Cobra Surveillance Port w/ Tele-Viper and MARS Trooper

Like the Outpost Defender, this was one of my favorite mini battle stations as a kid, yet the inclusion of a pair of fairly sub-par movie troopers put it on the bottom of my "want list" when these originally hit retail.

Who doesn't love the portable surveillance port?  Slap up a three-walled blue battle station, a radar dish, antenna, and some guns, and you've got a great little COBRA spy shack.  But I'm really not a fan of the base tooling used for the Cobra troopers, so the fact that this set had two of those figures, even with the same webgear, was a big turn off for me.  Yet, when these sets hit clearence, I could not resist.  In the end, I'm glad I didn't.

Like the vintage version, the Surveillance Port is tooled and sculpted with fantasticly detailed panels and plates, giving an air of thick armored resistance covering Cobra recon troopers just behind. Yet, even with the armor plating, the structure still remains portable enough to be a quick placement fort to either spy on enemy troops or to take a quick look at a potential target area.

Personally, I really love the inside of this little fort. From the very nicely designed trio of monitors, to the sculpted grating on the platform, the three stands, the gun ports, and even the guns themselves, this is a very cool miniature station that is one of the highlights of this assortment, and was one of the cooler battle stations back in the day as well.

Of course my initial fear about purchasing this was that I wouldn't like the figures that came with it. How did that turn out?

Mars Trooper

Against my own preference and against my better judgement, I now own three of these figures, and in spite of how hard I try I cannot find very many redeeming qualities to any of them. He's the same bland gray as he was in the three pack, and as he was in the Toys "R" Us set. He's got the same hip-hugger webgear that doesn't do much besides sit there and look somewhat fake with all of those flat quilted pouches. He's got the same obnoxiously thick-handled weapons that he cannot hold, and even if he could hold them they'd look dumb.

Yeah, this figure blows. Probably my least favorite Rise of Cobra figure out there. And I've got three of them. Dammit.


Oddly enough, even though the Tele-Viper is nearly the same exact figure as the MARS Trooper, I end up liking him at least moderately better. Trust me, he's not astounding, using the same base figure tooling and even the same webgear (strangely enough, minus the grenades). Yet with the jet black paint apps and just the right hint of red (not to mention the vintage Tele-Viper head sculpt style) I really, really like this figure. How the heck does that work?

Does paint really make that much difference? Apparently in this case, it does. For whatever reason that combination of black and red just meshes with the Rise of Cobra trooper tooling perfectly, and it takes a figure that would normally be bleh and makes it at least somewhat appealing.

He doesn't come with much in the way of accessories...he has the same webgear as the MARS Trooper, however for whatever reason, he does not have the grenades on his chest. Tele-Viper also comes with his trusty Cobra themed laptop, which is a neat touch, I gotta admit.

So yeah...I really can't explain why I like this funky new Tele-Viper, but I do like it...he accentuates the Surveillance Port perfectly, and is a nice addition to the Rise of Cobra corps.

But who am I fooling...I know the big draw to most fans here is the fact that the Surveillance Port is colored just like the vintage version, and will probably be used as such by most folks, and I don't blame them one bit. It's perfect for that. In fact, I found myself enjoying this particular battle station far more than I thought I might once I got it out of the package. Tele-Viper was much cooler than I thought, and even with the crap-tastic MARS Trooper, the whole thing was a big hit with me. Not quite as cool as the Outpost Defender, but probably a close second. Worth a purchase if you can still get your hands on one.