The G.I. Joe Classified Series Cobra Trooper is the original Cobra rank and file soldier released as part of the Cobra Island Exclusive set in 2020. This action figure is a representation of the original A Real American Hero
rank and file soldier released when Hasbro revamped the G.I. Joe franchise in 1982. It is thus one of the original figures from the Real American Hero line that has become the dominant interpretation of G.I. Joe since its creation 1960s. As such, the Cobra trooper is that undescribed and generic troop builder and recruit whose main function is to fall when attacked by G.I. Joe.
Because this action figure was an exclusive at Target in the United States, and Toys R Us in Canada, months later Hasbro released a repaint that it named Cobra Infantry which had almost had the same gear, except for the Goggles, the arm patch, and the long riffle that came with the Cobra trooper. To help finance the production of certain action figures, Hasbro has been selling exclusive versions first to some retailers before releasing standard versions later with all retailers.
Design-wise, the Cobra trooper comes with more gear than the old Cobra trooper we’ve known, making them more than poorly trained and poorly equipped money for hire troopers. They seem far more competent and deadly with their extensive uniforms and their gear. This re-imagining of the Cobra trooper as more than fodder to be killed off by G.I. Joe has helped make the figure a fan favourite, while making the G.I. Joe Classified line seem bolder an innovative than what came in the past.
The classic dark blue look with black elements appears in the Cobra trooper, linking it with an almost 40-year-old design. The blue has less red than the Cobra infantry’s royal blue suit. The body gear is also charcoal instead of royal blue. Some highlights inside the trousers are not painted black like with the Cobra infantry.
As for the classic Cobra trooper, also known as just “Cobra”, the trooper has the same Second World War German M35 helmet and the face mask covering his mouth and nose. He wears black boots too and sports knee pads. The straps on his jacket resemble the classic Cobra trooper look but are not coloured as if they were metallic. The red Cobra emblem is in the middle on his chest. Having that emblem there is not tactical, but it does replicate the classic look!
The sculpt is excellent with fabric patterns moulded throughout the figure’s trousers. His vest is quite detailed with extra ammunition sculpted in. A remarkable change from the classic Cobra trooper look is the use of a balaclava mask and a separate helmet that he can remove. This element is a novel addition to the Cobra trooper whose heads usually were bare under the helmet. The balaclava better protects his face, showing a angry frown in the part of the eyes exposed. One issue shared with the Cobra infantry is the knife holster that stands in the chest of the figure. The knife’s handle blocks the face partially.
The sculpt of this figure is what set it as one of the best of the Classified line thus far, and what set it as something else than a simple update of the 1:18 action figures from the 1980s and 1990s. This kind of design is what the original G.I. Joe Classified line was aiming for before they switched to recreating 1:12 reproductions of the A Real American Hero line. At the time, Hasbro took more risks in its update and showed that through Classified, G.I. Joe was a contemporary military force. Nostalgia was kept to minimum, making the line more appealing to newer fans. By switching to retro aesthetics, Hasbro pleases its hardcore collectors, but limits the reach of its toys to newer collectors.
Like most Hasbro action figures, the paint is kept to a minimum. The base plastic is what is used and has little washes. The only fully painted part of the figure is the frown behind the balaclava mask which relies on 3D digital painting. Accents are coloured throughout the figure such as the carbon protection plates on his shoulders and the dark grey industrial metallic sheen on hos shin guards and forearms.
The Cobra trooper is not the tallest of the G.I Joe Classified figures. He is slightly shorter than Duke
and a tad taller than Snake Eyes
. In real life, the size of the troops would vary so his scale seems just right. He is shorter than the Alley Vipers, the Vipers, and the Battle Android Troopers. He looks great next to other G.I. Joe figures as well as Marvel Legends and even Star Wars Black Series figures.
The figure is stable but can easily become stiff which makes posing a bit difficult and if the surface is uneven, he can easily fall. I find that every Cobra trooper and infantry is a bit unique in that respect, but overall, they all stand well.
The articulations are the standard ones used with all Classified action figures, such as a neck joint that has a ball joint at the root, allowing it to swivel but also pivot slightly. The head sits on a separate ball point which allows the figure to look sideways, but also pivot his head. The torso has a abdominal crunch but because of the vest, he cannot bend. The waist has a ballpoint allowing the figure’s waist to swivel but also to rock from side to side.
The shoulders have butterfly joints that are somewhat limited. The arm can swivel up and down. The Cobra trooper can raise his arm sideways at about 90 degrees. He has bicep curls and double elbow articulations. His right wrist can bend inside the palm or extend it. The right hand can bend up and down, giving him a trigger hand.
At the hips, he can raise his legs to about 80 degrees. He has the extended hip feature that all G.I. Joe action figures have. I now dislike this feature as it makes the figures a bit more fragile while adding minimum flexibility. Of course, he has thigh swivels, double knee articulations swivels at the shins and calves, as well as ankles that bend up and down, as well as rock from their base. The body armour has peg holes to peg the sub machine gun and the riffle, but they often fall off or get in the way of the back gun holster.
The figure is made of PVC plastic that is soft enough for articulations.
The Cobra trooper has more props than the Cobra infantry. As mentioned above, both have two pistols, and one knife that can be stored on his body armour. The sub-machine gun is fictional. Like the riffle, it has a peg to insert on the figure, but I dislike them as they break the realism of the figure. The riffle is a callback to the one the Cobra trooper had in the original 1982 toy. It has a viewfinder for sharpshooting.
The helmet is removable and fits well on the head. He can wear goggles over his eyes which completely cover his face. These probably have night vision capabilities for when he patrols Cobra Island. They look like the eyes of a snake. Finally, the Cobra trooper comes with a arm patch that fits on either biceps. It can be used as an arm guard that signals the character’s rank in the Cobra forces. I use them to show that they troopers are sergeants or corporals, just above the Cobra infantry and perhaps above the Vipers.
The Cobra troopers come in a package with custom artwork by Kekai Kotaki. It is the same artwork with colour changes and an extra pair of goggles used for the Cobra infantry packaging. The back of the box features a map detail from Cobra Island.
At the time of its release, the Cobra trooper retailed for $19.99 USD and $29.99 CAD. Hasbro has increased the price of all of its Classified figures since. The average price on the secondary market is between $52.85-60.91 USD, according to ActionFigure411.
At the time of their release, these figures were difficult to get. Scalpers bought most of the stock from Target’s website in mere moment. After several releases, target did stock up on the figures, but they remain difficult to find. In Canada, Toys R Us rarely had them in stock. These are no longer sold by most retailers and must be bought of the secondary market.
At the time of its release, many collectors were angry at the exclusive distribution of this toy by Hasbro. The Cobra trooper is an important character that is often bought in multiple instances for army building. To make it an exclusive difficult to obtain was perhaps an error by Hasbro who has since shifted exclusives to repaints. In this case, the repaint was offered before the standard figure with more props. Thankfully, the Cobra infantry filled the army building gap of many collectors as they were widely released. This is a great action figure.