G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary COBRA Officer
For some helpful hints concerning the 25th Anniversary figures, click here
Ever since COBRA first appeared, those faceless grunts running around in blue "pajamas" have really identified the COBRA organization and have become a pretty central component for them even as other troops came and went and more elaborate sculpting made the older figures look somewhat dated and out of place. The COBRA Officers were figures that I always loved as a kid even as they were sort of phased out by the latest and greatest COBRA specialty troopers. When Toys "R" Us began selling their Infantry Forces 6-Pack, it was a breath of fresh air with some very high quality COBRA Officers AND Troopers that served to be pretty much the perfect update to these figures. Well, it only makes sense that this foundation of the COBRA empire should get some 25th Anniversary love...and even as a repaint of the COBRA Trooper, the Officer ends up standing on his own two feet and looking like a great addition to your COBRA ranks.
Yes, the helmet is removable, and yes, COBRA Officer is stark bald underneath (as is the COBRA Trooper). While part of me isn't crazy about this, simply because I think it would be cool to have different troopers with different hair colors, another part of me is glad Hasbro did this because the shape of the head makes his helmet stay on VERY nicely and very tightly, which might have been a hitch with any kind of textured hair up there.
The face sculpt itself is nice, with a menacing glare in his eyes, and a well-textured face mask. Rather than the straight black facemask that the Trooper gets, this one is sort of a gray shade, which actually looks fairly cool and matches the COBRA symbol well.
With the helmet on, this figure gets a whole new identity and really starts working well as the backbone of the COBRA brass in the field. I love the sloped back design of the helmet, and the Officer's crest on the front (which the Trooper helmet does not have) is a great touch, too. The tooling for the figure itself is the same as the COBRA Trooper, and like the Trooper, it looks a bit funky with the added articulation. The mid-torso joint breaks up the flow of the shirt a little bit, but once you get the webgear on, this character just immediately comes to life. As I've said as well, G.I. Joe has always been about function over form, so I don't mind the added articulation messing with a figure's shape a bit, as long as it helps him move more realistically.
One thing about this figure's torso that does bug me a bit, though ( same could be said for every COBRA figure) is that the logo is a bit on the small side. A minor complaint to be sure, and one hardly worth mentioning, but the appearence of these COBRA Officers would carry a lot more impact with perhaps just a slightly larger, more menacing snake logo on their chest. Again, a minor point.
From the collar to the seam down the middle, and the non-descript sleeves, the upper body of the Officer is just as cool as the Trooper, but actually ends up looking a whole lot better with the more elaborate web gear. The Officer's straps take up more real estate on the torso, better hiding the articulation point and also beefing the figure up quite a bit. Design on this webgear is simply out of this world, with all sorts of elaborate pouches, textured straps, buckles and other nice little touches. The swivel wrists integrate extremely well into the arm, too, and add a great bit of poseability that is much appreciated. You will notice that his hands are shaped pretty specifically to hold his weapon, and thankfully it works relatively well for the Officer. His right hand is a bit "turned down" to better hold the gun, which can sometimes affect the ways they stand "at rest", but it's not obvious and not a big deal. In fact, I think that the Officer may have the best "standard" hands that I've seen so far. Hands that hold his weapons well, yet look okay without them, too.
From the waist down, the Officer's uniform takes on a decided military appearence, with oversized pouches, ridged kneepads and combat boots, all great little additions that tie this guy much more with some sort of military organization rather than just a slapped together terrorist group that tosses on blue sweatpants and tries to blow stuff up. I love the detail throughout the legs, it all comes together very well.
The kneepads blend the double jointed knees in effortlessly and the functionality is great there. Like some other figures, there is a slight reduction on the hip articulation, which is a shame, but it's not quite as bad for the Officer/Trooper as it is for some of the other figures. They can still maintain some okay combat stances, they would just have a lot more versatility with some more motion available in the hip sockets.
On his left leg, the Officer has a nice hook/sheath system that holds his knife and holds it amazingly well. The removable weapons scattered throughout the Anniversary lines are some of the best conceived working holsters and sheaths that I have ever seen. They're not rediculously oversized or cumbersome, and the whole way the pistols and knives work with them is terrific, especially here. Besides the troublesome hip articulation, from head to toe, the COBRA Officer is a great, GREAT figure. Heck, even with the hip articulation problems the Officer is pretty darn cool, that just deducts a few points from the "terrific-meter".
According to a recent issue of the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club newsletter, Hasbro intended to release an AK-47 with the Officer as he was shown originally. However, they couldn't get the timing quite down, since they had to rush to get these figures produced to meet retailer demand. From the sounds of the article, though, they fully intend on getting that great looking weapon released with a different version of the Officer/Trooper somewhere down the line. Maybe in the second COBRA Battle Pack? Regardless, the Officer comes with most of the same stuff as the Trooper (other than the much improved webgear):
The sniper rifle is in silver here rather than black, and the helmet has the Officer's crest on it, and those are both great improvements. He's also got his familiar stand and the knife that slides easily into the sheath on his leg. All in all, not a huge number of accessories, but they all serve their functions well and help round off this figure nicely.
This new version of the COBRA Officer blends in surprisingly well, considering he's a Trooper repaint, but he ends up retaining much of the uniqueness that the original had. Improved webgear, a different helmet, and the silver logos all bring this guy a few steps away from his predecessor, and it shows that with some minor changes you really can use the same tooling to achieve two different effects. While I wish this figure especially didn't have some minor limits to his leg movement (since he's in the field so much) I can't argue that the figure itself looks absolutely amazing. Lots of intricate details, high quality sculpting and articulation, and all around a very solid feeling figure. A guy who is worthy to be the backbone of your Anniversary style COBRA army, and who will look great on display, especially in that single card format!