I was never much into the arctic troops when I was a young Joe fan in the 80’s. Perhaps it was the fact that I grew up in Central Illinois where our snow was heavy and wet or maybe it was the fact that I never played outside in the winter but very few of my missions were set in snow-covered regions. However, Hasbro has made me rethink this aspect of my Joe collection with some of their recent offerings. The Ice Sabre is a fantastic vehicle, the reissue of the Snowcat gave me the opportunity to acquire a classic vehicle that I never previously owned, and the Polar Blast snowmobile was just plain sweet! However, Hasbro has made me a believer in cold weather troops with this two pack, which contains one of the best troop builders yet!
Poor Frostbite—he never got much use or respect in my collection. The first GIJoe vs. Cobra version suffered in my eyes for two reasons. First, he was a t-crotch figure and therefore wasn’t one that I would use much. Secondly, he came packaged with the first Neo-Viper figure. If you’ve seen some pics of my collection, you know that I have an insane number of this first Neo-Vipers, thanks to a Kbtoys.com clearance sale a few years back. As a result of acquiring one hundred of the Neo’s, I ended up with 100 of the Frostbites. I tried to sell some of the surplus off on Ebay but so was everyone else. It was a nice mold but no one wanted him and so he got packed away into boxes and put into storage. A good character suffered from my obsessive army building. However, Hasbro changed all of that with the most recent update to Frostbite. He’s been given a new settle of battle togs and an o-ring and is now ready to kick some frozen Cobra tail!
The new design fits in with the overall design scheme of VvV—sleek, modern, and yet practical. Frostbite has a form-fitting jacket with a fur collar and cuffs. His gloves are padded and his boots are not disproportionately large. He’s sporting a pair of reflective goggles to prevent snow blindness and he’s even got a stocking cap. In other words, he looks like a comic book arctic trooper! Normally, I’d be against a lot of color on a cold-weather trooper, as it would stand out against the barren white backgrounds. The first release of this Frostbite (packaged with the Ice Sabre) had a more subdued color scheme and it made sense. However, the contrasting colors on this version actually work to make the mold more dynamic! I realize that it’s ludicrous for an arctic trooper to wear an olive stocking cap but it adds a nice contrast to the white of his uniform. The gold tint to the goggles reminds me of a high-end pair of Oakley’s, and I even don’t mind the gray panel on his jacket. All of these contrasting colors only serve to bring out the details in this mold and make it all the more interesting!
Frostbite’s accessories are as varied as the colors of his uniform. He comes packaged with a rifle with a scope, a paint ball gun, and a snowboard with small rockets that attach to the side. The rifle itself is one I’ve seen before but it works with Frostbite and evokes memories of Snowjob’s original file card. The paint ball gun is included because of “Valor vs. Venom” but can easily be tossed into a parts bin if it is not to your liking. The best accessory that he comes with is the snowboard. Actually, I’m glad that he doesn’t come with skis. Packing him with the same set of skis and poles that came with Snowjob just invites the comparison—a snow board is something that kids today are more likely to identify with and it makes him just a bit more distinct. The board itself is really well designed; the foot braces are set into a groove and can both rotate and slide up and down the length of the board to adjust for various poses of the rider. The rockets that attach to the side are mounted on small skis and can either function as miniature “Ski-pedoes” as were found on the original Snowcat or as rocket boosters for that extra burst of speed. The best part of the board, however, is found when you flip it over. Emblazoned across the bottom in full color is the new Joe logo and it looks sharp! I’d much rather see the Joe logo on the gear of the Joes as opposed to gratuitously placed on their uniforms! So, the end result is a great character design with some really good accessories making Frostbite a figure that fans will want to acquire.
I never had a Snow Serpent when I was younger. That being said, I happily snagged a few of the new sculpt versions that came packaged with Blowtorch a few years back. Recently Hasbro re-released that same figure with the moniker “Snow Wolf” to tie into “Valor vs. Venom”. I grabbed a few more and thought I was all done with my arctic Cobra troops. Boy was I wrong.
I’ll come out and say it: this is the nicest new sculpt Cobra troop I’ve yet seen! Honestly, there are so many good points about this figure that it’s hard to know where to begin! It’s obvious to me that this figure is meant to be an update of the original Snow Serpent design. From the fur collar of the jacket to the small ‘parachute pack’ on the waist, this figure looks like what Hasbro would have done back in the 80’s if they had access to today’s manufacturing techniques. Even the removable helmet is an homage to the original figure—except that now we’re treated to a balaclava-clad head underneath! When the BTR Firefly figure surfaced, many fans had hoped that this figure would make reappearance in the main line. While the body hasn’t resurfaced, the head sculpt working perfectly as the Snow Wolf head! Better yet, the removable helmet is fashioned in such a way that the character’s eyes are visible through the eyeholes. The overall design, so similar to the original and other new release Snow Serpents, fits in perfectly with your existing troops! I foresee this figure being the hard-to-find two-pack of the wave as people are going to troop build these like never before.
Okay, enough of me gushing about the sculpt—let’s talk accessories. I’ve already mentioned the removable helmet (which fits on amazingly snug!). Snow Wolf also comes complete with a rifle, pistol, and a set of ice cleats! He’s also got a fur cape complete with molded wolf’s head on the back! The ice cleats fit perfectly on the figure’s feet and do not require a special foot peg configuration as the snowshoes of the previous version did. While I liked the snowshoes, the odd configuration of the holes placed in the figure’s feet made it impossible for him to use any kind of figure stand—this version corrects that oversight. However, my single favorite aspect of his accessories is the reuse of the pistol that came with the VvV Wave 3 Firefly. Why is this so important? Simple— as with Firefly, this pistol fits snugly into a molded holster located on the figure! Whereas Firefly’s holster was located on the chest, this one is located on the left thigh and, unlike previous molded holsters on figures like Shipwreck, Heavy Duty, and Roadblock, this one actually works—really really well! So, to recap you’ve got a well-designed figure with practical and well thought out accessories. Yeah, this one is a no-brainer!
These figures are just starting to hit shelves now—which is unfortunate, as they would have done really well in the Christmas rush. Frostbite is a great update on a previously released character and the Snow Wolf is the most-detailed, well-designed troop builder we’ve had for Cobra yet! Honestly, everything about this pack is pure gold and I know that I plan on adding a few more Snow Wolves to the ever-growing Cobra army in the basement. Honestly, when you see these—grab them! Wave 7 is approaching fast and I’m afraid that this wave will get squeezed out in the process. So don’t miss your chance to get two absolutely terrific figures!