Army builders rejoice! The fandom was about ready to revolt when it came to the Target exclusive COBRA Trooper, but once the Infantry was revealed, I felt like at least some of the heat was off (at least for the few minutes before Hasbro revealed the COBRA Viper…)
The best thing about this figure is perhaps the realization that Hasbro is willing to re-release these exclusive figures at mass retail, and in paint schemes that closely resemble the other versions. While this COBRA Infantry is clearly quite different than the COBRA Trooper, it’s not markedly worse, it’s just– different. Although they did make some subtle changes, they kept it consistent enough that it still blends well with the previous version– in short I think Hasbro handled it pretty much perfectly.
While I suspected Hasbro would re-release the COBRA Trooper in an easier to acquire format, I was a little nervous about what they would do to the color scheme. I was worried about the potential of a black deco or even something stranger, and to my absolute pleasure, Hasbro elected to stay VERY close to the previous version.
No, it’s not exactly the same, but honestly, that’s okay. It’s close enough and while there are different paint applications, there aren’t necessarily less of them, so the figure looks just as nicely detailed as the previous version, which is a very good thing.
I find myself really loving the different flesh tone of the updated Infantry as well, and the colors are close enough that if you want to mix and match throughout the Troopers and Infantry, you can create a nice, eclectic mix of COBRA cannon fodder.
Comparing both versions, simply by looking at the paint deco I find myself appreciating elements of both. While I much prefer the metallic shine to the armor for the exclusive ersion, I don’t find the muted blue of the Infantry that much worse, it’s just different.
While I like breaking up the blue uniform with the black vest, the blue vest looks nice, too, especially with the added colors in the gray straps, it does a good job making the vest look more realistic and less monotone.
Design-wise, the COBRA Infantry has everything the Trooper does. Fantastic modernization in the head sculpt and face mask. A terrific looking tactical vest with holster (front and back) and knife sheath. Fully decked out combat togs, looking much more like a military operative than its vintage counterpart.
Interestingly, this shift away from “blue pajamas with black suspenders” kind of brings into question the need for the COBRA Viper. Back in the 80’s I always saw the Viper as more of a front line “ground pounder” sort, a trooper better equipped for an in the trenches firefight, while the old school COBRA was perhaps more behind the scenes.
These Classified updates seem to align the two infantry in a much closer way, which isn’t a bad thing at all, I still love them both and enjoy them both, just an interesting twist to the COBRA hierarchy.
As with the Trooper, I am almost astounded at the level of intricate detail work throughout the figure. Not content to be vanilla with the uniform sculpting, it seems like every inch of the figure is absolutely lathered in different textures, from the ridged shoulder pads to the dinged up metal forearm and shin guards, all the way to the tightly sculpted wrinkles and surface of the military pants.
Every inch of this figure is simply etched with spectacular detail that really brings it to life and shows what’s possible in a larger scale figure.
The COBRA Trooper, when it was first released, instantly rose to the top of the list for my favorite Classified figures, and even with the adjusted paint applications, the Infantry holds close to that position as well.
Like the Trooper, the COBRA Infantry has terrific articulation and the ability to drop into any manner of great poses, either firing or otherwise.
The drop-leg hips, butterfly shoulders and impressive knee and elbow joints completely redefine poseability and only serve to further accentuate the sculpt. The way Hasbro has been able to marry sculpt and poseability is really impressive all the way across the line, and COBRA Infantry is no exception.
This is perhaps the only real “detraction” I can point out about COBRA Infantry versus the COBRA Trooper.
Yes, the Infantry comes with fewer accessories. It lacks the cool sniper rifle, the red arm band, and what I think is the most glaring ommission — no awesome snake themed goggles. Honestly, I’m totally fine with the sniper rifle and arm band missing, those can be explained away by the fact that the Trooper is perhaps elevated in rank.
But the goggles? Man, I really wish they’d included those. I was fortunate enough to get a couple of the Troopers, so I’m more or less okay with this, but if I hadn’t gotten the troopers and could only get the Infantry, I would have been bummed that none of my COBRA foot soldiers came with those bad ass verticle slit goggles. Yes, I think they’re that cool. It may be a silly hill to die on, and I’m certainly not going to say you shouldn’t buy the Infantry because of that, but I do wish they’d been included.
Aside from that minor complaint, the Infantry comes with the same knife, pistols and non-sniper rifle (and of course the helmet) which suits me fine. Yes, the pistols and the rifle are pretty “science-fiction” but I’m okay with that. They look like they could potentially exist in some real world “ten years in the future scenario” and are certainly no more ridiculous than a good number of the vintage accessories we’ve seen over the years.
I love that this figure exists and that it exists so close in color and aesthetic to its exclusive predecessor. Hasbro is in a sort of a no-win situation. It’s becoming clear that in order to ensure a line’s place in certain retail establishments, those retail establishments want exclusives. Yes, at this point, with the six Target figures, there is a very high ratio of exclusives to standard figures. But I am in such love with the Classified line, I’m okay with that, because it’s six figures we likely wouldn’t have at all at this point , and to me, the more the better, at least for now.
Make no mistake — Target exclusives are the bane of my existence. I have no local stores and the website is useless, but I’ve still loved every single one of those figures and have managed to acquire them with little difficulty.
That being said, I’m thrilled that Hasbro is doing things like the COBRA Infantry, and giving folks easier access to those awesome figures while still maintaining a pretty awesome design aesthetic.
This COBRA Infantry army builder will fit in seamlessly to your COBRA ranks, and I find myself actually looking forward to seeing what Hasbro has in store for the inevitable Viper repaint, not to mention Beachhead, Baroness and Firefly. I bet they’re coming.
G.I. Joe Classified COBRA Infantry
For many collectors, this will be their first opportunity to acquire this particular figure, and I think Hasbro has done a terrific job of releasing this update in a great color scheme while still maintaining the unique elements of the Target exclusive version. While I really, really love the Target exclusive version, there is absolutely no reason not to army build the Infantry to your heart’s content. A lot to love about both.