G.I. Joe Classified Cobra Commander
By Hervé St-Louis
November 11, 2020 - 12:26
Cover Artist(s): Dan Mumford
$19.99 USD, $29.99 CAD
Depending on which version you care the most for Cobra Commander, the ruthless leader of the Cobra terrorist organization is either a man from an obscure humanlike society or failed entrepreneur who created the greatest con and pyramid scheme in history giving way to an organization capable of challenging the United States and global security. Cobra Commander has been a mainstay in the G.I. Joe a Real American Hero cartoon series in toys, cartoons, comics, games and films.
Sometimes a buffoon, sometimes a heartless and dangerous man, the leader of Cobra is probably more than just the founder of a terrorist organization. He is the classic leader of world organizations that are more state-like than terrorist cells and became the epitome of fictional villains. You can see traces of him in world figures such as Donald Trump, Benito Mussolini, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Juan Perón. Cobra Commander does not garb himself as a freedom fighter. He dresses and acts like a banana republic dictator. This is what this action figure captures and why Cobra Commander is so memorable.
This version of Cobra Commander wears his traditional blue uniform, but it has been extended to look more ceremonial, thus less functional on the battlefield than those of the past. He wears the classic chrome dome face mask with the blue helmet with a chevron-like ornament on top. This uniform has been reimagined with ceremonial ornaments on the arms, and snake-scale motifs and textures on his shoulders and biceps.
The variant of Cobra Commander that I obtained is the darker blue one. A lighter blue one called the regal variant, emulates the cartoon’s colouring better. Thankfully, collectors can choose which one they prefer. There is a third Cobra Commander variant known as the supreme version that comes with more props and designs printed throughout the uniform. Each of these variants are exclusives sold by Hasbro Pulse.
The regular version, which is the one that I am reviewing, like the other action figures, comes with a cape with a red lining, reminiscent of the garbs Cobra Commander wore randomly in the classic Marvel/Sunbow cartoon. In these cartoons, the cape was attached to both shoulders, as opposed to resting only on one of them. A major difference with classic uniform-wearing Cobra Commander depictions is that he wears high boots that cover up his pants. The boots borrow the layered snake motif from the Baroness for the tips of the feet.
While the sculpt is great, it is not perfect. A defect on many Cobra Commander is the misalignment of the tips of his helmet when glued on his head. Most action figures I have seen have them imbalanced. Putting the ceremonial sword’s sheath on the same side as the cape limits their motion even though both are flexible. The straps, the cape and the sheath are one construct. The jacket is much longer than that of previous Cobra Commander’s suits. It also has a wide gaping vent in the back which may help if he ever jumps into a Hiss tank.
Most of the paint applications on this action figure are ornaments. I will call the problem that the gold-coloured buttons and various silver linings will fade easily as they are located where we usually hold the action figures. The red linings on the outside thighs of the uniform are not deep enough. An extra coating would have helped them have that deep and rich red. The bolts in the things that connect the knees to the thighs were not coloured red. So, there is a blue dot on each side of the thighs where there is a red lining.
The mask is not vac-metal painted which removes the metallic and reflective look of the classic Cobra Commander face plate.
Surprisingly, Cobra Commander is on the taller side. He is a smidgen taller than Duke, although one could argue that it is because he wears a helmet. His is shorter than Destro though. I would have favoured a Cobra Commander that is closer to 5’11 rather than the scale he is at. I don’t envision the character as a bulky and muscular one. He is not a fighter but a brainy man. Nevertheless, he does look great next to the likes of Gung Ho or Roadblock. Potentially, Cobra Commander will tower over the Cobra troops and that should not be. The difference in size between him and Destro is not wide enough.
At first, I had difficulties keeping him up, but I finally adjusted him enough that he now stands solidly on his own. Because his toes are so thin, they offer poor counterbalance to his heavier head and torso. He fell a few times on his face before I learn to adjust him properly.
Cobra Commander’s articulations are impeded by the jacket he wears. Posing his thighs is difficult. His waist can twist but the articulation is buried under the flaps of his jacket. Getting a firm grip to twist his waist means holding on to his buttock and legs. It is difficult. The rest of his articulations are on the stiff side. He has double knee articulations, but it will be difficult to use them effectively. His butterfly armpits can extend backward but not much forward. Cobra Commander has an individual neck articulation, and a ball-jointed head. This is good to give him inflections as his faceless mask covers his facial features.
Other articulations are at the shoulders, double elbow articulations, bicep curls, wrist curls, ab crunch, thigh curls, and calve curls. His right wrist can rotate from the left to the right while his left wrist can rotate up or down. Of course, Cobra Commander has the novel double-hinged hips which can extend and then retract. It gives him increased poses but again, the jacket gets in the way. The ankles can pivot sideways and up and down.
The plastic used is the soft rubber-like substance that when layered gives the impression that the action figure is bulkier and more resistant. It is used here for the lower part of the jacket, the boots, the straps on the forearms. The finish on the plastic is mostly matte without much gloss. It seems that the forearm straps have a bit more gloss though.
Cobra Commander comes with two sets of hands. The set pre-attaches the open hands to hold his sword and ceremonial gun. The other set has a pointing left hand and a fist for the right hand. The cape, belt and sheath are pre-installed on the action figure. Cobra Commander comes with a sword whose handle is shaped like the head of a cobra. His short rifle has a similar shape. The rifle is difficult to put in his right hand. I prefer having him hold it with the wide grip of his left hand instead.
Something that would have been fun and reminiscent of the classic Cobra Commander action figure from 1982 would have been a way to attach his rifle to his back.
The packaging on Cobra Commander’s box features art by Dan Mumford who adds his toned illustration featuring a Cobra Commander with gold highlights instead of the silver used on props such as the riffle. Unfortunately, Hasbro does not feature full-profile cards on boxes anymore. The box is made of carton with a transparent plastic window. The back features the unifying art for the line featuring several characters. To figure out what are Cobra Commander’s stats, you must look at the four icons on the box and then decode them of the gijoe.com. Of note, there are several errors on the English Canadian version the gijoe.com website that Hasbro has failed to rectify even after I told them many times about them.
This version of Cobra Commander is S19.99USD and $29.00 CAD. The regal version is the same price. The supreme version comes with a few more accessories and thus costs $29.99 USD. This action figure is easy to find so do not pay scalpers’ prices.
You can purchase Cobra Commander at Hasbro Pulse, Amazon, Toys R Us Canada and many other places. Some stores will charge more. The release of this toy and other G.I. Joe Classified has been problematic. I obtain mine only in early November 2020 after placing my order in June 2020 as soon as it was announced. Hasbro has bungled the distribution of G.I. Joe Classified to such an extent that I many collectors such as I will not be supporting them long if obtaining exclusives is so difficult. Toys R Us Canada has not even advertised people on its mailing list that they had G.I. Joe Classified action figures in stock and the Cobra Island series disappeared from stores and were not even added to their online stores. Target in the United States has had the same poor service.
I don’t like Amazon much, but it has been the most steadfast with these action figures. Once it has them, you know about it, and you can order them. Nevertheless, once their deadlines arrive, such as with the Arctic Storm Shadow action figure, it cannot guarantee that they will restock. When I was a kid, one could get G.I. Joe action figures everywhere. Marvel Legends and Star Wars action figures are also easy to find everywhere. I wonder why Hasbro cannot keep decent stock of this popular toy line in stores. Grown adult collectors want to buy these things. Why make it so complicated?
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