Toys "R" Us Exclusive "Troop Builder" 5-Pack - COBRA

Okay, I officially feel conflicted. There was a time that the Joe fan crowd rallied against the 25th Anniversary line because while Hasbro was releasing a large number of Cobra Troopers, they made them all slightly different, which negated a lot of the impact of army building...and I agreed with them. The purpose, to me, of "army building" is to build an army of similar looking characters, so if Hasbro puts little tweaks and changes on all of the different versions, you end up with a whole "taste the rainbow" thing going on.

So, now with the movie line, Hasbro releases the Toys "R" Us Troop Builder 5-Packs, and I'm getting annoyed, because all of the troopers look the same. Wha--?

I think it really boils down to figure design. Since I'm not 100% wild about the base figure for the COBRA troopers anyway, it seems like somewhat of a waste to get a 5-pack with much the same stuff that I've already bought and complained about once...yet, here I am after dropping twenty bones on the set... was it worth it? In one way, it was, but in another way, not so much.


This figure isn't so much the same as the single pack version, but it's pretty much identical to the one we got in the Attack on the Pit 5-Pack. Same base colors as the standard release, but some different whethering on the armor and the figure. As I said, in one way it's cool, because you can get an assortment of Cobra troopers that all look the same, but in another way, it seems like a bit of a waste, because I have no real desire to own an army of black and silver Neo-Vipers, yet somehow I've ended up with one.

Every time I watch the Rise of Cobra movie, I get a bit more enamored with the overall design of these Cobra troopers, but every time I actually fool with the figure itself, I lament the clunky, bow-legged knees, the funky arms, and the movement-restricting armor. Then I see figures like the Resolute Cobra Trooper, and I almost want to cry, because if Hasbro had used THAT figure as the basis for all of these Cobra Troops, I'd probably be living under a bridge...but with a whole lot of cool ass Cobra Troops to keep me company.

The figure look is cool enough, and represents the troops in the movie fairly accurately, but from a playability and movement perspective, it's got some flaws. I still love the head sculpt, and the overall concept is pretty neat, but there just seems to be some missed opportunities, and getting the same figures that I already own makes this set's value somewhat dubious.

Single Pack in the middle, flanked by the two TRU Exclusive Versions



Like the Neo-Viper, the Elite-Viper is more of the same as the single pack, however, at least the Elite-Viper is pretty freaking cool, and we haven't been absolutely inundated with versions of it... yet. From all indications, though, there are certainly plenty more coming.

The Elite-Viper uses the same torso as the other Cobra movie troops, but has much improved arms and legs, with some great range of motion, and some really cool trimming like the armored shoulder pads, elbow pads, and gauntlets. They add a nice futuristic sci-fi Cobra element, but don't go totally overboard like the Neo-Vipers do. The color scheme is a nice gray-blue, which kind of ties the various Cobra realities together a bit. I do find it a bit interesting that we have yet to get an Elite-Viper in a movie accurate paint scheme (which was all black) though I do welcome the little bit of variety we're seeing here with this gray shade.

While the base figure is the same old same old, they did mix up his specialties a bit, making this Elite-Viper much more of a security guard type of trooper. They replaced his submachine gun with a great tactical shotgun and requisite Rotweiller. Part of me is a bit disappointed, though, because I really love those submachine guns and can't get enough of 'em, but at least Hasbro replaced it with a pretty neat weapon in and of itself. Another somewhat unique difference is the small black Cobra logo painted on the armor, which is a neat touch, but nothing incredible.

Elite-Viper is far and away my favorite Rise of Cobra troop builder, and I like the way this one ties in with another favorite of mine, Night Adder. Using his holster to hold the shotgun is a stretch, but the figure still works nicely, and can be used in whatever capacity you choose. Not a bad addition, and an extra one of these is definitely not a drawback to buying this set.


MARS Trooper

The Rise of Cobra definitely did not get off to an auspicious start with the MARS Trooper 3-Pack...we got the same base figure that would become the default for Rise of Cobra troopers going forward, for better or for worse. They had all the wonky construction and articulation of the troopers, but none of the cool movie accuracy or intricately sculpted, nasty looking heads. Bland color schemes and uninspiring weapons rounded off a pretty lackluster 3-pack that introduced the Rise of Cobra to the toy collecting world. Thankfully, things got a LOT better from there, but suffering through another MARS Trooper in this set makes it less desirable, in my opinion, especially considering the paint scheme is the exact same boring swash of gray and black with no trim or interesting applications to spice it up.

The webgear is at least a little bit cool, and the helmet is interesting (very much a throwback to the Joe vs. Cobra Neo-Vipers back in the day) but with a dull pistol and even duller rifle, there isn't much to recommend here as part of the troop builder purchase.


MARS Officer

But what a difference some different paint apps makes... the MARS Officer is actually changed up quite a bit in this release, and honestly, it's a huge upgrade. While the MARS Trooper 3-Pack Officer had some neat elements, the two substandard trooper figures made it hardly worth the investment. However, the officer had better webgear, better weapons, and a cooler overall look, even with a somewhat boring gray/brown and silver paint scheme.

But with the Cobra Troop Builder set, Hasbro elected to give the MARS Officer a much more "Officer" paint scheme in the same vein as the Neo-Viper Officer that came with the Attack on the Pit 5-Pack, and it makes a HUGE difference. I think this figure blends with that Officer seamlessly and offers enough nice new elements and new looks to make it a very cool addition to this 5-Pack. Sure, there isn't a whole lot of weathering, and the black and silver are pretty status quo, but I love this more ornate clean black and clean silver paint scheme for the Officers, and this figure works very nicely like that.

The Officer comes with much cooler weapons than his Trooper counterpart, with the submachine gun, the pistol that actually fits in his webgear holster, the webgear itself, and a cool looking knife. He's got the familiar Officer crest on his helmet, and really ends up standing out nicely amongst the much duller MARS Troopers. The addition of the black and silver paint scheme makes a difference here, and I think adds some value to this set for sure.


Duke is this possible? The selling point of this twenty dollar 5-pack is actually a Duke figure? Don't we have enough of those already? Not only is he a key selling point, but he's just a repaint, and a very generic repaint at that...yet, he's still bad ass. What is the world coming to?

I've never made a secret of the fact that Sgt. Airborne was one of my favorite 25th Anniversary figures released. The overall design, the sculpting, articulation...everything just rocked. It took a fairly dull tan and baby blue figure from the old days and really gave him some terrific modern flair, and I think that base figure is a fantastic one for all sorts of great uses...this is a perfect example of that. At the core, this Duke is simply a black and gray repaint of Airborne with a Channing-Duke head, yet it's a very cool night ops military figure that adds a lot of value to this 5-pack, even with a somewhat canned paint scheme.

The Duke figure itself is only part of the value, though, as he comes with a nice assortment of military gear that makes it even better. The Desert Duke's helmet and backpack work excellently in black, Airborne's pistol and vest are nice, and the Pit Commando gas mask and machine gun just help round out a great series of weapons. Very nice overall package, which does help offset the $20.00 hit to the wallet, at least somewhat, especially considering you're getting five figures for twenty bucks, which isn't a bad value overall.



While this set has a healthy amount of the same old, same old, there are a couple of new elements which are kind of cool, though ultimately I'm not sure the small changes are worth the twenty dollar price tag. For folks who are army building the Rise of Cobra troopers, this is a no-brainer, as you get additional troops for a decent price, plus a pretty cool night ops version of the movie Duke that can used that way, or you can also utilize the very nice black parts in whatever way you want. For $20.00 it's a good value, but it all depends on your collecting habits. It doesn't get a whole hearted recommendation, but for certain collectors it's something that will beef up your squad for a great price.