G.I. Joe Spy Troops Vehicles - Conquest of COBRA Mountain

Well, I’m torn.

One thing that people have been clamoring for since the G.I. Joe Vs. COBRA line first reappeared was the possibility of some new playsets to join the ranks of the Terror Dromes, USS Flaggs, and Defiant Space Shuttle complexes of the old line. Those awesome displays of workmanship bring such fond memories that we want more of the good stuff…more huge bases of operations for our expanding armies, and maybe if Hasbro gets back into the playset game, we may even see re-issues of our old time favorites once again on store shelves.

Well, Hasbro answered the call, but I don’t think anyone was home.

Ever since pictures of the Conquest of COBRA Mountain playset first showed up, the fans cried and screamed and hollered. First of all, it was basically a rework of a Star Wars playset and didn’t really seem to fit the G.I. Joe credo. It was rounded and blocky, and just didn’t have the streamlined edge of the original stuff.

Secondly, it didn’t have any real substance. It was basically a rock face with a bunch of integrated rooms and jail cells, but they were all attached to the rock face with no depth to the base or feeling of three dimensions.

Now, I’ve got it in my hands…against my original wishes. I wasn’t even going to buy it originally, but the recent Target sale changed my mind, and I picked it up. Do I regret it? Surprisingly, I don’t really. Do I like it? No. But do I think it was geared towards collectors of my type? Definitely not.

As much as we twenty (and thirty) somethings would hate to admit it, some of these items (actually a LOT of these items) are being geared towards the younger crowd. The MUCH younger crowd. While cool, cutting edge, angled detail was all the rage twenty years ago, it’s obvious to me that things are turned a much more “animated” style these days, which pretty much describes the way JvC has been operating over the past 2 years. I think “animated” pretty much describes the style, and honestly, I don’t really have a problem with it on the figures…but on some of the vehicles, and on this playset, I don’t really think it fits.

First of all, the rocks look very unrealistic. They’re rounded and undefined with barely any paint applications to give them depth or realism. This unfortunately severely limits the use of this playset in a diorama environment. Even among other rocks, this just does not look like the “COBRA Mountain” it should. It looks more like a base made of soft clay. Now combine this with the fact that it’s merely the face of a mountain, and that’s another strike against it. It’s basically a horseshoe-shaped wall with a small section of floor and really no substance. It’s loaded with play features and functions, but has no backbone or solidity. I just can’t take it seriously as a COBRA fortress or even an outpost.

But…if I had a young child, I would buy this toy for them in a minute. I think it’s very kid-friendly, which unfortunately doesn’t always translate well to collector-friendly.

It’s a decent size which is always appealing to the young ones, and has a ton of interactive features. There are sections of floor that spring up to topple figures with the slide of a lever. The twin cannons swivel in all different directions and fire their missiles, and a section of the left wall blasts open with a light impact.

There’s a cool throne that springs out from a hidden panel on the upper level (but with no way to access it?) and the gun tower’s implementation and collapsible platform are pretty fun to play with. The detention cell is just bizarre to me, as I’m sure it would be for kids, simply because the only way someone can “fall” into it would be if you shoved them in or dropped them from thin air. Very strange.

There are some somewhat interesting details. I like the barbed wire on the front, and the whole door/metallic floor combination is really neat. If they built more into the back of the mountain, I would probably really like it. But these strange floating features (the throne, detention cell and helipad) really don’t add anything to the functionality of the base and just make it look somewhat silly. This stuff doesn’t bother kids, but it does bother us.

There are other things that could have been great, but fell short. The gun-racks on the walls could have been very cool, except the rifles aren’t removable. L A throne room is something that COBRA Commander has been lacking for a very long time, but stuck up in mid-air just doesn’t work.

And what about ole Shipwreck? Well, the figure was a nice surprise in Wave 6, but seeing as how I’ve now seen the figure, I can no longer be surprised. J The Spy Troops accessories are still very cool, and he looks pretty neat in black, but I don’t consider this a selling point of the playset (unless you’re a twisted Shipwreck fanatic like Beav…). The figure is okay, but nothing you don’t get from the Wave 6 version.

I could sit here and nitpick this thing like crazy, but anyone who has checked out message boards or the general internet Joe community over the past few months has heard it all before. I don’t hate this thing with a blinding passion…it just pales in comparison to some older sets we’ve been graced with in the past. Sure, it’s got a ton of features, but nothing draws them together. They’re all just stuck there in this rock wall with no integration and no cohesion. Again, something that doesn’t bother the kiddies so much, but to us collectors, it’s a pain. Couple that with the fact that I would love some new playsets to film Dio’s in, and this thing pretty much strikes out.

My recommendation sticks at this- if you’re not sure you’ll love this thing, skip it, as I’m sure there’s nothing you’ll see in person that will change your mind. If you have young kids, or think that you’ll love it, grab it before Target’s sale ends! It’ll save you some green and make it a little more worthwhile. Still, regardless of my feelings, I’m happy that playsets are even being considered, and something like this will hopefully drive the new Joe stuff deeper into the kids’ market, which can only be a good thing.



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