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Cobra Trooper

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

"Red" had better watch its *@&#in' back!

Cobra Troopers form the core of the Cobra forces. Their ranks are made up of criminals from around the world who have been drawn to the sinister hiss and dark message that is the Cobra call. Typically wearing masks to hide their identity, they carry out chaos-causing missions handed down from Cobra Commander, who they faithfully serve without question.

Wow, sometimes the "Republicans are a mindless death-cult" jokes just write themselves, huh? Bye bye, boys, have fun storming the Capitol! Try not to get defeated by America's daring, highly trained special missions force. Or by a single police officer pulling some Looney Tunes shenannigans on you. But hey, if anyone was going to demand that blue lives matter more than everyone else's, it would be the army of murderous goons who dress that way. Also Cobra.

Cobra Troopers used to just cover their mouth and nose with a cloth mask - but in 2021, that's something good people do, so in order to keep them looking sinister, they now wear full balaclavas under their helmets and have a more mechanical device covering their breathing holes. This is still recognizably Cobra the Enemy, though.

As mentioned in the Major Bludd review, this figure is where the molds originated. The underlying uniform works well enough for a generic cannon fodder trooper, looking durable enough to last through long deployments, but cheap enough to write off any losses when the guys wearing it invariably get captured. The entire torso is covered by new webgear, with lots of (sculpted) pockets, pouches, slings, and straps. The Cobra logo is molded right in the center of the chest, lest you forget which evil squad he belongs to. Apparently a not-insignificant number of figures (mainly shipped to Canada?) accidentally had the pelvis molded in black, rather than blue, so either his body armor extended down to groin level, or he was wearing a diaper. Fortunately, this second run of figures doesn't seem to share that problem.

The "Cobra Island" exclusive gets to have a couple accessories that change his look. Yes, there's the removable helmet, but that's not what we're talking about. If you bought this at Target, you also get a pair of red goggles that can cover his eyes, and a red armband/pad thing with a black V symbol tampographed on it. What's that about? Well, from all the way back in Generation 1, the major difference between the Cobra Trooper and Cobra Officer was that the Officer had a silver logo instead of red. But the other major difference was... that the Officer had more complicated webgear. But the other other difference between them was that the Officer had a raised V shape on his helmet, while the Trooper's was smooth. So if we accept that a V is the signifier of a change in rank, then we can pretend putting the armband on the figure turns him into a Classified Cobra Officer figure! Neat!

If you don't count the helmet, the Cobra Trooper is 6¼" tall. Naturally they'd be all different heights, because Cobra definitely can't be any pickier than real armed forces are, but it's not like Hasbro can make a bunch of different molds to make taller or shorter toys. Well, technically you could make him taller yourself, if you want to: remember that Classified figures have those extra hinges in the hips (meant to make lifting the legs easier), so if you pull those down, your Trooper will be slightly taller than average. Other than those, he also has a balljointead head, hinged and balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders on pectoral hinges, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, balljointed waist, balljoint hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. The webgear keeps the chest from moving a little, but it's not so tight as to make the joints useless.

We already talked about the Cobra Trooper's helmet, goggles, and armband, but that's far from all you get. There are two pistols, a knife, a short rifle, and a sniper rifle. The handguns can holster on the front and back of his vest, while the bigger guns have pegs that fit holes on the back of the webgear. The knife is supposed to go in a sheath on the left side of his chest, but I had to order this figure when Target at last re-listed it online, and the one they sent is missing that piece. There's a reason buying things online is never as good as buying them in person. At least it's a minor flaw, rather than something glaring?

The choice to release GI Joe's #1 armybuilder figure as a store exclusive was, at best, suspect. And at worst, downright stupid. Maybe it wouldn't have been such a bad decision if the figures weren't released smack dab in the middle of the worst global supply-chain freeze in living memory - remember, the Cobra Trooper came out alongside Baroness in summer of 2020, so it's just taken Hasbro this long to finally get the figures in numbers large enough to begin to meet demand.

-- 07/23/21

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