Toy Review: Combat Heroes Singles – The Rise of Cobra

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Every toy line is defined by how good of a bad guy the good guys get to fight. Optimus Prime without Megatron is just a truck; the Ninja Turtles without Shredder are some mutant hobos living in a sewer. Where would G.I. Joe be without Cobra? Well if these four figures are any indication, Cobra doesn’t exist.

An awkward amalgam of classic G.I. Joe styled Combat Heroes combined with the modern look of recent film works better for some figures that others. While the toys are tied in with the Rise of Cobra, it doesn’t really seem like Cobra’s arrived at the party yet. Like the four G.I. Joe figures that came out, these figures are all repaints of existing sculpts with one exception.

Destro is the closest thing to a leader of these four figures but it doesn’t really make any sense in context of the film. So let’s look at him as a toy. The figure is big and bulky without looking oversized which is a plus. He’s sporting sunken red eyes and his blue garb looks decent. This figure holds up until there’s any sort of close inspection. His arms and waist are fine for articulation but his head is limited by the bulky collar.

Destro’s weapons are another place where an extra coat of paint would go a long way. Of all the Hasbro Heroes I’ve seen, the rockets and grenades on his arms look really plastic-y. There’s no paint, they’re just cast in blue that just looks a little off. But this figure seems to be one where they wanted to minimize paint applications. The holster on his leg is the same color as his pants, and there is a strap on his chest that is also left unpainted. Throw in the fact that Destro is sporting a Cobra insignia on his left shoulder and the figure just feels like a cheap cop-out.

But where would Destro be without the lovely Baroness. If this figure is any indication, he’s screwed. Baroness has two main features: sexy librarian glasses and an all-leather jumpsuit. This figure is more like the other-world in the movie Carolina – unsettling and creepy as hell. All of Baroness, except her head and gun, are the same flat black color that makes the figure feel cheap – just like Destro’s weapons. There’s no glossy finish and the figure is just there. Nothing pops about her. Sure, some silver on her absurdly future-tech looking gun but that’s it.

Baroness’s arms move each only about 180 degrees because her hair blocks them from moving more. Speaking of her hair – it’s the exact same paint as her jump suit! Her head is probably articulated technically, but the hair prevents it from moving. And it feels like her head will snap off at any moment. But the worst offender has to be her glasses. In the film, she has super high tech ones that can be either sunglasses or regular ones. This figure has disgusting opaque ones that are kind of translucent, kind of not, like she has two holes in head where her eyes should be instead. It doesn’t work and is disturbing.

On the Joes side, Flint got repainted and became Hawk and the same thing happened on Cobra’s side. Firefly dropped the dynamite, got a new coat of paint and became a Cobra Viper. A generic solider in the film, the Viper seems a little interesting but really out of place since Cobra doesn’t exist yet. The figure really does show how a single coat of paint can change how one looks. In all blacks and grays, he looks good and has a decent pose. He moves at the waist, neck and arms.

But once you compare the Cobra Viper to the ones in the movie, everything falls apart again. The body armor is all wrong and the face isn’t right either. The simple decals kind of work but don’t fit in with the rest of the line. It’s too detailed for the cartoon ones but not detailed enough for the movie figures.

Finally there is Storm Shadow. Based off the rest of the figures, you’d expect him to be just as off but there’s one thing about Storm Shadow that’s in his favor: he is the best made Hasbro Heroes figure yet. He’s sporting SIX points of articulation: neck, waist, arms and wrists making him the most articulated figure ever released. It is the perfect amount too since none of it interrupts the sculpt. Storm Shadow has the most basic of paint applications: red details on his quiver, strap and sword hilts and silver blade. A tiny part of his face is visible and it’s painted perfectly as well.

The sculpt is fantastic, his tabi are properly done and everything looks great. While the other version of Storm Shadow has bare arms, this one has white ones, but it looks fine. Compared to how awful Baroness is, he really shows how well minimalism can work. If you don’t have this figure, find him – either as a single pack or in the 2-pack with Barbecue. He’s a white ninja, that’s something every kid would love to have!

Cobra’s forces are a little on the weak side for these figures. At $4 each, only Storm Shadow is worth it. The rest should be passed on unless you’re some crazy completist. I managed to snag the full set on sale for only $20 and I’m still not convinced it was worth it for a whole bunch of repaints. But Storm Shadow really is the best of the best in terms of what this line has to offer.

Written by jestergoblin

December 17th, 2009 at 7:32 am

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