CRIMSON H.I.S.S. TANK
I previously mentioned that my friend Andrew went on a road trip to Maine recently to visit family and to hunt for toys unavailable to us poor Canadians. There were a handful of things that I asked him to keep an eye out for. He came through on the Black Widow figure which I reviewed last week. Another item I told him to look for was the G.I. Joe Crimson HISS tank. This was a toy that seemed easily attainable in the States and at a reasonable price but for some reason it did not make it across the border in great numbers. He did find one. Unfortunately I have recently turned Andrew on to G.I. Joe and he is now collecting the figures and vehicles himself. After Andrew had given me my Black Widow he proceeded to show me his toy haul. One of his goodies happened to be the Crimson HISS. “I was hoping to get you one too but they only had one left.” I was happy for him to have snagged such a cool item for himself but I’d be lying if I wasn’t cursing myself inside just a little. “You fool! Look what you’ve done! Created a monster!” For years I’d wanted a Joe collecting pal, someone who could find joy in each new variation of a classic character the way I do. After years of selling him on the brand he was finally on board but I now realize I didn’t just create a Joe collecting pal, I’ve created Joe collecting competition.
Luckily this HISS tank situation did not fester long where it certainly would have elevated into some jealously fueled murder plot. Darryl, the owner of Giant Robot Comics contacted me via facebook just a day or two later to let me now that he had also just returned from Maine and had picked up a HISS tank with me in mind. A true gentleman, Darryl held the tank for me in his stock room until I had a chance to get over to Dartmouth to pick it up, plus he gave me a great deal on it. On this visit to his shop I unfortunately/fortunately discovered that Darryl had also brought some Transformers figures back with him. At least I assume he brought them back from the USA, maybe not, regardless there were Transformers on the shelf that I hadn’t seen previously. So despite the good deal I got on the HISS tank I still ended up dropping a couple more dollars than I had planned on that day. It couldn’t be avoided though, these Transformers were pretty great. I’ll try to review one tomorrow so stay tuned.
Now back to the item at hand, the Crimson HISS tank. This is from the last batch of Joe figures released under the “30th anniversary” banner before the line was replaced with movie themed figures from Retaliation. I’ll quickly touch on the included figure here but he’ll probably get his own entry later. They’ve dumped the standard HISS driver for a dude called the Crimson Horseman which sounds pretty damn cool. I’m always happy to see new characters/troopers added to the mix but this guy is only alright for me.
The Tank itself is also a mixed bag. When images of the “new” HISS tank design were first revealed online I thought it showed promise but I really like the original design. However I do have 4 or 5 of the original style tanks in various colors so I guess I was ready to accept an update. The first new style HISS I got was the first one that hit shelves in 2010 as part of the pursuit of Cobra line. I liked the real working rubber treads and I liked the overall shape of the thing. I didn’t like the armored canopy (even though it makes way more sense), I didn’t care much for the spring loaded second attack mode, I didn’t like that it had two side mounted guns instead of one central gun turret like the original and I hated the brown color. By the time I got my second and third new style HISS tanks I was much happier with the design. Though they ditched the rubber treads, they also centered the turret, replaced the armored canopy with the classic (though ridiculous) glass canopy, got rid of the spring loaded attack mode and vastly improved color scheme. (Shockwave purple. F**k yeah)
Well this one is a direct descendent/straight repaint of the brown one, having technically been released before the Blue and Purple versions I just mentioned. So it has the same pros (rubber treads, sleek design) and cons (Armored canopy, Spring loaded attack mode, etc) as my 2010 model. Where this one edges that one out on the cool meter is that this one is blood red instead of dirt brown. Red has long been one of Cobra’s go to colors. You can’t go wrong with red, blue and black. I hope they retire this particular version of the HISS as I have pretty much all that I need. The exception being the black one that was released soon after the brown. I would like one of those as black was the color of Cobra’s original HISS battalion. 6 out of 10.