G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Tiger Claw ATV w/ Leatherneck

Sometimes I get the feeling the Hasbro designers just like to tweak with us.

Ever since getting the AWE Striker w/ Leatherneck as part of the 25th Anniversary line, the fans have been clamoring for a "fixed" Leatherneck in his more familiar green camouflage to blend in with their other 25th Anniversary homage figures. Well, Hasbro complied with the Tiger Claw ATV, but colored Leatherneck in a much darker woodland camouflage, which doesn't even remotely resemble his classic look.

Is it close enough? Ehh... maybe, I guess, but it seems to me that just lightening things up a bit would have made a lot of fans a lot more happier. Not really sure what the motivation was for not doing it.

Those complaints aside, I've always been a huge fan of the Cobra Ferrett, but it seems like we're getting repaints or retools quite often lately, going back to the 2008 Convention, which gave us some strangely marblized versions of the venerable Cobra ATV.

In the Rise of Cobra line itself, Scrap Iron now piloted the Snake Trax, a modified Ferrett with a big-ass rail gun looking thing. Now, here we are, basically two assortments later (even if the release date is nearly a year apart) and we've got another Ferret repaint, this time with some added platforms and a rocket launcher instead of the rail gun.

Are the changes worth it? Eh, not especially.

Part of the love of the Ferrett to me is with the mounted cannon that was placed so seamlessly on the vehicle and sculpted so nicely. It looked like it packed a ton of bang for the buck, yet flowed with the rest of the vehicle design very well. Here we basically have a dark green ATV with some non-functional gun racks. The rocket launcher plugs into a hole on the back rack so it can be removed and placed as a stand-alone unit, but the launcher itself does not look at all imposing, so you end up with a one-person transport that doesn't really do a whole lot. Sure, the newly tooled racks are somewhat nifty, but without much gear to transport on them, what purpose do they really serve? Not a whole lot.

The Ferrett has always been a cool vehicle, but at some point you start to run out of ideas for it, and I think Hasbro may have reached that point. There just isn't a whole lot here to write home about, even with a base vehicle as cool as the Ferrett.



From the perspective of the figure, I give Hasbro some props for at least attempting to draw in the vintage fans with a more woodland camouflage version of the G.I. Joe Marine, but I have no idea why they colored him so dark and neglected to deco the trademark tan chest pattern. They did the brown on the AWE Striker driver (as an homage to the Special Missions Brazil version) but no evidence of anything like that exists here. You end up with an okay version of the character, all told. I don't mind the camouflage colors from a purely aesthetic standpoint, it just seems an opportunity to make the vintage enthusiasts happy was missed.

As if we needed more evidence that Hasbro was at least trying to give us an homage to 1986, Leatherneck comes with his familiar rifle, colored in the same light gray that we saw over twenty years ago, yet still no backpack to speak of. He also has the pistol that slides nicely into the sculpted holster on his right leg. But, even though the mold is pretty cool, it still is more of the same old, same old, and fans who were complaining about the desert version might complain a little bit less this time around, but not much.

Ignoring the fact that this version doesn't mesh with the vintage version, there are also some unique issues here as well...he's got a pretty nice camouflage scheme throughout most of his uniform...but what's up with the arms? Instead of the traditional camouflage, his arms are a dull brown, even though they seem to attach totally to the rest of his uniform. Was this an issue during production? I have no idea, but the result is a bit on the weird side.

Looking past the color differences, though, I do actually enjoy the overall look of this Leatherneck quite a bit. Even with the darker shades, the green and brown combination is a pretty cool look for the G.I. Joe Marine. The gray does stand out just a bit on his holster, grenades, and canister, but besides that, the overall color scheme is aesthetically pleasing, if somewhat bizarrely chosen.

By and large, this vehicle was highly sought after because of this Leatherneck...but I'm not convinced Hasbro put their all into this one. I have no idea why they wouldn't simply lighten the camouflage a little bit and give the vintage fans what they want. I do like the fixed arms, I am a fan of the Ferrett tooling usually, but there really isn't anything new or exciting here or worthy of purchase.

In my opinion, if this ended up being a normal retail item, it would have languished on clearence instead of being something that fans were clamoring for because it only got released North of the border. Even saying that, though, there are some desirable aspects, like the great camouflage scheme, and the cool Ferret base vehicle. Ultimately, not much new and exciting.