Thursday, March 17, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Cobra Commander and Tripwire Comic Double Pack

Cobra Commander and Tripwire Comic Double Pack
Produced by Hasbro | Released 2008

His goal is simple, really: absolute power. Total control of the world - its people, wealth and resources - is the objective of COBRA COMMANDER. This fanatical leader rules a vast empire of evil and demands total loyalty and allegiance. His main battle plan for world control relies on revolution and chaos. He has personally led uprisings around the globe, heating up already-hot spots and turning once-peaceful regions into turmoil. He has kidnapped scientists, businessmen and military leaders to min them for their secrets and skills, but his reliance on others can sometimes be hazardous to his health when one of his ''evil geniuses'' makes a critical mistake.

TRIPWIRE is an accident waiting to happen. He's clumsy, jittery, all thumbs and a nervous wreck around people, unless he's working with explosives. Then he's calm and collected, with the skill and precision of a surgeon. Doesn't matter what type of explosive, detonator or blasting machine he's handling: he knows exactly how to make it work without missing a beat. He spent two years in a Zen monastery pondering the meaning of life, but he got expelled for breaking too many dishes and spilling every liquid in sight. Determined to make something of his shortcomings, he joined the Army and found his calling on the grenade range. Something about setting off explosives and watching bombs bursting in the air relaxes him. Hard to believe for a guy who seems to trip over air.

Packaging Shots

Cobra Commander
Let's start with the Big Bad of the GI Joe universe: Cobra Commander.

The head sculpt is of Cobra Commander sporting his hooded look (rather than the shiny-faced helmet look) and it's a very well-produced design. There are some nice creases and folds in the hood and it's even got a little potential dynamism in the way it's been sculpted - the slight sway and curl of the hem makes it appear animated, rather than simply being a bag over his head. His eyes are visible through the hood and are nicely evil, with a narrowed, hateful look about them which works well. There's a molding line down either side of the mask, but its mostly hidden by the creasing and folds, so it's not too obvious.

The rest of the sculpt is also very good. His Fascist-style uniform is decorated with various shiny buttons and epaulets (in the way Fascists tend to do, to make themselves look important and powerful) and there's a very nice quasi-military look to the whole thing. After all, this is Cobra Commander, not Cobra Boss. His jackboots look great, with some nice folds around the ankle and a variety of straps and pouches adorn both. The only thing I'm not sure about is his left thigh - there's a black plastic O-shaped piece here and I'm guessing its to hold his sword (see below) but he already has a ceremonial sheath for that, so it's a bit of a mystery...

Articulation is also good. The hood doesn't inhibit head movement and the rest of his joints are all very nicely produced. Nothing in the sculpt gets in the way and it's possible to get some great poses out of him.

The paint-job is passable. There are some nicely applied details such as the buttons and the red stripes on his uniform by my Cobra Commander suffers from some flesh-tone splodges on his mask and his accessories (see below) aren't very cleanly painted.

That aside though, this is a very cool figure.

What about the Commander's pack-mate?

Tripwire's sculpt is excellent, even if it is a recycled/retooled version of Sgt Flash. The figure has a definite military look about it (I'm sure you could double-up Tripwire as a chopper pilot if you removed his backpack and mine detector) and I like that. The armour plating has a nice, textured look to it and his basic fatigues - although not massively detailed - do enough to convey his role.

The head sculpt is good, with some nice detail around the helmet (which sadly isn't removable) and his face - what can be seen of it - is pretty good.

Articulation is fine, with no worries or surprises, although when his mine detector is in place (see below) the connecting cable that attaches to his backpack can limit his arm movement, but this is as you'd expect and not a big issue.

I really like Tripwire's colour-scheme. The olive drab and grey work well together and - on the whole - are well-applied. The only area that's not so cleanly done is his head. The black visor isn't fully painted, with some minor areas of green plastic visible. Similarly, the left side of his face isn't painted to the helmet strap, resulting in a similar exposed plastic area.

Again, he's a very nice-looking figure.

This Comic Double Pack - as the name gives away - includes a copy of a specially-written comic, in which... well, I'll not give away any of the plot, but it does centre around the two featured figures, which is a nice touch. The comic itself is passable, although Cobra come-off as being incompetent fools, more akin to something from The Power Rangers line of villains.

Cobra Commander comes with a ceremonial-style harness, pistol, Cobra sword and cape. The cape is made from real cloth and although it's a nice accessory, it can be difficult to pose. Cloth items are often difficult to make look realistic at this scale and this is no exception. 

The rest of his accessories are unfortunately cast from a rather sickly-yellow (they're supposed to be gold.) These accessories - which should make him even cooler - actually cheapen the figure's look. I'd have much rather seen the figure have these pieces cast onto him and painted gold, rather than see these solid-plastic things. I'm not one for messing with my toys too much but I am seriously contemplating painting them myself with a proper shade of gold, that's how cheap they look.

The paintwork on the accessories doesn't help, either. The Cobra blade has a white underbelly painted upon it and it's very poorly applied. Similarly the Cobra seal on his harness is a blob of red. It's a shame the Cobra Commander accessories look so poor, as the rest of the figure is excellent. And on the plus-side, at least his weapons fit into the harness, giving you somewhere to store them when not in use.

Tripwire's accessories are relatively simple: he has a mine detector, which connects to his backpack, which has a storage slot for the three included land mines. He doesn't come with any form of weapon. Granted he's not a front-line combatant, but even a holstered sidearm would have been a nice touch. I'd also have liked to see some kind of bomb-disposal tools, such as a belt-mounted pack or even a simple pair of pliers. The accessories he comes with are fine for what they do and it all works well together but it's just a little uninspired.

Both figures come with their own stands and pre-cut out character profile cards.

Final Thoughts
This is a great comic pack: both figures - minor issues aside - are very good.

Cobra Commander is the more exciting of the two figures, probably due to being the more recognisable/''bigger'' character. He's a lot of fun to pose and you can really get some great rabble-rousing speech stances out of him. Although is accessories are molded in a hideous baby feces-yellow they're not so terrible as to detract too much from him and in certain lights they're just about acceptable (although I am still considering that custom paint job...) There are plenty of accessory options with him, too, to make him a fun figure to pose and play with.

Tripwire is also a very good-looking figure, but he's really not very exciting. As you can see from the images posted, all he really can do is stand and look for mines. A little C-connector on the side of his pack so he could stow it and - as mentioned - a small toolkit or bomb-disposal pack would have added a lot of possibilities to the figure, which he sorely needs. As it stands, he's a very limited-role figure - he can find mines. Or if you're lucky, maybe a few lost coins. But beyond that, he's not much use. It's a shame, as he looks really good. I just wish Hasbro had given him a little more to do.

Overall though, this is a great pack and a strong addition to any Joe collection.

Cobra Commander

Production QualityB-
Final ScoreB+

Production QualityB
Final ScoreB

Final ScoreB+

Image Gallery


  1. Very nice two-pack one of the better ones i have seen and Cobra Commander looks great!

  2. Like I say, I just wish they'd gone with a better colour for the accessories. It's a nasty yellow-green and would have been so much better had they painted it with a metallic gold. I really am tempted to try it myself!

  3. The black plastic piece on CC's left thigh is in fact a holster. CC's body is based on the Crimson Guard figure and that thing is where the CGs put their revolver.

  4. I didn't know that - thanks bacara66!

  5. You're welcome. ;)

    Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. XD


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