Review by Phillip Donnelly
Let me get this out of the way first - this vehicle is not an update of the Valor vs. Venom Sting Raider. No, it is the modern incarnation of the Water Moccasin. Though if you're reading this site, chances are you already knew that. I guess that's another trademarked name lost. Now that that's done with, let's take a look at this Sting Raider.
I am slightly ashamed to say I never owned the Water Moccasin as a child. I had a friend who did, so it's not as if I've never been exposed to it. I do have enough familiarity with the Water Moccasin to realize that the Sting Raider is an entirely new mold.
That Hasbro would take the time to resculpt a vehicle and update it with losts of little added details is an unexpected bonus of this line. We've seen it on the RAM Cycle, C.L.A.W., and the Ghost H.A.W.K. as well. In most cases, it's been a change for the better. I'm not sure if the new molds are made because Hasbro feels the old version could use an update, they cannot find the original molds, or the old molds cannot fit today's larger figures. Whatever the reasons, we the collectors are benefitting.
I do enjoy this thing. From the rotating turret, to the spinning fan blades, this is a fun vehicle. There's some nice new details on there, like the metal grating where the foot posts are. The sculpted surface looks exactly like some metal flooring I've walked on over the years. The torpedo and removable engine cover are two gimmicks carried over from the original toy that hold up very well. As before, there are some weapons storage bins on either side of the engine. It's fun little touches like this that go a long way to making this vehicle stand out. The decals on this vehicle are, thankfully, easily applied. There's no tricky places to try and squeeze sticker in - they're all nicely out in the open.
As with the Water Moccasin, our pilot is Copperhead. However, we already got a normal Copperhead in an earlier comic pack. Well, Hasbro changed things up a bit and gave us Copperhead in his Python Patrol uniform. Not only that, but this figure is not a straight repaint! Instead of the holster the earlier figure got, this Copperhead sports a very tight fitting sheath for a new knife. And in more proof that Hasbro does listen to its fans, we get a pair of newly sculpted hands, replacing those oddly shaped extremities first seen on Roadblock (v16).
Another point in Copperhead's favor? He doesn't copy his original Python Patrol look exactly. Anyone who's seen it can say that the colors on that figure look a little garish. Especially odd is the totally unpainted waist, leaving us with only a very bright yellow waist. For this iteration, Hasbro took its design cues from the original figure, but toned down some of the brightness and varies the colors. Yes, he still wears a yellow and black helmet, but the yellow here is more of a mustard hue that the lemon he used to sport. Instead of the python paint scheme totally dominating the arms and legs, Copperhead keeps his bare arms and limits the python scheme to the outer legs. Add in a few more touches of red than the original, and we have a very nice looking costume.
To me, this purchase is a no-brainer. It's a great update to a classic vehicle, with a very cool figure to pilot it. It's incredibly hard to find in stores at the moment, though. Your best bet to find this puppy is an online vendor. Happy hunting!
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More action shots:
Images from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly with Chad Hucal
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