DVD Battles Pack Set 3 of 5
Ah, another DVD Battles set for us to open. But what's this? Set 3 is Arise, Serpentor, Arise? Oh Hasbro, you fool! You've mixed up your years! Oh well. I'm sure most of you will ignore the numbering anyway. So what's in store for us this time? We've got four figures, a DVD, and another piece of the M.A.S.S. Device puzzle. Should be fun!
For those of you who passed on Rhino's Season 2 Part 1 set, this is perhaps the only way to obtain a legal copy of any Sunbow Season 2 episodes on DVD. With the Rhino set in particular getting outrageous prices on the secondary market due to its scarcity, it's also the thriftier option of the two. As a mini-series, it's been reviewed many times over. Needless to say, the inclusion of Serpentor into Cobra's ranks is a very divisive issue in the fandom.
Well hello, Mr. Tadur! (Or is it Rudat? Maybe Cobra Commander was just confused that one time.) Interesting to see Dusty in a mostly 1986-centric set. Obviously he's meant to look more like the 1985 figure rather than the Sunbow version. Odd choice of camouflage, though. I don't really know of a tiger-striped desert look. Of course, the camo on the figure has always been a bit murky. I can only guess that the original figure was to have the then-current chocolate chip camo, but the cartoon added in green - oddly foretelling the use of the Desert Camouflage Pattern used by the military in the next decade. He comes with that FAMAS rifle I love so, and also the XMLR-3 rifle that was so prominent in the cartoon. (Hey, Flash had the XMLR-1A in 1982. Snow Job got the v3 in 1983. How'd they jump two versions in a single year? No government testing facility is that efficient!) Make sure your Dusty has the harness, missing from early set releases (including mine!). It doesn't look like Hasbro's going to let people missing this item have a way to replace them. Also interesting to note is that Dusty's goggles, while removable, are way too large to fit neatly on his face. Oops!
Hasbro, you're trying so hard to please us with this Serpentor, aren't you? You've given him back the classic helmet look, even added a little breastplate to make his torso look more like the v1 figure. But you still stuck with the v4 mold! It's not that it's a bad look (well, not to me), it's just not what Serpentor originally looked like. And the color choices? Gold on mustard yellow? Kinda dull. The vibrancy of the original figure is just lost here.
The Cobra B.A.T. (v18) is nearly identical to the single carded release. The only differences are the cartoon-accurate red faceplate, lack of paint wipes, a different shade of silver for the attachments, and a Fang missile launcher. It's the DTC spring loaded launcher, so now it's okay to hold it upside down, I guess. I wonder how the H.E.A.T. Vipers feel about being outsourced to mindless robots, though. Incidentally, If you're not crazy about the fact that the backpack can't hold three attachments like the original, you can still make it so that the B.A.T. can hold all of his accessories at once. As you can see here, the empty space in the backpack can fit one of the B.A.T.'s hands. When pegged into place, the hand doesn't fall out. This frees up an arm to sport one of the attachments, keeping the other two on the backpack.
Oh, Montezuma's Skeleton. I wish I could call you an accessory; I really do. But you've got more articulation than the first Deep Six figure! If he gets his own archive page, I guess you do too. And I know people are laughing about that fact too, thank you very much David Willis! But what about the figure itself? Well.... it's a skeleton. Not much characterization there, not even a filecard. I kinda wish this was Hannibal, though, so we could tie it into the Hannibal: Reborn figure. He's got a few accessories, including a sword which you can pry from his cold, dead hands. That's about it, though, there's not much to this guy.
The M.A.S.S. Device part in this set is the Control Turret. Unlike some other pieces out there that look okay on their own and even interact with other pieces in the set, this one just sits there, looking like an unfinished weapon of some kind. Which it is, really, so I guess that can't really count against it. Until we can finish the M.A.S.S. Device, though, it's just something to be lost in a drawer somewhere.
So what's the final verdict for this set? Honestly, I don't know if I can outright recommend it. Sure, you get an excellent Dusty and another troop builder in the B.A.T. But a skeleton in place of an actual character and another iteration of Serpentor leave me a little cold. Still, you'll have to pick up this set if you wish to finish off your M.A.S.S. Device, and it comes with a lengthy cartoon. It's a mixed bag, really. I'd say if you can find this sucker on clearance (and finding this set at retail at all is something of a chore, not to mention none of these are on clearance at this time!), then I think it's worth a purchase.
More action shots:
Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly
Figures courtesy of BigBadToyStore — get your G.I. Joes and much more at BigBadToyStore!