Tuesday, June 7, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe City Strike Cobra Trooper

Produced by Hasbro | Released May 2011

One of the nameless, faceless legions of the Cobra organization. Each Cobra Trooper is highly skilled in the use of explosives, infantry weapons, sabotage and the Martial Arts. They swear absolute loyalty to their leader, Cobra Commander. Their goal is to conquer the world for their evil purposes.

Packaging Shots

City Strike Cobra Trooper
The City Strike Cobra Trooper is part of Wave 3 of 2011 and sees Hasbro revisiting the grunt of the Cobra organisation, the Trooper. Given that he's a generic Army Builder, Hasbro has pulled-off something quite special here and there's a lot more to this figure that first impressions would have you believe.

The sculpt is a superb update to the original Cobra Trooper/Cobra Bazooka Trooper. Despite being - I believe - new parts (to this character) Hasbro has managed to capture the classic look whilst modernising and enhancing the detail of the figure. Whereas I've always felt the Cobra Troopers looked a little goofy, there's not an ounce of that here. For once the Cobra Trooper looks as if he means business.

From the head down, there's a lot going on here. Every inch of the figure has a pocket or pouch or fold in the sculpted cloth and it works fantastically well. The figure, put simply, looks superb and there's a lot of the detail that's also functional, such as a boot knife sheath and a thigh holster, both of which feature removable weapons. 

The upper body is augmented with a removable webbing/harness piece previously used by the 25th Anniversary Cobra Trooper. This features some great detailing such as pouches and a pistol, although sadly the weapon is cast as part of the accessory.

One thing I like is that the collar has been modified from the 25th Anniversary figure. Instead of a button-down collar with silver pips, we've a more practical, simplified design that adds a lot more realism. I always thought the Cobra Trooper uniform looked more like a school uniform, so it's good to see it here as an military one.

Beneath the removable helmet is a fairly generic head (which is fine, he's an Army Builder) complete with a half-mask that covers his nose and mouth. It's detailed enough but you'll be displaying him with the helmet, I'm sure. I think this is from the GI Joe: Resolute version of the figure, but as I don't own it I can't be sure. One thing of note though: unlike the earlier Cobra Troopers, he's no longer bald!

Articulation is very good. As well as featuring the usual GI Joe joints, he also includes the newer wrist tilt joint on his left hand. This allows him to be posed with his weapon in both hands with remarkable ease and it's nice to see Hasbro making more use of this joint.

I experienced no problems with the articulation, which is fluid and moves well. There's plenty of room and give in the harness and this does not interfere with his movement in any way.

Paint is well applied and the colour scheme is well thought-out. Whereas previous Cobra Troopers have used TOO BRIGHT blues and reds, this figure has a much more muted, down-to-earth colour scheme. Even when compared to the regular Cobra Trooper from the 25th Anniversary line (which uses a darker blue than the Bazooka Trooper) this update is still clad in a darker tone, with the plastic seemingly having a more matte finish to it that works superbly. The muted tones really give the figure a lifelike look that I like a lot.

As for the app, it's clean and although sparingly done, effective. There are metallic details on his buckles, straps on his legs and a couple of Cobra tampo transfers on his chest and arm that are all cleanly applied. Facial details are also well applied.

The inclusion of the accessories within this pack show that Hasbro put some thought and effort into the production and design of this figure and I appreciate that. Let's take a look at what the figure includes and then we'll come back to this point.

The figure comes dressed with his removable webbing/harness, a removable helmet (it's a tight fit but it does come off) and a combat dagger (sheathed at his ankle.) There's also twin pistols - with removable silencers - an assault rifle, rocket launcher and barbed wire coil. The figure also includes a base.

This is one of those sets where all the equipment not only looks good but works superbly. The silenced pistols - which could have been fiddly - fit beautifully, with the silencers remaining in-place when attached without any worries. The boot knife and pistols fit perfectly into the figure's sheath/holster (although there's only one of the latter) and both fit well in the figure's hands. 

Similarly, the grenade launcher and assault rifle are both highly detailed and very well painted and - like the pistols - he grips them well. Best of all though, with the Cobra Trooper you get two figures in one, thanks to the accessories. Not only does he work as a Cobra Trooper but he can also - with a quick weapon switch - become a Cobra Bazooka Trooper. I like that Hasbro thought this through and even though it's just one extra accessory, it makes a lot of difference.

Final Thoughts
As a Pursuit of Cobra figure, I'm not sure how well the Cobra Trooper works. To me the Shock Trooper and Alley-Viper were that line's Cobra Troopers. I was therefore a little doubtful about this figure and even as I was standing looking at it in the store, I was tempted to put it back on the shelves, as I already had the above two Army Builder figures and my collection includes both a Cobra Bazooka Trooper and Cobra Trooper from the 25th Anniversary line. I'm very pleased I decided against putting him back on the shelves.

This figure is a superb example of Hasbro taking a classic design and updating it with modern tooling processes. OK, so he may be kitbashed together from some other figures but that doesn't matter. What matters is that he looks excellent. I'm still not sure how he fits into the Pursuit of Cobra line, really, as to me he's more akin to something I'd expect to see in the upcoming 30th Anniversary range but if this is a preview of what's to come with that line then I think GI Joe collectors will be very happy.

Fans of the original Cobra Troopers will be very pleased with this figure. I know in the past some of the Pursuit of Cobra interpretations haven't met with the approval of classic Joe fans but there's nothing here they could find objectionable. It's a modern update of the original that keeps everything that made the Cobra Trooper the Cobra Trooper but turns it up to 10. At the same time, all the cartoonishness and goofiness of the earlier versions of the figure have been worked-out, leaving a figure that fans of the realistic style used by the Pursuit of Cobra line will be very pleased with. Although you can't please all of the people all of the time, this figure makes a pretty good stab at doing just that.

Production QualityA-
Final ScoreA-

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