Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Alexx Shorts: PoC H.I.S.S. V (7/9/10)

Well, this is it: I've finally decided to start reposting my old "Alexx Shorts" G.I. Joe reviews.  They're the reviews that lead to what eventually became this blog!  I'll be posting them in straight copy-and-paste format, separating them with bold dotted lines so you know where they begin and end, and then I'll post some final thoughts on what I think of the figure currently.

For those unfamiliar: I used to take random pictures here and there, but by the time the Rise of Cobra toys came out, I was getting annoying with how much people had been bashing the figures which were clearly better than the previous 25th Anniversary offerings.  I set out to show people how awesome they were, and things went from there, forming into "Alexx Shorts", named so because I thought I was going to keep to a short format with a few pictures.  I did not do that.

A new HISS for a new generation, and old Techno-Vipers to screw it all up:


So my friend texts me and asks: "Did you get the new HISS yet?"

I responded: "NO...is it out?"

Indeed it was. Turns out Meijer, of all places, got in ONE HISS and ONE...um, snow vehicle. I don't remember the name. Anyway, I assumed it would be gone by the time I got out there, but (if the name of this review didn't tip you off) I was wrong, and there it sat with the other vehicle! One of each. So I grabbed that HISS and...well, continued shopping. My wife and I were getting groceries so, you know, the rest of the story isn't that exciting. Got some IBC Cream Soda, though, and that's pretty awesome------

ANYWAY: The HISS V! Alexx gets to review something semi new for once! Granted, there are a few reviews out, and General Hawk already gave his in-depth look to top it off, but you didn't come here for skilled information from a seasoned reviewer like that, did you? No, it's time for a sorta-in-depth haphazard review full of random comments; some of which are jokes! And hey, I also took detail pics for once, so you can get a good look at this thing (you know, to add to all the other detail pics out there!) So, without further ado:

The HISS v5!  I am loving the new packaging for the PoC line. It's simple, but jazzy, and it gets the point across. You'll notice that there's no window save for the one showing you the driver. That's 'cause you gotta do the old fashioned assembly with this bad boy! I'll get to that, though. For now, let’s laugh at the box a little:

Well, okay, that's not funny, but I thought it was cool that they added in the Sand Viper that no one will be able to get a hold of. I dunno about you, but when I was little, I looked for the ones shown on the box as if they were supposed to go with the vehicle as well. I doubt any kids are gona be finding Sand Vipers, unless they visited a K-Mart at just the right time. Anyway, plenty of other goodies on the box...

First off: The devastating new weapon!  The Cobra Hiss tank! Um...version five. Yes. Well, the version is new, but never mind that. I know, I know, it's meant to be read as the new version of the Hiss Tank, but I still think it's funny that the only thing that says it's a new version is that little "v5" next to the name. Otherwise, all descriptions act like this is a brand new weapon! For any kid just getting into this, it's like the past versions never existed, and they could very well be failed attempts! So, as far as the box goes, it's a brand new devastating weapon (that has had five previous versions).

Next: I have never noticed this before. Have all the boxes said this? I guess this is fuel for crazy people like me who have trouble throwing out the boxes. "But look honey, it says to keep it for future reference!" Just don't add in "then go jump off a bridge" 'cause I'll probably do it. Those boxes are very persuasive.

This is a long time favorite, though. Tellin' me it ain't real. Seems like a false statement, though! Where are the dragons 'n such? That isn't a fantasy situation!

Seriously though: no tools required! What was the last vehicle that we had to put together? Was there a recent one? All the ones I got recently were already mostly put together. This was kinda nostalgic!

As you can see, it's not a whole lotta parts, and it came together pretty quickly. There are two pipes that go on the bottom of the tank to the frame, though, that are completely unaccounted for. I had to look at Hawk's review to see where they went. Directions ignored them!

Here's the fun part, though:

Stickers galore! Very tiny stickers. Some of them, anyway. I have no idea how a kid is supposed to put some of these on straight, especially when some of the stickers can't go in the places where they tell you to put them! The worst one was supposed to go inside the back hatch...I don't know where. If it was supposed to go on the top (so whoever was in the hatch would be looking at it), then there was no flat space in there to put a sticker. I ended up just putting it into the cockpit display. However, if history has taught me anything, it's that this is pretty normal. I've had plenty of vehicles over the years where the stickers just cannot go where they tell you to put them.

But who can complain when they give you so many to do with as you please? Yup! All those numbers and letters are for your own enjoyment! I personalized the tank myself, but you'll see that later. Anyway, here she is, stickerless:

Save for the Cobra symbols, I actually would have just painted on some of the sticker details myself if I had the talent. Some of them aren't even bright enough to see on the dark chassis! In the end, I like the little details 'n such, and enough of them are seeable and do add to the sculpt.

But hey, let’s delay the finished tank a bit and go look at its driver! As you could see, this one comes with a new version of the 'ol Hiss Tank Driver. They do a great job remaking the same basic figure with existing parts! They hit all the bases that the original did, but armor him up QUITE a bit more than the original, which isn't really fair.

I mean, yes, the uniforms should evolve, but I still think it's funny that they finally got rid of the window and THEN armored up their drivers. Thanks guys! Cobra really is evil. Anyway, here's what you get:

You'll notice he's got a red symbol instead of a silver one, so I swapped out the one on Pilot Destro:

Just for that little extra classic flair! Anyway, the rest of the pics display the normal figure:

As you can see, they get across the black boots and armor plate look, but make it seem much more imposing. Perhaps because he's using Cobra Commander's armored body? By the way: I love the idea! I know they are just using the body, but I totally work with that as the armor. I already loved that the 25th IGs were using the armor as well (which I assumed was a cheaper version without all of CC's bells and whistles) but it makes perfect sense that the armor would become cheaper to produce with time. I still assume that it doesn't have all the stuff that CC's original armor did, but I love to imagine that they are still using it over the years. It works perfectly with the Driver here! 

Of course, though, since it is CC's armor, I couldn't help myself:

A little paint and it'll look real cool! Oh, and I thought you'd like to see this:

Food for thought.

Anyway, our Driver comes with a pistol with which to protect himself:


Well yeah, that was obviously supposed to come with the red CC. Hopefully he does still, since the one he came with had some color to it. This one loses a bit of its interest being just one color.

Still very cool looking, but it goes in a really awkward place. He comes with one other important accessory, though:

Tank time! This puppy is packed full of all kinds of sleek goodness.

The obvious major feature, though, is the pop up ability:

It really seemed goofy to me at first, but after some time I came to understand it as the ultimate in its class as a High Speed Sentry. I mean, not only is this thing going to be tearing it up, but with the ability to raise and turn it's going to be hitting stuff all around it with ease! Granted, I dunno anything about this stuff, so someone will have to inform me if this idea wouldn't work in real life, but it sure seems like it should. Beyond that fact, though, this thing is just fun to push around and twist!

.....unless it's down. You notice the side panels that hang over the treads? Well,
how does a child - well, anyone - move a vehicle along the ground? You put your hand on top and push that sucker! Well, it's a blast when the vehicle is up, but when it's down, those side panels push easily onto the treads and stop it constantly. It was frustrating for a good few moments before I found out what was stopping it. On top of that, as you try to push it, it's always popping up! There's one little latch on the bottom that keeps it secure when you're moving around, but you push down on it at the right angle (which happens all the time when you're trying to push it) and it pops up without the button being pressed! AGH.

So I'm torn on the vehicle already. On one hand, I love pushing it around when it's up. It moves smoothly and the rubber treads grab everything! It also spins with a satisfying click. When it's down, though, there's just no point in trying to play with it. Forget trying to explain to a kid that "you have to push it with just the right amount of force or it won't go and will keep popping up." If it doesn't work, they aren't going to bother. Which, ya know, is fine. Kids will get a kick out of it in its popped up form.  There's also more! How about features?

The guns are free to move around, of course, but you can also push that little red thing back and forth and the guns will strafe back and forth! Simple, but fun! Like I said, pushing it while it's up is cool, and going one way while spinning and turning the guns is very cool! 

As for the guns, you've got that one on the front, and these two. A gatling gun and, for once, a missile launcher that is something other than a missile launcher! I mean, it's not just described as a missile launcher; it's got a sticker on it that identifies it as a 90mm cannon! Cool! I always used missile launchers as cannons anyway ('cause I was a strange kid and worried about losing missiles...) but it's cool that this one actually is a cannon with just a missile firing feature. These guns can of course be positioned all over this thing; and I mean that! There are holes all over for all three guns! 

You can pop 'em in the sides.

You can even pop 'em under the normal turret! Thing is, they don't really look all that great except
where they normally go (and that really goes for the front small gun; it looks absolutely goofy anywhere else). Also: you can't really arrange three guns in many interesting ways. I'm hoping they really take advantage of this interchangeability, 'cause you know what?  This peg system does NOT work with the previous system!  That's right. They've been using the canceled Robot Rebellion's peg system with DTC vehicles (carrying over to the Target released Rhino) and even the same on the Sigma 6 little vehicles (heck; even Venom vs Valor Overkill had a hole on his back for the peg system) and now they've made new holes and pegs! So, everything you've built up to now does not fit.

Don't worry though...seems like they have some sorta plan. Could go the way of the dodo like the previous system, but there are mysterious things here and there:

This, for instance. There's a teeny tiny sticker on there that says "Interlock System" and it's obviously meant for something. Will we eventually see what? Time will tell. There's also some crazy handles on the bottom, but I don't know if they could work the same:

Looks like something could hook in there, ya know, other than the obvious:

So I'm sure those items matched with the peg system will lead up to something...or, was planned to lead up to something. Anyway, here's the opening parts:

Yay! Do you have any idea how cool it is to have controls like this? No more random sticks on the side! Or ya know, nothing at all. I love how this looks, and like the joke says, it reminds me of old arcade tank games. Anyway, he fits right in, no problem. The controls swing up and swing down right into his hands. There are a few stickers for his computer system inside (which I screwed up removing and putting on again to get them straight) and an extra sticker that was supposed to go in the back, which is this:

This confused the heck outa me for a sec, since the directions referred to this as a cockpit as well....then I thought: DUH. It's the gunner's seat! All the HISS tanks have them, and this gunner is finally safely locked away and not out in the open. That's what the sticker on the inside would have been for:

He's upside down there, but when you push it in he'll be upright and facing forward; exactly where the sticker would have been if there had been any flat space in there. So there; it's the gunner's new seat! Making this still completely driver controlled and separate from the weapons. Very cool! 

However...I'm in love with the idea of a troop carrier, and this could also double as a place for a special BAT...

Most of you know how I am with the BATs, so I had to try this out. He's a bit too big, but the hatch does close. I know it seems useless to just carry one BAT with ya, but I imagine the black ones would be special, somehow. Anyhow, just my thoughts on the matter. The hatch closes securely and is a really cool idea for a gunner's seat.

Finally, here's the new HISS with his other family members:

You've come a long way, buddy. Oh, and because I had a Sand Viper:

Pretend they're on the sand. The tank doesn't fit into any of my backgrounds.

So, the gist: I love this thing. Is it annoying that it's basically useless when it's down? Yes. But I’ll be honest: I don't play like I used to. I don't mind so much, 'cause it's so cool looking, and the pop up feature is more than enough for any kid to enjoy (unless they're big fans of mechanical features like that). This just feels right as a modern update to the HISS, which has gone through some interesting changes. The original, the bulkier II (which I always felt made a great backup tank as opposed to a replacement) the...um...the III, which was a I, and the god awful IV. Then there's the awesome DTC version, which I missed, sadly. This, though, really brings it home with a new design that still sticks to the idea of a High Speed Sentry. You look at it, and you know the name fits the bill. Everything about the original is updated and updated well. The only thing you miss is some play value when it's locked (sorta) in the down position. I'm looking forward to the possible "interlock system" bringing out some more play value as well.

So I'd certainly suggest this, even with the potentially killing feature of it's immobility when locked down. Most of you will just be displaying this anyway, and MAN does it look good! I'll say one final thing, though: I see no reason to have that ceremonial staff sticking out of the poor thing...

Go buy a new HISS!


The Pursuit of Cobra begins!  Ahh baby, you're gona love it.  Pursuit of Cobra (PoC) was the freakin' BEST theme, and I wish it hadn't ended.  Well, that's not completely true: If it hadn't ended, I would be swimming in even more Joes than I am now (and by "swimming" I mean "drowning"). 

But we'll see more as we go.

For now...the HISS V.  I mean, it's cool, but it just hasn't aged well, for me.  There's something about the original HISS and HISS II that really does it for me.  Seeing them lined up, or rolling them around.  This one is futuristic, which you'd think would be RIGHT up my alley, but it feels...too bland.  Not enough is going on here, and the pop-up feature being mandatory just gets annoying.  Plus: I can't help my love for see-through cockpits.  I love seeing the figure in there!  I realize the completely enclosed cockpit makes more sense, but it's not as fun, I guess. 

I'm curious what y'all think about this, now that time has passed.  Did you stock up on this one?  Replace your old HISS tanks?  Or did this one kinda fall to the wayside like it did for me?


  1. Pursuit of Cobra BAAAAYBEEEE!

    I don't mind this HiSS. but I'd rather have the Resolute Hiss Tank in it's place.

    1. Here's hoping they use that design for some future G.I. Joe toyline that never seems to be coming.

  2. The Retaliation HISS was basically answering all of your complaints in this.

    - Rubber treads not working? Replace them with the normal hard plastic w/ wheels
    - No see-through canopy? Swap it out.
    - Goofy pop up feature? Replace it with a "Point at the ground" feature that I'm pretty sure wasn't even called out on the box (although the pop up is much more workable on the Crimson version of the HISS, so my guess is they tweaked it)

    Between that, swapping the weird brown for that nice blue (I know this version eventually got repainted in black and red), and a serviceable driver figure (poor articulation, but he looks fine in the cockpit), that was a hell of a rethink of the concept. And they were $10 during Christmas season 2013, so I grabbed like six of them. Good times.

    I actually have the HISS Sentry lying around (a rare instance of being Canadian being a boon for a Joe collector), but I've never combined them because the result looks, well, like they didn't think minor things like "center of gravity" through.

    1. Yeah, by the time the Retaliation version came out, I was trying to cut back on vehicles. The basic figures they released with them safely kept me away, since half the reason I get a vehicle is for the cool exclusive figure. I would have at least gotten the SDCC Shockwave-styled version of the Retaliation HISS, but Hasbro exclusives were pointless to even try for back then (and I did try, but...well, pointless).

    2. I was the other way around, since we'd moved out of the apartment and into the house and suddenly I had a whole basement to fill up with vehicles. When those hit clearance I *indulged*.

      ... which are now in boxes anyway to make sure the lil ones don't snack on the missiles (or, worse, decide to topple the bookshelves used for storage. Stupid IKEA.)

      But, yeah, the Retaliation vehicle drivers were sad. I think half of my original Marauder order went to fixing a lot of those (their heads, mercifully, were still ball joints so if you swap out the bodies you get back to regular Joes.)

    3. I probably would have been the same, but my toy room in the house ended up being a bit smaller than my apartment toy room, so the space was taken up just by moving! *SIGH*

      I feel you on the boxed up stuff, though.

      I see a lot of people fixing figures with Marauder! Such a great line, really carrying the torch for G.I. Joe in general, since Joes are kind of limping along.

  3. YEAH PoC. The best Joe line. How did that line even happen. So many cool concepts, and no tie-in media.

    I didn't have the HISS v5, but it was always on my list. The PoC vehicles brought back a lot of what sells me on vintage Joe vehicles, which was making them feel like real equipment, even if they're baldly ridiculous. The great box art and diorama scenes on the back. The way the details feel like stuff that would be on an actual vehicle. The customizable sticker sheets. SO good.

    Something I don't remember, though: were the modular gun ports and mysterious "interlock system" clip used for anything in the line?

    1. Yeah I think any Joe collector can high five over PoC and pour one out for it's death. I don't know what happened to it or how it all fell apart, or why they couldn't get the same kind of design and innovation together again. Though, personally, if they started G.I. Joe anew, I'd rather see a return to the simpler times of before the 25th era. I'm messing with the early 2000's stuff and they honestly stand the test of time, for the most part. Less teeny tiny parts, almost universal hands that hold everything (at least by the time of Valor vs Venom) and basic articulation that was fun to mess with and you didn't have to micro manage.

      Anyway, the queston: I honestly can't remember if the "interlock system" clip was used for anything. I think it might work with the HISS scout vehicle, but my HISS V is buried and I never pulled it out to try. The gun ports worked with a few different things - one of which is in the next review - but not many.

  4. You can actually push the tank in it's lower position. You have to push it by the chassis as opposed to the body, but even then its squiffy.
    Kinda wish it had a turret on the top. Lying inside isn't just as fun.
    Still a damn cool toy.

    1. Yeah, with the pushing complaint: I was thinking about kids pushing it around, mostly. The most basic thing I kid can do is push the top of a thing with wheels and roll it around. I know older kids are gona be the ones playing with this, but when I was a kid, if I had to play with a toy in a specific way to get it to work properly....well, I probably didn't play with it. It's a very basic play feature that they didn't think about when were designing it, and as a toy, I feel like that's a pretty big flaw when you have to say: "Well, it'll work if you do it JUST right..."

      BUT...I still gave it a good review, collector wise. It looks great, has neat features, and I'm sure all the collectors loved the thing. I doubt many kids were buying that awesome line anyway, which was G.I. Joe's basic problem. You've got to be old enough to handle all those super TINY accessories that PoC had at the time, and no kid old enough nowadays is still playing with toys, sadly. The age range for toys seems to have shifted greatly.