G.I. Joe: Retaliation - Cobra Combat Ninja

If there was ever any question about whether or not G.I. Joe: Retaliation was bringing in the "ninja" loving crowd, this figure probably resolved any doubt. Just from the initial design, you can tell this was meant to be the action figure equivolent of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Cobra Trooper, but they tossed in a sword, a sheath, an alternate ninja head and now he's a "Combat Ninja". Ultimately does that matter?

No, not at all. At least, not to me. What I find most interesting about this figure goes far beyond his name, and straight to the figure itself. I'm sure I was the last guy to figure this out, but I actually didn't realize the figure was a neck-to-toe repaint of the Cobra Shock Trooper. Sure, it was evident that parts of that figure were used throughout this one, but I really didn't realize that every single element of the figure (except for the awesome masked head) was previously used in that figure. I've gone on record saying that while I love the Shock Trooper, he was almost too "real world" military for me and didn't necessarily fit with the Cobra aesthetic. Well, it just so happens in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation film, Cobra was designed to be more "real world" military, and this design pattern works flawlessly here. The Shock Trooper body is large and bulky, simulating a thick padded uniform to perfection. As with the original Shock Trooper the articulation and range of motion in the arms and legs is pretty great.

Obviously what shines the most about this figure and makes me really fall in love with it is the paint scheme. I had my issues with the designs of the Cobra Troopers in the film, and really wanted them to look more "Cobra" esque. The urban camouflage looked too generic in my eyes, even though it did fit the theme of the film and supported the idea of a Cobra security division. That being said, I think Hasbro did spectacular work translating that look to action figure form. The digital camouflage pattern here is really amazing, with intricate blues and different shades of gray which come together to make a really nice looking uniform design that separates this figure amazingly effectively from the previous version.

I know there were some concerns from the fandom about the reduced paint applications on this figure in comparison to pre-production test shots, but just looking at the figure here in front of me, it still looks very well detailed and very heavy on the different paint apps. Yes, I think the black trim on the vest would have been excellent, but even just looking at this figure as it stands, it is a model of paint efficiency and effective camouflage. I love that the blue is so prevalent as well, really tying the figure back nicely to his Cobra roots.

The new tooling on this figure rests with the two head sculpts he receives, and they are both fantastic for totally different reasons. The somewhat baggy look of his balaclava is a really cool design element, and manages to slightly resemble the Cobra cloth mask while still staying true to a more modern interpretation. It's the alternate head that really shines in my eyes.

I've been pretty vocal with my displeasure at the fact that Hasbro seems to be working extremely well in concert with IDW on the Transformers side, really nicely translating comic designs into plastic form. Meanwhile on the G.I. Joe side that just doesn't happen. Well, a very cool Easter Egg with the Cobra Combat Ninja rests in this awesome "Blue Ninja" alternate head that comes with him. I'm a media afficianado, I love toy representations of my favorite media events in comics and cartoons, and I'm thrilled to see this IDW Real American Hero themed head sculpt in a Hasbro produced figure. I'll be the first to admit that I thought the Blue Ninja storyline dragged on for a bit in the Real American Hero title last year, but the designs of those cybernetic ninjas was pretty incredible and as expected translates amazingly effectively into toy form. The awesome single-eye with simple green paint looks really nice and even folks who aren't fans of the Real American Hero continuation from IDW should find some things to love about this terrific robotic head. Does it fit the movie theme? No, not especially, but I am already picturing the potential custom ideas in my head. I love that this thing was included.


With most other figures in this wave, Hasbro has crafted a love letter to fans with the amazing numbers of accessories on a per-figure basis. The Cobra Combat Ninja is no different. He comes loaded with an awesome rocket launcher (the same one as Resolute Firefly, but with a distinctly "ASP" flavor to it), a quartet of machine guns, a sword and scabbard, the Shock Trooper vest, a helmet, and a trusty Cobra flag. I love that they included the flag as a tribute of sorts to the flags that drape down the White House in the infamous scene from the trailers and the film. The helmet is terrific and looks just like the ones worn in the film, and the one new gun they included is a great bullpup design that resembles some of the weaponry these troopers used. Of course as with any bullpup gun, it's a challenge for the figure to hold it effectively, but it's cool to see it.

Again, I do think the vest would have benefited from some additional black paint apps as we saw in earlier pictures, and I may end up adding that myself at some point down the line. That being said, the accessories that the figure does come with all suit that figure very well, and are pretty fun weapons to boot. No complaints here.

Yes the Cobra Combat Ninja has a silly name, and yes, he is just mostly a repaint of the existing Cobra Shock Trooper. But he also is a fantastic interpretation of the film accurate Cobra Trooper...and not only that, but as a great urban camouflage repaint of the Shock Troopers, he can work in a more traditional G.I. Joe/Cobra setting as well. In short, this figure is a great example of just how much mileage Hasbro can get out of their tooling, and with the simple addition of a new head and helmet, and some creative paint, the figure can grow and evolve into a great media tie-in piece, yet still have those connections to whatever G.I. Joe universe you choose. This is a fantastic figure which manages to reach a level of coolness despite all of the reused tooling involved. Great job on this one.


The above Cobra Commander has been getting a lot of reaction from the readers. It's a custom that I assembled using the following recipe:

Head - Retaliation HISS Driver Cobra Commander
Torso - Rise of Cobra Storm Shadow
Arms - Retaliation Wave 1 Storm Shadow
Legs - PoC Cobra Commander
Jacket - Rise of Cobra Shadow with the front panel cut away with an exacto
Collar - G.I. Joe: Resolute Beachhead