G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe Classified Series Special Missions: Cobra Island Baroness with C.O.I.L.
By Hervé St-Louis
June 8, 2021 - 00:05

Cover Artist(s): Craig Drake
$40 USD, $59.99 CAD



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The Baroness first appeared in G.I Joe comics #1 in 1982 even though her first action figure was released in 1984, by creating her as the lieutenant and intelligence officer of Cobra Commander and Cobra, cartoonist Larry Hama cemented her presence, leading to her joining the first G.I. Joe cartoon before being released as an action figure. The Baroness comes from a rich European aristocratic family and became an anarchist before joining Cobra.

The Baroness’s bike, the CO.I.L. is named after the secretive organization behind Cobra in many incarnations, often acting as a fifth column or a shadowy force trying to overthrow whoever leads Cobra at the time. The label Coil had never been used for a G.I. Joe vehicle prior. Motorcycles are not prevalent weapons used by Cobra forces either. The Cobra Ferret ATV is the closest to a motorcycle that Cobra had besides the more recent Wheel Blaster bike. To understand why the Baroness would be riding this bike, just remember that beau Destro manufactures high-tech weapons for Cobra and is the kind of guy to gift her with her own ride.

Obtaining this toy set has been difficult for many collectors and fans because of the initial limited distribution to Target in the United States, and Toys R Us in Canada. But this set is finally being distributed correctly and fans can get their own without having to pay scalpers’ exorbitant markup prices.

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Likeness

The Baroness used as model here is not the original blue uniform Baroness from the comics and the first G.I. Joe cartoon mini-series. Instead, the Baroness’s uniform is inspired by her first action figure which sported an all black-leather dominatrix look with ridges mimicking a snake’s scales throughout her body. The large glasses are also another trademark of the Baroness. While the suit seems like an update from the classic black one, it is so reminiscent that it screams “Baroness” at whoever knows of the character. The long hair does help a bit, unlike the Snake Eyes movie Baroness with the short hair.

The Coil bike is new but vaguely reminds me of a Wheel Blaster bike used by Cobra’s Firefly crossed with Kaneda’s bike from Akira. Well, the bright red will do that.

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Sculpt

My main peeve about the sculpt is how the hair looks on the back. It is cut straight instead of receding nicely in a triangular shape. My other criticism is about the black ball-joint neck piece used for the Baroness. There is only paint application to parts of her neck. The peg and the hinge are black and when the Baroness sports her helmet, you can see the oddly matching articulation. The glasses are glued to her head and have thick lens making them look like she is wearing a strong prescription. That’s a good thing!

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The Baroness is sexy. She looks slick. However, she wears two huge gun holsters that feel out of place from her form. Her arms seem to always be open and do not fall straight next to her body. It looks a bit odd.

The Coil looks great although it does not have the classic Cobra industrial look. This bike would look a bit better if it were intended for the Joes. The Coil feels heavy when you lift it. My side guns are warped because of the way they were packaged. The windshield is too low and cannot protect the face of a rider. There are many intricate details on the bike it even has translucent gauges.

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Paint

There are minimal paint applications on the Baroness. Her Cobra logos are painted. In some figures, the application is not polished. On mine, it is descent. There are a few grey parts on her thighs, arms and stomach. I believe that the black parts are the painted ones here, but I cannot certify this. There should be some gold highlights on her shoulder pads, but they are not. The Baroness’s face has 3D face painting. Her glasses have yellow tints. The helmet has no colour and thus looks dull even though it has a great sculpt. I can see many customizers using this helmet for custom figures! A nice paint application on the visor would have given her that Viper look.

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The Coil is made of translucent plastic, red and black plastic. The translucent parts are in the windshield with red paint on top. There is a nice green and yellow hue to the windshield. The black parts which were covered with silver paint and some red. The application is not thick enough in the red parts. The silver part looks cheap, like what we would expect from a kid’s toy. There is a yellow line on the left side of the front wheel that looks good when it rolls. I wish Hasbro had applied this on both sides of the wheel and the back wheel.

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Scale

The Baroness would be about six feet using the 1:12 scale. She is the tallest woman thus far in the G.I Joe Classified line. I wish that she were a bit shorter, as she was not as tall in the comics and the cartoon. Nevertheless, she fits well with all of the other G.I. Joe Classified action figures, especially Destro!

I performed a quick test with the Peggy Carter action figure, replacing her head with the Baroness’s. The Baroness first appeared in the G.I. Joe A Real American Hero cartoon masquerading as Major Juanita Hoover. While much shorter, she looks great when being an undercover agent.

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The bike is huge. I’m not sure that the Baroness could lift her bike alone. Only guys like Roadblock or Gung Ho would be able to lift it alone. If the Coil transformed into an Arcee action figure, like in the Transformers’ movies, I can imagine her being at least ten to twelve feet tall next to a human.

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Stability

What’s odd is that the action figure was tougher to balance than the bike. The Coil’s wheels, much like the Ferret ATV are thick and so the bike can stand without the need to use the pedestal that’s attached under the frame. I like that the bike does not need the stand at all. For posing purpose, I would used the stand, especially since it can easily run off when a surface is not flat!

The Baroness was a bit more difficult to pose as her weight is light and she has elated heels. It took some time, but I did manage to find a way to pose her standing up where she would not fall all the time. She can also rest on her bike, but having her heels peg into the pegs on the feet handles is complicated. I would rather leave the bike free of driver and keep the Baroness close to Destro. To balance the Baroness, play with her ankle rockers so they are flat enough and with enough grip to balance her weight well.

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Articulations

Speaking of articulations, the Baroness, like many 1:12 female action figures, has less articulations at the elbows. She uses the Star Wars articulations that favours the sculpt over posability. Thus, while she car turn her forearms at the elbows, those articulations are limited. She can barely bend her elbows at 45 degrees before the plates covering her forearms limit that articulation. Her neck articulation is stiff, but the ball-joint head has good posability.

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The Baroness has butterfly articulation at the shoulders. Her shoulder pads are not glued to her arms nor her chest. They are floating parts inserted between the arm socket and the chest. It means that they move with the arms when the latter are articulated. Her chest can twist and rock as it is on a ball joint. Her waist curl is stiff. Her ankles are a bit weak. She has double-knees articulations that are a bit loose.

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The front wheel moves with the handles of the bike. Speaking of handle, the right one has to be inserted into the bike because of the way it is packaged. The windshield moves up a bit, but it does not improve the look of the bike with a rider. The wheels roll very well and easily.

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Plastic

The Baroness is made of the usual PVC. Her face is paler than even Scarlett’s. Now, the Coil has both PVC that feels soft in places, and hollow plastic that are usually used for kids’ toys. The tires feels like they are made of rubber, but I do not think that they are. They seem to be rubber-like and have a good grip on surfaces.

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Props

The Baroness comes with two pistols. They are the same ones used by Duke and Flint but are painted gold. She also has a laser shooting cobra weapon that looks gaudy and will not be used much. If the snake was green, it could be used by Serpentor. The helmet is cool. The two laser guns that attach to the Coil can be removed and held by the Baroness.

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Packaging

The Baroness comes in a huge box with her Coil bike. The background art is of Cobra Island. I wish Hasbro would release this artwork digitally as it is very nice. The back of the Box features a isometric representation of Cobra Island.

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Cost

The Baroness retails for $40 USD and $59.99 CAD. These are the original prices when they are not marked up by scalpers. Avoid the scalpers.

Availability

When released in August 2020, the Baroness and the Coil were exclusive to Target stores in the United States and Toys R Us in Canada. Distribution became an issue and quickly, the toy would disappear from toy shelves before interested collectors could get them. This led to the Baroness selling on auction sites and even some stores who had gotten a few at exorbitant prices. Many collectors, unwilling to wait, purchased the Baroness at ridiculous prices, supporting toy scalpers.

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However, many pointed out that Hasbro often releases toys again, often as variants. Many were certain that the Baroness would be reissued eventually in a two-pack with Destro or as an individual figure with some slight alterations. I was unwilling to support scalpers, and still am so I waited. The set was available in Asia and many enterprising collectors from there sold it to other collectors worldwide who could not get this toy locally.

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Fortunately, stocks seem to have replenish first in Canada, and Hasbro assured fans that Target stores would also see a reissue of the Baroness and the Coil. Toys R Us Canada has had many for sale, unfortunately, they are rarely for sale through their online store. I tried to purchase the set many times, almost giving up several times. My orders were even cancelled several times before I paid or even after.

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The only way to realistically get this set was for me to travel in person to the closest Toys R Us store, 200km from my hometown. I had managed to pay for one for store pick up. There, I discovered, many Canadian collectors have, a shelf full of Baroness and Coil sets. It was crazy. The one toy that non one could for the regular price online was sitting there untouched. You'll forgive me as I am not the types to horde multiple of the same action figure (unless it is an army builder), but I had to get at least a second set. There was a limit of two per customers anyway. Having travelled a total of 400km for an entire day, I had to get a second set to justify my trip. I am not selling off this second set nor exchanging it. If I break the one I have, I’ll have a replacement.

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Canadians should be able to get a Baroness and Coil set if they happen to live close enough to a Toys R Us store in Canada. American buyers should be able to get this set soon enough. The trip was fun, and it allowed me to break my pandemic isolation. As for the utility of travelling to far for an action figure (or two), well, there are worst vices one can have than being a toy collector. If all fails, I can always sell off this collection! 


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