|Cobra Commander version 14
|2003 styling is given to 1982 design with this remake of the very first Cobra Commander. This figure is packaged in a two-pack with Switch Gears. Most stores charge $7.99, at that price, recommended.
A good update of a classic villain usually needs no introduction, but as there's no cartoon on television these days, perhaps one is in order. Cobra Commander is the head of an international terrorist organization known as Cobra, and over the years he's worn a lot of hats, both figurative and literal. The latest version brings in elements of many different figures from over the years in a sort of "greatest hits" version of the figure. All in all, it's going to make a lot of fans happy.
Cobra Commander is the ultimate G.I. Joe villain. There are a lot of faceless drones, and a few other specialists of evil, but nobody really has the fashion sense, voice, or overall aura of greatness as this otherwise nameless blue-clad fiend.
The sculpt of the figure is really a treat. Rather than go for an overly gritty look, or an attempt at realism, they managed to make a figure that's more cartoon-like than any before. The figure's muscle mass has been reduced compared to previous figures, giving him a more human appearance. He has a "skirt" type piece around his waist like many Star Wars figures, and this allows him to have a more dignified look and you don't see his joints as easily. The end result is a vibrant, nicely sculpted figure that's very out of the ordinary for a Hasbro Joe toy.
The level of detail in this figure is quite good as well, with painted buttons, arm bands, and little wrinkles in the sculpt that, while not especially amazing in 2003, are pretty great for a GI Joe toy.
This figure has articulation that's standard for a GI Joe: Real American Hero toy, complete with O-ring legs that have great posability and ball jointed shoulders. It takes no steps forward, but also takes none backward, resulting in a perfectly acceptable level of posability.
The paint is where the figure starts to fail-- the silver on the mask is usually dented up before purchase, and anything but feather-light touching seems to cause problems. This is inexcusable, but it seems the manufacturer had to cut corners somewhere. The figure is painted in a way that he looks fantastic, but that's assuming you don't touch the silver parts of it. The coloring is clean, crisp, and a little bit delicate. Kids that get this figure are going to have a very worn looking toy when they get older.
Still, even with all of that factored in, it looks fantastic. It just doesn't seem designed to stand up to the rigors of play, and as these figures seem mostly aimed at kids, that could be a potential stumbling block.
As he's in a set with another figure, a vast quantity of amazing accessories was not expected. He includes a removable cape, a staff, and two firearms.
He has a holster, which is a great addition. In theory. Hasbro got a lot of use out of their holsters on Star Wars toys, but with one major difference: this time, the guns don't fit in the holster. Two weapons were included and neither fits, which is a complete and total waste of a neat idea. Still, the weapons are neat, if nondescript.
The battle staff is similar to the one included with a previously released Cobra Commander, except this is missing the "sound attack" tab, which means it's a much better looking weapon. Still, it's a little awkward as a weapon, and a smaller firearm would have been a nicer extra.
The cape is a first (or at least, a rarity) on these figures. Rather than employ the giant hole found on the back of most small Joes from as far back as I can remember, they made a smaller tab on his back specifically formed to hold a smaller peg on the cape. The end result is a surprisingly ornate and dignified uniform that, well, just looks great. This is as close to a ceremonial outfit as can be had, assuming that's something you'd want. (It is.)
All in all, he's nicely armed, but could have been more nicely armed.
This figure is packed with Switch Gears, a brand new member of the GI Joe team. It seems the premise of individual figures is one Hasbro no longer considers, but if it keeps costs down, this isn't always a bad thing.
You get what you pay for, two figures, eight dollars. This is one of the most popular and best known characters from G.I. Joe, and he's packaged with a virtual no-name. The end result is a fair deal, as a lot of people would probably be fine paying $6+ just for Cobra Commander.
We will be reviewing Switch Gears shortly, and updating this review with a link to his when the time comes.
Joe fans, don't miss this one. It's one of the finest versions of this character available, and a great price. Factor in the Flag Points for use with the currently running mail-in offer for Agent Faces, and you really have an excellent set, or a gift for someone that enjoys such things.
Reviewed and photographed by Adam Pawlus
Sample found at Phoenix area Wal-Mart on September 27, 2003
Reviewed on October 1, 2003.