Figure Subscription Service 2.0 - Skullbuster

Back in the early 2000's, the character of Skullbuster almost seemed to be a cast off, packaged in a two-pack with Heavy Duty and simply existing as a Range Viper repaint. In his bright, reflective purple paint, Skullbuster was certainly a unique looking Cobra field commander, and I immediately was attached to him. Back then there were precious few Cobra individuals (and even fewer of those individuals in any level of field command) and one without an established back story became immediately fascinating.

Devils Due comics took the character of Skullbuster and went a little further with it, indoctrinating him into their America's Elite title and creating a pretty cool looking character, pretty separate from just a standard Range Viper.

Because of these two facts I was immediately intrigued by the Collectors' Club choice of the character, knowing that he was a really obscure modern Cobra commander, and because I also really enjoyed the idea of them making him a bit separate from the standard Range Viper corps. As we've come to expect, the Collectors Club toned down the super bright colors just a little bit, maintaining a distinct purple shade, but not having the gloss and reflective nature of the original. I'm not sure if that was a cosmetic choice, or a limitation of the kinds of colors they could use, but whatever the choice is, I was a little disappointed, as I thought that bright series of colors made the original really distinctive.

Beyond that, the figure is pretty much a straight Range-Viper repaint, which is cool with me, because I'm a big fan of the design aesthetics of that original Range-Viper. The combination of Resolute Cobra Trooper and Alley-Viper legs presents some terrific articulation, especially for the 25th Anniversary era, and he works remarkably well even now, five years later. One choice I'm not entirely sure about, though, is the lower arms. Rather than the same Resolute Trooper lower arms that we see on all the other Range Vipers, the Club went with the lower arms from Shadow Tracker. I can't say exactly why this choice was made. Perhaps it was to add the wrist articulation? Or was it to somehow tie this character into the Shadow Tracker character a bit more effectively? I'm not certain, but it adds length to the arms that is an unfortunate distraction from the rest of the figure. Shadow Tracker was a very tall, large figure, and those extra long forearms don't blend real well with the rest of the figure's form. Not only that, but the right hand has Shadow Tracker's unique "bow firing" finger pose, which is fine for a figure that comes with a bow, but Skullbuster has difficulty holding most of his other weapons with that hand, which is a bit of a shame.

Of course the extra long arms are only truly visible when the figure is standing there, arms at his side. Once he's actually holding a weapon or posed in another stance, it's not nearly so bad. Still seems like somewhat of a strange choice.

I touched on the colors a little bit, and I'm glad that the Club stuck with the original's paint scheme, even if they did "dull" the paint slightly. Purple and bronze are a fascinating combination, with gray arms (instead of the original's white). The result is a figure that is certainly evocative of the original Skullbuster, but not a straight translation. The figure looks good, but not quite as striking as the original.


The weapons compliment presents more ties to Shadow Tracker, with the spear and bola that the previous figure came with. Remaining accessories are all pulled from the regular Range Viper release, including the helmet, grenade launcher, heavy machine gun, webgear, and machine gun belt. Once all of the weapons are attached, you get a very effective looking Skullbuster update.

All of these accessories are pulled from existing offerings, and the combination of them works well for this character.

Skullbuster is a figure I was greatly looking forward to, and unfortunately the end result misses a few marks. He could easily be improved with some different lower arms and some brighter paint applications. Credit should be given to the Club for dipping into these obscure waters, but the end result isn't quite as cool as it could have been, and considering the unlikelihood of a character like Skullbuster being done again, the end result is disappointing.