Python Patrol Copperhead and Water Moccasin
Copperhead and I go way back, though strangely, my love of the Water Moccasin is fairly recent. That’s because the Copperhead I knew back in the day was KansasBrother’s Python Patrol version. I thought he was really cool but had I known he was first released with an equally cool vehicle, I would have thought he was even better. When Hasbro released Copperhead in his classic blue color scheme in a comic pack, I kind of figured that would be all we’d get for Copperhead. It made sense considering how unfortunately little attention vehicles got during the early part of the 25th Anniversary line. Yes, there were quite a few good vehicles, but they were also repainted a lot more. Considering how hard it is to repurpose the Water Moccasin, I thought for sure Copperhead’s ride would never show up. Imagine my surprise when I learned that his signature swamp boat was slated for release in 2009. However, that then raised the question of what Copperhead would look like. Hasbro may have made some odd calls with vehicle drivers during the 25th Anniversary line, but they did always try and do something to make vehicle drivers look different from previously released versions of the same figure. I may be in the minority here, but I love that Python Patrol Copperhead came with the Water Moccasin (sorry, I’m not going to call this thing the Sting Raider—I didn’t like that name during the Valor Vs. Venom line for a different vehicle and I still really don’t like it). I got an updated version of the Copperhead I remember and I also got his great boat. It’s a win-win for me, but anyone that snagged the Copperhead/Shipwreck comic pack had a nice version of the classic Copperhead to stick in the cockpit of his boat.
Python Patrol Copperhead is a great example of how well Hasbro repurposed parts during the 25th Anniversary line. Just looking at the two original figures, I wouldn’t have thought that Roadblock and Copperhead could share parts, but they do rock a pretty similar look. Python Patrol Copperhead shares his upper body with 25th Anniversary Roadblock and that’s a great call for him. I’ve always kind of thought Copperhead was supposed to be a big guy and those are some great big parts. However, unlike his comic pack brother, Python Patrol Copperhead gets a pair of new hands that can actually hold things. The reason I passed on the comic pack Copperhead is because those Roadblock hands were useless and I didn’t want Copperhead standing around with hands that looked ridiculous. The different hands really help fix my only criticism of the original 25th Anniversary Copperhead figure. His legs and head come from the original 25th Anniversary Copperhead. The legs are very well detailed. I loved the reinforced pants he’s wearing. They just look pretty cool and they’re a very accurate representation of the original Copperhead’s pants. To make his torso a little more interesting, Copperhead is wearing a shoulder holster over his black tank top. It looks really good on him and it’s a nice way to distance him a bit more from 25th Anniversary Roadblock. Up top, Python Patrol Copperhead is rocking his great helmet. This thing is an amazing piece. I always thought the details on KansasBrother’s vintage Python Patrol Copperhead were just a little soft, but that can’t be said here. His helmet looks great and you can clearly tell what everything is supposed to be on this helmet. I see his helmet as made of two pieces. You’ve got the helmet with built-in ear protection and then you’ve got the face guard. I just wish they could have given us a Copperhead with a removable helmet. I’ve always preferred removable helmets and I’d really love to see what a scummy guy like Copperhead looks like underneath his helmet. I think the designers could have given us a really cool head sculpt filled with character if they’d gone with a removable helmet. What little of his face you can see is pretty intimidating. Copperhead’s got a pretty mean stare and pairing that stare with a dude as big as Copperhead and you have a guy you definitely wouldn’t want to mess with. That really couldn’t be said of the original Copperhead and it’s nice that the modern version of him better represents how I’ve always seen him.
The only real difference between the Python Patrol Copperhead and the comic pack version is their color schemes. While this isn’t a straight-up recreation of the 1989 Copperhead, I think that’s probably a good call. Python Patrol Copperhead looks great without his skintight pythonized shirt. I always thought that looked a little odd, even as a kid. I couldn’t figure out why he was wearing a tank top over a tight shirt. Well, it turns out there was a reason for that. On the original figure, it was bare skin. Mercifully, the paint team decided to leave Python Patrol Copperhead’s arms and chest un-pythonized and he looks much better for it. Overall, the paint scheme of the modern Python Patrol Copperhead is far better than his vintage counterpart. The two-tone pants really let the details that are in the mold stand out much better. His groin and the outer parts of his pants get the yellow and greenish Python Patrol color while the inner legs are just a greenish brown. It really helps make that detail pop much more than it used to. Up top, Copperhead is wearing his classic black tank top with a red shoulder holster. It looked great back in 1989 and it looks even better now since he doesn’t have pythonized skin. His helmet has the same bright yellow and black look that the 1989 version did and while it’s not ideal, it works well with the figure’s overall color scheme, so I’ll give it a pass. Since there’s almost no yellow on this figure, I would have preferred seeing it a shade or two darker to make it closer to the yellow stripes on his legs, but that’s just me. My favorite detail is the new ink that Copperhead picked up. To show devotion to the unit I’ve always felt he led since he was the only named Cobra attached to it, Copperhead has the Python Patrol logo on his right bicep. I really do love that logo and I like seeing it on Copperhead’s arm since it’s another one of those things that I think adds to his Dreadnok-y vibe. Perfect world, I’d love to see Copperhead with a bit of a tan or sunburn like they did on Pursuit of Cobra Zartan, but as it stands, his skintone is fine, even if he is a little paler than I would have thought he’d be. Python Patrol Copperhead is a great modern figure because it references the original version of the figure but left out the things that didn’t really work all that well on it back in 1989.
Vehicle drivers usually don’t get much in the way of accessories, and while Python Patrol Copperhead doesn’t get the M-16 that the comic pack version came with, he does at least get the same knife to fill the sheath on his right leg. The knife is a piece they made back for the first 25th Anniversary Copperhead and I find myself liking it a lot. It’s a bit different look than your typical military knife and I think that works for Copperhead. I’ve always seen Copperhead as more in line with the Dreadnoks than Cobra proper so I like this his gear has an element of “taking whatever works for you” to it. However, I do wish the knife blade had been shaped a little differently. This piece just looks kind of dull. The combat knife used a lot in the 25th Anniversary line wasn’t sharp, but it looked like it was. As much as I like the handle on Copperhead’s knife, the blade does kind of leave it looking like a large butter knife…though I supposed if Copperhead stabbed you with a butter knife it would hurt a lot more than if he did it with a sharp blade. Still, it’s just a little bit of an odd look. I also want to bring up something else that my Copperhead didn’t come with. As far as I can tell, looking back through my photos and records, Copperhead came to me sans a figure stand. It’s not that big of a deal since I had a few extras lying around from people that were in vehicles, but I know I wouldn’t have taken Copperhead’s photos on someone else’s stand if I had one for him somewhere. I don’t know where it could have ended up, so I’m thinking somewhere, that piece just didn’t get put in a bag at the factory. It’s not a big deal since he’s a vehicle driver, but I was a little confused when I pulled Copperhead out of storage and discovered he didn’t have a figure stand in his bag.
Of course, Copperhead is a Cobra that’s defined by his really cool vehicle and the modern Water Moccasin does not disappoint. To accommodate the larger modern figures, the new Water Moccasin uses all new molds and they do an excellent job of recreating the vintage vehicle. All the details and added features are present on this version. The Water Moccasin is a vehicle I’m not quite sure how to use, though, due to Cobra’s very odd navy. The Water Moccasin is clearly a mid-range boat and that’s an odd niche to try and fill. It can carry more weapons and troopers than a Sea Sled, but the Moray can carry even more and has even more impressive weaponry. To me, the Water Moccasin is best deployed with a group of smaller Cobra boats. The Water Moccasin can harass the port security with its large forward cannons and its turret-mounted machine gun so it’s going to draw the most attention. Then, a few Cobras on a Sea Sled or Night Landing Craft can slip in during the ensuing chaos to complete the actual mission. The large fan engine is clearly going to give the Water Moccasin some impressive speed and its extremely shallow keel means it’s going to be able to get into a lot of places other boats can’t. The Water Moccasin can carry four Cobras into battle and that’s a good number for a vehicle this size. The two riding on the running boards can hop off into the water while the gunner and driver provide them cover. In the back of the boat, there are even two weapons bins with removable covers that can carry the gear that the Cobras riding in the Water Moccasin need for later land operations. The modern Water Moccasin is a very stoutly- built vehicle and I appreciate that. Everything feels solid and even the spinning fan engine doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart in my hands. If you pop off the storage bin covers, you can also remove the back engine panel and the Water Moccasin’s engine looks pretty powerful. I count at least four engine cylinders back there to power the fan. Considering most boats run on a single cylinder engine, the Water Moccasin can definitely book it. Underneath the Water Moccasin, Copperhead has one more surprise, a little aquatic mine. I realize that the instructions call it just a regular torpedo, but I’m guessing the skis would keep it afloat on top of the water like a mine. Whatever it is, I think it’s pretty cool. I can see Copperhead using it is a last ditch weapon to deter some pursuers and I can also see Copperhead being the one that made at least the prototype. It’s got a very “redneck engineering” feel to it and considering how much the filecard says Copperhead tinkered with his ride, I can see him coming up with something like this as well. My only real complaint about the Water Moccasin is its canopy. The glass back can be detached to allow easier access for the figure but it is really difficult to pop loose. Truthfully, I’ve been a little afraid I was going to break it every time I’ve ever taken out or put Copperhead behind the controls of the Water Moccasin. I’m glad it fits as tightly as it does because that means the piece won’t get lost, but I really hate that almost-breaking sound the clasps make every time I need to get at Copperhead.
The Water Moccasin’s color scheme and stickers are also great. While I was a little bummed that the Water Moccasin was from the era when the stickers were all pre-applied, they still look great. The teal is a great base color for the Water Moccasin. It’s close enough to Cobra blue that it’s clear which motor pool it belongs to but it’s also a little more in line with colors used on boats for camouflage. The black weapons and fans make sense and everything works very well here. The stickers are great and I love the classic “Cobra with a Machine Gun” sticker on the front of the boat. I’ve loved this sticker since I saw it back when I first saw the Water Moccasin in high school and it looks great here as well. Honestly, the only way I’d love Copperhead’s ink more is if he had that tattooed on his other bicep. The stickers do the heavy lifting in terms of making the Water Moccasin look interesting and they do their job well.
Hasbro has gotten a lot of mileage out of the modern Water Moccasin and the modern Copperhead, but that’s just fine with me. The figure is well done (and better executed than the first 25th Anniversary version) and the Water Moccasin is an amazing boat. It may not have changed much between iterations, but I’m glad Joe fans got so many bites at the apple on this one. Had it not been for KansasFather attending a conference on the other side of South Dakota from where he lives (and being willing to hit up a Toys ‘R’ Us for his Joe-collecting son), the classic Water Moccasin would not have wound up in my collection. I had a lot of trouble running down the Water Moccasin and the Sky H.A.W.K. so I’m glad both those vehicles have been released in a couple of different forms because they’re really good vehicles and every Joe fan should have some version of the modern Water Moccasin in their collection. I don’t know if I was alone in having trouble finding the first 25th Anniversary Water Moccasin, but I know I would have definitely gone after one of the later releases if I hadn’t been able to find this one. I was never much of a boat guy as kid, so I’m not sure the original Water Moccasin would have even been on my radar. However, the modern version really has made me a Water Moccasin guy. I do wish Hasbro had found a way to make a Joe Devilfish to square off against it, but beyond my wish for a Joe boat to go head to head with the Water Moccasin, I really have no major complaints about this set. Python Patrol Copperhead references the original figure well while making some important changes to make him more effective and he looks at home in the canopy of his boat.