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Snarler Cycle w/ Beachhead & Rollbar

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

The Dreadnoks aren't the only badass bikers in the GI Joe universe.

The Snarler Cycle is a high-powered bike that combines speed, maneuverability and firepower into one compact machine. It's perfect for urban combat situations that can challenge all but the most skilled drivers with tight turns, small spaces and congested surroundings. A gunner operates the missile launcher from the sidecar, allowing the driver to focus on pursuing his quarry.

The Snarler (dumb name) is the spiritual successor to the second-most famous RAH motorcycle, the Silver Mirage. There was apparently a modern Silver Mirage planned for the G3 line, but it got cancelled (which is why Chuckles, who was to be its driver, got shuffled into the Assault on Cobra Island seven-pack). It's a small motorcycle with a weaponized sidecar, but it's still an entirely new design; it's the idea of the Silver Mirage that's been copied here, not the details.

The most obvious change is that the sidecar is now on the right of the bike, rather than the left. It was always weird that the old bike had it on the left anyway: that's the driver's side. This version is more appropriate for a US military vehicle. The sidecar has a padded seat, machine guns on the side and two footpegs in the back so more Joes can catch a ride. There's a large, removable missile launcher that can be operated by whomever's riding shotgun. You have to question the wisdom of giving the launcher a scope, though - who's ever going to put their eye against that to aim? You're bouncing all over the place in a high-speed pursuit, so one wrong bump and you've given yourself a black eye.

The sidecar can be detatched from the bike, for those times when you need to chase someone down a narrow alleyway. The front fork turns, and there's a kickstand to keep the whole thing upright when the sidecar is gone. The sculpted detail is good all over, though the paint doesn't quite live up to it: the engine is the same flat gray as the upper body, so it looks unavoidably "toyish." It couldn't be silver, like the headlight? There's no windshield, but all three wheels (two on the bike, one on the sidecar) are rubber. Unexpected!

The Snarler Cycle is a small piece compared to other Alpha series vehicles, so it actually comes with two figures instead of just one. Since they're both straight repaints, this review will focus on the changes made; follow the links for the full review.

Beachhead is a member of the GI Joe team and a former Army Ranger. He has led numerous direct action missions and specializes in urban combat operations. His expertise proves invaluable when he must race through Paris to recapture deadly nanomite weapons before they are unleashed.

ROC Beachhead is a repaint of RAH Beachhead - no surprise there. He's even got the same assortment of accessories: a backpack with a coil of rope, a small two-piece crossbow, a pistol that fits in the holster on his right leg, and a black machine gun. His green vest is removable, as well, so might as well count that. The colors are dark, even by movie-Joe standards, and he rather ends up looking like part of Night Force: his shirt and mask are black, while the vest pants are green with black and gray camo.

Rollbar is a mobile weapons specialist for the GI Joe team. Experienced in urban combat and close quarters battle. He takes part in a motorcycle chase through Paris to recover the nanomite weapon technology from Cobra operatives.

The character "Rollbar" was first introduced in 2004, as the driver for the Valor vs. Venom Jungle Strike Humvee. Back then his name was Robert Dubé, but according to the filecard included in this set, he's now Reed Willison. He uses the Airborne mold, proving that it was only the bright red skin that made him look like an Indian. He's wearing the typical blue camo most of the other movie Joes had, so he really is remarkably non-descript. His accessories are the same vest, helmet, backpack and guns as Airborne, done in gray to blend with the uniform. They could have skipped the jump harness, though, because it only gets in the way when you try to put him in the sidecar.

It's interesting that both filecards specifically link this set to the Paris Pursuit seen in the movie. It suggests that there was a lot more going on in the movie than we saw: while we followed one team, others were out there doing stuff, not just lounging around the Pit waiting for another attack. The figures in this set are just re-releases, but this is the only place to get this bike. It's a cool new vehicle, and it's not like Beachhead or Rollbar are bad figures - in fact, if you want to build a G3 Night Force, Beach is indispensible! This set definitely wasn't worth the original $15.99 SRP, but various sales and clearances brought the price low enough to make the Snarler Cycle a decent buy.

-- 01/21/11

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