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By Thomas Wheeler

This little vehicle turned up at the last minute just prior to Christmas, and given that it bears the SpyTroops logo, rather than the new Valor vs. Venom markings, I have the feeling that it was a very last minute addition, maybe along the lines of "Whoops! Did we forget to ship that?"

There have been some very decent vehicles in the G.I. Joe line this past year. Generally speaking, though, the smaller, carded vehicles have tended to come up short. There have been a few exceptions. The Desert Coyote was decent and the new Cobra Polar Blast is a very worthwhile addition to the line as a whole.

Cobra has needed a great one-man arctic vehicle. They've had some larger stuff over the years -- the Cobra Wolf, the Cobra Ice Sabre, but nothing in this size range. Meanwhile, all these years G.I.Joe has had the Battle Bear Skimobile to run rungs around Cobra on the arctic wastelands.

Looks like Cobra may have finally caught up with the Polar Blast. While not an especially imaginative name, the vehicle itself is excellent. It looks very much like an entirely plausible skimobile -- unusual given the often outrageous designs of Cobra vehicles over the years. It appears to have the capability of being a two-man vehicle, given that there's a rear-facing spring-loaded missile launcher in the back. But you'd really need someone other than the heavily fur-caped Snow Serpent in the front seat to make this work as a two-man vehicle.

And yes, the Polar Blast does come with a figure. Even though I perfer the vintage style figues to the current ones, the Cobra Snow Serpent certainly has the potentail for being an excellent figure.

He actually looks pretty good behind the wheel of the Polar Blast, and unless you were fortunate enough to pick up the Cobra Polar Force set at Toys "R" Us in 1998, it's been a good many years since there have been any Cobra arctic troopers. (Now there's a thought for a special boxed set of traditional-style figures -- some arctic Joes and some arctic Cobras -- can't believe I'm sitting here in Arizona recommending that.)

The Polar Blast also features an assortment of sound effects, which are activated by turning the handlebars. It has an "Action Attack" feature as well, in that when you fire the rear-mounted missile launcher, the seat that it's attached to moves back and forth with a recoil effect. And, as I said, the overall design of the vehicle is excellent. Plausible design, excellent detail, good color scheme.

The Cobra Polar Blast seemed to turn up in fair quantity around Christmas at places like Target and Wal-Mart. How long it lasted I am not certain. This could easily turn out to be a fairly scarce item. But if you can find it, I definitely recommend it.