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By Thomas Wheeler

Much as I don't care for the new-style G.I.Joe 3-3/4" figures (compared to the traditional-style figures), some of the vehicles that come out in this line are actually quite impressive. Such is the case with the new COBRA TREAD FIRE, a small one-man hovercraft that is among the newly released "carded" vehicles.

The Tread Fire has a superb camouflage scheme -- silver and blue, and an excellent overall design. It's a compact vehicle, and looks both heavily armed and armored. The propellor in the back spins very effectively, and the overall detail on the vehicle is excellent.

Although part of the SpyTroops line, it doesn't try to disguise itself as a G.I.Joe vehicle -- fortunately. However, that's not to say it doesn't have its sneaky attributes. It has a removable, unmanned attack drone vehicle that pops out from underneath, which includes a missile launcher. So this little drone can go looking for trouble behind enemy lines, and take care of itself if it finds it.

I also have to say that I especially appreciate the "unmanned" aspect of this. Such was not the case with the sled or whatever it was that popped out from under another recent G.I.Joe vehicle, the Battle Blitz, which had a rather stiff-looking (pun intended) figure molded to it, and frankly looked like a gurney with an uncovered corpse. And trust me, I'm not the only one who's made THAT comparison.

The Tread Fire does come with a figure, however. It's a new trooper division called the Cobra Coils. It's such an obvious and appropriate name for a Cobra trooper you wonder how it took them 21 years to get around to using it. The figure is, alas, one of the new-style figures. And that's a darn shame, because the basic DESIGN of the CHARACTER is one of the best I've ever seen. It manages to be understated and yet high-tech and menacing all in one package. The figure is outfitted in what looks like a silver body-suit with a certain amount of ribbed padding on it, and a rather nondescript helmet. It's an amazingly effective design. The only thing really setting this figure apart from somebody dressed up in full high-tech motorcycle gear is the sidearm strapped to the right leg, and of course, the Cobra logo on the uniform. If they'd produced this figure as a traditional-style figure, I'd be out snapping up every Tread Fire I could find just to have that many Coils troopers around. As it is, I can only regret what might have been.

Overall, I definitely recommend the Tread Fire as an excellent overall small vehicle for Cobra. And congrats to whoever designed the basic "look" of the Cobra Coils character.