Less than a month after reviewing the Figure Subscription Service version of Billy, I’m back with a review of another long-overdue action figure release in the form of Pythona, the evil Cobra La assassin!
I can honestly say I wasn’t sure this day would ever come…I figured Pythona was too obscure for Hasbro to produce, and would be too costly for the Collectors Club, and would be forever stuck in some weird limbo of never-produced action figures.
I’m very happy to say that I was wrong, and equally happy to say that despite cost and tooling limitations, the Collectors Club might just have nailed this one. Check out my full review over at the G.I. Joe Collectors Club review page, or the direct link below.
Is this real life? Only two weeks ago I got done posting my review for Billy, a figure G.I. Joe fans had been waiting for for nearly thirty years. Now here we are taking a look at Pythona, Cobra La’s notorious infiltrator and assassin, a character who made her debut in 1987 and just barely received treatment in plastic form.
My history with Pythona is a weird one. While I actually enjoy the 1987 G.I. Joe animated movie more than most other people I know, at the time of its original airing, I absolutely hated Pythona. I still remember watching cartoons after school as I always did, when an advertisement for G.I. Joe: The Movie came on. Completely out of the blue, not something I knew was coming at all (back in those innocent pre-Internet days) and I was immediately enraptured. I’d already seen Transformers: The Movie and was still living off that high, and my mind went crazy with all the possible angles they could take in a G.I. Joe movie with the same production values.
The opening sequence blew my 13 year old mind, and afterwards, the entire infiltration scene with the Terror Drome was absolutely amazing. A dark cloaked figure tearing through the COBRA ranks, burning dudes with acid, tearing open walls with nasty claws and being just a general bad ass. Again, my mind went crazy considering who this could possibly be and what awesome character was doing all of this cool stuff.
When it was revealed to be Pythona, my initial reaction was pretty much… “who?” Here we had COBRA the most nefarious terrorist organization in the world essentially decimated by one person, and it was someone I’d never heard of and someone I couldn’t own as an action figure. Back then, and still to this day, my love for G.I. Joe and many toy brands is tightly focused on how the surrounding mythology supports the characters, and here was someone who had zero action figures I could play with to live out these incredible adventures happening on screen. It kinda made me mad.
My opinion softened over the years, and I’ve grown to really appreciate Cobra La and Pythona, and she became a figure that I really and truly wanted almost above all others. Her and Billy pretty much stood atop a drastically shrinking mountain of G.I. Joe and Cobra characters who never got action figures, and now within the span of a month, both of those check boxes have been checked.
I’ve said many times throughout the years that I didn’t think the Club would ever do Pythona simply because they wouldn’t be able to do her “right”. The texture of her costume would require significant new tooling and would be prohibitively expensive, but thankfully last year I was proven wrong when the Club announced that she would be the 2016 incentive figure. Now, when I heard they would be mostly mimicking the pattern of her uniform with paint, I was pretty dubious as to how well it would work. I’ve seen plenty of customizers try that over the years (myself included) with iffy results.
Holy crap was I proven wrong.
Now, the Club did invest in new tooling here, going with a new head sculpt, new hands, and what looks like a possible new upper torso for Pythona, but they went with paint for all the shaped circles and ridges in the uniform and it works spectacularly well.
Pythona herself is a mixture of existing parts for the legs and arms, with the Reactive Armor Scarlett lower torso, but the new upper torso, new head, and new hands go an incredibly way towards making her a very unique and deserved update to the missing Cobra La member. Her head is a gorgeous sculpt and features a removable ponytail so you can tuck the cloak’s hood up over her head, a little touch that is really awesome. The ponytail does have a tendency to fall out of her head, but the look of the figure is terrific, and that feature is a welcome one.
Her slim build and impressive articulation allow for all sorts of great poses and movements, allowing us to put her in all sorts of great “infiltration” positions. The newly sculpted hands are terrific, too, and while she can’t really hold anything, the trade off of those long fingers and fingernails is well worth it.
I’m happy to say her paint applications are nearly perfect as well, with dozens of those shaped circles all throughout the paint of her body, very closely matching the color pallet of the animated model and managing to look extremely realistic, even though the mold of the figure isn’t textured to match. Color changes are subtle throughout and excellently applied, really bringing the figure to life nicely. I can’t think of too many complaints at all when looking at the figure’s build, paint, and articulation.
I will admit there isn’t much here as far as accessories go, though I suppose Pythona doesn’t need much. She comes with a great cloak, which may be a newly developed soft good, and it works nicely, fitting over the figure, with the hood coming up tightly around the head (once the ponytail is removed). It adds some great aesthetic to the figure and in some ways I’m really glad Pythona was made now instead of 1987, because I seriously doubt the same effect could have been maintained back then.
She also comes with a foot stand and the same tentacle accessory that Nemesis Immortal came with several years ago. It somewhat replicates one of her nasty hand-held weapons, so it seems like an okay choice.
I had my doubts that we’d ever see Pythona as an action figure, and even if we did see her, I suspected the end result would be less than ideal. I was proven 100% wrong on both counts, and I’m exceedingly pleased with this figure, and am now firmly in the “Modern Era Cobra La please” camp. Like with Pythona, I can’t really think of any way Golobulus or the Royal Guard could be done without some significant new tooling, but maybe, like Pythona, the Collectors Club will find a way to surprise me. Considering the news from JoeCon that their relationship with Hasbro has been extended until at least 2018, that would be a terrific capper to their illustrious convention career.
I know most of the attention at JoeCon focuses on the Hasbro booth and Club exclusives, but the truth is there is a ton of stuff that goes on at JoeCon beyond just the fancy new toys.
Phil from YoJoe.com went above and beyond this year as he always does taking images, organizing them and posting them in the always awesome YoJoe Photo Galleries. Custom and Diorama contest photos, Cosplay, and yes plenty of images of new toys, too.
I was away from the computer for a bit tonight, but wanted to catch up for folks who may not have seen it. After the G.I. Joe Collectors Club roundtable, they put the figures on display from the Transformers/G.I. Joe 5 Pack! Over at the YoJoe Photo Galleries the images have been posted, and I’ve got them mirrored here as well.
Scarlett and Biggles Jones are looking pretty great!
Derryl DePriest and Mark Weber were onsite at the G.I. Joe Convention in Loveland and ran the Hasbro Team panel, bringing us all the exciting news on product for 2016!
The focus of 2016 will be figures over vehicles, broken down into 2 Packs and 3 Packs. These will be offered at Toys R Us and Entertainment Earth. The two packs will be shipped in cases of 10 allowing for evenly packed offerings, so no more short pack figures! The roster is as follows:
Two Pack of carry forward figures for Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes and Renegades Storm Shadow
What looks to be carry forward versions of the PoC Cobra Viper and 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier
A two pack of carry forward 30th Anniversary Zombie Vipers!
A new build for Heavy Duty with Kindle Worlds fan vote Stiletto!
Duke faces off against a BRAND NEW character in Tombstone. Hasbro felt strongly that featuring an unmasked Cobra character (and an African American at that) would be a great way to develop the Cobra roster.
Squad Three Packs
A Cobra B.A.T., new looking Cobra SAW Viper, both led by a female Cobra Officer! The Cobra Officer will be unmasked and with blonde hair.
Dark colored Outback, dark colored Falcon, and the first ever appearance of SHOOTER the mysterious 14th original G.I. Joe member. Shooter will be based off her appearance in the Devil’s Due comics!
And that’s what we’ve got this year (well, besides the SDCC Convention Set we already know about). Keep following along, more images from the Hasbro booth are sure to come!
Oh, and so I don’t forget… here’s the final crossword puzzle solution. Big thanks to Phil at YoJoe for all the pics and thanks to Terry for the live stream!
You wouldn’t know it from the absolute flood of news stories I posted this morning, but Saturday is typically when things really start moving at JoeCon.
The Hasbro Team panel happens today at 11:00am Mountain Time (1:00pm Eastern) and Mark Weber has promised some very cool things to excite G.I. Joe fans. The Crossword puzzle has been driving us all crazy for a couple of weeks now, it will be awesome to see it filled in right before our eyes. You can bet even though I couldn’t be in Loveland, I’ll be right here spinning out updates as I can catch them, and greatly looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us for the remainder of 2016.
Then at 3:00pm Mountain time (5:00pm Eastern) the G.I. Joe Collectors Club will be holding their roundtable where they will likely reveal the line up for the very last Figure Subscription Service and perhaps shed some more light on the upcoming Transformers/G.I. Joe 5 Pack.
It’s a bittersweet day, where the news is fast and furious, but you blink a couple of times and it’s all over. Saturday is no doubt my favorite day at JoeCon with the absolute flurry of activity (plus the after hours events always tend to end strong) and while it will be painful to be watching from the sidelines, I’m excited to see what’s to come.
From the sounds of things, we’ve got some great stuff to look forward to this year, and as G.I. Joe seems to be preparing for the next stage in its eventual evolution, we should all recognize and embrace the greatness of the Real American Hero and marvel at its longevity. It’s tough to tell what might come next, so hopefully we can take some time to appreciate the three decades of stuff we’ve enjoyed and all the great times we’ve all shared at JoeCon over the years.
While package pickup was late last night, the first official day of the 2016 G.I. Joe Convention is today! Already we’ve seen the parachute drop and panels by Adam Riches and James Kavanaugh, Jr., and some great updates are over at the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook. Dave Tree’s Action Man panel is hot on their heels.
Hot ticket item for the Con this year appears to be the carded Pythona, which was apparently sold without limits and burned through very quickly in the Club store.
G.I. Joe Con attendees will be getting their first sneak preview at the sales floor today at 2:00pm Mountain time, which includes the Hasbro booth, but don’t be alarmed if there isn’t much to look at there yet. Generally Hasbro puts out most (if not all) of their new product AFTER their panel, which happens tomorrow morning at 11:00am Mountain time.
It does look like someone got an advanced sneak peek at the Hasbro booth, and so far they’re just showing the SDCC set (priced at $99.99) but as I said, we can anticipate seeing much more than that tomorrow after their panel.
It’s Con Set pick up day! That means a first look at all of the various Convention exclusives (aside from the boxed set items). Several different folks on the G.I. Joe Discussion Facebook page have posted images from the pick up line, and the extra exclusives are as follows:
G.I. Joe Glider 2 Pack w/ Cloudburst and Skymate ($75.00)
COBRA Heli-Viper 3 Pack ($85.00)
Sky Patrol JUMP 6 Pack ($55.00)
COBRA JUMP 6 Pack ($55.00)
Sky Patrol Sky Sweeper ($68.00)
COBRA Hydra w/ Aero-Viper ($85.00)
Sky Patrol Skystriker ($160.00)
Paradrop Freefall figure (loose $35.00 and carded $45.00)
Pythona Carded ($38.00)
Free Attendee Air Raid
The Skystriker and Sky Sweeper are in the familiar Sky Patrol metallic colors, while the majority of the other items are reminiscent of their vintage look and feel. Interestingly the Aero-Viper is very similar to the version released during the Rise of Cobra line, but with some different parts to remove the Neo-Viper-esque ties. Check out all of the images below.
Rumor from the convention floor is that product for JoeCon is “stuck in customs” and won’t be at the hotel until late tonight. What that means is Golden Ticket pick up is now slated for around 3:00pm tomorrow, so don’t stay up late tonight to see the news, East Coast. :)