a very practical repaint of the Alley Viper V4. On the other hand, this is the fifth repaint of this particular figure since 1997. The figure itself looks sharp in all black—with brown highlights to the armor. The silver accents to the mask and the silver paint applications on the knife and grenade add another nice layer to a simplistic yet effective color scheme. Unfortunately, I’ve already got this figure many times over. I’ve already reviewed this figure in Wave 7.5. I’ve seen him in urban camo, blue, red, electric blue, and now black. It’s getting to the point where I might as well rename my Alley Vipers “the Rainbow Coalition” as their color schemes are starting to become as diverse as the 128 box of Crayola Crayons! The accessories are exactly the same as all of the other versions—including the Tomax/ Xamot pistol that I haven’t liked since the 80’s. I wouldn’t have minded this figure so much if he had at least come equipped with a different rifle but he’s identical to all other versions. I think that even army builders are growing weary of this mold—not because it’s a bad design, but simply from overexposure. Someone give this poor trooper a rest—he’s earned it!
I have owned neither a Flak Viper nor a Nullifier—so Hasbro took the liberty of coming the two into one figure and saved me some trouble. The Flak-Viper mold is back in an updated color scheme and sporting a new name and it’s a good look for the figure. The body is the same deep blue used throughout this set black boots, gloves and helmet and brown highlights. It’s a design that works for the figure, and one that gives the impression of a SWAT unit. When I first the saw the Flak Vipers in a friend’s collection, I laughed and stated that I would never own one. This set, however, has given me a whole new appreciation of the mold and I can myself adding a few of these figures to “Leo’s Army”.
My only real grievance with the Nullifier is the selection of accessories that are assigned to him. His file card states that he is an “Anti-Aircraft trooper” and this is all well and good except for one problem. The Urban Nullifier comes equipped with two rifles and an automatic pistol; sending him as an anti-aircraft trooper thus armed is akin to sending in Scoop with a can opener to stop the Iron Giant. In other words: he’s not going to be effective at all. Now, while I’m really tired of seeing the “fang” launcher that came with the CLAWS figures, it would have been a perfect accessory for our resident “anti aircraft trooper”. Instead, we’re left with a great figure that isn’t equipped to handle his chosen specialty.
Here is another figure seeing it’s fifth repaint since 1997. (This is not counting the Convention exclusive Firefly set from last year—otherwise his total rises to seven!) Now, if Hasbro chooses this a “final re-release” of this mold, I can rest easy. It’s a decent repaint in an urban camo pattern and it is the first reissue to come with all of the original Firefly accessories. The camo scheme is predominately black and gray, with a bit of the deep blue thrown in. His harnesses, gloves, and turtleneck are all brown and his grenades are highlighted in silver, along with the molded pistol and detonators on his legs. I’m really quite happy with this figure and was glad to see him included in the set. Of course, I don’t own a single repaint of this figure since the relaunch and so I haven’t become as tired of the mold as many other collectors. My hope is that this is the “last hurrah” for the original Firefly mold for some time and that he won’t be included in any more reissue sets. As nice as this figure is I’d rather see him go out on a high note as opposed to another atrocious “BJ’s” color scheme. Let the mold die with some dignity, please.
This is another mold that I’ve not previously owned. A friend of mine from Massachusetts was a big fan of the Night Creepers and actually owned quite a few of the original version. I don’t know if it was the goofy color scheme (Who wears beige and maroon camouflage in public? Really, I’m dying to know!) or the head’s resemblance to Khan’s facemask in Star Trek 2 but this figure never held any appeal to me. I was quite happy with my Spy Troops Night Creepers as the sole representatives of this shadowy ninja organization—until now. It’s amazing what a difference a complete repaint can make! The body is now a basic black, the pants are done in the same urban camouflage as Firefly, and the chest armor, visor, and helmet are all silver. With this darker color scheme we actually have a “night” creeper that lives up to his name! My ridicule of this mold has ended and I’m going to try and pick up a few of this particular figure. Now, if only they’d taken out the Storm Shadow figure and just given us two Night Creepers in this set.
I’ve always felt that Scrap Iron was a completely under-utilized character in both the comics and the cartoon. His appearances in both were fleeting at best and he’s one of the few early Cobra characters to have never received a second sculpt. He’s back, with a set of new arms and a new color scheme, but he’s still Scrap Iron! The Urban Force version is remarkably true to the original color scheme: red vest, blue collar, black detailing on the vest. He differs with the change of his helmet gray, his boots colored brown, and his overall uniform being a much darker shade of blue. It’s also worth noting that only the torso, waist and head of this figure are components of the original Scrap Iron—the limbs are the same ones used to make the Cobra Infantry Forces set that was released earlier this year.
Scrap Iron has two problems that I can see. First off, whoever came with the idea of coloring his helmet gray should have specified that his helmet and hair are NOT the same color. That’s right, it would seem that ole Scrappy has aged a bit since the 80’s as he is now sporting silver hair instead of his original black. My second issue with the figure again comes with his accessories. Scrap Iron is sporting the same green backpack that came with the GvC Heavy Duty (in the same green color which contrasts horribly with the rest of this entire set) and the same grenade launcher that came with Headman, sans ammo drum. Ladies and Gentlemen, fall before the unarmed might of Scrap Iron! I realize that the molds for his original rocket launcher are probably long gone but I find it hard to believe that this is the best armament choice for this figure. He’s the “anti-armor specialist” yet he’s got an empty gun, the over-used laser rifle that all of the Morays and Eels have been packing, and HD’s backpack! Please, when compiling reissue sets, put some thought into the accessory sets! Scrap Iron approaches greatness—only to turn left at the last possible minute.
You’ve heard the expression “save the best for last”? That doesn’t apply to this version of Storm Shadow. First off, this mold is tired; this is the fifth reissue of this mold. Secondly, he’s hampered by some design elements that date back to the dreaded ‘Ninja Force’ days of the line. SS’s torso has two tabs molded into the bottom that fit into two slots in his waist. The fit is solid and prevents Tommy for rotating at the waist—period. He must be a “traction” ninja because he’s got the least poseability of any Storm Shadow figure—including the non O-ringed version. It’s a shame; as this figure has a nice color scheme—dark gray uniform, black trim, brown belts, silver shuriken, etc. It’s a color scheme that is completely wasted on a “too tall” non-poseable hunk of plastic. Honestly, I realize that I tend to see the good in any figure but there is very little good in this piece. If Hasbro wanted to include Storm Shadow in this set, why not use the v2 mold that is in the forthcoming “ninja clan” set? It’s a much better design and would looking stunning in this color scheme. I can’t even talk up his gear as it’s all tired—the same Nunchuck weapon that came with Nunchuck, the same sword that has come with just about every martial artist since 1997, and the same Uzi with flash suppressor that has been issued time and time again. If this set has a REAL clunker, it’s Tommy “Too Tall” Storm Shadow. If I could, I trade this mold for any number of lost molds—just as long as I never have to see this figure reissued ever again.
There you have it—the Cobra Strike Force: Urban Division is really a mixed bag. You’ve got the good (Night Creeper, Nullifier, Firefly, Scrap Iron), the bad (alley viper), and the ugly (Storm Shadow). If you’re an army-builder you’ve got three of the six figures that are useful as generic troops right out of the box. If you missed some of these figures the first time around then this is a good opportunity to pick them up. However I don’t see this set having the insane appeal that the Cobra Infantry Forces set had. There just aren’t enough generic or new figures to warrant buying many of these sets. Still, for $20.00 it’s a good value and is a set that would make a great gift for any small Joe fans out there. It’s a set that is worth it’s price but isn’t a necessity for every collection.