Wednesday, June 1, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe City Strike Cobra Commander

Produced by Hasbro | Released May 2011

Absolute power! Total control of the world - its people, wealth and resources. That's the objective of Cobra Commander. This fanatical leader rules with an iron fist. He demands loyalty and allegiance. His main battle plan for world control relies on revolution and chaos. He is responsible for abducting scientists, business people and military leaders, then forcing them to reveal their top-level secrets.

Packaging Shots

City Strike Cobra Commander
City Strike Cobra Commander is another take on the GI Joe's lead villain, being a more ''classic'' take than the previously-released Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Commander. Whilst fans will welcome the return to his original look, they should also prepare themselves for a few disappointments, as this figure has a couple of major issues.

The basic body sculpt borrows a lot from the 2010 Cobra Cobra Commander, but is augmented with a removable jacket. It's certainly a good likeness of the character and the jacket does a good job of creating a new look for the figure. There's also a nice little detail in the form of his cravat, which is a new piece for this figure (I believe) and the addition of the cape (which we've previously seen here, albeit with a slightly different coloured chain) finishes the Commander's classic look.

Unfortunately the jacket has two large seams along the sides and - thanks to the way Hasbro's designers have placed the lugs that hold it in place - they're very obvious when you view the figure front-on, due to the fact that the rear parts overlap the front panel. Had they done it the other way (or used a single joint, as seen in a lot of other figures), the seams wouldn't be anywhere near as visible and it would have greatly improved the figure's look. I know it sounds like a minor point but sadly the City Strike Cobra Commander is a figure that features a lot of small errors like this, all of which add up to detract from its overall quality.

Another such oversight is the fact that the Cobra Commander doesn't feature a single belt hook, holster or sheath, despite coming with five weapons/hand accessories. This is a serious issue for the figure, given how much gear he has and it's disappointing to see Hasbro hasn't given any thought to where this equipment should be stored. Yes, he still has the leg-port as seen on the 2010 Cobra Commander but it's right where his jacket tails sit, so it's useless. All he'd need is a couple of belt loops and it would solve the issue but instead, we're forced to choose which two accessories we want to pose him with.

The head sculpt is nicely produced, with Cobra Commander here sporting the ''classic helmet'' look (rather than the solar-panel mask, transparent mask or hooded looks we've previously seen.) The helmet a remarkably smooth piece of sculpting, with a sleek, streamlined look and a clean beveled ridge piece. Sadly my Cobra Commander's face plate appears to sport a few scratches on the left-hand side where it connects to the helmet. I'm not sure if this is a molding problem or a paint app problem, but it's clearly there.

Articulation is as you'd expect - very good - and there are no real issues here, although the jacket can inhibit movement a little around the hips. But Cobra Commander isn't really an athletic kind of guy so it's not like you need to pose him doing high-kicks or in wide-footed stances.

Paint is cleanly applied, but used very sparingly. His boots and legs are cast from solid black plastic and feature no paint detailing. His upper body is cast primarily from blue plastic and does feature a few points of detail, such as his belt and buttons and his cravat is a particularly eye-catching shade of blue that looks authentic and very cool.

The head's paint app is very cleanly done, with the helmet's silver stripe being very sharp and cleanly applied. There is, however, another problem with the face plate. If you saw the toy in isolation it probably wouldn't even occur to you that there was a problem but given that the previous Wave of figures saw the Desert Battle Cobra Viper sporting an amazing-looking mirrored visor, why then does this figure - a later release - feature a flat, silver-painted face plate?

As previously mentioned, Cobra Commander comes with a pre-adorned (but removable) jacket vest. The pack also includes a slip-on cloth cape (that fits snuggly over his head and is a good fit around his collar) and a Cobra Commander stand.

Accessory-wise, Cobra Commander comes with a sabre, a snake baton, a snake staff, a snake-themed dagger, a laser pistol, a case of Compound Z, a gravity bomb and a case with a ''secret element.'' Whilst the sabre, pistol and dagger look fine, the staff and baton are both cast from a slightly yellow-ish/gold plastic with no paint detail. They look a little cheap compared to the other accessories but at least they're not the sickly yellow we've seen before.

The non-handheld accessories are fine for what they are but I have to say I'm not a fan of these kinds of pieces. I like my figures to be able to hold their gear or use it in some meaningful way. These pieces will simply sit on the figure's base and have no real interactive qualities. It would have been different had each been designed to fit into the Commander's hand (the ''glass'' case for example, could have come with a carrying handle) but as it is, they're really pretty useless unless you're making a diorama.

I'm also very disappointed that there are no sheaths, slots, holsters or loops where the weapons/gear can be stored on the figure. Again, it's not a major issue but when added to the other tiny problems, it does become an annoyance.

Final Thoughts
Fans of the original Cobra Commander will be pleased to see him in a more classic incarnation. As a representation of the character, he works pretty well. The look is right, the figure is well-manufactured and you can immediately see who he is. It's just a shame that Hasbro's designers seemed to be working to a minimum requirements checklist and didn't go any further than they had to.

The poorly-seamed jacket detracts from the look, the lack of a chromed visor is a major oversight (especially given the Cobra Viper features an excellent chromed piece, which clearly shows Hasbro know how to do it) and the fact that he comes laden with so many weapons, only two of which he can hold at a time, plus a bunch of non-interactive accessories that really are pretty useless all illustrate just how poorly thought-out the figure is.

If you're happy to display him with one or two weapons or you have a diorama you can use the extra items in, then you'll not have an issue with this. Just don't expect a great deal from this figure and you'll be happy with it, I guess. After all, it's the classic-look Cobra Commander and - as a figure representing that - it's very good. I just expected a lot more from it. 

Production QualityB
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery


  1. I like him from what i can see of him but am somewhat bothered by his "Bulky-ness" he just doesn't look as slender as the Commander should.

  2. Bizarrely his jacket comes from a cancelled Jungle Assault Cobra Commander. A lot of people on the HISS Tank are talking about doing him as an Arctic Threat Commander and adding snow/frost paintwork...


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