New Sculpt era figures aren’t held very dear in the Joe community, especially nowadays. I’m a bit of a fan of the era, as some of the figures are truly excellent, especially the one’s from the Direct to Consumer Line. The Cobra Trooper from that line is one in particular I’m fond of, despite how it does display a few problems figures of the era were prone to.
With GI Joe collecting, it’s easy to grow tired of the endless barrage of Dukes, Snake Eyes’s, Fireflys, Cobra Commanders and the constant stream of better versions of those characters. When you look back through the many different versions of a single character, I’m always drawn to versions that bring something different to the table, with unique sculpts and character designs. In the case of the DTC Cobra Trooper, you pretty much have just that. A figure that may not be as good and modern as say the newer POC/30th Cobra Trooper, but offers an alternative design instead that gives the figure more merit. Put simply, I like this figure because it looks different.
The Cobra Trooper is made mostly of reused tooling, sharing parts with Ghost Bear from Valor vs Venom. His head was shared with the DTC Range Viper who came out about the same time, and his helmet and bazooka are both new. This provides a rather unique look for a Cobra Trooper, with a more tight fitting outfit, unique looking gloves and boots, and other little details. It’s nice how he wears a bandolier instead of the same web-gear, the helmet deviates nicely from the classic bucket as well. I think the only downside is that the figure looks a bit scrawny, but compared to other figures from the time the proportions aren’t too bad.
I find this design really striking. If I had a “Joe-verse”, I’d see Cobra as an organization that has lingered for a long time causing problems of different severity, and I think overtime they’d change their gear and equipment quite a bit. As such, this is the 2000‘s Trooper, and the guy I imagine all of the 2000‘s Joes fought on a regular basis. It’s a niche idea, but it shows how the figure is at least interesting enough to represent something.