Review by Phillip Donnelly
Looking now at the last item in this internet-exc;usive wave of vehicles, we turn to the F.L.A.K. Cannon vs. C.L.A.W. two-pack. Seeing as how we have a light aircraft and an anti-aircraft gun, I suppose this pairing makes more sense than others, but how do the toys hold up? Let's find out, shall we?
The F.L.A.K. Cannon is, essentially, a really big honkin' gun. There's not a whole lot more to it than that. You can't drive it around a battlefield rat-tat-tat-ing your way through the Cobra ranks. It really just sort of sits there. It seems a bit odd then, that Hasbro would put the effort into updating this toy. But then, you can never have too many huge guns, can you? It may not do much, but it is impressive. As it's an update to an original 1982 item, there is that sense of history Hasbro's line has been tapping. Not owning an original FLAK, I can't tell if this newer version is completely redone. Certainly there are more details on the gun itself, yet the stand looks the same as the vintage release. Either way, it works for what it is.
I, however, am more enamored with the G.I. Joe that comes with it. Look at that, an updated Outback. Er, excuse me, Stuart "Outback" Selkirk. Boy those trademark shenanigans can get annoying. There's a soft spot in my heart for the original Outback - getting into the toyline a little later than others, Outback was one of my first figures. The cool t-shirt with "Survival" printed across in big, black letters may not have been very realistic for a military uniform, but they did a fine job of conveying what this guy was about. The comics gave him a great storyline. And the face had such character - a bushy red beard, a green bandanna - wait a minute! This is Chuck Norris! Why did I not see this before?! Well that seals it. Out back is not only awesome, he is the most roundhouse-kickingest Joe of them all!
I don't recall buying or receiving my Outback. He's just always been there. What happened to his accessories, I can't say. Thank you, Big Brawler, for making the ultimate sacrifice so he could have a flashlight. And look, this new one has a flashlight, too! Oddly, its connecting tabs are a bit bulkier than the old one, but since it's connecting to reused Cobra Trooper legs, I suppose it can't be helped. Once again, Hasbro demonstrates the viability of their "parts library" method - using a smattering of existing parts and just a few new pieces, we get an extraodinary rendition of the classic figure's look. I'm not so big on the vest, though. I would have preferred an update to his backpack and webgear combo.
The other half of this two-pack is the red Cobra C.L.A.W. Making the third use of this 2008 mold, we see the C.L.A.W. here in red. It's a new take on the Cobra glider, and I like it. It's certainly more interesting than white. Practically speaking, it's a huge red target in the sky for the F.L.A.K. Cannon to pound, but Cobra's never really been about practicality, now has it? We have enough bombs to fill out the tabs now, some nice touches of black to prevent a monochromatic, boring paint job, and a small "remote sighting camera." Of course, you may recognize this as the "aerial mine" from the first Flight Pod - a feature the newer one was missing. Well, it's purpose may have changed, but its overall design sure hasn't. There's no one to stop you from calling it a mine and placing it in the seat of the new Flight Pod!
Speaking of repurposing, our pilot for the C.L.A.W. is the Air Viper Commando. Rather than being a follow-up of the con-exclusive figure from 2003, this new guy is clearly an update to 1986's Strato-Viper. Hasbro acknowledges this too, making a repaint of this figure the pilot for the Rise of Cobra's Night Raven. A well-made update to be sure, though he loses some detail without the silver buttons running alongside his chestplate. Early photography showed the pistol on the chestplate to be removable, though sadly this feature is gone. We still get a silver pistol, though.
Though you can get the Air Viper Commando in the "Defense of Cobra Island" 7-Pack, this is the only way to get the Outback figure. Add in the two vehicles and you're looking at a nice value in this set. Though being internet-exclusive, prices tend to be all over the place!
Air Viper Commando (v2)
Stuart "Outback" Selkirk (v6)
F.L.A.K. Cannon vs. C.L.A.W.
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More action shots:
Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly with Chad Hucal
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