G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Skullbuster

As much of an Army Building fan that I am, named characters are really and truly what make Cobra who they are. Forget the legions of Crimson Guard, Vipers, Alley-Vipers, etc...where would they be without the likes of Cobra Commander, Firefly, Zartan, and Destro? Those singular Cobras are the driving force behind the evil terrorist organization, and I think Hasbro gets that.

Making this guy a single character was a great idea, in my book. The Range Vipers were never a major factor in the Joe mythos, but when the 2001 Rock Vipers came out, it put that mold much more in the spotlight. As a huge fan of the Rock Vipers (and the Range Vipers for that matter) I am thrilled that they have a respectable and visible leader. It never made much sense for these legions of Cobra Troopers to not have a singular Leader if you will. Sure, the CG's had Tomax and Xamot, and you could see a rough chain of command throughout some other troops, but I like seeing a real live Troop Leader in the same uniform out on the battlefield. I DEFINITELY see some potential with this figure down the line...he could be someone that is often overlooked and a figure that people choose to buy multiples of simply to make him an Army Builder. Personally, as upset as I am that he was packed with a Wave 1 Heavy Duty, I will only buy one of this figure, and I plan to build a cool universe for him to thrive in.

But that's the character for you...how does Skullbuster the figure work out?

Surprisingly nicely, I have to say!

My first impression of the figure, based on shots from Norfolk last year, was that he was pretty much the 2001 Rock Viper, with some minor changes here and there. Well, now that I have the figure...well, that's pretty much true, but it really makes for a nice figure and he stands out very nicely among his skull-faced brethren.

First of all, his overall color. It's tough to tell from pictures, but the man is purple. Normally, that's a pretty questionable color choice, but here, it shines. It is a striking deep, dark, almost glossy purple that really makes this figure ROCK. I'm not sure what kind of different paint technique Hasbro used with this figure, but his uniform, shinpads, machinegun belt and everything literally shine. He looks spit-and-polished, which is quite frankly, what a troop leader SHOULD look like.

Hasbro also takes some other color chances that normally might look a little...well, let's face it...a little fruity, but on this figure, they come out nicely. The light blue visor/headpiece and pouches on the belt might not work very well normally, but here they are GREAT. Also, the reddish/gold trim would be an odd choice normally, but here, Hasbro uses them to their best. All in all, this figure is pretty striking, as well he should be.

His mold is one that Hasbro has used now on three occasions, but is still a nice mold, and has not yet been overdone, in my book. As long as Hasbro stops using this mold with this figure, I think the Range/Rock Viper and Skullbuster can really stand the test of time. His accessories really do leave something to be desire, unfortunately...the Destro laser rifle and Low Light Backpack are not bad, per se, but when compared to the incredible array of cool new weaponry throughout Wave 4, they seem a little stale. All in all, though, despite the moronic decision to include an unchanged Wave 1 Heavy Duty in this 2-pack, go ahead and spot for one, Skullbuster makes a great addition to the Cobra Team and a great leader for your Cobra Forces.