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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra: Night Raven

Presenting the G,I. Joe Rise of Cobra Night Raven S3P. Inspired by the Lockheed Skunk-Works SR-71 Blackbird spy-plane that was retired in 1998 (Trivia: only 32 were built, 12 were lost to accidents. None were ever lost to enemy action).

The Cobra Night Raven is actually more than a simple retooling of the original Cobra Night Raven that was released in 1986 which was a bit more angular in comparison with the sleeker image of the modern Cobra Night Raven. Also gone from the modern Cobra Night Raven is the Drone Reconnaissance Scout Pod that piggy-backed on the rear of the Cobra Night Raven.

There was another version of the Night Raven released in 1990 this time on the side of the G.I. Joes - a captured and re-purposed craft from Cobra - which was renamed the Sky Raven and given a metallic Chrome paint-job (Special thanks to Aaron F. West for pointing this out). The modern movie Cobra Night Raven also drops the external drop down missile ports and the twin 20mm cannons. These are replaced by voice activated twin internal rotary IRO-42X Missle launchers.

Lastly, the original Cobra Night Raven had a top speed of Mach 3. The Sky Raven topped at Mach 3.7. The new movie Cobra Night Raven tops in at Mach 6. Both Cobra versions were piloted by a Cobra Strato-Viper.


The original Cobra Night Ravens were heavily criticized for being sluggish and hard to control at slow speeds. In fact when faced with opponents, the most effective tactic open to a Night Raven would be to simply accelerate and not engage. But then, seriously, other than using it as a bomber, stealth/spy craft were never meant to engage in dog-fights - that's the whole point of "Stealth".

The new movie Cobra Night Raven doesn't seem to have that problem.  As we've seen in the movie it has the speed to do trans-Atlantic flight in minutes and the sub-sonic speed to keep up with missiles and destroy them - though in the movie, the Cobra Night Raven was not armed with missiles but rather a sonic cannon up front.


What's to like about the G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra Night Raven?

Not only is it sleeker than the original Night Raven, it comes with a plethora of technological goodies that we'll talk about in a while.

First off let's look at the new sleek lines of the Night Raven:




Now let's look at the twin internal rotary IRO-42X Missle launchers. Push up the three landing struts and pull down the trigger mechanism that takes the place of the pop-down missile launcher that the original Night Raven had. Pulling the trigger fires two missiles from both the port and starboard side six-pack missile launchers and sets off a missile launch sound effect and lights on both sides.

Pulling the trigger immediately after rewards you with the sound of cannon fire and flashing lights - though the Night Raven lacks external cannons.

To fire another missile, pull back on the cockpit/neck of the Night Raven as you would a shot-gun and the IRO-42X Missile launchers rotate, loading another missile into firing position. Pull the trigger again and another two missiles launch.

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Further back on the top hull of the Night Raven where its predecessor used to mount a small Reconnaissance Drone, are three small discretes.

The one closest to the cockpit activates a lock-on-tone; the middle one activates pilot voices, and; the last button activates lights and sound effects for the Night Raven's engines.



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As for the Cobra Strato-Viper, there's nothing really that stands out about this figure, but neither is there anything that we can hate about it.

It's a nicely dressed pilot who doesn't come, unfortunately, in a jumpsuit that's meant to correct the bloodflow of a pilot who would be exposed to extreme G-Forces while travelling at high-speeds.

He'd probably pass out at Mach 6. No weapons either, save for a small pistol in his battle harness that does not come off.


What's NOT to like about the G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra Night Raven?

There are only two things I find wrong with the Cobra Night Raven. The first is the cockpit. The actual cockpit lowers itself under the fuselage of the Night Raven - as it did in it's original incarnation.

The cockpit is lowered by a simple lever mechanism that's found right behind the cockpit glass.

 However anyone who's seen the movie knows that Ripcord entered the Night Raven from the top, not from the bottom.

And lastly, the wheels of the Night Raven are all canted backwards - it looks like they're all about to collapse and the Night Raven will land flat on its fuselage - and seem overtly too large for the plane itself - which is probably so because with the cockpit lowering itself, you need more space between the plane and the ground to get the pilot inside.


This particular Rise of Cobra Night Raven was purchased on sale for PhP 999.75  (Roughly US$ 23.25). It's available on Amazon for US$ 25 (Roughly PhP 1,075 plus shipping)

For the full review and gallery, do visit darklorddungeon.blogspot.com.

We leave you now with a reminder of another vehicle that looks like a Cobra Night Raven:

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