2022 Retro Cobra Officer

2022 Retro Cobra Officer

So, it’s time for me to dip my toe into talking about Hasbro’s Retro series, which I’ve yet to do here. Given that others brands have done reissues/semi-reissues to some success, I was a big advocate for something like the Retro line to happen, so far I’m glad that it has. It’s nice to have o-ring GI Joes back in the new decade, especially after the 2010‘s where we didnt’t get hardly a single official figure. For reasons, my first (and so far, only) purchase from this line has been the Cobra Officer and Trooper 2-pack.

My main feeling is that so far this line is horribly botched. It was baffling that we went so many years without classic Joes, while Transformers, Ghost Busters, Star Wars, MOTU and countless other 80‘s brands had some variety of classic line or reissues. Then Hasbro announces the Retro series, and all we get is a trickle? My personal feeling is that they’re holding out to create a greater sense of false-scarcity and perpetuate a consumerist cycle of “PREORDER IMMEDIATELY OR REGRET IT FOREVER ONCE IT’S GONE!”. Sorta like how with the Classified figures, people pay hundreds for the shit while it’s hot, with seemingly no concept that Hasbro will just keep making more of the same characters or just rerelease the more popular ones. It’s all about keeping you in an anxious lull that you’ll lose your one desperate reprieve from your sad and probably overworked life.

I love the original Cobra Officer mold, but it does have a very distinct flaw in the way that he virtually can’t hold a gun. It’s easy enough to give that figure a pass, since even the swivel-arm version is still one of the very first Joe molds. Still, this presented a great opportunity for the new figure, as being made of softer materials gives me a Cobra Officer that can do a little more and pose with his weapon.

Of course, the downside is that they screwed up the sculpt and the figure now can barely bend at the knee. In the era of 3D-printing and rapid prototyping, you really get a sense for how little anyone cared while making this, as a flaw this serious could have easily been fixed early on. I don’t regret the purchase, but I do have a lot of contempt for a premium “collectible” with so little care put into it. This is reinforced by the bazooka bonus-accessory, which is curiously missing it’s sight. Almost like they bought a broken one off eBay and 3D-scanned it without noticing that the sight was gone.

Speaking of premium pricing, the quality of the set relative to it’s price-tag is another picking point. At $40, you’re paying $20 each for the two figures. Pricing on modern Hasbro offerings is becoming an increasingly contentious topic for collectors. To a degree you can’t be too fussy, as infinite money printing has some serious consequences, and unfortunately, toys aren’t the only thing that’s doubling in price compared to just a few years ago. At the same time, Hasbro is a market leader, and a horribly, horribly greedy company. Check out their recent promise to increase their profits by 50% in three years. Makes you wonder how they’re going to pull that off.

A lot of people have had issues with the Cobra Officer having stressed elbows in the package. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of those people, though, my Trooper did have a Funskool-tier paint app on his knee, where the black paints runs from the knee onto the boot. Premium indeed, though for the most part I didn’t have many quality issues with this figure. Hopefully I can preorder another one in ‘24 once this one begins to spontaneously turn green and crack all over.

For accessories, you get the Officer’s classic AK-47, just like with the original. As well, there’s two little paper bags of crap in the bottom of the box. Inside the bags, you’ll find Zap’s Bazooka, Short-Fuze’s mortar, Grunt’s M-16, Rock & Roll’s M-60, Stalker’s M-32, a broken AK-47, and a pair of figure stands, all recreating the gear that the Trooper and Officer had from the obscure Sears/JC Penny 3-pack and a few other odd releases. Superficial, but a nice way to increase the value if nothing else. The parts look nice outside of the broken AK, and I enjoy having these extras to spread around my collection, similar to the great gift we all received when TBM forever saturated the Joe world with reproduction AK’s and Dragunovs.

Also, since I had to pay a premium for it, I’m going to take an extra moment to criticize the packaging. So, I don’t think I’d point to Star Wars fans as people Hasbro treats very well. Though, I have to say I think there’s a stark difference between the care put into The Vintage Collection’s packaging, and what you see on these figures, as well as most other retro-themed GI Joe offerings. A pedantic Star Wars nerd will quickly notice something as minuscule as poor font formatting on a character’s name, and often, Hasbro has rectified such issues before release. For Joe, you see no such attempt to make things right. The first thing you see on the fancy-pants box, is that the Trooper and Officer have their weapons switched. The cards inside are also full of egregious changes. No white border on the outside of the card. The text at the top “fully posable modern army figure” is gone. No text to the side describing the accessories. The card-back and filecard has so many languages on it, that it manages to say nothing in every language of the world. Would’ve been nice if for all of that money, you got a more accurate card, or at least a pre-cut filecard in English as a pack-in.

As of this writing, you can still get this set from Hasbro Pulse for it’s original price of $42.99. For comparison, the Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow set that sold out in about a month in ‘21 has seen scant value accumulate for sealed copies, while the loose figures go for much less. I do not think these will become very expensive any time soon, which is nice, given they are already too expensive. I think it can be reasoned that these are decent things to purchase, but for a brand with a legacy like GI Joe, Hasbro could do better in a lot of ways.

hasbro pulse cobra officer 1982 gi joe arah2022 Retro Cobra Officer Links:

Forgotten Figures


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2022 Retro Cobra Officer

  1. Mike T. says:

    The more time that passes since these arrived, the less I think of them. All the Pulse stuff is just too expensive for what you get. And, I’m not only paying for a card, but a box. A box that has no vintage counterpart. It’s just price inflation. The extra gear is nice. But, like you said, the bazooka and the broken AK are just dumb. I’d have preferred a second version of the full AK and Dragunov instead.

    The fact these are languishing is not good. We’ve no announcement of the Stinger’s retail partner and the only thing that’s sold out is the SE/SS pack and that took a clearance sale to finally rid Hasbro of it. There’s an announcement day coming on 10/27. If no new o-rings there, I think the line is dead.

    But, seeing what Super7 has accomplished in terms of character releases/debuts and repaints just proves that Hasbro doesn’t get vintage Joe collectors or just doesn’t care. (Guess which side I’m on….) So, it might be OK if this vintage line dies out and we let Classified and its younger, less brand specific fans take the mantle for a while.

  2. A-Man says:

    I’ll dig out the broken record of “remember when 6 packs of o-rings were $20…later $25”. Is one of these figures worth 6 of those 2004 releases or Night Watch?
    Of course there was a kid market then. Now, kids and GI JOE…ahahahaha. Kids don’t even have much 4 knock-off options, Walmart doesn’t even stock Lanard junk beside Predator/ALIENS, no TRU true heroes, no more Power Team at Big lots.
    What I’m getting at, is as the kid market declines, they go after collector money more. The old “pimple on the elephant’s butt” (as a Hasbro exec said in the 90’s, IIRC) is now a key market, and don’t believe it when they say otherwise. Gen X nerd money is vital to Mattel and Hasbro. The elephant is much smaller and the pimple’s gotten more noticeable.
    And boy, would they prefer all collectors buy 6-inch only. That’s been the impression in the Star Wars collecting community for years now. And I think it applies to GI JOE as well. Not sure why they even did the retro Sky Striker other than after licensing Super 7 to do 4 -inchers, they decided Hasbro wanted a side hustle with something of that scale. If it went gangbusters, they could do a lot more o-ring. But it didn’t quite to great, they had to add a some freebies to get that final push. Compare to the 6-inch HISS. Which scale is more likely to get the next go-fund-me or whatever they bloody called it…
    Of course, maybe we’re all wrong. They’ll suddenly do $13 carded retro Joes with old and requested characters. Sure. I mean, the 5 POA retro Star Wars only gets maybe two waves a year and Star Wars has a bigger fan base. And those twits still won’t make fan requested characters in vintage Kenner style, pushing new media instead (probably at the Mouse’s demands) and letting bootleggers make that money instead.

  3. Sam says:

    I guess we’ll never know if a retro ARAH 3.75″ line would have been successful had Hasbro chosen to “full ass” it instead of “half ass” it.

    My guess is that significant demand exists/existed. Can you imagine ARAH-inspired o-rings with improved articulation, such as swivel wrists and ball jointed necks for pre-85 figures? If demand exists for retro-improved MOTU stuff, then so too is there demand for retro-improved Joe stuff. After all, the venn diagram between these two fan bases largely overlaps.

    But anyway… ?‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♂️ It’s all academic at this point, as I can’t imagine Hasbro making more ARAH product. Hasbro will probably cite “lack of sales” or “lack of consumer interest” as the reason for cancelling the retro line. But, let’s be real: Who wants to support half-assed efforts at premium price points?? A Cobra Officer with knees that can’t bend?!! ??‍♂️

    The future of o-ring seems to lie with with fan-made product, i.e. Operation Recall and Callsign Longbow. I pray to plastic jesus that these guys pull it off ? cuz I got dollars to spend and kids to indoctrinate in corporate brand loyalty ?? haha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *