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Cobra Shock Trooper

GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra
by Monkey Boy

So what exactly is the Cobra Shock Trooper? I mean, Cobra already has lots of "standard" troops, from the Vipers to the Cobra Troopers, so where does this guy fit in? Well:

Shock Troopers are an elite tactical assault unit in Cobra. They prepare for every situation with gear to subdue the enemy and breach buildings and barricades: "SANBAT" shock-and-neutralize electroshock batons, high-impact ballistic body shields, sledgehammers and gasmasks.

That... doesn't tell me a whole lot... and was barely even proper English. By the looks of things, these guys are like riot troops or SWAT, only an evil version. Still, if they're sort of an urban assault squad, how are they different from Alley-Vipers? Beats me. Nevertheless, this guy's redundancy hasn't seemed to do any harm to his popularity, and fans seem to love him. I'm always up for a new cool-looking Cobra grunt, so I picked one up.

His sculpt is very detailed. The outfit is very wrinkly, covered in pads and pouches befitting a SWAT-type character. His webgear is covered in pouches, and has an odd little handle on the back. Not sure what that's all about. [It's a real thing on modern body armor: if someone wearing this vest gets injured, his buddies can grab the handle and drag him to safety. --ed.] The head is quite different, with a ninja style hood that extends to cover the entire neck. The rest of the sculpt, while technically good, doesn't really pop out in any particular way.

The paint does little to help that. Shocky here is done entirely in muted grays and blacks, with some red Cobra logos scattered around: a half-obscured logo on his chest, one on each shoulder, and one on his back, with the word "COBRA" spelled down the back under it. There's a Cobra logo on his shirt under the vest, too. We see a splash of skintone where his face is visible, and the eyes aren't bad, but that's all for paint.

So far seems like a pretty bland figure, so what's the appeal? This is Pursuit of Cobra after all, so of course it's the accessories. And the Shock Trooper gets a ton: a helmet, removable goggles, a gasmask faceplate, webgear, a riot shield, a two piece nunchuck-like stun baton, a SPAS-12 shotgun, a large machine gun, a small MP5K machine gun, a Taser pistol, a sledgehammer, a walkie-talkie, and a display stand. Whew. He's like Cobra's answer to the Pit Commando!

The problem? Now, I know I'm in the minority here, but I thought PoC Desert Battle Snake Eyes (v2) came with a few accessories too many, mainly because it was difficult for him to hold them all at the same time. With the Shock Trooper, there's absolutely no way he can hold all his gear. In fact, he can barely hold any of it beyond what you can get in his hands. The walkie talkie plugs into the back of his webgear, and the helmet, goggles and gasmask can be worn at the same time, but other than that you're kind of stuck. The guy doesn't even get a backpack for crying out loud! The shield can be hung awkwardly on the loop on his webgear, but it wasn't designed for that. So, this guy with a shield, four guns, and two melee weapons can only hold two of them at any given time. It seems like a crime. Unless you're army building this guy, there's really no way to display a big chunk of his impressive arsenal.

The Cobra Shock Trooper isn't a bad figure; he's got a nice sculpt and a lot of cool gear. But he underwhelms me a bit, both for filling a seemingly redundant position in the Cobra ranks, and for having such insufficient storage space. Seriously, so far the PoC line has been great in having its figures successfully store their boatload of accessories, so that there were little or no parts of the storage bin. It's almost appalling that a figure with so much extra gear doesn't get a single holster, sheath or backpack to store his extra stuff. Having said that, if you can find enough of these guys to build a squadron, you can outfit them each individually to your liking and have quite an intimidating display. Although seeing as this guy is one of the more popular figures, bolstering your ranks may prove difficult.

-- 02/25/11

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