As the GIJoe franchise leaves the toy shelves and moves exclusively to online purchases a few Valor vs. Venom toys remain to be released. The latest vehicle hitting the toy shelves is the repaint (and retooled) Cobra H.I.S.S. V tank driven by the Pit Viper. What are the differences you might wonder? Is a repaint worth my fifteen bucks? And how does it match up to the other incarnations of the H.I.S.S. tank? Well, I’ll do my best to answer those questions.
Ask any person who grew up in the 80’s watching GIJoe cartoons what Cobra’s main attack vehicles were and they’ll probably answer the H.I.S.S. tank and the F.A.N.G. helicopter. The black H.I.S.S. tank holds a place in cartoon bad guy vehicle history being seen on cartoons and in comics for years. I’m sure many kids reenacted the struggle between GIJoe leader Hawk and a distraught Destro on the back of a H.I.S.S. tank that ended with Cobra Commander shooting Hawk in the back with a pistol. Then we were given the H.I.S.S. II. A truly wonderful mold improving on the original in everyway save one… it was given a horrid bright red and blue paint scheme. Soon after the re-launch of GIJoe vs. Cobra, The H.I.S.S. IV was released featuring a sleek new design, Sound Attack features and snakeskin like texture on the front hood. A major weakness of the new H.I.S.S. was it was lacking with a small exposed battle turret.
So here we are with the Valor vs. Venom H.I.S.S. V, a black and blue camouflage scheme attack tank that is similar to the version IV save a few details. Gone are the Sound Attack features, although a Sound Attack rifle is included in order to raise the front canopy. Also redesigned is the main weapon turret. Now resembling Destro’s portable “Weather Dominator,” the weapon provides more armor in the front for its operator. The movable missile in the center can be adjusted and fired. The two missiles on the front are molded to the turret.
The main body of the tank is an exact replica of the H.I.S.S. IV and features a raising canopy that can fire two missiles and a rear canopy for transporting troops. I’m not completely sold on the black and blue paint scheme. The version IV’s paint scheme combined with the snakeskin texture makes the tank look more like a snake… this new scheme doesn’t seem to pull it off.
Hasbro finally leaves the Neo-Viper mold in the drawer and pulls out one of my favorite molds from the Spytroops series… the Pit Viper! His uniform matches the tank in scheme and I think this works really well with the complete toy package. As a straight-up repaint though, this Pit Viper looks more menacing in his black, silver, and blue uniform. This also marks the first time that a H.I.S.S. driver matches his tank in color.
So what exactly are you getting here with a repaint vehicle and a repaint action figure? Honestly… just that. The new weapon turret is an improvement over the version IV. The silly Sound Attack is gone, but the figure and vehicle offer a unique matching paint scheme that will enhance any Cobra Army. And now you know…