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Fury w/ Alley-Viper Officer

GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra
by yo go re

We often talk about being surprised by something new - it's much rarer to be surprised by something old.

Cobra Fury tanks roll through the nighttime streets of an Asian city to test their prototype engineering and firepower. The compact design allows these vehicles to move easily through roads and alleys. The battering ram and side-shot missile launcher can clear obstacles in their path with plenty of direct force and concentrated fury.

The "Fury" tank, here, is an update of the old Cobra Rage: rage, fury - get it? The name's changed, but the synonyms remain the same. The function remains the same, as well; it's an "urban pacification" vehicle - in other words, a tank for use in cities - which fits perfectly into the City Strike quarter of Hasbro's Pursuit of Cobra line. It's not like you'd want to drive one of these through the jungle or anything, right? Everything about it is designed for smooth, level pavement. It has almost zero ground clearance (so no one can get at its soft underbelly) and thin tires. It has a very flat profile, so that anything thrown by insurgents would bounce or slide right off.

Every previous version of this vehicle, whatever it was called, had smooth cylindrical rollers instead of wheels. This time the design suggests pairs of different-sized tires, complete with horizontal treads. There are three running boards where figures can stand, and six footpegs to help hold them there, but only the one in the back has a handrail. Any Cobras using the two on the sides better hope the driver goes slowly.

The Fury has a battering ram in the front that can fold up when not in use, and a slot in the center so the front-mounted Gatling gun can continue to fire even when the ram is in place. There's a conical swing-out cannon on the left side, which looks like it would fire darts or something. On the other side of the body is a removable engine cover.

The tank's main weapon is a huge cannon on an elevating platform. It raises up and swivels, and a pair of Gatling guns can rotate out from underneath (they normally point behind the vehicle). The main cannon elevates as well, thanks to a hinge by the gunner's seat. A drawer in the back slides out and deposits mines behind the tank.

Two rockets can be mounted on the sides of the gunner's seat, but the set includes four of them: on previous versions the extras plugged onto the arm that helped raise the turret, and while they can do that here, the Fury also includes a missile launcher that none of the Rages ever had. It's a nicely detailed piece, with lots of open techy sections and a Gatling gun on the side. There are two handles in the back, and the spring that fires the missile is visible through the top of the piece. The problem is that the launcher plugs onto the same arm the rockets do, so you can only use one or the other. [Unless you shift the launcher one peg to the right, then you can at least have one rocket. --ed.]

The Fury is a two-seater, and though the seats share the same open cockpit, they each get their own hinged door. The doors rise up at an angle and look more like mechanical hatches than something designed for a human. The one on the right has all the gauges and control panels, and only a single slit to peek out of - that's the driver's side. The one on the right has five horizontal bars providing less protection, but a wider field of view. The seats are padded for comfort.

The original Rage didn't have a driver, but the second edition did - it came with an Alley-Viper. The Fury follows suit, in its own way.

Alley-Viper Officers specialize in urban combat and lead platoons of Alley-Viper troopers in ground assaults. These Cobra officers train their troops to conduct fast-strike operations of takeover and sabotage in cities around the world. In an Asian city, they battle the GI Joe team to prevent them from infiltrating a Cobra warehouse.

The more often this unnamed "Asian city" gets mentioned, the weirder it is. Why Asia? Why is that so essential that it warrants inclusion? What does an Asian city have that any other city doesn't? [Offhand, I'd say 中国路牌 --ed.] It's not like they continually harp on which jungle the guys are fighting in, or which desert. But it's always "an Asian city." On the other hand, look at it this way: at least it's not New York, for a change.

There's never been an Alley-Viper Officer before, but he uses the same mold as the G3 Alley-Viper, so you know what to expect. What's new are the colors: rather than ghastly orange and blue, he's wearing a grey uniform with black padding. Seriously, grey and black - no Alley-Viper has ever been this understated! Of course, his underlings are red and black, but you can figure that the officers want to be less obtrusive than the guys they're overseeing. The brightest spot on the entire figure is the silver band on his left wrist - it seems to be some kind of communicator or something.

His helmet is the standard kind with the flip-up visor, and it's got a bit of a maroon tint. He's got the highly detailed vest, of course, but other than that his only accessories are two black knives: one fits on his chest, the other on his forearm. Since he's theoretically driving a tank around, he doesn't need his shield or backpack.

Admittedly, the only reason I bought the Fury was because it inexplicably showed up at one of those closeout discount stores about two weeks after it first appeared at normal retail, but for half the cost. I bought it as a curiosity, not because it was something I really wanted. However, after opening it, assembling it, spending the hour to put on all 50-some stickers, this turned out to be a really awesome vehicle. The Alley-Viper Officer is pretty nice, too (though not as good as the solo-carded POC Alley-Viper) so overall this is one unexpectedly awesome City Strike vehicle.

-- 02/18/11

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