Cobra "City Strike" Flight Pod w/ Elite-Viper

At some point throughout the run of the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra toys, the designers decided to give Cobra a unique new black and red paint scheme pallet to work with. While not prevelant through all of the toys by any stretch, the Heatseek Missile Launcher, the SNAKE Armor, the Tele-Vipers that came with the Surveillance Port, and even a few other random items all had an abundance of black and red.

Personally, this creates very few issues with me, I think it's a great array of colors for an evil terrorist organization, and with classic vehicles like the Stinger and the HISS, this seems to fit quite nicely.

That certainly seems to be the angle they were working with for this Flight Pod, too, and while it works amazingly well with the vehicle, the figure doesn't translate quite as nicely. That doesn't make it bad by any stretch...I actually like it quite a bit. But I think it could have been even more effective with a darker, richer shade of red to better match some of the other troopers released in 2009. Instead, the Elite Viper is a bit on the brighter side...while nowhere near the "Bubblegum Viper" that folks seem to want to make him out to be, I would have liked some darker red.

The Flight Pod is the same retooled vehicle that we saw in the Anniversary line. Formatted for the Anniversary and modern figures with a different backpack peg and some better fitting attachments, the Flight Pod remains one of my favorite Cobra miniature vehicles. I love these things, and I like that we're getting a small group of them with these releases. The engines clip on and off seamlessly, the removable rockets work much better than the '85 original, and the little additions like the ammo hoses are fantastic.

In essence, this updated Flight Pod has all the quality of the original, with all the great inginuity and technical upgrades of modern day manufacturing. This is the same excellent vehicle, only in a very cool black and red color scheme. You really can't go wrong.

Even though I've seen this Elite-Viper labelled as a "Bubblegum Viper" I can't agree. It's not a perfect color scheme, but it's considerably better than it gets made out to be.

From a pure design perspective, the Elite-Viper is probably one of my all time favorite Rise of Cobra figures, and one of the few film related toys that has made the leap from Rise of Cobra to Pursuit of Cobra. Hasbro designers leapt a few levels when the were able to shed some of the Paramount design restrictions, yet the Elite-Viper still fits in pretty well with the newer toys, in my opinion. The tightly detailed tactical body suit with fairly realistic kneepads and elbow pads make the figure look like a pretty real world Cobra special operations trooper, and while the Shock Trooper currently does everything the Elite-Viper does (and better) I still find a good place for this figure in the next generation.

Sure, his head sculpt is fairly generic, and reminds one a bit too much of the Paramount aesthetic, but I think it still works as a whole. Where this figure deviates from the normal Elite-Viper is obviously with the color scheme. The base figure itself is a pure black, different than the normal heavily weathered gray. His visor is very bright silver, a dramatic departure from the night black color of the body head and body itself. Red armor, red padding, and a funky red and white camouflage pattern on the legs really make the figure unique. Many have said unique in a bad way, but I don't entirely agree. Granted, if Hasbro designers had made the red deeper and darker it would be a significant improvement...or perhaps rather than red and white camouflage, it had been red and gray... just something to darken the figure up a bit. As it stands, I still find the paint scheme appealing, it just seems like it has some potential for improvement.

His weapons are the same as we're used to with the Elite-Viper...a nice realistic submachine gun and a not so nice totally unrealistic plasma pistol. I love the machine gun, and I'm really happy that I've got a whole drawer filled with them at this point, after all of my Elite-Viper purchases.

This set isn't the highlight of this third wave, but it's far from the bottom of the barrel. I think criticisms of the figure are overblown, and it's a decent version of the awesome Elite-Viper tooling. The Flight Pod looks great in these colors, and there is plenty of good stuff to be found here. Not perfect, certainly, but worth a purchase, especially at recently discovered Ross discount prices.