Review & pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector's Club Exclusive Three Pack
Cobra Infantry Specialist - Code Name: Cobra Trooper
I’m not going to lie—I love the Sunbow animated series. The classic animated series marked my first real foray into the world of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and it’s occupied a special place in my Joe-collecting heart ever since. One of my favorite aspects of the series was seeing the odd episode-specific Cobra troopers that were seldom reused. From the aircraft mechanics in G.I. Joe: The Movie to the lab technicians, I loved seeing that Cobra was more diverse than just a bunch of line soldiers. However, nothing thrilled me more than seeing the female Cobra troopers that popped up in episodes like “Spell of the Siren” or “Skeletons in the Closet.” (I won’t even get into how awesome Raven was in “In the Presence of Mine Enemies.”) While the toy line Joe team was diverse in terms of both ethnicity and gender, the Cobra side of the equation was much more limited—unless the individual was a named character. Now for the first time ever, fans are able to purchase female Cobra troopers thanks to a three-pack offering from the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club. Are these femme fatales a worthy addition to your Joe collection? Read on and find out one Joe fan’s opinion!
What’s the recipe for building a female Cobra Trooper? Is it based on the 2016 female Cobra Officer? Well, not exactly. In constructing their troopers, the Club opted to a slightly different route:
The first thing that comes to my mind when I look at this female trooper is the art of J. Scott Campbell. The creator of the cult-favorite series Danger Girl and the artist behind the first teaser poster for Devil’s Due Publishing’s 2001 relaunch of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic series. In his artwork, the female form is long and lean and that’s what comes to mind when I see this design. The use of the Helix legs gives the female troopers a tall statuesque form while the Pythona torso presents a more “ideal male” version of the female form. The Toys R Us female officer reused the legs from the 30 th Anniversary male Cobra blue shirt—a move that I thought was wrong but thankfully these ladies have more feminine stylings.
The torso choice has been criticized by some as being a bit unrealistic in how the simulated fabric hugs the sculpted curves of the form but honestly, I see it as more of a superhero styling than anything else. The reuse of the Helix arms allows for a nice range of motion at the elbow as well as giving the Cobra ladies swivel wrists. I’d love for the club to have used hinged wrists but those apparently weren’t in the cards with the available parts. All-in-all, the figure has a body construction that is both stylized and practical with a full range of motion and look that is decidedly feminine.
When it comes to the color scheme of these female Cobra Troopers, less is definitely more. The design is evocative of the classic 1982 Cobra Trooper—a look that has remained virtually unchanged in 35 years. The body is molded in a deep blue with the leg pouches, boots, and gloves painted black. (There’s a missing paint application on both the knee pads and the figure’s sculpted belt.) A dash of silver adorns a patch on the right arm as well as on the web harness. Lastly, a bright red Cobra sigil is found on the chest of each figure. This is the classic Cobra Trooper look adapted to a female build and the result is nothing less than stunning!
When the first images of these figures appeared in the Collector’s Club newsletter I thought that the Club had merely repurposed the tooling used for the 2007 Joe Con Night Stalkers, a group of black-clad female operatives that were based on unused o-ring tooling. However, it would seem that the Club opted instead to create an entirely new head sculpt for these figures. Considering that the sculpt is repurposed 3x in each set, this was a fiscally wise decision. The head design is that of a long-haired woman with a pony tail and the signature Cobra face mask. Stylistically, it’s a good match with the 30th anniversary blue shirt. In terms of size, the head looks perfectly proportionate—something that was lacking in the 2016 female officer.
It could be a trick of the paint but the expression on the figure seems to be slightly stern, something that works for a soldier. In addition, the head sculpt allows for the figure to not only look straight ahead but down as well. (The pony tail prevents any sort of upward glance but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.) When viewed from the side the head might appear to sit a bit high on the neck post it looks just find when viewed straight on. I won’t lie—I really like this head sculpt. In fact, I like it enough that I almost hate to put a helmet on it!
If there’s one thing I’ve never understood, it’s the choice of equipment for the Cobra blueshirts. The standard troopers were always given Dragunov sniper rifles while the officers were equipped with AK-47s. (To me, it seemed like it should have been the other way around.) The female Cobra Troopers follow this practice with the following kit:
I like the reuse of the rifle that was first seen with the Retaliation G.I. Joe Trooper and the silenced pistol is also a good inclusion. However, I think I might have been a bit happier if these ladies came equipped with some sort of automatic weapon. It’s just a personal preference but it’s based on something that has been bothering me for years. Otherwise the weapons selection is solid and in keeping with the file cards which indicate that these ladies are part of an infiltration special unit.
The only other issue I have with the kit is found with the figure’s helmet which seems to be a reuse of the head gear from the previously mentioned 2007 Nightstalkers. The helmet design is decent—smaller and slighter than the standard Cobra Trooper helm with a pair of sculpted goggles on the front. It’s a descent look but the fit on the head isn’t great. The helmet stays on well enough until the figure is moved at which point it tends to fall off rather easily. It’s a far cry from the “snap-on, stay-on accessories” of the vintage line. Currently I’m displaying these figures with the helmets off simply because I do like the head sculpt so very much but I really wish the helmets stayed on better. Still, it’s a better fit than the Toys R Us female officer’s helmet.
At the end of the day, is the three pack of female Cobra Troopers worth picking up? My answer is a bit complicated. There’s an auto dealership near JBL HQ that uses a signature phrase in their ads: “Price sells cars.” I used to think it was an odd way of stating the obvious until I opened up my three-pack of female Cobra Troopers. I won’t lie—I really like these figures. Sure, they’re more at home in J. Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl than in a real military but that’s part of the fantasy of G.I. Joe.
However, at $65.00 for a three-pack they end up being about $27.50 each when shipping is factored in. At that price point, they’re fair game for comparison to a Marauder Task Force Valkyrie or even a Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Amazon warrior. While I realize that neither MGR or BFS have to pay the licensing fees that the GIJCC does in order to produce figures, the cost-per-unit still seems a bit high. After all, all three figures in this pack are 100% identical—save for a single paint application. These figures are also shipped poly-bagged, not carded which means that additional production costs are saved in the packaging. As such, I find that as much as I love these Cobra femme fatales, I have a hard time with the price. Yes, there are those who will start the chant of “Joe fans are cheap” but I really find that I have to weigh the cost vs. the product received. At $45.00 or $50.00 these figures would have been a steal! At $65.00 plus shipping, the value is a bit harder to see.
At the end of the day, I still think they’re worth a purchase but I don’t see them as the troop builders the folks at the GIJCC were probably hoping for. When compared to other similar collector themed 1:18 lines, the lack of stronger paint decos and extended range of articulation make them a more selective purchase as opposed to a straight up “OMG! TAKE MY MONEY!!!” Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: Possessing a solid parts build and design, these ladies are more stylish than realistic with a price point that might prove off-putting to many fans. Worth a purchase but not an affordable army-builder.
|Copyright 2003 JoeBattlelines.com|