G.I. Joe Kre-O - Cobra Armored Assault
Like the Snake Armor vs. VAMP set, this particular set's purchase was facilitated by the nice B1G150% off sale that Toys "R" Us had early in the month. Judging by the fact that this set was on backorder, it seems as if this might be one of the more popular ones.
I find it especially interesting that this particular set doesn't even pretend to mimmick vintage G.I. Joe stuff, it just jumps right into "new concept" territory. I don't mind that too much, though, because the new concept is pretty good all things considered. Cobra has never had a traditional armored carrier necessarily. Certainly there was the HISS II, the Parasite, and the Android Personnel Carrier from various places throughout G.I. Joe history, but this particular vehicle is a very straight forward, almost Stryker looking vehicle that has a very fun and unique assembly. It's a decent sized Kre-O vehicle with lots of great opening doors in the front and rear, and even storage for three Kre-On Cobra Troopers in the back.
I really like the sloped shape (it's almost HISS-like) and the six-wheel transport system is pretty cool as well.
The colored blocks make a lot of sense from a Cobra perspective, going with mostly blue and just the right hints of gray and red, but the overall look of the armored transport is extremely Cobra-themed, even if it is a fairly traditional vehicle. The front cockpit flips open easily, making it simple to place the pilot inside, and the rear doors open both underneath the turret, and with a little rear door, again so troops can easily be transported within.
My biggest conflict with this vehicle is with the turret itself. I love the design, shape, and functionality...but I hate the fact that it's restricted to just missiles. In my world, missiles serve their purpose, sure, but guns are where its at. You don't want to be driving a huge armored transport like this, shoot your two missiles, and suddenly you're disarmed. Thankfully, that's pretty easily customizable, and I suspect I'll be doing just that at some point.
Along with the armored transport itself, there is a Cobra weapons rack to hold various weaponry that's included, and a G.I. Joe 4-Wheeler. The 4-Wheeler is small, but very fun, with plenty of room for Flint to cruise around, yet not too complicated a build. The weapons rack is even more straight forward, and almost feels like just a toss-in. Still, it's a cool toss-in.
The Mini Figures
I think it's safe to assume that Flint is the star of this set. I only assume that because he was a big reason why I plunked down the cash. The figure really does deliver. He's got a fantastic cocky smirk, and his beret his perfect. The simple deco of the pockets of his shirt with the two shotgun shell straps is excellent, as is the simple application of camouflage on his pants.
It doesn't take much, but the simple decoration that's here totally conveys the right personality for Flint and brings him to life in mini figure format.
Flint also comes with a fantastic backpack and shotgun that just finish the figure off really nicely. This truly is a perfect example of the right way to translate a Real American Hero character into mini figure form. He's not overly detailed, but he's got just the right qualities that matter.
Meant to be the driver of the Cobra Armored Assault vehicle, what is Cobra without the Cobra Officer? Sporting a silver Cobra symbol and the unique straps of the Officer rank (not to mention the helmet logo) this is a great representation of the higher ranking Cobra operative.
Sporting his trusty AK-47, this Cobra Officer can drive the Armored Assault, or jump out and lead the squad of Troopers, raining fire down on the hapless G.I. Joe team. I love that they match the blue here with the Trooper uniform colors (not to mention the other trooper variations found throughout various sets).
The third figure in the set is another new concept, similar to the Mech Pilot, this time around being the "Heavy Cobra Trooper". Sitting up in the missile launcher turret, he's destined to be a target of enemy fire, so he has some more protection with an armored facemask as well as a very neat tactical vest.
This is a great example of what I was talking about with the Mech Pilot. Adding some little touches of deco and some additional gear, yet maintaining a very similar color scheme, Hasbro has enabled themselves to really build upon the Cobra Trooper ranks in a very nice way. This Heavy Cobra Trooper just uses a slightly different deco, and the tactical vest, and all of a sudden he is an awesome supplement to the standard blue shirt Cobra corps.
This set has its share of faults, but I find them minor. I would have prefered better weaponry on the turret, but the colors are great, the opening doors are fantastic, and the small Joe ATV is a very cool complimentary piece. Three mini figures seems like the perfect amount as well. This set is more expensive than ones like the Serpent Armor vs. VAMP, but it has some great added complexity, and some good play value as well. Probably not quite as cool as the Serpent Armor/VAMP but a pretty darn close second.