GIJCC Sub Viper and Wave Crusher
Hi, my name is KansasBrawler, and sometimes I’m a sucker. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the GIJCC’s offering of the Sub Viper and Wave Crusher. However, as more images of it were released, it started to grow on me, but I just couldn’t swallow the GIJCC’s price point on it. Then, the GIJCC emailed me (and the rest of its membership) about its Black Friday sale and imagine my surprise to see the Wave Crusher set at what I considered a more reasonable price point. I know, clearance sales are a sucker’s bet. Companies do it to entice you to buy something you don’t really want because the price is so good. I’ll admit, there’s an element of that here, but at the same time, the Wave Crusher is a decently executed vehicle and the Sub Viper is honestly a lot better than I initially gave him credit for. Yes, I realize I still probably got suckered into buying something I didn’t fall in love with when it was first released, but considering I essentially got it for free (I bought it and the Old Snake/Stealth B.A.T. set at the same time and the pairing was the same price as Transformers Crossover set originally was), I kind of have a little trouble feeling too stupid for buying it. It’s a solid, if somewhat initially overpriced offering from the GIJCC, and I’m glad I was able to snag one during the Club’s somewhat poorly executed Black Friday sale.
Starting off with the vehicle itself, I understand why the GIJCC went with the Wave Crusher, I really do. When it was feast or famine in the Joe line back in the early 2000s, the Wave Crusher was a great piece. The idea of a Cobra version of the S.H.A.R.C. was something that was new and it was executed very well. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a big fan of the modern S.H.A.R.C. for some reason. Maybe it’s just that as I’ve grown up my adult brain doesn’t love the concept of the flying submarine as much as my kid brain did when I got my Sky Patrol S.H.A.R.C., but its modern incarnations have left me pretty cold. It’s still a nicely designed vehicle with a lot of play factor, but there’s just something ineffable missing from the modern S.H.A.R.C. and that problem extends to the Wave Crusher as well. The Wave Crusher uses the later tooling for the S.H.A.R.C. and I think that might have also created some problems. I bought the Night Spectre and a lot of people were pretty bummed that the torpedo pegs weren’t the same as the backpack pegs anymore so you couldn’t have Joes riding underneath the S.H.A.R.C. and Hasbro changed that when they released the actual S.H.A.R.C. a little later. However, doing so has negatively impacted the torpedoes’ ability to stay on and leaves them weirdly tweaked askew. I do like the new engineering that gives you not only backpack pegs and a place for the Joes to hold onto while they’re riding underneath, but when it makes the torpedoes difficult to secure and leaves them a bit cockeyed, I’m not a big fan of the change. The rest of the Wave Crusher is unchanged from the Night Spectre and that’s good. It’s still a great design I just wish I understood why I loved it as a kid but for some reason as an adult it leaves me cold.
The GIJCC took a few liberties with the Wave Crusher’s color scheme compared to the vintage version and unfortunately, I don’t think they’re as successful as they could be. From what I saw of pictures of the original Wave Crusher, it used a very dark blue as its base color. The GIJCC’s version is still blue, but it’s a much brighter hue, likely to help distance it from the earlier Night Spectre. It’s not a bad color, but I think the Wave Crusher looked better in darker colors. Where I can’t complain, though, is the tampo work. Like last year’s HAVOC, all the Wave Crusher’s details that were originally provided by stickers are now painted on. Again, the GIJCC changed up some things, but I think the changes are for the better. The original Wave Crusher just had a long red and white stripe with the Cobra sigil in a black circle running along the side. That detail is kept on the Wave Crusher’s top fins, but instead of using that on the main body of the vehicle, the GIJCC switched it up and used the cool Cobra logo from the vintage Moray. I’ve always loved that logo and I think it looks very striking on the side of the Wave Crusher. It’s done up in white and it looks good against the blue, though I can’t help but think it would look even more striking if the contrast were greater from a darker blue background. The Wave Crusher’s canopy takes a page from Hasbro’s playbook and uses red. I haven’t been wild about that choice for most vehicles, but for some reason, it just kind of works on the Wave Crusher. Maybe it’s because I’m more okay with a red canopy on a vehicle that flies or works underwater compared to a ground vehicle like the Basilisk. Regardless, the red and blue is a striking color combination, though the red, white, and blue motif leaves the Wave Crusher looking a bit more patriotic than I think a Cobra vehicle should look.
The vintage Sub Viper is another figure that shows that Hasbro was still making good figures very late into the Joe line, they were just saddled with terrible color schemes. The Sub Viper was originally the Sludge Viper. When Repulsor showed up in the Zombie Initiative con set, I thought we had a pretty good idea of what the Sub Viper was going to look like. I thought it was good for Repulsor, but I didn’t know if it was that great a design for the Sub Viper. The GIJCC really surprised me by designing an entirely new figure for him. It still uses recycled parts, but they’ve never been recycled in this fashion before, so the Sub Viper kind of gets to be his own man for the first time. Sub Viper’s legs are shared with what looks to be Pursuit of Cobra Desert Battle Snake Eyes I. It’s an unusual choice, but it works surprisingly well for the Sub Viper. When paired with the rest of the pieces used to create the Sub Viper, they do look like part of an insulated dive suit. Considering the filecard makes reference to the Sub Viper just being a vehicle pilot but an underwater sabotage expert, that’s a great call. The torso comes from 25th Anniversary Barbecue, and while the piece is honestly a bit dated, the large chest tank works perfectly for an oxygen supply. Yes, he still has a pretty bad torso gap, but it’s still a serviceable piece and I like that the GIJCC went a little outside the box and didn’t just redo Repulsor for this figure. The arms are shared with 30th Anniversary Techno-Viper and again, I think that’s a great call. It references the fancy gauntlets the original Sub Viper had and gives him a bit more bulk. That’s helpful since the other parts are also a bit bulkier since they both began lives as parts for Arctic figures. Topping off the figure, the GIJCC used the head from the Rise of Cobra M.A.R.S. Industries Trooper. It’s a decent generic head and it fits with the Sub Viper’s overall look. Of course, you’re not going to see it much since they also gave him the Rise of Cobra Aero-Viper’s helmet. I have fond memories of this helmet since I had the Aero-Viper and the Cobra Condor growing up. I’ll be honest, I nearly bought the Crimson Hydra just because this helmet is such a great piece. It works well for a pilot, but I think it’s also quite effective here for an underwater saboteur. Plus, it looks surprisingly close to the vintage Sub Viper head. I liked it when the GIJCC used the Zombie Viper helmet for Repulsor, but I think it was a great call to further distance Sub Viper from Repulsor by using a different, slightly more obscure helmet. It’s got the same general design as the vintage Sub Viper head, but there are all sorts of great details on it, and it really helps complete the look.
Though the GIJCC deviated from the vintage sculpt for the Sub Viper, his colors are pure vintage Sub Viper and I think that’s great. It was an effective color scheme back in 2000, and truthfully, things haven’t changed enough to warrant different choices. The base of the figure is blue, and silver is used for the trim. It’s simple, but effective and while I do wish the Wave Crusher was a few shades darker, I do like that the Sub Viper and Wave Crusher match so well. The silver looks good, though I do wish the GIJCC could have molded the chest tank out of silver plastic instead of gray plastic. It just looks a little off when it’s compared to the rest of the silver.
Like the Wave Crusher’s canopy, the Sub Viper’s visor is also tinted red. It works well with the rest of the look and it shows that back in 2000, Hasbro could come up with a good paint scheme. It’s the same look he had back then and it still looks great now. Where the GIJCC continues to impress me lately is with their choices for accessories. With some great gear, the Sub Viper goes from just another vehicle driver to a great character and Cobra’s underwater sabotage specialist. Sure, the Undertows do that too, but considering they’re Iron Grenadiers and not actually Cobras, I can see Cobra Commander wanting some overlap in specialties there. The Sub Viper’s primary weapon is the FN 2000 from the Rise of Cobra line. It actually looks pretty good in his hands. The slightly futuristic look meshes well with the figure’s overall design. It’s compact, which is helpful since he has to carry it in the Wave Crusher, but it still can lay down a good field of fire should he need it. As a backup weapon, the Sub Viper also has the jagged knife that came with Pursuit of Cobra Shadow Tracker. Truthfully, I don’t really like this knife here. It’s a good piece, but it just doesn’t really fit with the Sub Viper character. Sure, a knife would be useful underwater, but this just seems like way too much of a knife for him. I’d much rather have seen one of the sleek knives that 25th Anniversary Torpedo came with. I think it would have made more sense. Since the Sub Viper doesn’t do all his dirty work from behind the controls of the Wave Crusher, he also gets a pair of flippers. They’re the same ones that 25th Anniversary Torpedo came with. Yes, that means they’re older pieces, but they’re also designed so that he can wear them and still make use of his figure stand. I liked that little bit of engineering back in 2008 and I still like seeing it now. Finally, rounding out his gear, the Sub Viper comes with a pair of Pursuit of Cobra Firefly bombs. Since the GIJCC turned the Sub Viper into a saboteur, this makes a lot of sense. While I didn’t grab a picture of it, to differentiate the Sub Viper’s explosives a bit more from Firefly’s, I’ve taken to stacking them. The two charges can actually plug together and it gives you a surprisingly different look. We’ve seen the bombs a lot, and I like that I’ve found a way to make them look a little different.
When I saw that the GIJCC was originally charge $49 for this set (plus their ridiculous shipping rates—yeah, I know I can’t really blame that on the GIJCC but man, do you have to pay a pretty penny to get stuff from them), I thought they were crazy. The Wave Crusher was a cool idea, but an unchanged, repainted S.H.A.R.C. and a new Cobra was not worth that much. However, I think the GIJCC may have even realized that since it was part of their Black Friday sale. At (I believe) $27, it was well worth the price. That’s not markedly more than what the S.H.A.R.C. ran at retail, and the excellent paint work was definitely worth the extra cost. While the Heartwrencher and the Dreadnok 4X4’s future is currently pretty murky, I’m hoping the GIJCC can release it in late 2017 like they’re hoping since that’s a much more interesting concept. The Sub Viper and Wave Crusher are solid piece and a nice nod to a loved but unheralded part of the Joe line. I know a lot of collectors that absolutely love the 2000s collectors’ series, and they’re right to. However, when people talk about things that need updating, some of the cool stuff from that timeframe doesn’t really get talked about. Once again, the GIJCC stepped up and satisfied the desires of a niche market, and they did so very well. I still think it was initially overpriced, but the Wave Crusher is a good vehicle that manages to do as well as it can with the limitations of its base mold and Sub Viper is a great update of a surprisingly popular army builder that manages to finally forge its own identity by not being a straight up repaint of someone else.