Night Adder (2004)
The relaunch era vehicles for the most part don’t get much attention or respect. Only a few garner the kind of good will associated with the 80s and 90s toys. Much of the output doesn’t appeal to a collector’s sensibilities, and aspects like scale, realism and fit/finish skew toward a younger demographic than we’re accustomed to.
Early 2000s vehicles like the HISS IV and FANG III are decidedly Tonka-like, from their tough construction to their chunky look. As the years went by, the designs improved a bit, and in 2004 the Cobra side of things went animalistic as part of the Valor vs. Venom storyline. Dr. Mindbender was venomizing the troops, resulting in animal-based abilities and even appearances. In the case of the Night Adder, one has to wonder if the venomizing somehow affected inorganic materials. More likely, Cobra Commander was at it again with fanciful designs. After all, he had a cobra-headed transport plane all the way back in 1983.
If you didn’t know better, you might have trouble telling if this is a GI Joe toy without the obvious Cinra sigils. This thing is one of the most out-there rides in the brand’s long history. It’s a recombinant fusion of World War II, Star Wars and hot rod sensibilities. The top turret, so idiosyncratic alongside the rest of the toy, is a crazy joy. The back side of the fighter even has what look like brake lights to me. They may be meant as exhaust ports, but I’m calling ‘em brake lights, dangit.
Add in features—said turret rotated wildly when the pull-down handle is lowered and the trigger pulled—send the Night Adder into stratospheric heights for those of us who yearn for action in our toys. Pulsating cleat side cannons not only move and light up, but fire missiles at the same time.
Oh and by the way, this jet was also repainted with bright blue in place of the red. Too cool.