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  1. #1081
    Opened the bikes up. Here are some thoughts:

    Snake Eyes: The figure itself is frustrating. The detail in the figure is pretty incredible. Unfortunately, as has been known for a while, the articulation is crap, barely better than 1978 Kenner Star Wars figures. And he's severely bow-legged. If not for those shortcomings, this would actually be a stellar Snake Eyes figure, since it's pretty tough to make a decent unique figure of a guy who pretty much wears solid black. There's one other flaw, which I'll mention later.

    The bike is nothing fancy, but looks pretty decent. Black, red, and silver is a decent color scheme, but the application of them here is a bit weird (things like a bright red seat on a black motorcycle). I could do without the Arashikage hexagram emblazoned on the windshield (?). There's a pull-back motorized gimmick, but that's neither here nor there for us adult weirdos. The set comes with a missile (which is nicely concealed as a headlight, with a concealed launch button behind the seat) and two swords. The swords are unique (so far as I can tell) to this set, and decently-sculpted aside from a noticeable post sticking out from the hilt; this snaps into a connector piece (that looks like a pretty practical hand shield of some sort), which affixes to the handlebars. Unfortunately, the positioning of Snake Eyes' hands makes him look absolutely ridiculous holding the sword (even allowing wrist movement would have helped here tremendously).

    The serious flaw in this set lies in the way the figure attaches to the bike. Yes, attaches. It's not clear in the package, but Snake Eyes has a hole in each calf, where a post on either side of the motorcycle inserts. I haven't tried other figures on the bike, but it looks like it's just big enough to cause minor issues in letting other figures borrow his ride. (Sure, this can be dealt with, but I like the vehicles to be usable by multiple figures without having to saw pieces off.) It keeps the figure on the motorcycle, but it also limits how he can be positioned when on it (which is pretty limited already by the position of his arms and his limited articulation).

    All in all, for less than $7, I think the good outweighs the bad, but I wouldn't army build it until it drops to $4 or lower. B-

    Flint: If I said too much about Snake Eyes, here's where I make up for it. Aside from the head (and I'm not sure if this is the head from the carded Flint, since I don't have that figure), his sculpt is identical to Snake Eyes. The colors border on garish, but are dulled enough to look believable. If not for the stupid Arashikage logo on his chest, I'd probably slap a new head on him and put him on the bike in the background as one of the Eco-Warriors or some other forgotten Joe from the 1990s. The bike is a bit more colorful, with green, silver, orange, black, and gold, and it's like Flint--over the top for a real-world military vehicle, but plausible in the Joeverse. The swords this time are a translucent, almost pink, orange, so they're essentially worthless. All in all, it's close enough to Snake Eyes in quality to also get a B-.

    [Since I don't want a Snake Eyes running around on a motorcycle in any scene when there are dozens of better Snake Eyes figures that also better suit his role as a ninja commando, I did a simple headswap between Snakes and Flint. The result looks pretty damned sweet, though I haven't figured out who he is now. ]

    Firefly: This one was a surprise, especially after skimming reviews online. I was on the fence about it, since it's so different from the motorcycle in the movie and I wasn't sure how the gimmick would affect it. But picking it up was a wise choice.

    Firefly is completely unique from the Snake Eyes/Flint mold, but with the same level of detail and lack of articulation. The hole in his legs is even situated further down and his hands are positioned at a different angle, so you can't easily switch him to one of the Joe bikes (well, you can, but he's clearly designed for this one). Unless my figure is really jacked up in a way that works to his advantage, there's a pretty cool paint effect that makes his torso look dusty. And, like the others, he's bowlegged enough that he borders on useless in a standing position.

    Firefly's bike (trike, really, since it has three wheels) has a gimmick that I can't judge. Mine doesn't work. I'm not sure if it's broken inside (there's something I can hear jangling around) or it's really bad design, but I pushed back the attached wheel and inserted the launching wheel, and it won't launch. No biggie; I'm not going to be launching it around anyway.

    The triike's design is quite good. It's got that slight science fiction feel that so many Cobra vehicles have, with an appropriate color scheme (grey with silver and orange details). It actually would fit in really well with the Iron Grenadier tech, if any had been produced in the modern line. There are also two side-mounted guns (each of which looks sorta like two upside-down Biker Scout pistols) that are removable for some reason (they're entirely useless otherwise).

    Firefly lacks the trademark camouflage pattern on his suit. But that's a plus--if you don't mind Cobras wearing less distinctive uniforms, he makes a great generic. Which means this sweet-looking vehicle can be army-built. As I fully expect this to wind up at some ridiculously low price like $3, I'll probably get a few extras. Firefly The "Chopper Viper" looks damned good on the vehicle, so I can forgive the lack of articulation here. I really think they'll look great as escorts for some of the larger vehicles. A
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  2. #1082
    Good reviews. If I see them marked down, I will certainly give them a look.

  3. #1083
    Wave 4 (5?) has been listed for preorder at Dorkside Toys for an apparent late August release. The case assortment includes all the hard to find figures from waves 2 and 3.

  4. #1084
    I hit two other Targets this afternoon and noticed a bit of inconsistency about the clearances.

    Target #1 (Redlands, CA) had the bikes at $9.08, and everything else at full price. They had the same-old, same-old in the way of figures, including one Battle Kata Roadblock (who I'll get if and when I find him on clearance).

    Target #2 (Orange Show Blvd in San Bernardino, CA) had the bikes at $6.48 (same as the Moreno Valley Target), figures at $7 ($0.52 more than MoVal, and a paltry selection), and some of the larger vehicles for $9.98. I absolutely didn't want a HISS, but considered buying one for the Cobra Commander... then realized I'm not insane and don't want a 5-POA figure for ten bucks. They had the Ninja Combat Cruiser, which I also passed on because I have so many VAMPs, Stingers, and variations thereof. I realized after I left that the Night Fox head might look really good on the motorcycle Snake Eyes body.

    All Targets have 3-packs at full price. Which is a shame; I'm buying as many as I can get when they're marked down, since they're a bargain already at full price.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  5. #1085
    Black with red seat is fairly SOP for toy motorcycles lately. The missile as headlight has been SOP for the Joe lines since at least Sigma Six.

    My original Joe figures always looked dopey holding swords because they had that C-grip with the raised thumb (you know, the thumb that would ALWAYS BREAK OFF), that was my biggest complaint with the Joe:ARAH line, great accessories and they'd look so stupid holding them.

    Glad to hear the Firefly bike holds up, it's the only thing I've consistently thought about picking up. Sorry to hear the launching gimmick doesn't work on yours.

    Target toy managers are given a clearance budget and allowed to mark down as much or as little as they think will work.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  6. #1086
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    Black with red seat is fairly SOP for toy motorcycles lately.
    Don't get me wrongo--I like it, I just think it's a rather odd choice for a ninja's bike. Particularly a ninja who wears solid black.

    Glad to hear the Firefly bike holds up, it's the only thing I've consistently thought about picking up. Sorry to hear the launching gimmick doesn't work on yours.
    Thanks, but it's no biggie. I like the way it looks, and I don't care about the launcher. I'd rather know the wheel will stay in place instead of randomly firing and knocking down stuff.

    Besides, the other one I picked up might work. I noticed that the Flint bike is still rotting, but Snake Eyes and Firefly seem to actually be moving now, so I grabbed another just in case he's not around at the next price drop. If it hits $3, I'll get a true army of them. I was really surprised by how much hatred this piece gets from a lot of Joe collectors, even moreso than the other two bikes (I guess 'cause they look normal?). Like I said before, I think it's gorgeous in spite of the lack of articulation, and just looks like it'd be a great escort vehicle (I'm thinking of the way TIEs circle capital ships, or how Speeder Bikes are often portrayed as running interference for the AT-ATs on Hoth in EU works).

    My only real concern is that the first wave was the 7-POA Snake Eyes and 7-POA Firefly, both of whom snap onto their missile-launching bikes. Wave 2 adds Flint, a repaint of Snake Eyes with only the head different....

    And wave 3 adds the Night Landing, a newly-tooled update of a vintage vehicle that's not yet been updated (and that actually freakin' appears in Retaliation), with a completely new Eel with 30th Anniversary levels of articulation (and who, if there's no obvious Cobra logo, looks like he's essentially a 30th update of Torpedo) and about a million guns. Yeah, my hopes of finding that--or of it even hitting American retail--sink a little further every time I see Flint bikes not selling even at half price.

    Like I mentioned in the LA thread, the east Moreno Valley Target had the larger vehicles (Bravo? Gamma? Lambda Lambda Lambda?) for only $8.48. I got another Ninja Combat Cruiser and HISS. I know the $1.50 difference I'd seen from other Targets is far from massive, but it was enough to make them seem reasonable. I've got to be honest, and maybe it's a bit sad, but I have no clue how many VAMP and HISS variants I have now. I've gotten at least one of each, and more when they're dirt cheap (like the Stinger was when it hit Ross). I'm actually thinking of trying my hand at some intricate painting than I've attempted, and maybe going for a camouflage Retaliation HISS, or making the second NCC into a Tiger Sting update.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  7. #1087
    Also, the Night Fox/motorcycle Snake Eyes headswap isn't quite so simple. The SE ball is much larger, and his neck longer, so it looks a bit off. (I forced it, so the head is a bit loose on Night Fox now. Oh well.)

    I did notice Night Fox has no logos. That guy is all Cobra now.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  8. #1088
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Don't get me wrongo--I like it, I just think it's a rather odd choice for a ninja's bike. Particularly a ninja who wears solid black.
    It's a ninja who wants to sell to children.

    I was really surprised by how much hatred this piece gets from a lot of Joe collectors, even moreso than the other two bikes (I guess 'cause they look normal?).
    Probably because it's nothing like the bike Firefly rides in the film.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #1089
    True, and though I think Firefly's movie bike is awesome (the perfect balance of a Joe-esque gimmick with some semblance of real-world weaponry), that doesn't change how sweet his toy bike is.

    Also, I discovered the first one does work. Like an idiot, I misread the instructions and was corrected by a 6-year-old when we cracked open the second.

    A bit late to the party, but I opened the Ninja Combat Cruiser and HISS today. Aside from the stickers (which, as is usually the case when Hasbro gives you stickers, are a beast), my daughter put them together.

    HISS: A pleasant surprise. I'd heard so many negative comparisons to the Pursuit of Cobra HISS, which I thought was overrated, I really had low expectations. It's slightly smaller then the POC version, and completely eliminates the elevating gimmick and rear cockpit (which didn't work well in the first place IMHO), but makes up for this by adding two side-mounted Gatling guns that actually look good, and putting in a proper center turret. The plastic is a bit cheaper than the previous version, and the treads don't move. Also, the new chin turret simply slides in and doesn't attach at all, which is okay for display but must really suck for kids trying to play with it. Like the POC version, the cockpit is pretty opaque, so there's no point in putting any figure in it. All said, though, I'm going to go against everyone else on the internet and say I much prefer this HISS over the POC one. (I never even bothered getting the black re-release of that one, and picked up the red one only because I wanted the Crimson Horseman figure.) The chin turret is the only real drawback here; this is a toy, folks. B

    Cobra Commander (HISS Pilot): Like so many of these pilots, Hasbro cut costs by severely sacrificing articulation, but, I guess, tried to make up for it by putting a ton of detail in the figure. He looks awesome--he just can't move any more than a 35-year-old Star Wars figure. The design is solid; Cobra Commander as a HISS Pilot makes little sense, but someone made up a suitable high-tech outfit for him that looks like a cross between Krake's armor from the IDW comics (both before and after he becomes Cobra Commander II) and various armors used by the ARAH Cobra Commander (including a few from comics that never were made as figures). I wish I could give him a much higher grade because of his look, but it's impossible to overlook that he was released at exactly the same time as the G.I.Joe Trooper and Snake Eyes. D+

    Ninja Combat Cruiser: I'm going to start by admitting I left off the ridiculous Arashikage logos and decals with some sort of Japanese text on them, as well as the license plate, which clearly identifies this as a Joe vehicle. It's basically a Stinger update (albeit in need of some Cobra stickers). I'll also admit I can't really compare it to the Pursuit of Cobra VAMP it's based on, since that's a vehicle I haven't opened yet.

    The vehicle looks great. There are obvious some cost-cutting shortcuts (like the backs of seats being hollow and not fully sculpted), but, otherwise no obvious visual blemishes. However, the rollcage doesn't fit quite properly, and is in constant danger of being knocked off from the slightest provocation. Especially with this in mind, it's really tough to actually get the figures inside. Still, it's far from awful and I'd recommend one, maybe more if you can find them on clearance. C

    Night Fox: The second sculpt of a guy who was made up as a pilot for Pursuit of Cobra. Not sure what the love is for this guy (and he doesn't look a lot like the POC version), but I'd think a dedicated Arashikage vehicle should come with a Ninja Force character who's not been updated. Maybe Hasbro was so fearful of the outcry if they made a new ninja with 5 points of articulation they went this route instead.

    Again, great-looking figure with shoddy articulation. He's a bit bowlegged, but not as badly as the motorcycle figures, and I suspect it's a combination of the softer plastic with the way he's packaged. His right arm is bent at the elbow, which looks pretty good when he's holding his rifle in the one pose you can put him in without him looking ridiculous, but it actually makes him next to useless as a driver for the vehicle he comes with! However, everything about him (aside from the packaging) screams "Cobra Gunner," so at least one will look pretty good in a scene, provided you like his one pose. In spite of his uselessness as a driver, he's a tad better than Cobra Commander. C-

    I discovered that the Cobra Commander actually fits in the Combat Cruiser better than Night Fox (granted, freaking Masterpiece Grimlock might be easier to wedge into there--exaggerating, of course), and he can sit with his left hand on the steering wheel and his right on the gearstick. So, aside from being just a touch too high-tech for his vehicle, he looks great in there since you can't tell he's barely better than 1997 Mon Mothma. Also, Night Fox holding his gun looks excellent in the turret of the HISS. So, far as I'm concerned, they've permanently traded vehicles.

    I'm attaching a pic I took of the HISS (with Night Fox), Combat Cruiser (with Cobra Commander), and two of the Fireflies who are Cobra Wheel Blaster Drivers as far as I'm concerned, bearing down on the (still unnamed) Joe who's Snake Eyes with Flint's head, while a Joe Trooper and Black Widow (borrowing a katana and scabbard from Ashiko) provide cover. (Of course, that Trooper is redundant, since Black Widow's on the case and she can handle four Cobra vehicles with her eyes closed. )

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tommy, close your eyes.

  10. #1090
    I went to four Targets yesterday. One of the Targets had the Joe 3 packs on clearance for $13.98. There was only one on the shelf, the Cobra Invasion Team. I purchased it and returned it with the receipt from where I purchased it at full price several weeks ago.

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