Flying Scorpion (Project: Downfall)
Like I’ve said before, I’ve never been too interested in international Joe variants. There aren’t a lot of differences between the 1988 Iron Grenadier Destro released in North America and the one released in South America aside from the fact that the US version came with the Despoiler and the South American one was released carded. Sure, the color variations are sometimes interesting, but at their core, a lot of international figures are just differently colored US figures that sometimes get new names. However, when they’re something completely different (like Python Patrol versions of Airborne and Ripcord), then I get a little more interested. The two international Sky Patrol villains are a prime example of that. The folks down at Estrela made two brand new Cobra characters doing some simple parts swapping and they made something that was frankly pretty cool. I’ve always been fascinated with them, especially Escorpio Vorador, and I’m very happy the GIJCC tapped Flying Scorpion for inclusion in the 2016 Sky Patrol set.
Like his partner in crime, Black Vulture, Flying Scorpion has a fairly complex build. The original figure used Recoil’s body and while that doesn’t character doesn’t exist in modern form (yet), the GIJCC produced a reasonable facsimile using some assorted modern parts. The legs come from Retaliation Ultimate Duke. They’re appropriately baggy, though I think the GIJCC should start moving away from these legs. Ever since they used them with Tiger Force Stalker, they’ve picked up a decided lean and that’s a problem. Even more problematic though is that, at least with mine, the footholes are far too small for pegs on the stand and when I was trying to put Flying Scorpion on his figure stand, I managed to bend the left peg pretty badly. That makes it even more difficult to get Flying Scorpion to stand up straight. The torso is shared with 30th Anniversary Lifeline while the arms also come from Retaliation Ultimate Duke. The arms mesh very nicely with the Lifeline torso, which makes sense since the arms are based on the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper mold. To replicate the original figure’s chest better, Flying Scorpion also wears the 25th Anniversary Cobra Officer webgear. This is a brilliant call on the GIJCC’s part. The Lifeline chest holster had to be removed from the figure so he can wear the webgear, but you won’t even see the divot in his chest because the webgear covers it perfectly. Truthfully, I’d love to see the GIJCC make Recoil using this combination because it’s so effective. Topping off the figure, Flying Scorpion reuses the FSS 2.0 Cesspool head. That’s the head Estrela used back in the day and the modern Cesspool head is a wonderful piece, so I’m happy to see it used here again. I’d wondered how long it would be before Flying Scorpion showed up in some form via the GIJCC since they do tend to make sure that even their one-off heads get reused in some fashion to justify the tooling dollars. The head’s wicked scar adds a lot of character to Flying Scorpion and I like that the GIJCC even referenced his scar in his filecard. I’d always just chalked it up to an accident like Cesspool, but in the universe established by the filecard, he got that scar when he was either injured by the police while they were interrogating him or while he was escaping from them. Either way, it’s a nice touch that the GIJCC built that wicked scar into the characterization they created for him as well. Flying Scorpion is a great looking figure even if I’m not a big fan of the Retaliation Ultimate Duke legs because of the finicky rocker ankles.
Since Estrela created someone new, they also got to define his color scheme and they did a great job with it. The vintage figure used red, dark gray and black and those are the colors the GIJCC used here as well. Flying Scorpion’s pants are dark gray with black on his shoes, kneepads, and straps. Up top, his shirt is red with black used on the pockets and gloves. I do wish the wrist communicator detail on his left arm had gotten painted, but that’s just my personal preference. I think it’s a good detail and shouldn’t be ignored. Flying Scorpion’s webgear is molded out of silver plastic and there’s some dark gray detail work done up on the shoulder pads. Strangely, though, the GIJCC’s paint team actually kind of missed the right shoulder pad a bit on mine. Basically, it looks like the tampo got lined up wrong and so the gray is half in the shoulder pad and half on the strap. It’s fairly noticeable and I’m a little surprised to see a paint error like that on a figure. Flying Scorpion has traditionally been African Brazilian and the modern version is no different. He’s got a fairly dark brown skintone, and the pink for the scarring really pops well against the darker skin tone. His right eye is completely white like it was for Cesspool but his left eye still has a pupil. Flying Scorpion’s hair is black and it’s painted crisply. The white for his teeth is cleanly applied as well and the head sculpt looks great in these colors.
Like Black Vulture, Flying Scorpion doesn’t have a lot in the way of accessories, but his gear is great. Since he’s the leader of the Cobra Air Devils, he gets the same jetpack that was first used with Pursuit of Cobra Skydive. The jetpack looks great on his back and it’s really nice that he’s got a jetpack since he’s Flying Scorpion. The jetpack is painted red and silver and Flying Scorpion gets the Air Devil symbol on each wing. There are black rockets attached to the underside of the jetpack, giving him a little offensive punch. Flying Scorpion has a small black pistol to fill the holster on his right leg. His primary weapon is the great AK-47 Hasbro tooled up a while back and I really like seeing it here. I think it’s a good choice for him since the filecard portrayed him as a thug. When I think “terrorist thug”, I tend to think of the AK-47. Rounding out his gear, he’s got the close-faced Sci-Fi helmet. The helmet is done in black and silver with an Air Devil symbol on it as well. The gear meshes well with Flying Scorpion’s character and specialty and the GIJCC made some great calls here.
Hands down, for me, Flying Scorpion is the best figure out of the Project Downfall set. He’s an excellent modern interpretation of an interesting foreign figure. I’m still not a big fan of international variants but when they’re brand new characters that use different combinations of parts compared to the American figures, I’m all for them. Giving Flying Scorpion command of the Air Devils was a smart choice for the GIJCC to make. They were a group of figures without a named leader and Flying Scorpion doesn’t have a role in the Cobra organization. Considering their similar color schemes, it was a smart choice to make. I do wish he had a unique jetpack, but beyond that, he’s a great character and a fun figure. I like it any time just looking at a figure gives me an idea of how I would have played with him back in the day, and I really get those feelings from Flying Scorpion.