The JoeCustoms Awards nomination process is now open. You have until January 30th at 11:59pm PST to submit your form. Details on the JCA main page.
Real Name: Thor Bradley
Primary Specialty: Aerial Combat
Secondary Specialty: Training and Management
Primary Specialty: Airborne Reconnaissance
Secondary Specialty: Sabotage or Sniper (by individual)
First was the Viper Glider, then the CLAW, then the Air Commando glider. Finally, the epitome of personal glider flight: the Air Assault Glider. The glider pilot too has evolved, and Sauron is largely the cause. Not content with recon and anti-paratroop defense, Sauron drills the Raptor-Vipers and their elite Air Devils relentlessly in both aerial and ground combat. He himself is qualified on the SAW and sniper rifle.
- - - - -
From "The History of Cobra: Raptor-Vipers," an interview with Cobra Commander. Recorded by Crimson Tele-Viper Specialist First Class Howard in service to COBRA.
Contrary to popular belief, there are some elements of society who are undesirable, even for our standards. While COBRA demands a certain ruthlessness in our work for social change, each individual soldier does have standards of discipline to meet within COBRA. If you cannot follow orders, if you do not have the will to keep from harming your fellow troopers, if you prove unable to be trained in a useful battlefield skill -- well, we have regiments for you. The Sand Scorpions. The "Leaky Suit Brigade". The Range Vipers.
Until recently, the glider pilot field of Air Devils was another of our "penal divisions." The entrance 'exam' consisted of no actual training -- just cut loose from a COBRA Sky Crane five miles out from the Island, over shark-infested Caribbean waters. Did you think this was a field we'd get recruits for? This was our punishment for those ex-troopers who were convicted of capital crimes against COBRA or one of its loyal members and families. Anyone who survived the flight was stuck with a flimsy, vulnerable cloth glider performing recon and spotting for our operations.
Captain Bradley changed all that. He was one of those undesirables: a thug and extortionist recruited on one of the Dreadnoks' many jail stints. Initially, he opted for the Viper program with an eye for the Alley Vipers, but the Blueshirt pay grade was apparently too low for his taste. Bradley created a shakedown and blackmail scheme among his other recruits, and even some of his trainers.
While the man certainly had ambition, he dared to victimize his fellow COBRAs, and this kind of dissention in the ranks cannot be allowed. Skullbuster was particularly eager to drive Bradley's ego into the ground as a Swamp Rat [Range-Vipers who have not won their reprieves], but Bradley caused a scene at his trial with an escape attempt that left one judge dead and a Viper bailiff demoted for having his sidearm overpowered so easily. Bradley's unrepentant attitude and capacity for violence against fellow Cobras made us decide to take his chances with the sharks.
Obviously, the man survived, thus gaining assignment into the Air Devils. What he found was a disorganized, pathetic joke of a unit. All the men knew they were expendable; they preyed among themselves as well as the area around their South American "headquarters" [prison]. But where most men resigned themselves to this fate, Bradley, somehow, saw opportunity.
Through force of will and strength, he took command of first his squadron [cell block], then the entire division of Air Devils. While the guardsmen assigned to the Devils' HQ alerted us that the Air Devils were becoming more orderly and compliant, they did not realize that is was because of Bradley's leadership. The Devils began training in earnest, and more of their recon missions performed successfully, and with the Devils returning alive.
What surprised us is that when the Devils began to complete their terms of rehabilitation (a feat in itself), a great majority wished to remain with the unit, even some who were originally in high-paying divisions like the Tele-Vipers and Techno-Vipers. That's when Bradley staged the first of his two major coups.
He had a Devil who was a former Tele-Viper hack into Cobra's computer system and locate a warehouse of prototype CLAW powered gliders. When an internal investigation team landed by helicopter inside the prison headquarters, the Air Devil division wrested control of both the prison and the Mamba -- in a bloodless strike, no less; the man had learned his lesson.
In an inspired move, Bradley ordered the inspection team to remain on the Mamba to witness their operation. The Air Devils flew to the warehouse of CLAWs, overpowered the BAT guards there, and returned with the equipment to the base. He then placed the former guards and warden on a Sky Crane, and informed the inspection team that the Air Devils were ready and willing to have an increased role in serving Cobra, but that they would have the rights and recompense of any other favored division, like the Eels and Alley Vipers. He then took the team and guards back to Cobra Island, and presented himself to High Command for judgment.
With the inspection team's testimony, and the Devils' show of restraint both with the team and their former jailors, I chose to allow the glider division to rise out of 'penal' status, and merged them with the Aero-Vipers to form the Raptor-Vipers. Within six months, Bradley had ramped the 'legitimate' Aero-Vipers to the caliber of his Devils, had the techs among his Devils create improvements in the rechristened Air Assault Gliders, and presented a future training program for the gliders' expanded role in operations. He also presented COBRA with proceeds from "off the books" operations the Devils performed as their application for Crimson-level status.
Now, the Air Devils are known as the elites of the Raptor-Vipers, the most feared and deadly of the glider pilots. Oh, they still undertake the five-mile test over shark-infested waters, but it is a rite of passage before any Python-level Raptor-Viper can join the elite Air Devils.
Captain Bradley is the epitome of their division, their leader and inspiration. As Sauron, he would make a fine addition to my Nightmares.
I started out working on this character with Hit and Run in mind, using a molded green cast head also from Aly. Ultimately, that head did not fit on this torso, however.
I lengthened the torso with green stuff, and chose to paint the shirt maroon with the idea for a "Slaughter's Marauders" edition of Hit and Run, which worked well with the arms.
For leg mods, the extension of the pouch belt (on the left leg) came from a Firefly (VvV) waist, and the Cobra sigils on his knees from a gray Iron Grenadier (SpyT).The side pouch further has a hole drilled into it, in which to accept the peg I placed in the binoculars.
The Guillotine helm had its hoses cut away to be more in line with the large visor of the original Air Devils.
The parachute has been glued to the black web belt, part of which was cut away to allow for a flush fit. The remaining section of pouch has a hole to attach the SAW for during flight (below).
Both guns are customized: The sniper rifle simply has its ammo clip swapped out (and pegged for removability in play), and is slung by the silencer and grip. The Saw comes from three weapons: the stock off the Corps knock-off Rock Viper gun, the barrel and molded bipod and the box clip from an Elite Force M249 SAW, and the central register from the scoped AK-47 mold originally used for Red Star. Unlike the sniper rifle, the SAW's clip is not removable.
This design will include the add-on Razor Wings to unify this design with my past Raptor Viper designs. The blades fit in holes I will cut in the Barrel Roll SpyTroop sleeves and preserve the function given in those prior versions.
To finish him out, he also gets a straight repaint of the Air Assault Glider which came with Barrel Roll v1.