|Code Name: RIP CORD|
At face value, this is one of the strangest entries in the 25th Anniversary series. Included in the 'Assault on Cobra Island' set, Spc. Altitude had a name taken from a 1990 Sky Patrol figure, with the same real name as Freefall, another 1990 character who was a slightly different type of airborne infantry. The thing was, neither appeared in the Marvel comics storyline which roughly corresponded to the sets (indeed, neither existed when the story was published). Rip Cord, however, did - indeed, he had quite a large role.
And the figure does look an awful lot like Rip Cord, aside from the head cast, which does seem closer to Freefall. So, why the weirdness? Hasbro still have the copyright as a totally different Rip Cord appeared as the craaaazy comic relief in Rise of Cobra, and they've shown no hesitation to use the same characters in both the film tie-in and the 25th line, so it can't be a matter of avoiding confusion. All I can think of is that it's a matter of political correctness - having made Ripcord black for the film, Hasbro don't then want to go back and 'contradict' this with a new, white Rip Cord figure. With this in mind, reassigning Spc. Altitude as Rip Cord is a no-brainer for the fans.
The figure itself is very good for the most part. Like the rest of the 'Assault'/'Defence' figures, he's made up of existing parts, but some of the choices are quite smart - notably the reuse of Blowtorch's helmet/mask and the Cobra Paratrooper's parachute. The camouflage scheme is very slick too. Sadly, the tube from the mask doesn't really attach to anything - you can tuck it under the parachute straps, but this then restricts movement. Aside from this, the only problem is that the head cast doesn't look much like Ripcord - I guess the answer to that is that it does look like Freefall, and just changing the hair colour with paint (or switching it with that of Red Star, who shares the same casting) would work. I have switched out the gun that came with the figure, however - it comes with a two-handled affair that looks rather arbitrary; I find a generic assault rifle works better.
Regardless of the slightly confusing nature, the overall result is very easy on the eye. It's one of the more successful 'Cobra Island' figures, and a highly recommended purchase.
Thanks to the Magical Truth-Saying Turtle for this toy!