The Trubble Bubble is one of the iconic Cobra Vehicles for me even though I never had one as a kid and I don’t remember any of my friends having one, their appearance in the opening of the cartoon movie alone was enough. This will be my first Trubble Bubble (lord, do I struggle with typing the word trouble like that), so let’s take a look at the G.I. Joe Classified Tele-Viper and Cobra Flight Pod!
We are still in windowless box land and I’m still digging this newer style with a cool action scene render along with a slick painted portrait of the character grabbing the focus on the box.
You get the vehicle, an air mine, two missiles, a figure with three heads, a pack, a gun, and a tube that connects the gun to the pack.
The pack attaches like most G.I. Joe Classified packs, with a peg and it stays on fairly well, though I noticed it has a tendency to skew to the the side slightly due to pressure from the tube and gun. It does have a peg you can attach the gun, but that is somewhat awkward with the tube looping around the arm since the gun will only stay in facing the one direction. The design is very reminiscent of the version 1 Tele-Viper from the ’80s and I do like that they added a bit of purple paint on some of the button details on the pack.
I never really understood the functionality of the Tele-Viper’s “gun”. It kind of looked like a camera on the old file card and this one doesn’t quite have the lens look, so I imagine it could be a sonic weapon of some kind or perhaps a directional communications dampener or laser targeting or perhaps a listening device. I’m just not sure. It does look nicely detailed and fits well in either hand, with the barrel accommodating blast effects.
The alternate heads are a fun addition and I find it funny that the two sneers move in opposite directions. I also like adding a bit of diversity to the ranks and the techno-greeblies on the helmet are wonderfully detailed.
The aerial mine is something I didn’t know about until I was looking at sites like YoJoe.com and 3DJoes.com and in this version the mine looks a bit smaller than the original. It’s not an essential element of the pod for me, I’m not really certain how an aerial mine would work, but I like the detail on it, especially the teeny tiny opening panel with the warning signs. Another nice feature is that the blast effects also fit into a hole in the bottom of the mine.
The pod itself breaks into four main pieces, the body, the jet boosters, and the two missiles. The two missiles connect on a peg to a black piece that can also come off the body of the pod. It’s a nice idea to not ruin the nice sculpting detail of the pod with plain dog-bone pegs when they aren’t holding missiles, but functionally, the missile sticks onto the peg better than the peg sticks on to the pod body, so they fell off frequently.
The sculpting on the pod is so lovely and the design takes the iconic shapes of the vehicle and just juices it up with tons of great detail. There are rivets, panels, wiring, and instrument screens sculpted in and highlighted paint. Things that were stickers on the original are now sculpted and painted details. They even sculpted panel detail into the bottom of the vehicle, which I love but at the same time wish it was a port for a flight stand. The decals are super sharp and I love that there is even cloth wrinkles on the safety belt.
The pod fits the Tele-Viper comfortably and the canopy and control stick hinge open to make placing the figure easier. I did notice that the clear canopy didn’t want to peg closed on the left side initially, however I was able to work it in eventually. The front turret is on a ball joint, so the gun can move around a bit and it also accommodates the blast effects from the Viper or Valkyrie sets. The steering vanes underneath the jets hinge from side to side too.
The Tele-Viper re-uses a lot of the Recondo/Falcon body with some new upper arms, vest, belt, gloves, wrist pieces, and head. I love that the vest covers most of his upper body, but still allows for torso articulation because the belt is a separate piece. The expressions where you can see the mouth are great and the optional fully covered head is a fun new design that really amps up the technological feel of the character. It kind of gives me night-vision vibes, but also a little bit like Cobra has implanted tech into these guys.
The Tele-Viper has a really cool bit of extra detail in his gloves and a tech-gauntlet on his right arm that matches the vibe of the techy helmet and pack well.
The paint is solid on both the figure and vehicle and I especially appreciate all the tampo’d readouts, symbols, warning labels that would have been stickers back in the day. I did have a little bit of paint slop on the visor on some of my figures and it seems like the silver of that visor doesn’t cover the entire sculpted area of the visor, but that’s only noticeable blown up in photos.
This may be weird coming from an army builder, because they did this for us, but I wish they had just done one skin tone for the face so they didn’t have to make the forearms and neck all black. I miss the color break from the warm skin tone and would have preferred to get a darker skinned Tele-Viper with this set and a lighter skinned version re-released down the line or vice-versa. To me, when they paint something sculpted like bare arms all one color like black it looks weird. Like the figure is wearing under-armor or a rash guard.
The articulation is standard for G.I. Joe Classified with most points getting great range of motion. The only exception to that is the ankles. They resist hinging forward, so sometimes he’s tough to balance in poses. I think the forward hinge on ankle is one of those POA that is more important than you think and doesn’t get enough attention. Also, again I am required to state for the record that I wish the upper ball joint in the neck was on a hinge. The Tele-Viper has:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles
- Swivel biceps and thighs
- Double hinged knees and elbows
- Hinged mid-torso, drop-down hips, and butterfly pectorals
- Ball and socket waist, lower neck and head
Overall, the Trubble Bubble itself is a real beauty with a couple slightly annoying engineering problems with the missiles and the canopy closure. The Tele-Viper is a cool figure in his own right even though I’m a bit torn about the arm color weirdness to support army building. I love the head options, but miss the bare arms. It’s great to get a communications officer for Cobra and he can serve all sorts of technical functions for that army. It does make me want to get some computer terminals for this guy to man. The only real gripe I have with this set is that I wish there was a flight stand port on the bottom. I ended up scuffing one I was trying to balance on a flight stand that wasn’t designed for holding this vehicle. It would have been nice to have an out of the box way to display them in flight.