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Notorious pre-production and prototype fanatic Gyre-Viper over at got his hands on some very early test shots for the upcoming Pursuit of COBRA Zartan and Ripcord (Desert Battle) figures.  These figures are slated as early 2010 releases, but could see retail release during the holidays of 2009.  And yeah, these images only serve to cement my excitement for the upcoming new direction of G.I. Joe.

While the anniversary was great for what it was, G.I. Joe needs a fresh take and a new “mythology” in my mind.  I love and appreciate everything that was in the Real American Hero history, but at this point it’s gotta be considered history.  Too many things just don’t translate into cool toys these days if you’re so married to how things were designed twenty-five years ago.  Hasbro is taking the core of the Real American Hero mythos and really changing a lot of the elements to make it more 21st Century with a heavy injection of Metal Gear Solid, Ghost in the Shell, and other very cool semi-futuristic influences.  The result is toy perfection.  I really love these figures, and even without paint apps or much detail, these test shots only further that opinion.

Check out the thread on HissTank here, and mirrored images below.

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I love the Reactive Armor uniform below Ripcord’s flight suit, and the detail on his backpack and vest is just insane.  I love how the Joe stuff looks a bit less streamlined here, and kind of more “cobbled together” as far as the technology goes.  It’s crazy.

Zartan looks very “sorcerer” like and truly looks Aboriginal and mysterious, which is a great look, too.

I cannot WAIT for 2010.  Awesome stuff in the wings, for sure.