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This review focuses on sculpting details, painting details, and overall concept.  As with any review, we will express both positive and negative criticism. 

Review Comments Guide: Yellow = Information   Green = Positive comments   Red = Negative comments  

Snake Eyes Storm Shadow

 Snake Eyes is in the traditional, and conservative dark colors. The head sculpt is simple and effective to give our silent commando the look he deserves.

I got spoiled by the attention detail the wave 3 2002 version received.  This one lacks a little something in comparison.  Plus SE only has the basic articulation.  I would think a ninja commando would receive at least one articulation enhancement.

Note: Final production figure swaps the green paint details for red, and the dark yellow changes to brown.

A new look for Stormy.   The dragon-like suit is not what I had in mind, but it is a pleasant change.  Still working as a Cobra agent, as he should be. 

The gimmick spring action arm thing has to go.  Save the gimmicks for Star Wars figures....'Nuff said.

 

Viper (Prototype) Alley Viper

Note: Figure above is unpainted.

This new Viper is everything I have come to expect.  They still maintain a sense of the old outfit, yet  they are upgraded to fight in this new era of battle. 

They still have that extra set of goggle over top of their helmet visor.  I still don't see a use for them, but they wouldn't look like a Viper without them.

Super detail face, and body.  He has cat-like face logo on his belt buckle and on the back of their hands.  The removable dagger is a nice feature that should be incorporated in more figures. But, here comes the bad news...

...The proportions on this mold are horrendous.  I really have to question if the sculpt was even approved.  I haven't seen a sculpt this disproportionate since the Snow Serpent from last year.  He doesn't even look human.  I am sorry. Hands and wrists belong to a child while the leg belong to a professional basketball player.  Also, if we ditch the "yellow targets", and make the highlights more conservative, then we got ourselves a good paint scheme.

 

Heavy Duty Razor Claw (Prototype)

Note: Lower left arm was not assembled with the correct part.

Since he is a repaint, I will keep it short.  Better colors outfit  than the original.

Sculpt is out of proportion, but I guess we already new that. 

An original character that you just can't sit on the fence with your emotions.  You either love him or you hate him.  I love him!  With the arm blades, he has the feel of a comic book hero.  A nice fat Cobra chest symbol, and belt round out this very cool figure.

Not much negative to say.  Just that he could lose a vertebra or two in his neck to make it shorter.  This would he put him more in proportion.

 

Hi-Tech Dr. Mindbender

Good colors, good sculpt details and, the proportions could be a lot worse.   We don't see a lot of blonde hair guys, so a good change.

 We all can appreciate Hasbro creating new figures, however,  Hi-Tech seems to inspires little emotion.  New characters need to be dynamic (like Razor Claw) in order to have some bit of character built in them.  I am sure we will get to know him better soon, becuase he is suppose to be a major player in the Valor vs Venom story line.

Note: Production figure moves the Cobra log to the front

A wonderful look for Mindbender.  His sculpt looks familiar to the fans of the current comic series.  A perfect upgrade and more "clinical" than ever before. 

His neck line doesn't look right due to the torso mold not cut down to make a smooth transition into his neck line.  Mindbender can only look side to side.  A loss of articulation that is happening often in these new sculpts.

 

Duke Sand Scorpion (prototype)

Note: Production figure uses matching color arm and leg rivets.

Surprisingly, I actually kind of like this figure even though I hate the spring action gimmicks and large "butt buttons".  I found myself using his punching feature over and over again, reciting a quote from the old Sunbow cartoons, "Eat hot knuckles, Snake-face".  After about 10 minutes of  knocking out the various Cobras around my desk, I realized, he is cool because he is different than the flood of  Duke figures we have seen recently.  I think it is kind of nice to change him around a little bit.  His head sculpt captures his features well.  He is also back to his more traditional tan colored outfit.

I hope we don't see many more figures with the gimmick action feature.  But if there are any in the works, then they would go over much better to collectors if some of the articulation was worked back into the figure. .  I know the O-ring is usually taken out to add a gimmick feature, but there are several non-O-ring toy lines that incorporate lateral leg/hip movement. 

Note: Figure above is unpainted.

Sand Scorpion has tons of small detail on the left and right side of his body.  This figure has a clear influence of the "Venom enhancement".  He also has a few similarities to the Razor Claw including the large Cobra chest logo, and the molded helmet with visor. 

 I will have to reserve my judgment until we see how much fiction is put into the whole VvV concept.  G.I. Joe is a military based toy line.  At first glace, it appears this new theme goes against the traditional ways. 

 

 

 

 

Other Repainted Figures Coming Soon

 "Black" Sand Viper "Gold" B.A.T.

This new black and maroon color scheme makes for a very menacing figure.  If there has to be repaints, this is a great choice. 

Other than being the 3rd repaint in 9 months....I have no real complaints.

Note: Production figure may not have red on boots.

This new B.A.T. really stands out in a crowd of fellow troops. It is nice to see a change to another metallic color. 

Speaking of repaints...I lost track of how many we are at with this basic body mold.   Time for a new sculpt before we see the neon B.A.T. next.  Or at least new arm attachments in each repaint?  They can't cost that much to make a solid piece of plastic.  That is a cheap way to keep us happy with a multiple repainted mold.  

Questions We Can Answer

What is Valor vs Venom (VvV)? Valor vs Venom is the new theme that is replacing the 2003 Spy Troops theme.  Dr. Mindbender has a key role as he joins the DNA of Earth's most dangerous creatures, with human COBRA agents.  When finished, these new hybrid troops have enhanced fighting abilities.  But the enhancements don't stop there.  The vehicles also have additional weapon feature that mirror the traits of these deadly animals.  However, G.I. Joe has also done some upgrading on their side of the battle field.  Look for Joes to have upgraded technology that combines man and machine.

What can we expect to see in the coming year with VvV?  Expect multiple waves of 3-3/4 inch figures and vehicles, as well as, some 12" figures too.  There will be toy commercials and a promotion movie all done in the same fashion as the Spy Troops of 2003.  For starters, here is a run down of toy products coming soon: 

Figure 2-Packs:
Alley Viper II  and Cobra Viper
Duke vs. Cobra Commander (repaint)
Heavy Duty (repaint) vs. Razorclaw
Hi-Tech vs. Dr. Mindbender
Scarlett vs. Sand Scorpion
Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow
Vehicles:
Night Adder (jet) with Wild Weasel
Piranha Attach Boat with Shipwreck
Tigerhawk (jet) with Ace
Venom Striker (4 wheeler) with Cobra C.L.A.W.S
12" Figures:
Agent Faces
Hi-Tech
Sand Scorpion
Ripper

How much articulation did we lose on Duke and Storm Shadow now that they have gimmick body movements?  Most movements are still there.  They are similar to the Wave 1, 2002 articulation. However, these now have the spring-like feature worked inside their torso just the Ninja Force figures back in the early 90's.  These two figures don't have any of the screws we are use to seeing in the back and legs.   

Are these the new "standard buck" body designs we have been hearing about?  At the San Francisco convention, there was talk about how the newly sculpted figures were going to have a standard body design.  This would keep most of the figures from having wildly different body proportions.  It is obvious, some of the figures look "standard" , however some are still out of proportion.

Feel free to EMAIL T.N.T.'s Web Camp if you have any additional questions.


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