|Code Name: HEAVY METAL|
Another one with a bit of a strange story. Heavy Metal was the driver packed in with the Mauler MBT vehicle in 1985. Like most of the vehicle drivers, he was then made available by mail order on his own for a few years after. Then, in 1989, something strange happened - unsold Brazilian stock was offered by the same process, with the figure (slightly different, but still recognisable) inexplicably renamed Rampage. It's possible Hasbro lost the trademark, but it's unlikely considering Heavy Metal was still in stores with the Mauler until 1987.
Anyway, the upshot of this is that Rampage was homaged as a vehicle driver packed with the Rise of Cobra RHINO vehicle. This basically turned out to be a backdoor 25th figure, as Rampage looks pretty much exactly the same as the original Heavy Metal, right down to the insignia on the right shoulder and the strange gold pistol. I was especially chuffed by this odd turn of events - Heavy Metal was a moderately prominent character in the Marvel Action Force comic, so I wanted one, and the original can be rather expensive.
The resemblance is especially uncanny considering this is another 'parts' figure - Bazooka's head is nicely hidden by Airborne's helmet, while Hawk's leather-effect arms blend perfectly with Wild Bill's flak jacket. It's all very nicely done, with the added bonus that the figure seems to be compatible with the majority of the classic vehicles while retaining 25th-level articulation. Sadly, I still don't have a Mauler, so he's having to make do with an Armadillo for the time being. He's probably a bit pissed off about that.
While this ersatz Heavy Metal won't be of interest to most, he's very well executed and a nice surprise buried in the dross of the Rise of Cobra line. He doesn't even come with a massive spring-loaded weapon you won't know what to do with (well, unless the RHINO counts; even then you can do what I did and source a loose one from a Hong Kong seller).