In a weird way, I find figures like the V1 Cobra Trooper harder to write about simply because there’s so much that can be said about them. I think the Cobra Trooper is the second most iconic GI Joe figure after the original Cobra Commander. Everyone knows this look, and it’s safe to say the ‘82 Cobras such as this guy established Royal Blue as Cobra’s defining color.
I think it’s because of this figure and his perceived importance to me that I ignored GI Joe somewhat as a child. As a kid I came really late on the GI Joe wagon, so most of the original figures were not accessible to me. The classic Sunbow cartoon on the other hand was more than accessible to me, where I was introduced to GI Joe’s excellent 80‘s cast. It always left me disappointed after watching the show to not have any similar figures to play with. Even going into the 2002 – ‘06 “New Sculpt” era, interpretations of the Cobra Trooper were sparse. As such, I lacked the most classic Cobra in many of my play times as a child, leaving me somewhat jaded at the time.
Years later I’ve acquired many fine Cobra Trooper variations including the vintage figure. It’s strangely fulfilling to acquire the figure so many years later, and I hold them as some of my favorite pieces in my Joe collection. However, I think I may be prone to over-rating the figure similar to a few other early ARAH pieces purely from my long held desire to own one.
Simplicity is one of the greatest charms the original Cobra has going for him. With later Cobras the detail on the sculpts grew to a very high quality, but likewise the figures often became busy with so many details. The Cobra Trooper avoids this, but still has eye-catching elements that makes the figure all the more interesting. In particular I always really liked the silver grenade-launcher shells and piano wire on his shoulders.
Speaking of the piano wire, I like others have often found myself puzzled as to why the lower ranking Cobra Trooper has a sniper riffle while the Cobra Officer has a fully automatic AK-47. I take the piano wire to be a hint that perhaps the Cobra Trooper was originally envisioned to be more of a stealthy, assassin like soldier than the brainless grunt he later became. It could just be a coincidence, but I sometimes like to view them as more competent, sinister characters.
In the end, this is just a figure I couldn’t imagine my vintage collection without. Like Duke, Roadblock and Snake Eyes, you just don’t have GI Joe without THE Cobra trooper. If I had to sell all but a handful of my collection this is a figure I’d always keep.
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