Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Valor vs. Venom Wave 4: Gung Ho vs. Wild Weasel

  Review & pics by Fred Meyer

Just when you thought it was safe to open up new Joe two packs, ‘Action Attack’ raises its ugly head! Wave 4 is a mostly standard wave—with gimmicks being found in the accessories rather than the figures. There is one exception; Gung Ho, the original Joe marine, has been omitted from the o-ring treatment. He also comes packaged with the brightest figure in Valor vs. Venom thus far!

Gung Ho:

Gung Ho frontGung Ho back

Many a childhood battle was filled with Gung Ho and his grenade launcher, routing Cobra and making my room safe for democracy. For some reason I took to the ragin’ Cajun as a child and he’s always been one of my favorite Joes. When I first saw this figure at the Joe Collector’s convention in Orlando I was so overcome with joy at the sculpt that I failed to notice the t-crotch until about an hour later. Sigh… Still, this figure is not completely without merit as this is the best Gung Ho sculpt that I’ve ever seen. Just take one look at that bald mug of his and you’ll see what I mean. GH is sporting a handlebar mustache (not a goatee!) that is reminiscent of his original moustache. This is a face that appears to be lifted right from the pages of the comic series. The eyes are not too closely set upon his face and he doesn’t resemble Stone Cold Steve Austin. This is the GH that I’ve envisioned in my head since childhood and I congratulate Hasbro for a fantastic head sculpt. Now, I can see a lot of people already planning how they’ll use this head for Dr. Mindbender customs but to me this IS Gung Ho.

Gung Ho closeup

The rest of the figure design is just as nice. I like the blue sleeveless shirt and black vest combo; again this is similar enough to his original uniform that this seems like a logical update. I love the gray camo pants and the gloves on his hands. In fact, these gloves allow us to have another figure with rotating wrists. I’m not too crazy about the boots, as I’ve always envisioned GH wearing combat boots with the pants tucked in. It just seems a logical move for someone who grew up in the bayous to not want the end of their pant legs to drag in the muck. I even like the holster that is molded on his left leg and the removable cap that adorns his head. (Be careful with the hat—it’s not a super-tight fit and is prone to falling off when he’s moved.)

Gung Ho gear

What I don’t like is the ‘action attack’ feature. Billed as “knife slashing action” GH is supposed to stab his enemies when you slide the lever on his back. (‘Supposed to’ being the key phrase here.) Instead, when the slide is moved, GH raises and lowers his arms in a great impression of a bongo drum player. That’s right, you’ve got “Beatnik Gung Ho with Bongo Action!” Think of how excited the kids in your neighborhood will be when they place Beatnik GH in the Coffee Bar play set! Reenact your favorite poetry readings! Jam out with Nunchuck Swinging Duke! Sigh… I hate action attack. Just give me an updated version of this figure with an o-ring and I’ll be a happy man.

Gung Ho: comparison of VvV non o-ring figure & SpyTroops figure

Wild Weasel:

Wild Weasel frontWild Weasel back

Apparently piloting a Rattler means that you’ll end up bailing out in the dark a lot. That is the only way that I can justify the color scheme on this Wild Weasel figure. This is the same sculpt of Wild Weasel that came with the Cobra Night Adder, just in a brand new color scheme. As such, it is a great example of how much a different color palette can enhance an existing figure mold. WW looks great in red with gray trim. The mold itself is LOADED with detail including Cobra sigils on the toes of the boots. I liked this mold when it came with the Night Adder and I like this mold here.

Wild Weasel closeup

The only real issue with WW is that his color scheme is too much of a good thing. The red used is just a bit too bright to be believable. Honestly, this is such a bright shade of red that we’re bordering on neon. It’s not bad but it really makes him stick out in stark contrast to most of the other figures in the line. This is a color that has NO chance of not being seen as your eye is just drawn to it. IF WW ever has to bail out in hostile territory he’d best ditch the flight suit; otherwise he might as well just paint a bulls eye on his back and wait for Crosshairs to arrive. Heck, with this color even Tripwire could snipe him.

Wild Weasel comparison

Wild Weasel gear

Of all of the two packs in this wave, this is the weakest. A great GH figure hampered by action attack and a WW figure that is just too bright to be believed. With average accessories there is really nothing that makes this set stand out other than the character choices. If you’re a fan of either GH or WW, then you’ll want to snag this set. However, if you’ve already got the Night Adder and are hoping for an o-ring version of Gung Ho, then this is the set to skip.

Gung Ho vs. Wild Weasel

Gung Ho in the field


Copyright 2003