(Off Topic) Cobra Night Raven review


Dark Lord of the Typos
To follow up on my Cobra Night Raven clearance purchase at Walmart yesterday, I thought I'd give a quick review. I'll give a quick personal intro first.

The original Night Raven from 1985(?) was one of my dream toys as a kid. I never got to see one in person...I only got to look at it in all its stealth glory from the toy pamphlets included with other toys. The closest I got was the mini-jet that attached to the back of the Night Raven...a one-man fighter....which I managed to pick up at a garage sale. Then, a few years ago, when I still lived in New Orleans, I was at a local thrift shop and was browsing the games when I spotted a GI Joe box. It wasn't just any box....it was a vintage Cobra Night Raven still in it's original box! While the box had been opened, the Raven had never been assembled and all the stickers, accessories, and Pilot were still sealed in a poly-bag. And how much was this gem? $5.95. I'd finally gotten one after what...15 years?

Well.....when the new GI Joe movie put out it's own updated toy of the Night Raven....I knew I would get one.....it was just a matter of waiting for the price to drop. $19 sounded good to me.

The original Night Raven was huge, and was packed with numerous action features, as was standard for any vintage GI Joe vehicle. This new jet is smaller, has fewer features, but is unmistakably a Night Raven and still pretty darn cool. It measures about 20" long, and features lights/sounds, firing missiles, landing gear, and a drop-down cockpit that holds one pilot. The cockpit is nicely done. On the original, it dropped straight down. This time, you raise a hatch/lever on the top of the jet and the cockpit swings down. Very cool. This lever would have been the hidden machine guns on the original. Since you only need to open the cockpit while landed, there are no longer machine guns located here. So, while the upper hatch/lever it less exciting than the original, the cool drop down feature makes up for the loss.

Not unlike the original, the landing gear can be manually lowered. Alas, none of the wheels actually turn.

There are I believe a total of seven different sound effects. There are three buttons on the top of the jet. The first one activates a missile-lock sound, and missiles firing (lights up the missile area). The second features three different short radio chatter clips....not specific to any movie character....mostly just unidentifiable chatter. The third button plays an engine running sound, and lights up the rear thrusters.

The jet also has a fold-down handle on the bottom, very similar to the Power-F/X X-Wing. The trigger on this handle fires missiles from either missile bay, along with sounds. The missiles are in a rotating cylinder, not unlike bullets in a revolver. Once you have fired missiles from the top chamber, the jet will make machine gun fire noises until you rotate the missile cylinders. You do this by actually grabbing the neck of the Night Raven and sliding it back toward you, just like you were firing a shotgun. This rotates missiles on either side into the top slot. You then pull the trigger and they will launch....repeat. Overall, a cool feature that will launch all twelve missiles in about 6 seconds.

And that's it. No engine hatches or other features, but still pretty cool. It comes with a repaint of the Air Viper figure.

For comparison, the modern Night Raven has these features:
lowering cockpit
landing gear
firing missiles

Vintage Night Raven:
lowering cockpit
landing gear
hidden machine guns
missiles in missile pods
engine access hatches
moveable air flaps

I know this isn't Star Wars related, but the Night Raven is one of my favorite toys, and I enjoy having my TIE Pilots fly them around.