BTR-Ticles: Sand Snake

by Twitziller

The Sand Snake is often considered part of series 2 of the Built to Rule sets released in limited distribution in 2004. However, like the Rising Tide, the Sand Snake featured a hybrid packaging style, including the box art design of series 1 and interior packaging, including a plastic build tray, unique to the two sets. Both sets were released in markets that did not receive series 2. Because of this, some regard the two sets as a series 1.5 of BTR.

The primary mode is a dune buggy.

The included figure is the Cobra Saboteur, Firefly. The figure, later repainted and included with the Venom Striker set, includes a swivel joint in each thigh, just above the knee (swivel-leg battle stance?). This added joint was used on several series 2 O-ring BTR figures. The lighter grey of the figure in this set more accurately reflects the original Firefly from 1984 and the popular updated versions seen in 2007 and 2013.

The Sand Snake’s secondary mode is an attack boat. The Sand Snake is reminiscent of the Depth Ray, as both feature a water vehicle in one mode and a land vehicle in the other, with similar parts in similar configurations.

The Mad Max possibilities of the Sand Snake are numerous. Cobra can, at long last, have a flareside pickup to drive into battle.

The rugged roll cage and large number of long bricks and plates make it possible to build a Cobra combat engineering vehicle with a mine clearing ram.

Rotating the chassis 90 degrees as the basis for the design offers an opportunity to try some new ideas, as shown in this alternate combat truck design.

Weapons for the Sand Snake include two double-barrel cannons unique to the set, and two of the smaller wave 2 BTR missile launchers in light tan with red missiles. All four can be used to create a towed artillery piece.

In BTR, a snowmobile is always an option. Notable parts for the Sand Snake include the two headlight pieces in transparent yellow, the roll cage canopy, and the two double-barrel cannons in black.

It’s difficult to build a set with Firefly and not at least attempt a Night Landing.

When abandoning the larger parts of the set, a hovering motorcycle is possible.

As is a swamp skier.

Those thigh swivel joints allow Firefly to keep on truckin’.

Seriously, though: not many G.I. Joe figures can execute this simple pose.

Leaving the figure out of the design, a remotely-operated underwater attack vehicle can be built.

Firefly is sometimes regarded as the Boba Fett of Cobra – a mysterious and popular hired gun, operating quietly outside the enemy’s regular troops. With that in mind, the set can support a design vaguely reminiscent of Slave I.


  • I didnt know BTR sets were so versitile

  • If BTR had come out when I was a kid, I would’ve loved ’em. The different vehicles you can make really adds value to the toy and it’s versatility is a nice feature.

  • I thought this was before the Venom Striker. I have this set, got it for the figure, aside from the pegs, he seemed better than any of the “new sculpt” regular line releases. The cobra sigils on the grenades were impressive.

  • LOVE the Slave I build! And your snowmobile looks a lot like the Ice Snake (get it? Sand Snake-Ice Snake?). Cobra could use a dune buggy; I wonder if using smooth tiles on the studs would make a believable “non-brick” vehicle?

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