COBRA WOLF v.3 (2014)
In my last review I talked about the 5oth anniversary Ice-Viper which was a modern-style update of the excellent 1987 original. Today I’m gonna take a look at Ice-Viper’s vehicle, the Cobra Wolf. Wolf stands for Winter Operational Light Fighting…Vehicle.
As I’ve said before in many Transformers reviews I’ve never been a car guy. But it’s not just cars that fail to thrill me, I don’t get too excited about any vehicle. I don’t have a driver’s license, I don’t own a bike, I’m not a fan of flying, and while I don’t mind boats, I don’t know how to swim so I tend to avoid them. Real life aside, toy vehicles rarely did much for me either. I keep all of my Transformers in their robot modes and I avoid buying G.I. Joe vehicles when I can, though sometimes I’m forced to purchase vehicles in order to get the figures packaged with them. There are very few vehicle toys out there that I would ever buy if I didn’t need the included figure (HISS tanks are the exception as you can never have enough of those). If vehicle drivers had been available separately when I was a kid I imagine I would’ve owned far fewer planes and jeeps back then. One thing I really liked about the modern figures when they first came out was that vehicle drivers like Wild Weasel and Ace were available on single blister cards meaning I didn’t have to buy large expensive airplane toys to get them. If the 50th anniversary Ice-Viper had been available carded I would not have bought this new version of his vintage vehicle, the Wolf.
That being said, the 1987 Cobra Wolf was one of my favorite Joe vehicles. I may have primarily acquired it in order to get the included Ice-Viper figure but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy playing with the Wolf itself. If given the choice, I would take 3 new figures over 1 new vehicle any day but vehicles added a ton of play value to G.I. Joe and I’m glad I had a decent fleet of them. I probably wouldn’t be nearly as enamored and nostalgic for the brand today had it not been for all the classic vehicles of my youth. The Vamp, the Ram, the Havoc, the Bugg, the Rattler, the Snow Cat, the Dragonfly, the Fang…I could go on and on. The Joe line was filled with awesome vehicles; some realistic and some downright weird.
Some Joe vehicles like the Buzz Boar and the Pogo looked like something straight out of science fiction while others like the Mauler and Tomahawk were based on real-world vehicles. The Wolf, at least to me, falls somewhere in between. I actually think it looks like it could be a real-world vehicle; there’s nothing too crazy about it. Yet, I’m pretty sure nothing like it truly exists.
I still have all of my old Joe vehicles, including my 1987 Wolf but it’s gotten a little busted up over the years, mostly from being in storage. It’s kind of neat seeing it in such pristine shape again. This 5oth anniversary version is nearly, if not completely, identical to the original.
The main body of the Wolf is molded in crisp white plastic and has a black base snapped onto the bottom. Those were the only 2 pieces assembled when I opened up the “Battle Below Zero” box. I had to assemble everything else myself. Most modern vehicles come fully assembled, some even come with all the decals attached, so snapping this toy together piece-by-piece and then painstakingly applying all the little decals really took me back to the good old days when I, with help from my dad, had to construct the 80s vehicles from a pile of loose parts. But if you’re not a fan of model kits don’t worry, assembling this thing wasn’t exactly rocket science.
The attachments included 2 retractable back treads, 2 removable side skis, a pair of skis for the front, a double barrel cannon, 2 ski missiles, a hidden missile rack with 4 traditional missiles, and two translucent blue glass canopies for the cockpits. I knew the vintage vehicle so well that I put this one together and placed most of the decals from memory. The only difference I noticed was that the vintage Wolf had a clear, as opposed to a green, “canopy” sticker by the cockpit.
The cannon can spin 360 degrees and can be pivoted to aim up and down. The side skis can be removed and placed on a figures feet, and since there are two pegs on each ski a pair of figures can even go dutch on these things. The wheeled treads which allow this thing to move well on carpet can be tucked underneath so that the Wolf can travel solely on it’s skis which is a nice option if you actually want to take this thing out into the snow. The ski missiles sit firmly in place and you pull them loose and send them shooting down the sloped front of the Wolf.
I love the angular double cockpit design of the Wolf. It’s very sleek and it seems believably functional. The passengers on many G.I. Joe vehicles just hung off the sides like human shields. The Wolf is no different in that there are 5 pegs on each side to allow for up to 10 figures as hangers-on but I’m glad Cobra made accommodations for a second trooper to stay warm inside the Wolf as well.
Everything about this toy looks and feels the same as the vintage version. If there has been any modifications made to the old Wolf mold it may have been enlarging the cockpits to allow for the larger modern figures, but I’m not so sure they even did that as it’s a very tight squeeze for Ol’ Ice-Viper.
This is a great re-release of a great vintage Joe vehicle and I’m glad that many kids and collectors will get to enjoy it for the first time. Personally I don’t have anywhere to put it so it’ll probably end up in a box in the closet with the old one which is a shame because it really is a nice looking toy. 8 out of 10.