Hasbro announces new figures in a staged way, the first part being a reveal of just the name of the character they plan to release. The Mole Rat was the first name only reveal where I had no clue what they were talking about, which was kind of exciting. A big part of my interest in G.I. Joe Classified is getting six inch, more detailed versions of some of my childhood favorite figures, but I’m also interested in expanding the story of G.I. Joe with new characters. Let’s take a look at the newly minted, Walmart exclusive Cobra Mole Rats!
The box features a render of the masked Mole Rat in a mining situation with a painted portrait of the infected Cobra in a sickly purple hue. The art agrees with the slight bit of bio information you can find on the Hasbropulse or Walmart order pages:
While Cobra headhunts top scientists and researchers from across the globe, less-qualified recruits wind up as Mole Rats, quarriers and miners seeking new energy sources to power Cobra’s war machine. Extracting deposits of volatile Dark Energon has sparked certain troopers to become mindless husks bent on destroying anything in their path.
I almost feel bad for the guys after that bit, as they seem to have pulled the lamest duty in Cobra. Though how bad can you really feel for an international terrorist? The Mole Rat comes with two heads, a hose that attaches to the masked head, a pack, a Dark Energon container, a scanner, and a weapon with two different attachments.
The weapon comes in three pieces, two different fronts that attach to the same handle, creating what looks like a gun and a drill. The pieces are cast in a black plastic and while the handle seems pretty sturdy, the drill bit and gun barrel are a bit bendy.
The scanner has the look of a geiger counter and is also cast in black plastic and fits in either hand. You can attach the grip of the scanner to the side of the pack. It’s a smart accessory, but I do wish it had some sort of paint detail on the readout portion.
The container is also cast in a black plastic, but does have a little paint detail to indicate there is some Dark Energon in there. The handle is hinged and also attaches pretty securely to the hook on the bottom of the pack. I like the bits of techno-greeblie detail on the container, it has a great tech vibe.
The pack attaches to a peg hole in the back and stays on fairly tightly. There is a hose that comes up from the side that you can attach to a hole in the masked head on the side of the face. Unfortunately, that hose is a fairly stiff plastic, so there isn’t a lot of head movement on the gas mask head. There is some disc shapes on the back that I take to be some sort of filtration device, which is cool detail that make me think of Airtight. I can’t wait for that figure and I wonder if the Mole Rat body might work for that character.
The heads are really great looking. The Mask has a wonderful gas mask styling with a high tech clean suit feel to all the hard surface details. The tiny red circular eyes do add to the slight rodent feel which I imagine could be part of how the Mole Rats got their name.
The hose attaches via peg to a small hole in the nose of the mask and hooks onto a peg on the figure’s chest. It’s a great looking set up, but further hinders head movement. These guys are like Keaton’s Batman, if they need to look around, they have to move their whole torso because the head gets very little movement.
The infected head is delightfully gross and I can feel his pain by looking at that expression. I really like that he has an almost Jack Kirby style to his gritted teeth and that the damage to his face is highlighted with paint details.
Paint is pretty great on that head, especially the glowing eye effect. There is also a bit of glow-in-the dark paint applied to the Dark Energon on his face, the goggle eyes, and the container. There is a bit of mismatch to the orange on the elbows to the painted orange on the figure, but paint is otherwise good.
I really like the sculpting on this figure, aside from the phenomenal portraits we already discussed, the body has a unique, bulky, clean-suit feel to it that stands out. The sealing ring around the costume’s neck, wires along the shoulder, and chest piece all tell a story of some sophisticated and specialized gear.
I also think the re-use of the upper legs from Roadblock and Gung Ho work really well to convey a bulky suit pants by just making the boots shorter. The legs actually swivel at the orange part of the pant leg right above the boot. I had initially thought he used Snow Job parts, but it doesn’t look like there is any shared parts between the two characters.
Articulation is decent for such a bulky character, but it is where this guy doesn’t score full marks for me. Of course the mask hose issue limits head movement, but the stiff plastic storage pouch pieces on the stomach also hinder ab range of motion and the thighs bump up against them in crouches. The bulk of the chest and arms and minimal butterfly hinge does limit two-handed rifle poses somewhat as well. The Mole Rat has:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists (both hinge up/down), hips, and ankles
- Ball and socket waist and mid-torso
- Bicep and thigh swivel
- Hinged butterfly pecs and drop-down hips
- Double hinged knees and elbows
Overall I like this figure a whole hell of a lot, only some articulation issues prevent him from being a perfect figure for me. It is somewhat ironic that his too hard plastic hoses and pouches hinder articulation at the same time where the softness of the plastic can negatively affect the appearance of the drill bit and gun barrel. I do wish he came with some alternate grasping hands for a more zombie feel to his poses and some alternate zombie faces would be great too.
G.I. Joe is no stranger to Zombies, but I feel like this is a fun and unique take on the idea and hope to see more new characters sprinkled into the line where possible. The clean suit mixed with the Energon zombie head feel like a fun mix of the ideas behind the Zombie and Hazard vipers from 2011, but I’d still take Classified versions of those two.