Tuesday, January 10, 2012

REVIEW: GI Joe 30th Anniversary - Renegades Cobra Trooper

Produced by Hasbro | Released December 2011

COBRA TROOPERS are the secret army of the COBRA organization. They have no names, and their faces are hidden behind masks. They guard COBRA buildings, perform acts of sabotage and destruction, and hunt for the RENEGADES who are trying to reveal the truth about COBRA and its mysterious leader.

GI Joe 30th Anniversary Renegades Cobra Trooper
The re-imagined GI Joe universe - as seen in the latest animated series, GI Joe: Renegades - introduced a number of changes to the show's core features. COBRA was no longer the dread-inspiring terrorist organisation of the past and was now, instead, a corporation bent on secretly taking over the world. Dr. Mindbender was now a spoilt-kid genius. The Joes were no longer a sanctioned military unit and were - as the show's title suggests - renegades. Some of these changes were good, others not so. Perhaps one of the most striking was the radical overhaul of the look of today's Review subject, the Cobra Trooper.

Can you guess which camp this redesign falls into?

A standard blister-pack that displays the figure just fine and protects it in transit. There's not really much to say beyond that, so let's move on quickly because - let's face it - you're hear to read about the figure itself...

Sculpt And Design
The redesign of the Cobra Trooper is going to divide collectors down the middle. I know fans of the original look will see this as too much of a departure from the ''classic'' Cobra Trooper design, but to dismiss it would be to commit a grave mistake, as this is actually a very good figure.

The redesign does an excellent job of modernising the Cobra Trooper's look. Whilst the old school look is fine, there comes a time when you have to think about how times have moved on. That was the whole point of GI Joe: Renegades - to introduce a new, more believable universe for the GI Joes to inhabit. We all love our classic GI Joe stories, for sure. But they're pure fantasy. Injecting a little reality into the Joe universe is what Renegades was all about and this figure is a prime example of how they can take elements and themes from the original and put a modern spin on them.

The figure gives a harder, more modern edge to the classic design thanks to the fact that the show's character designers took a ''real-world'' approach to the look. The Cobra Troopers are essentially private security guards, so their look reflects that, with their bulky vests and protective helmets making them much more believable and suited to this role.

The translation from screen to figure is superb. Maybe it's because the Troopers are a little more ''faceless'' than the other Renegades characters (and figures) but this is probably one of the best figures in the line so far. The look from the show is captured perfectly and the figure works fantastically as a representation of the on-screen character. Beyond that the actual sculpt detail is very good, too, with the various folds and creases in the uniform, the removable vest and the pop-off kneepads all doing a great job and being very well executed. (Even if they appear to be the same ones used by the previously-released Duke.)

The figure isn't without its flaws, of course. Although he doesn't come with a huge array of items, there's nowhere to store his baton/nightstick or handcuffs when they're not in use. I also found my Cobra Trooper's vest had a habit of popping open but these are minor points I can just about overlook, given how damned-good he looks on the whole.

All is good on the articulation front, too. The vest isn't too restrictive (there's plenty of clearance to allow him to sit, for example) but the high collar does limit some head movement marginally. However, it's really not going to get in the way that much and you should be able to get him to pose as you'd like without too much effort.

The joints move freely enough but are also firm enough to hold poses well. It's a shame the figure doesn't include any new articulated parts, such as the ankles and wrists seen on some figures in the line, but what's here does a good job.

Whilst the basic colour scheme is nice, there are some good details (such as the Cobra vest and shirt tampo logos) and although the execution on the whole is good, my Cobra Trooper's ''uncovered'' head suffers from a very poor paint app. Maybe I'm just unlucky but the face looks as if it was covered with the watery remnants of the last batch of flesh tone in the workshop. Hopefully this is just an issue with my figure and you'll fare better.

Extras And Accessories
The Cobra Trooper doesn't have a huge amount of equipment, but the included accessories are very good.

As mentioned, the figure comes with a removable vest and kneepads, alternate head (including a full-face masked helmet featuring a nice nod to the original thanks to the mouth cover), a pair of handcuffs, a nightstick/baton/tonfa, a plasma rifle and a stand.

Unlike Ripcord, the figure's accessories are cast in a lifelike dark plastic and there's even a little paint app on the rifle, which is a cool touch.

Both weapons fit well into his hands, although getting the plasma rifle into his grip can take a little bit of effort, as it only really fits one way. The nightstick/tonfa baton works well, too, although it's a better fit in the left hand than the right (and the side-handle seems to provide a more stable grip.) The cuffs are a nice-enough accessory, although I'd have liked a hook or some other storage option. Indeed, the only real criticism - gear wise - is that the Cobra Trooper doesn't have anywhere to holster his gear. But even that's not that big a deal.

Final Thoughts
I know this figure is going to divide collectors. If you're a fan of the old school Cobra Trooper, you probably won't like the changes made to the design and featured in this figure's sculpt. But if you're open to the idea of revision and re-imagining then there's a lot of good in this figure. Yes, it's a radical overhaul but change can be a good thing. And this is a prime example of that. 

The design translates well from the screen to plastic and the execution - minor paint issues aside - is very, very good. There's enough detail to make him interesting yet at the same time the right amount of anonymity to make for a good Army Builder.

Purists will argue that it's not a ''Cobra Trooper.'' Fine. Scratch the name off the display and call it a Cobra Security Guard if that's what you need to do. Because if you dismiss this figure and exclude it from your collection you'll be missing-out on a very cool toy indeed.

My personal favourite of the Renegades figures so far and a very cool figure, to boot.

Sculpt and DesignA-
Extras and Accessories B+
Final ScoreB+

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  1. wow, what a great design! I will have to look for that one!

  2. I really dig the look. Lot of customiser potential, too.


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