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.
Whoa, a subset of Troopers instead of Vipers?
It's here! The answer to all your army building needs. Were you looking for the perfect trooper for that special someone in your life (yourself)? Well then look no further! Cobra has completed THE perfect mook for all your Joes to pump fulla holes! Now, you may ask: "But Alexx, you slick S.O.B., how does this guy cover ALL of our needs?" Well, it all depends on how many you buy, and how willing you are to completely re-outfit your previous Trooper figures! But please, hold all questions until the end of the review. I mean, I just started for pete's sake...
The Cobra Shock Trooper is the new addition to Cobra's forces that basically fills the hole that the blue shirts left once Cobra started employing everyone on earth to fill a niche. Sure, there are Alley Vipers, Range Vipers, Viper Vipers, etc. They can't ALL be those, though. Can they? No! You need some random guys that Cobra threw some gear on and shoved out into the fray! The guys who shoot and shoot but basically hit nothing! No one will care, though, 'cause they sure as heck LOOK like they know what they're doing. I mean, look at the gear these guys are sporting:
And that's just a couple options! These guys are loaded with stuff, and you can outfit a few of them differently just by switching around the helmet a little and giving them different weapons. The accessory loadout has an emphasis on the word "load."
As I've said many times, I'm a big fan of lots of accessories! The only real problem here is that there's nowhere to put most of it! Granted, I don't need all of them to fit on the guy, but it would be cool if the stungun or the baton could store on him. As it is, he's only got one store point:
The back holds the radio, which is pretty cool! I just wish he had a small backpack for the sledge hammer and one of the other guns, ya know? However, lets back up a bit and talk about that figure: Look at 'em! Just a few pictures in and you can see that they put a lot of detail into this little guy. A testament to what can be done in 3 3/4 scale; don't let anyone ever tell you that this size loses detail! They even add awesome articulation like wrists that can angle up or down (right hand) or side to side (left hand) and the guy can strike a kneeling pose without breakin' a sweat. In one fell swoop, G.I. Joe has shown that they can keep up with the realistic 3 3/4 military lines.
...and on that point, I gotta say: Wow, this is Cobra? I mean, of course it is; look at how they plaster the name on him.
But still, I find it kind of odd in a backwards way. Most of the time I make fun of Cobra for being as goofy as they are, but that's why I love 'em. This is a jarring and sudden turn for the realistic for Cobra, when their other offerings are still in the uber fantastic relm. Am I complaining? Eh, not really. It's a fantastic figure! I still can't help but feel that he sticks out like a sore thumb. On top of that:
A tazer and a stun baton? Is this a good-guy in disguise? I mean, just remove the Cobra symbols and you've got a SWAT guy. Once again, that's not a bad thing, but it feels like it's missing a bit of that 'ol Cobra Crazy, ya know what I mean? To make up for that, though, there is G.I. Joe Renegades. It's possible this is sort of Renegade's Cobra, where they would be playing the part of "good guys" to the media.
In the end, though: what does it matter? As I've said many times, a good toy is a good toy. And this is a GOOD toy!
You can set him up in all sorts of different ways, and his standard appearance that makes him look too "normal" can also work for him in different ways. For instance, like I said, this is perfect for a replacement for the old Cobra Trooper. As I said in the opening, this guy could easily be just a normal minimally-trained mook with lots of expensive equipment. Beyond that, they also make great trainees for Alley Vipers, or backup.
You can just imagine that the Alley Vipers are the obviously trained and prepared city guys, while the Troopers are the plainly (compared to the normal fantastical stuff Cobra normally outfits their troops with) garbed guys who are either training or are the Troopers who fill in the rest of the ranks.
Or shields. Anyway, you get the idea.
As much as I think they stand out as the normal guys among crazy over-the-top Cobra, I think it also works, because you need the normal guys to fill in the rest. I mean, a twinkie wouldn't be a twinkie without the filling, right? And anyway, if these guys don't look "evil" enough for ya, it's really all in how you do things.
Yeah, I don't know what SWAT guys do with sledge hammers, but I'm sure a number of you could tell me. Probably has something to do with breaking down fortifications or something.
Anyway, the question still remains: How does this cover ALL your needs? This is where it gets a little iffy, but I think you could really replace most of your Troopers with these guys by swapping out parts. LOOK:
Yeah, yeah. I know you won't do that! That would require you to buy one of these guys for every Trooper you have, and then you'd have a pile of useless old Trooper bodies (not that they aren't mostly useless anyway, with those horrible hands and elbow joints...). But once you swap out the parts like I've shown above (especially in the first picture)...you really start to consider it. I don't have the cash to do it, of course, but it certainly made me think. I mean...instantly better Cobra Troopers! I suppose you could argue, but I wouldn't listen. Those are friggin' cool lookin'! I mean, I suppose if you LOVE the old look, you could do this:
But why? Your friends would all laugh at you, and that ain't cool. Then you'd have to get all new friends, then they would laugh at you.
So lets sum this all up: You've got a brand new army builder with great accessories and new articulation (the wrists), and the standard articulation works as good as you want it to. He sticks out a bit, but barely anyone will be able to resist the look, even if it's not Cobra's standard wackiness; and then, why would you not be able to imagine a place for him? There aren't a lot of reasons to skip this, and - AND - the standard body is so good that it makes me want to swap out and replace all my Cobra Troopers from the 25th line. He's good for army building, he's good for accessories, he's even friggin' good for PARTS! This action figure takes care of all your army building needs. The only limit is how much you want to spend. Get a couple or get a hundred. You won't be disappointed either way!
Now, to make you poor souls with slower net access load even MORE pics, here's a little comic with Techno-Vipers. Seems like some of you like those guys.
Go buy some Shock Troopers.
Now this one is an interesting change! The Shock Trooper hasn't really become a bad figure, but unless you love the accessories, he's mostly obsolete. The body has been reused for the later remake of the Cobra Trooper (because the 25th Trooper sucked big time) and I'll bet people have more of those Troopers than they do these Shock Troopers. On top of that, this body was used for the excellent Cobra Combat Ninja (from Retaliation)....
....that I used as an example of why Marauder hands are way better than Joe hands. That's not to say that this mold is trash because of Marauder, but as time passes, I find little reason to continue to put up with hands that can't perfectly hold accessories. Heck, since I can buy Marauder bodies without heads or accessories, I could almost refit these guys with a way better body (if I had the cash).
I guess, what I'm getting at, is that these guys were fantastic for their time. Top of the line! They could still be worth a look now, but with what I've gotten since then, I don't see as much a need for them as I used to, though I stand by most of what Past Alexx said. They brought a lot to the table, but since army builders are a dime a dozen (Hasbro keeps pumping out Troopers) I don't really see a need to track these down anymore, unless you're in it for the accessories and need some well equipped SWAT guys (that work for Cobra).