25th Anniversary Sting Raider w/ Copperhead

Over the last week or so, I’ve taken a few spare moments here and there to jot down my thoughts on some of the 2011 GIJCC Exclusives, in an effort to help our dear friend Justin push his way through his backlog of toy reviews. After compiling a rough draft for the new Python Patrol Water Moccasin, I figured it would be a good idea to check out his review of the 25th Anniversary Water Moccasin so it wouldn’t be quite so redundant.

Only there isn’t one. Go on; check out the 25th Anniversary Super Page for yourself. It’s not there.

So, while I’m cursing Justin under my breath for unconsciously creating more work for me (a hallmark of the technology industry that employs him), I’ll try to be economic and give a brief review of the familiar green version of the Water Moccasin, as well as the red one. Welcome to:


The 25th Anniversary Water Moccasin was released with the first wave of vehicles in 2009. It was called the “Sting Raider” on the packaging, but once the formality of removing the craft from its plastic prison was completed, there was no longer any need to remember its placeholder name. The Water Moccasin is what this ride was christened in 1984, and the Water Moccasin is what it’s going to stay.

Since a 25th Anniversary homage to its pilot, Copperhead, had already been released in a comic two-pack, the new Water Moccasin came with a new take on the second version of the character, Python Patrol Copperhead. He’s a pretty radical departure from the original 1989 version of the figure, but Hasbro did a better job on Python Patrol Copperhead the second time around. If Copperhead was a guy who was going to run around with no sleeves and show off the guns in the swamp in 1984, it didn’t make a lot of sense character-wise to cover him up to do the same thing in 1989. The 25th Anniversary designers Pythonized Copperhead a bit more sensibly, in that regard.

That’s not to say that the newer Python Copperhead is a straight-up repaint, though. Thankfully, Python Copperhead is rescued from the awful Roadblock Hands that the first 25th Anniversary incarnation is stuck with.

"It's like I'm trying to solve a Rubik's Cube that ISN'T REALLY THERE."

He’s also got a knife sheath on his right leg instead of a pistol holster. I tend to like my Joes and COBRAs to pack sidearms instead of knives, but in this case the slimmer knife sheath makes it easier for Python Copperhead to fit into the cockpit of the Water Moccasin. There’s also improved leg articulation in the newer figures of the 25th Anniversary collection as compared to the older offerings, but by the time the first 25th Copperhead had rolled out this issue had already been addressed, so it’s not a terribly pronounced advantage for the Python version.

"Quit staring at my butt, Carl."

The purists out there will find the neo-classic Copperhead a tighter squeeze for the pilot’s seat, but it is a little easier for the Python version to slide in there. Speaking of size…

The 1984 Water Moccasin was one of the biggest victims of bad scaling in the entire Real American Hero line. It was often presented in media as a powerful muscle-boat, scourging the swamps for all they were worth, but the toy gave more of an impression that it was more Copperhead’s personal hobby craft; strong enough to fight off local law enforcement but no real match for the G.I. Joe team. Granted, the Moccasin sold at retail for $10-$12 (some of its contemporaries would’ve been the VAMP Mark II and the Slugger), so they couldn’t make it huge, but it’s a tight enough squeeze to get Copperhead in there that I passed on it for the pictures in this review. Copper was one of the big boys in the line, especially for the early days, but you could barely squeeze him between the rollbars of the cockpit.

"Yeah, fellas... I am just NOT feelin' it after those four burritos at lunch.  Have fun."

Furthermore, the side storage bins were large enough to hold many of the weapons released in 1982-83, but were already being obsoleted by the larger weapons that figures were released with from 1984 and onward. The Water Moccasin had a great design, but felt cramped in its execution.
Suffice to say, this is not a problem on the newer model.
The 25th Anniversary Water Moccasin solves a lot of the problems of the original simply by being bigger. The main guns and turret are more imposing and powerful-looking, the larger turbine gives an impression of greater speed and power, and the larger storage bins can hold all but the largest hand-held weapons. There are even extra footpegs, so the 25th Anniversary Water Moccasin can carry up to eight figures, as opposed to four on the original. This looks less like a swamp boat and more like an all-around coastal attack cruiser.

"The Commander says everybody loads up with one o' these, or everybody takes a bullet in the shoulder.  Orders is orders."

One of the most common issues with the 1984 Water Moccasin was that the rear-launch torpedo was commonly lost. Considering that it was held in place with only a skinny peg, it’s really not surprising.

Professor Python shows off the scrawny torpedo-peg.

On the newer model, the torpedo slides into an internal, lipped groove that holds it in place until you want it to move. The newer torpedo is also larger and more rounded than its predecessor, which would make it easier to find in the unlikely event it slides free.

Copperhead gets in the groove.

All in all, the 25th Anniversary Water Moccasin is a great update to the original and does its best to overcome the flaws of the original. If you’ve been holding out on picking this piece up, I suggest you visit one of the fine dealers that sponsor this site and rectify that immediately. You’re not going to find some new wrinkle or feature that blows you away, but you will find an extremely solid toy that’s a must-have for your G.I. Joe collection.