If there was one thing that Joe fans never seem to have enough of it would be Cobra troopers. Whether they are Vipers, Eels, Snow Serpents, or the signature “blue shirts”, most Joe collectors that I know eventually end up purchasing duplicates of the “masked hordes” that compose the vast armies of Cobra. Thankfully the marketing team at Hasbro has come to realize that fans are essentially addicts when it comes to troops and are therefore making the “Cobra Trooper” mold readily available in each wave—with some subtle differences. This particular release pays homage to a sought-after figure from the original ARAH line—the Viper Glider Pilot.
I almost feel that this review is completely superfluous as I’ve reviewed this figure before when it was released back in the first Cobra Battle Pack. The wave 2 Cobra Trooper is virtually identical in terms of sculpting, design, and articulation—save for the color change to the sigil on the figure’s chest. Previously released with the standard red Cobra sigil, this figure instead emulates the Viper Glider Pilot of the original line and has a silver sigil emblazoned across his chest. Previously reserved for Officers, this silver color helps the figure to stand out from his predecessors in a way that I’m not entirely certain was necessary. In fact the color change left a lot of fans scratching their heads as to why the change was made. Many of these fans were looking forward to troop-building the single-carded troopers rather than simply acquiring multiples of the battle packs and selling off the “unwanted” extra named characters. As such, the question was brought up at the Hasbro round table discussion at the Collector’s Convention.
The Hasbro design team revealed that each successive wave case would include five “new” characters and three figures from a previous wave. In most waves, the trooper would be one of the extra figures—following a similar model to that of the Star Wars line which continually re-releases both Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers. The goal is for the standard Cobra Trooper to be available essentially at any time for those who would like to acquire additional troops for their growing 25A armies. However, every so often some cosmetic change will be made to the figure to help differentiate between all of the various releases. The red-sigiled figure will be made available once again in a single-carded version but for wave 2 the design team opted to try something different.
The one area in which this trooper differs from the Battle Pack Cobra Trooper is in terms of the included rifle. The previous releases of this body for both the trooper and the Cobra Officer included a molded plastic rifle. The same rifle is again packaged with the trooper but for this wave the stock and the hand grip of the rifle were painted brown. Hasbro has stated that they were experimenting with painted weapons but have since decided to abandon the concept. So, from what I understand, this will be the only release of the trooper with a two-tone rifle. The extra paint application does give the rifle some terrific extra detailing but if any paint application had to be skipped, this would be the one to abandon as ultimately, Joe fans are used to unpainted weapons.
Everything that I said about the Battle Pack Cobra Trooper still applies to this soldier. He still has the same articulation issues and he still has the same design strengths. As such, he’s a great-looking figure that isn’t quite as poseable as he should be. However, I can at applaud Hasbro’s decision to make this figure mold as available as possible to fans and therefore do not mind having another trooper for Cobra Commander to order to retreat.