1987 Cobra Commander (Battle Armor)

1987 Cobra Commander

In some ways, Cobra Commander is the main character of GI Joe, as a story line. The GI Joe team, which consists of a revolving cast of individuals, was created to counter Cobra, and capture Cobra Commander. Thus, without Cobra Commander, GI Joe has no plot. Of course, this is a somewhat limiting view on the brand, but little to say it underscores the importance of the character.

Of course, that’s also probably why attempts to replace Cobra Commander are so often poorly received. In short order, you had Serpentor and Golobulus who both effectively replaced the character. Then, in 1987, you had this new Cobra Commander, who was actually Fred VII in the comics, or in other words, another replacement for Cobra Commander. How many leaders did Cobra need? If nothing else, it was a little too much, too fast.

This figure looks really good, and I think that’s partly because the sci-fi themes of the armor fit with Cobra Commander’s megalomaniac character. The armor looks elite, while at the same time showing a more combat oriented look. The angry expression sculpted onto his eyes is also a really nice touch on the sculpt, it makes him look far more hostile than the soft eyes on the ‘84 figure.

The colors are really nice on this figure, and I really like that they kept all of V1 Cobra Commander’s colors. The excessive amount of silver really makes the figure look more regal and sci-fi at the same time. The only downside is that he’s sort of fragile, given that most of the figure is made from notoriously delicate silver paint, while the rest is still made of sky-blue plastic, that’s very prone to discoloration.

Included for accessories are his backpack, pistol and unique hose for his helmet. The backpack and gun are pretty neat, though nothing particularly special. His backpack is really only useful to this one figure and doesn’t have much life outside of that, but the scoped pistol looks pretty good with a wider variety of figures. The hose, however, is something that really draws some ire out of me. What purpose does it serve to make this a separate piece? It’s one of those pieces that’s like it’s only there to get lost, and he looks wrong without it.

There were some okay repaints of this figure. After the first release, it went to Brazil and then India, where the figure was released in colors similar to Hasbro’s. In ‘97 we got a blue and gold repaint of the mold, which was interesting, at the very least. The mold came back in similar colors to it’s first usage, but far more drab in ‘02. Then it was used for the Imperial Guard from the Imperial Procession set in ‘05. Lastly, it showed up again in ‘05 as a part of a comic-pack, retooled with a new Fred head and removable helmet. My dream repaint of this figure would be one in green armor as Serpentor, or some bodyguards for him, but that’s just my taste.

Mint, complete ‘87 Cobra Commanders are not hard to get, and if you look around, you can easily acquire one for $12 to $15. Every now and then, you’ll see eBay idiots push the price up towards $30, but the figure is still easy enough to acquire for half of that. Keep an eye out on his gun when looking for one though, as a lot of listings swap the original gun for the silver Accessory Pack version, and the 2002 Snow Serpent’s gun as well (which is a perfect match for the plastic used on the backpack).

gi joe fred Vii vintage figure hasbro gi joe fred Vii vintage figure hasbro

1987 Cobra Commander Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

3D Joes


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5 Responses to 1987 Cobra Commander (Battle Armor)

  1. It took me a minute to get it but I love that death of CC shot. The posing is perfect and so is the setting.

  2. A-Man says:

    Mixed feelings about this one, the silver paint that rubs too easily. Why was the head molded in caucasian flesh color and then painted silver? The easily lost helmet hose. The strange pack.

    The 2001 would be better if it weren’t for the head, while molded in steel colored plastic, the altered neck and the missing post on the helmet ruin that bonus. Plus missing original gun.

    The comic pack one…they got cheap and made the waist silver with no blue. The bucket head looks big and is molded in flesh colored plastic! At least no separate helmet hose. (Also no original gun despite them having a mold of it!)

    I think it’s annoyingly amusing that when they redid this figure for 25th (Strangely early in that line, too), that they made the helmet hose a separate piece. I’ve picked up a used copy of that figure and of course the hose was missing.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    Great photos here!

    You make a really solid point about the 1982 Cobra Commander colouring being on this figure. I’d never consciously noticed that. Good catch.

    There’s a variation on the 87 CC. One has a head cast in silver plastic, another has one in CC’s fleshtone.

  4. DJV says:

    Great review! Like RTG, I also didn’t catch that this exactly uses the regular Cobra Commander color scheme, either. I love these photos, too.

    I got the first repaint in 1998 or so, and he’s been one of my favorite CC figures ever since. I always saw him as an usurper, too, though– he just isn’t suited to be a regular Cobra Commander for some reason. I’ve also since acquired the 00s repaint. So I feel like even with just those two, I already have a surplus and might not need the original.

    This post did make me hop over to eBay, though…

  5. The Grand Poobah says:

    Anyone know where you can get a replacement hose from? I haven’t been able to find one anywhere. Any help would be appreciated.

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