We had a great time at JoeCon. Nearly everyone we met was very nice, helpful, and loved G.I. Joe. The panels were exciting. The new product blew us away. In one word, it was awesome. There was only one bad side effect to the whole thing: since we’ve gotten back, we can’t stop buying Joes. All of the ItsAllTrue Crew had been pretty good about not going crazy on ROC product so far. We knew it was solid, that there were some nice pieces in there, but we were holding out for some of the more 25th Anniversary figures.
Any resolve we had evaporated on that hot Friday in Kansas City. We were hooked. And since TRU keeps having 2 for $11 sales, we’ve been in a constant state of trouble. On top of that, since we’ve been busy with SDCC reviews and other articles, the stack of unreviewed Joes kept getting bigger and bigger. We knew there was only one thing to do and now we’re doing it! ItsAllTrue.net hereby declares the first week of September to be JoeWeek! All week long, we’re going to bring Joe Content to our readers. If you’re not into Joes, don’t worry, we’ll be covering the latest toy news too, but we’ve got Joe reviews of the latest figures and vehicles lined up for every day this week. Mr. Rant and Vault have Joes on the brain for their columns. And we hear there might be a fun picture or two in there somewhere. So read on as we kick off JoeWeek with a review of Arctic Assault Snake Eyes & the Cobra Viper Commando…
I have a thing for Arctic Joes. I’ve mentioned it before, so I’ll be brief, but of all the harsh environments Joe’s travelled to the Arctic was the only one I could reasonably replicate in my Missouri backyard as a child. We didn’t really get desert conditions or urban warfare out there, but it did snow. And when it did, well, sometimes my Joe team left a man behind until it thawed. Good times. I’ve been waiting for a good ROC Arctic Joe. The green splotches on Snowjob didn’t do it for me. The poor attempt at Frostbite was particularly disappointing. So, Snake Eyes popping up in his big white parka was exactly what I’d been waiting for and from what they showed us at JoeCon – Arctic is one of the designers favorites too – the first in a long line of some sweet Arctic Joe goodness.
The Viper Commando represents the other half of this review. I actually like the design for the movie Vipers. I prefer the more mechanical armor of the Neo-Viper, but I don’t mind the different look on this guy (and I’m looking forward to the Nano-Viper repaint of him). I do have to admit that I bought him more to fill out the 2 for $11 deal than out of actual want, but I can’t hold that against the little guy. Besides, I realized later when I was taking pictures – this was a Snake Eyes review and somebody was going to have to do all the talking.
Arctic Assault Snake Eyes has the fully articulated basic 25th Joe body underneath that coat. The great thing about the coat is that it slides over the arms and clasps beneath them, so it doesn’t really hinder movement. The torso joint is a little held back by it, but he still holds poses underneath. The arms and legs are not affected by it at all. The head has full mobility, but it can be difficult to pose inside the hood. You can remove the body of the coat, but the body underneath, though painted to match, is sculpted with muscles and not cloth. His paint apps are great. The gray camo is sharp, the Joe logo is crisp, and the lines on the mask are straight. I like the look of the figure in the parka, even if it’s a little silly with Snake Eyes peeking out behind the bulky coat.
The Viper Commando is built around the basic troopbuilding ROC body that nearly every grunt Cobra figure utilizes and has the main line articulation because of it. Unique to him is the more hand-hammered armor piece. I like the purple used here, but it’s brighter in the pictures than on the figure and I wish that weren’t the case. I’d like him more if the paint were in more places. I might be spoiled by the Crimson Neo-Viper, but I’d like to see some purple on the boots and forearms to round this figure out. I have to say, and it may not be very “Joe Cool” of me, but I’m looking forward to having the silver one, the purple, the red, the green, and some of the other colors lined up like Skittles. I may lose a lot of you on that point, but there it is. I think Blackest Night is getting to me.
Accessories are a mixed bag on these figures. Both figures are in the 4+ accessories category here, so that’s sweet, but I have other issues. First, we’ll throw out the rocket launcher piece, and then we’ll move on with the review.
Snake Eyes includes a dual-grappling hook backpack, handgun, his trademark sword, and an ergonomic ice tool. The true crime of all ROC figures, after 25th got it so right, is the lack of holsters. Snake Eyes’ backpack does have a slot for his sword, but his ice tool and gun have no home unless he’s holding them. My main issue with him is the backpack and grappling hooks. They make for a cool feature and it buckles around him in a realistic way, but there’s no were for the string, er, rope to go when not in use. The reason for this is sorta cool, if you had an old MOTU Webstor toy in the 80s, Snake Eyes’ backpack works like that one did. You pull on the bottom rope and Snake Eyes will shoot up towards the top. It’s not far, but it’s kinda fun. Is it so much fun that I don’t mind the rope hanging out everywhere? Not really, but that could be just me.
The Viper Commando also sports a grappling hook backpack, and his even has a wheel that rolls up all the string, er rope. So I’m happy there. He also sports his rifle, a pistol, and a dagger as a cute little homage to the classic Cobra troopbuilders. Even better about the Viper? Everything fits on him – yep, you read that right! An ROC figure with holsters! The pistol has a home, the dagger slides into the backpack, and the grappling hook stores on the backpack too. He has to hold his rifle, but really, who has a rifle holster? All those things make him a great ROC figure even if you’re not a fan of the look.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with both of the figures. I view Arctic Assault Snake Eyes as the first in my adult arctic collection and I should probably warn the wife about what might happen this winter. They’ll be some snow in the house at the very least. Despite his lack of holsters, he is a great figure. I pick on him not being able to hold his sword with both hands, but he can still get into a ton of great poses. I may not use the backpack unless I get creative with where I display him, but that’s okay. I would’ve happily paid full price for the Arctic Assault Snake Eyes.
The Viper Commando is pretty fun is his own right. I like the backpack feature, I like the color scheme even if it could have used more color here and there. I like that he can store all his goodies. I might not have picked him up if TRU wasn’t “forcing” me to pick these up in even numbers, but I’m still glad I brought him home.