2012 30th Anniversary Dollar General Cobra Trooper

2012 30th Anniversary “Basic Assortment” Cobra Trooper

Ah, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar. The prophecy which foretold the apocalyptic demise of the once unstoppable American icon, GI JOE. Truly a tumultuous year for Hasbro with the titanic failure of their Battleship film, leading to a one-year delay of the second GI Joe film, only about a month before it was set for theaters and after the toys had already been sent to retail. The results of this sealed the fate for the brand for the better part of the 2010‘s, and should the Snake Eyes movie flop, possibly forever.

I’ve rarely spoken of Modern Era sculpts on this blog, despite that I do still collect them and a number of the new figures and characters are quite good. I don’t figure my readers here have much interests in them, and in truth many of them leave me strained for a commentary of substance. The Basic Assortment Cobra Trooper, however, is a fascinating figure in several ways, partly for the nightmarish picture it suggests of Hasbro’s corporate culture.

As the story goes, the GI Joe design team was tasked with making an assortment of cheaper, low-budget GI Joe figures for sale at low-end stores and pharmacies, namely Dollar General. It’s in line with infrequent releases Hasbro had made for those stores to that point, like the Valor vs Venom single-cards and later assortments of o-ring repacks like we saw in 2008. Like those, these were intended to be straight repacks of recent ME sculpts with reduced paint applications and accessories. Only, the memo the designers got was so vague, they assumed they were to create brand-new figures, with only the names of the characters to go off of.

It was one time that a horrible miscommunication gave the collecting community something to really go nuts over, and the figures were a hit at retail. But what it really shows me is just how terrible the communications are at Hasbro, and I’m left wondering how many of their dumbfounding mistakes through the 2000’s may have been a result of such incidents. Around this time, I remember reading on Glassdoor.com a bunch of bad reviews of the company, namely centering around similar stories of supervisors and bosses with a seemingly deep lack of communications skills…

With that said, the figure is really interesting too, beyond his backstory. Knowing the Hasbro designers were left to their own devices to create a figure that was a “Cobra Trooper”, I’ve often wondered what the inspiration behind this black-clad Cobra might have been. As he was released in 2012, I’d find it greatly amusing if the figure was based on the then recent Black Major Cobra Troopers. Although, given the web-gear, officer insignia and AK-47, it’s somewhat more likely that the figure may have been based off of the Sideshow Collectible’s Cobra Sniper who looks somewhat more similar.

The Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Trooper sculpt was a pretty good modernization of the classic Cobra Soldier design. There’s some issues one might associate with any modern-style GI Joe figures, but overall the quality of the sculpt and articulation sufficed for my needs. But with that out of the way, one discrepancy between ARAH and Modern that’s left me somewhat jaded is the presence of interesting repaints. With the classic construction, there’s a lot of oddball stuff to go and check out or find interesting, new uses for. However, with modern figures, Hasbro’s focus was far more on lazy, half-assed “updates”, leaving little room for repaints like this Trooper, who graces my collection as something fun and new.

For accessories, you got a helmet, AK-47, web-gear, knee-pads and a stand. For a figure that came at half the price of a retail figure at the same time, it was a good amount of parts and even left me wondering why the main retail line couldn’t be more like this. If cutting away the glut of reused weapons, and trimming down the paint applications meant selling GI Joes for far fairer prices in the ever worsening economy of the early 10‘s, why didn’t they do this across the board?

This Cobra Trooper is mildly easy to come by and generally goes between $15 – $18 bucks. Can’t say a modern figure with almost no paint or parts feels worth that compared to what vintage figures you could get for that much, but if ARAH isn’t your thing, maybe so. Unlike the inferior blue repaint of this release that replaced this one in later assortments, this figure was very popular upon release and was usually the first to go when collectors began ravaging dollar stores for these figures in 2012. As a recolor of the ubiquitously loved Cobra Trooper and being based on a decent mold, I’d expect this figure’s value to mostly stay where it is.

Gi joe cobra Trooper pursuit of cobra dollar general exclusive
Gi joe cobra Trooper pursuit of cobra dollar general exclusive

2012 30th Anniversary “Basic Assortment” Cobra Trooper Links:

Yo Joe

Hiss Tank


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4 Responses to 2012 30th Anniversary Dollar General Cobra Trooper

  1. Mike T. says:

    Hasbro could have done a lot in the 2000’s. But, they didn’t. The level of bungling of every line was epic. But, so many brand managers, a director who was personal friends with the “club” and gave them things that no publicly traded company should ever give away and a terrible movie idea should leave us in awe of what we did actually get.

  2. A-Man says:

    I only got the blue version. The neck still bothers me. These guys are stuck looking downward a bit. How could they not notice? It’s like that 2002 Viper.

    The knee pads…reduced accessories, but they used legs with easily lost separate knee pads?

    Everything but the knee pads says these are Cobra Officers, too. But this is Hasbro, they’ll never get that right.

  3. RTG says:

    G.I. Joe almost always winds up best suited as a small time cheap repaint line. Not really due to the quality of the toys, it’s just that the line itself is bungled at a management level.

    Mike T.’s alluded to powers that be, not even being fans of ARAH Joe. It makes sense, Hell I would probably say that POC, the best modern attempt at G.I. Joe, was something that involved a lot of design team guys padding their resumes.

  4. Hardcorps says:

    Love this figure. I think I only have one, maybe two. I felt this was one of the best Cobra troopers ever made. The idea of going into battle in royal blue, or is it navy blue? perplexes me, unless they were meant to be more like cops. For example, the USCG typically wears a dark blue utility uniform on ships and shore side, but switches to appropriate camo when needed. Black is somewhat better than blue, and, it looks really cool. My only issue, a minor one easily fixed with extras or a visit to MGR, is the empty holster and sheath. Better though, than the ARAH unrealistic weirdly placed holsters on many figures.

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