COBRA TROOPER v.1 (1982)
In many, if not most, of the reviews I post I include a hyperlink to a previous post so that you can easily check out another toy I’ve referenced in the review. I’ve noticed that I tend to link back to a few particular toys a lot. For example, Rocky Rhino is a figure I link to a lot because he was the designated leader of my “good guy” Battle Beasts when I was a kid, which I mention every time I review another good guy Battle Beast. Walrus Man from Star Wars and Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe come a lot simply because they were my favorite figures from those vintage lines. When it comes to G.I. Joe the most referenced figure has to be the Cobra Trooper. The reason the Cobra Troopers, known by fans as blueshirts, comes up so often is because they’re the backbone of the Cobra organization. The standard Cobra Trooper and the very similarly attired Cobra Officer were the very first G.I. Joe villains. They were released in 1982 which was the inaugural year of the 3 ¾ inch “Real American Hero” (RAH) Joe figures. In the early days of G.I. Joe the cartoons and comics were densely populated with blueshirts.
As the toyline grew each year new specialized troopers were added to Cobra’s roster and the standard troopers and officers were seen less and less. Almost every time I review one of those subsequent trooper types, and I’ve reviewed quite a few (Ice Viper, Frag Viper, Viper, etc.), I mention how they are following in the footsteps of the original Cobra Trooper. The problem is I haven’t reviewed a “proper” Cobra Trooper that I can link to.
The Trooper has been around so long (32 years) that multiple variations have sprung up over the years. In one of my very early reviews back in February 2012 I reviewed Cobra Trooper version 9. The sculpt of that figure is pretty much spot on as to how a blueshirt should look. However that figure isn’t a great representative of the standard trooper because he was included in a desert environment-themed set so he’s wearing a tan outfit. I can’t exactly refer to a blueshirt only to link to a tanshirt.
I reviewed Cobra Trooper version 17 back in June 2012. That figure was included in the first wave of figures tied into the second live-action movie, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. It was a cool design but not at all faithful to the look of the troopers in the movie and quite far removed from the original blueshirt design. I could never link to that figure in reference to the look of the standard Cobra Trooper.
The best example of a standard Cobra Trooper that I’ve reviewed thus far, and the post I have been linking to when I make reference to the blueshirt, is a figure that is technically called Cobra Squad Leader v.1 but which I named Scarface in the post. The figure is pretty much a perfect example of the standard trooper. He’s got the classic outfit and it’s the right color. And yet, the inclusion of two scars across his eyes, which was done as an easter egg for old-school fans like myself, turns that figure into a unique character and not just a generic infantry man.
You see, in the early issues of the Marvel comic, writer Larry Hama didn’t have very many characters to work with so he created a few. One of his original creations was Scarface, a Cobra Officer with very distinctive scars across his face. So while that figure wasn’t marketed as a unique character fans knew who he really was. Therefore, I don’t feel that that particular toy is the best one to link to when referring to a standard Cobra blueshirt.
So today I’ve decided to review the absolute best example of the Cobra Trooper that I can link to from here on out, the 1982 original.
The first wave of Joe figures holds a special place in my, and many other Joe fans hearts. The “original 13” Joes are revered by most collectors who were around at the dawn of the RAH toyline . But the first wave of figures consisted of more than just the 13 good guys, there were also 2 bad guys who were both called “The Enemy”. Though they shared the same name on the front of their blister cards, the Cobra Trooper and Officer were distinguished as having different ranks in the file cards on the back of the package. My brother Doug owned the Officer and I had the Trooper. I loved this figure back when I got him in the early 80s and I still love him now. I think the look holds up very well. Most of the original Joes were dressed in realistic military uniforms. The Cobra outfits weren’t based on any real world uniforms but they weren’t unbelievable or outlandish like later Cobra trooper outfits would be.
The original blueshirt sculpt consists of a relatively non-descript body molded in dark blue plastic with black paint apps on the belt, boots, and webgear. A red cobra emblem is stenciled on the center of his chest. The head consists of a blue helmet and a black balaclava over the mouth and nose. It’s become an iconic look. The only issues most people had with this original figure is that the head was too round and the eyes were rather sleepy. Both of these issues were resolved when the figure was rereleased in 2004 with a brand new head sculpt (the Scarface version, which came packaged with 5 other troopers in a Toys R us exclusive 6-pack).
For accessories the ’82 Cobra Trooper came with a single sniper rifle which is all he really needed.
I think this is a fantastic figure. 10 out of 10.