“So this is how the world ends. Not with a ‘bang’, but with a whimper.” While not entirely accurate, this quote could apply to DTC. When DTC wave 4 debuted at the 2006 International Toy Fair in New York, fan reaction was luke-warm at best. The wave was once again shown at the 2006 Collector’s Convention in New Orleans yet a release date was never announced. It was several months later when the news broke that wave 4 would follow in the footsteps of the 1995 series of the classic GIJoe: A Real American Hero line and not be released. General Hawk and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that this wave would be something that we’d never get the chance to review—and we were mostly correct as an incomplete set of figures was offered on Ebay. Now, thanks to the efforts of a very generous GIJoe fan, we’re able to add the final two components of wave 4 to the DTC Review Index here at JBL.
I’m going to be blatantly honest for a moment here—I’m occasionally a very wordy writer. I’ll write and write—throwing out combinations of adjectives and pop culture references that would have my high school English teachers groaning in pain. Yet, this is going to be one of the briefest reviews I’ve ever written simply because I’ve reviewed an almost exact copy of this figure before back in DTC Wave 3. So, I’m going to turn it back over to my esteemed colleague Justin. (He paid me to call him “esteemed”. I can be bought—go fig!)
Man, if I was going to pay you say something about me, I’d pick something better than “esteemed”…I don’t even know what that means!
I hate to do this but pretty much EVERYTHING I said about the Cobra Trooper in my previous review holds true for this figure. I still stand by my initial assertion that this figure is perfectly designed to function as a vehicle pilot, rather than a group trooper. The form-fitting uniform screams “put me into a cockpit and let me wreak havoc in my shiny new ‘Weapon of Destruction’!” The body design was perfect for Ghost Bear who spent countless hours stomping around in his Pulverizer Mech. While the padded utility belt does offer some nice options for small equipment storage, I’m just not feeling this as the uniform of a ground-pounder who is usually expected to carry all of the gear necessary for his survival (as well as some “tasty” Cobra MRE’s) on his person.
I can’t disagree with you…the similarities between this figure and the previous COBRA Trooper are too obvious to ignore. Ever since the DTC Wave 2 Range-Viper came out, it was obvious to everyone in the Joe fandom that a Devils' Due style COBRA Trooper had been in the works. The head sculpt was an exact replication of that mask that was used in the comic books, and when the "COBRA Trooper" was announced for Wave 3, fan excitement reached pretty high levels. Everyone really loved how the Devils' Due style Trooper looked in the books, so the thought that we might get one in DTC really made everyone pretty psyched.
Well, the end result was less than optimal, giving us a Ghost Bear repaint as Fred mentioned with that newly tooled Devils' Due style head. It had some elements of coolness to it, but didn't reach the greatness of what could have been a Devils' Due trooper from head to toe. Still, I like the Ghost Bear mold, so it wasn't necessarily all bad. However, seeing the COBRA Officer from Wave 4 up close, I find that I end up liking this sculpt as an Officer much more than as a Trooper, especially with the paint applications chosen here.
I will give Hasbro points on this figure when it comes to paint applications. The updated color scheme used is actually superior to the original in a few key areas. First off, the officer sports a painted black panel and neck, a terrific homage to the color scheme of the classic Cobra troopers. This single change in paint applications gives the entire head sculpt a much more dynamic appearance—one that enhances the entire design of the figure. Secondly, the gloves, belt, and boots are now also painted black with the red highlight now painted silver. The figure is also molded in a slightly more gray shade of blue, and this overall darker color scheme gives the trooper a much more sinister aspect. Lastly, the silver crest on top of his balaclava is evocative of the gray sigil found on the original Cobra Officer’s helmet. Lastly, and this is a detail that I feel dramatically improves the figure, the tiny holes that previous supported the “dangling suspenders” have been removed and the two rather annoying straps have been removed for the figure entirely. I’ve never understood the purpose of such an accoutrement—as it has been sported by several figures including the VvV incarnations of Tunnel Rat. While some might argue that the waist looks a bit bland by comparison, I’ll argue that it looks far less “busy” than it did before. Bravo to Hasbro for making such a small tweak to the figure and not just issuing a straight repaint.
I echo Fred’s sentiments once again, but I feel it necessary to take it even further. While the design of the DTC COBRA Trooper eventually grew on me, his colors still seemed a bit bland and non-striking, but the minor changes Hasbro made for the officer end up creating a figure that is far more interesting to me.
The blue, as Fred said seems a bit more muted in color, to fit with the classic Officer, which seemed to have a somewhat more subdued color scheme. The black boots and gloves are worlds better than the dull gray, and the silver looks incredibly cool, whereas the red kind of blends with the rest of the figure.
The biggest color difference is in the head, where the black facemask makes a huge difference in making this figure a whole lot cooler to me. Couple that with the silver padding on the forehead, and you have a very cool looking COBRA Officer update, which manages to get a lot more interesting with these minor paint alterations.
I have to admit I’m a bit puzzled as to why they didn’t end up changing the COBRA logo to silver, though this is a pre-production version, I suppose it’s possible that the logo would have been changed in final release. Still, even with the red logo, the color scheme here seems a lot more vibrant and I think these Officers would have fit in with their Trooper comrades very, VERY nicely.
The figure I was able to photograph only came with one accessory—a removable gear harness that actually came with my DTC Outback figure. If you remember I stated in Outback’s review that the harness was a terrific fit for Specialist Selkirk with his larger frame but that the Officer would positively swim in the over-sized piece of gear. My initial assessment holds true—the harness is a nice homage to the original design molding of the classic Cobra officer but it’s just too much. The harness and its bulging belt pouches positively overwhelm the poor officer who is no longer able to place his arms at his sides. Not only does this harness restrict movement but it almost makes for a much tighter fit when attempting to place the Officer into a vehicle like the HISS Tank. (Lay off the Krispy Kremes, will you LT?) The harness also completely obscures the repainted black belt that is molded onto the figure’s waist which is a shame as it’s a very nice piece of detailing. I’ve no idea whether or not Hasbro intended any sort of decoration for the helmet as the figure I’ve been able to examine was devoid of any such accessory. The figures shown at the GIJoe convention didn’t seem to indicate that this was likely but things can change from a pre-production figure to the final product. Sadly, the new combination rifle shown with the figure was not included.
Personally I’m loving the detailing and the look of the webgear that the COBRA Officer comes with, though I’m not sure why he does come with it. This elaborate gear looks like it should come with a Trooper who spends more time in the field, but I can’t argue with how nicely detailed and elaborate the webgear is. That may be the biggest shame about Wave 4’s cancellation, the fact that some of this terrific weaponry and accessories may not see the light of day. Let’s all hope that the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club can pull something together to make it happen.
My opinion of the DTC Cobra Troopers softened somewhat once I had them in hand. However, had I know that Hasbro had intended to produce the officer, with a superior color scheme and none of those superfluous dangling straps, I might have waited to purchase those as my “new” Cobra Troopers. (Remember, I’m a Neo-Viper fan so they comprise the bulk of the “new” Cobra army in my collection.) As with Falcon, it’s rather a shame that the DTC Cobra Officers have not yet seen the light of day in terms of production as they really do manage to improve upon the original DTC Cobra Trooper. Now, don’t get me wrong—these will never supplant the Cobra Infantry Forces six-packs that were exclusive to Toys R Us back in late 2003/early 2004 but they do make an interesting addition to any GIJoe collection. However, as I stated in the Falcon review, the fate of this wave remains uncertain with Hasbro moving forward full bore on the 25 th Anniversary line and this officer may join the ranks of the 1995 wave, only seeing extremely limited release in the hands of customizers and parts-casters.
Like Fred, I really warmed up to the new COBRA Trooper design, and the COBRA Officer only further fuels that renewed like for the figure. Even though it’s based on Ghost Bear’s mold, it looks generic enough to work for a COBRA Trooper, and paired up with these Officers, you end up with a potentially cool squad of modernized COBRA ground troops. Alas, it looks like it’s not meant to be, though if anyone wants Officers badly enough, at least there are options for customization.
I’m actually surprised that I ended up liking the Officer as much as I did, but it makes me a little bit more disappointed that Wave 4 ended up missing the boat, as I could have seen myself forming a nice little squad of these guys and COBRA Troopers for them to lead.