I wasn’t planning on writing this figure review, until the G.I. Joe club gave me the inspiration, via their latest fiasco; Sgt. Smasher. It’s nice to see that 10 years later, they’re still doing dumb things. Back in 2007, there was another fiasco, which was actually even more drawn out and stupid, though it did provide a couple of good action figures.
The 2007 Convention set, was a break from the traditional 12 army builders, and 3 characters. It was far more character driven, and the story behind it involved tanks or something. Anyways, the two add-ons were supposed to be two Mauler repaints, one as a Joe and the other as a COBRA. However the club said there were some “issues” with the production, but give us some cash and we’ll totally send them to you at a later date. They had the drivers in hand, so people would even get those up front!
Of course, the Maulers never materialized, I can’t remember what the excuse was, but it didn’t wash because Hasbro was going to release a Mauler repaint for Rise Of Cobra, except that movie and it’s related toyline were a dud. However, due to the lack of Maulers you’ve got two figures that are highly expensive and have some negative connotations to them. Steeler, the Joe Mauler driver and today’s figure, Rip-It version 2.
The HISS Driver mold is an oddity, it’s not detailed, it’s not realistic, it isn’t even all that cool looking, but at the end of the day it’s led to a fairly nice looking figure, that’s popular despite itself. This convention version, uses the Cobra Commander version 1 waist (where the hell had that been hiding for 10 years?) and the most intricate paint masks for the mold (His ‘hawk was painted, as were his epaulets).
This Figure is supposed to be the HISS Driver leader, Rip-It. While the idea of a named COBRA in charge of a specific troop class is kind of cool, the name sucks and the mold being the exact same as his troopers isn’t really unique enough, and it’s not a mold with the power to stand on the same level as figures such as The Baroness or COBRA Commander. So I just use it as the HISS Driver Commander. I also believe the named COBRA characters need to be somewhat irreplaceable. HISS Drivers, no matter the rank, is a position that’s likely to end in a fiery death.
It’s quite a well-done figure, as it’s capable of fitting in with the various versions of the HISS Tank, and both the HISS and HISS III versions of the mold have enough similarities to match this figure, while also looking as though they’re his underlings.
The way the release of this figure was handled, likely should’ve led to G.I. Joe fans holding the Collector’s Club too a harder degree of scrutiny, but it didn’t happen. I guess if you can get away with credibility blows like the Maulers, you’ll be able to survive weasel wording a foreign Slaughter being re-named as an obscure cartoon character from an episode Sgt. Slaughter wasn’t even in!