It seems only appropriate that on a week where we saw the release of two new trailers and a behind-the-scenes featurette that I’d also get my hands on two G.I. Joe: Classified figures straight from the Snake Eyes movie!
First and foremost, it’s always a great day when you get a free package from Hasbro in the mail. Huge thanks to the folks at Hasbro for sending along this great gift box of free product!
As awesome as this stuff is, though, to me, the best gift of all is going to be seeing what Hasbro has to share April 9th. They’ve promised that Snake Eyes himself, Henry Golding will be in the house to share some exciting news about the Snake Eyes film, and we’re more or less guaranteed to get our first look at Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins movie figures!
Recently it’s also been revealed that Major Bludd, one of the most anticipated figures in the Classified line, may be revealed this week as well, but will likely be revealed as a Target: COBRA Island exclusive.
I will, of course, be celebrating Fan Fest with my good friends at The Full Force Podcast, so make sure you’re following them over on Facebook and subscribing to their YouTube channel to get our opinion on the sure-to-be-exciting reveals to come.
Meanwhile, check out some of the really fun contents of this awesome Gift Box.
Thanks, Hasbro, now I’ve fallen in love with Power Rangers Lightning and Star Wars Black Mandalorian figures. You get me. You really get me.
Star Wars Black Bo Katan
Yes this figure is just as amazing as Katie Sackhoff herself. Two pistols, removable helmet (with flip-down scope!) and a removable jetpack… SOLD.
Marvel Legends House of M Cyclops
Love the vintage feel of this Cyclops and the energy beam? Chef’s kiss.
Power Rangers Lightning Dino Thunder Blue Ranger
I have never ever in my life cared about Power Rangers until this very moment. I was absolutely shocked at just how damn fun this figure is. The accessories are great, articulation is spectacular. I don’t have a clue what Dino Thunder is, but I’m for it!
Transformers: Kingdom Paleotrex
I’ll admit– while I’ve dug deep into Kingdom figures mostly out of a love for Beast Wars, I hadn’t sampled this one yet. It’s really neat! The transformation gimmick involves taking the dang thing apart and putting it back together– differently. I really dig how the dinosaur ends up strangely larger than the robot. What kind of sorcery is this?
G.I. Joe: Classified Zartan
What else do I need to say that I didn’t already say in my review. BEST CLASSIFIED FIGURE EVER.
For folks who have been following along on my social media pages, you know that I’ve been working my way through the Classified review backlog a bit. I’m happy to say I’m (more or less) caught up. No I haven’t reviewed Profit Director Destro, Arctic Storm Shadow or Snake Supreme COBRA Commander yet, but I’m not sure I’ll get those done or not. I love ’em, just– gotta prioritize, you know?
At this point, I’ve added Zartan, COBRA Infantry, Firefly and COBRA Viper to the G.I. Joe: Classified Review Page. If you haven’t checked them yet, now’s your chance!
Yes, I know, I’m pretty unabashed in my love for the G.I. Joe: Classified line and I’ll readily admit that I’ve enjoyed pretty much every figure they’ve released so far.
But, from time to time, one figure rises above the others, and evven in a line full of great toys, there is a new one that stands above the crowd. The G.I. Joe: Classified Zartan is just about as close to a perfect G.I. Joe toy as you can get.
Zartan has always been one of my favorite characters in the G.I. Joe lore. The way he walked a narrow line between good and evil (he was always better evil, however) his near-supernatural shape shifting abilities, his twisted sense of honor and loyalty, as well as the way Larry Hama interwove his backstory into Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.
Zartan was the epitome of everything I loved about G.I. Joe. Just the right hint of supernatural, just the right hint of futuristic sci-fi–a mix of weaponry and martial arts skills. I love Zartan and I really, really love the G.I. Joe: Classified representation of him.
Very much like Destro, the design for Zartan leans heavily into his vintage look, giving him the familiar brown hood, eye make up, layered chest armor, etc… But also like Desro, they’ve gone an extra step in adding some really interesting modern flair throughout a pretty familiar looking design.
In some cases, the changes are subtle, like the layered texture throughout his hood that really gives it a third dimension. Other changes are more obvious, like the reinforced armor on his forearms and the spectacular snakeskin texture on his gloves.
The figure is a nice, solid size, though not as big and bulky as Gung Ho or Roadblock. I thought at first he might be built on their buck, but in fact it appears as though his bare torso and arms beneath the armor are completely new tooling. Paint applications are very familiar, with brown pants, black armor (though some of that armor has a great, understated metal “sheen” to it).
Again, the benefits of the larger scale really show through with the vast amount of sculpted texture that really bring the figure to life. You can see where there’s metal, where there’s fabric, and even the different changes in fabric texture. Though the figure is mostly two colors – brown and black, the variant shades and sculpts beneath those textures tells a really great story.
Like most Classified figures as well, Zartan can carry every single accessory he comes with, between a great sheath on his belt and a peg on his backpack (more on that awesome backpack later), not to mention the snake’s head and monkey’s paw that adorn his belt as well.
From a design perspective, Zartan is an absolute home run.
As with the other Classified figures, Zartan’s articulation is pretty much perfect. The armor is sculpted in a way to not hinder the way he moves and he’s capable of achieving almost any pose you’d want. His large shoulder pouldrons are een designed in a way to move with his arm movements so he can look imposing standing still, but also stretch his arms out in nearly any fashion.
My goodness, the accessories Zartan comes with a pretty close to perfect. No, he doesn’t come with a ton of gear, but he comes with just enough, and you get a fantastic combination of warm nostalgia and cool new touches to go along with it.
The backpack is, just as it should be. Very evocative of his original 1984 version, it even holds the mask just like that previous figure did. The mask fits perfectly and while of course it won’t fool anyone, it really leans heavily into that classic toy functionality and I love it. Zartan comes with a pistol that’s very much like his original version as well, plus the bad ass knife that slips into his holster.
New additions are both the monkey’s paw and the snake head, which are elements that tie him into his swamp background and give him a bit of a cool “voodoo” edge. Such a neat touch. He comes with the same scarf as the COBRA Viper, only in brown instead of gray, which is removable if you don’t like it. The hood also comes off, yet it stays on his head perfectly well, too, for some added variability.
How much praise can I heap on this figure? It ticks every single box you’d want it to tick. You like the vintage look? We got it. You like the modern “G.I. Joe: Classified aesthetic”? Got those bases covered, too.
I honestly cannot think of a single complaint about this figure. In a line that has already impressed me with nearly every single offering, somehow they just managed to one-up themselves. Not only that, but this is a standard release figure, which should make it easier to acquire. I know when first announced there were pre-orders across the board at Pulse, BBTS, Entertainment Earth, Gamestop and others. Word is that the figure can already be found at Walgreens as well.
Hopefully this is a sign of things to come as far as avaialability goes.
Meanwhile, I am thrilled to add this figure to my growing roster of COBRA agents. Classified is once again gaining ground as perhaps my favorite iteration of G.I. Joe since the classic days. Watch out, Sigma 6, it might be gaining on you!
G.I. Joe Classified COBRA Infantry
This figure is just about as perfect as you can get. A great, timeless character, some nice vintage throwbacks, but with some really great modern twists. The perfect allotment of accessories, fantastic articulation– yeah, Zartan is where it’s at.
– Amazingly detailed sculpt
– Increased scale provides opportunity for nicely layered paint and sculpt techniques
– Right mix of vintage and modern
– Love the accessories — would have REALLY loved a compound bow
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.
– The same great sculpt and design as the Target exclusive
– Lots of subtle paint detail that brings the figure to life
– Army build without buyer’s remorse!
– I prefer the metallic colors of the exclusive version’s armor
– Comes with fewer accessories and I do miss the awesome goggles
Ah, so we’re starting to see a theme here– take what are certain to be the most popular army builders in the line and make them difficult to find exclusives. Got it. Solid plan.
In fairness, if designing exclusives for Target is what gets Target to carry the line, then I’m okay with that, even if it’s a feat of frustration and acrobatics to try and get the figure. Actually, I have a confession to make when it comes to the COBRA Viper.
I broke. I did it. I paid scalper prices (at least for one of them). What other choice did I have? Yes, I know it only encourages them, but without a local Target store accessible to me and with none of my friends even able to find one for themselves, it was time to face facts– I got lucky with the COBRA Trooper, Roadblock, Beachhead, Baroness and Firefly. That luck was not going to get me any further on the Viper.
That being said, about two weeks after I clenched my teeth as I was clicking the buy button on eBay, Robot Kingdom got a two pack of Firefly and COBRA Viper in stock, that while certainly not MSRP, wasn’t exactly what I would call a “scalper price.” Thus, I’ve got two. Eventually I’ll have more.
The reason I’m not so twisted up over it is because Hasbro’s track record, at least at this early stage, is that they will eventually release the army builder in the main line assortment. The colors may be a bit different, but not terribly so (if COBRA Infantry is any indication).
Heck, they already have card art for the Viper on the back of the package with red boots instead of black– could that be an indication of what we’ll see in a normal retail assortment?
I feel like I have to specify — I do not regret spending scalper prices. I am 100% in love with the G.I. Joe: Classified line and if I have to break the bank for a figure, I’m prepared to do that. The rest of my figures have been more or less purchased at MSRP, which considering where I live, is pretty impressive. It always boggles my mind when people complain that these figures are impossible to find. If you shop online, it’s actually quite easy.
I have TWO (2) Wal-Mart’s and ZERO (0) Targets within a 70 mile radius and I’ve been able to buy every single figure I wanted (while needing a little extra effort for the Target figures). I haven’t been dependent on brick and mortar for my toy collecting in– maybe ten years? Why start now?
All that being said– I suppose rather than harping on how easy or hard it is to find a Viper, I should talk a little bit about the figure itself.
After all, I paid more money for this figure than I have any other Classified figure to date. Was it worth it?
Oh, yes. Oh my goodness– yes.
The COBRA Viper is a key example of what sorts of cool things are possible with this tooling re-use formula that Hasbro is utilizing with the G.I. Joe: Classified line. I believe the figure uses Duke’s tooling from the waist up, with a fresh secondary on the torso as well as the forearm guards that slide over the existing arms. It saves some money on tooling, but completely reinvents the figure in a perfect way.
While the COBRA Trooper was almost a total reinvention of the old school COBRA aesthetic, the Viper leans a lot more into its vintage roots, but still manages to look nicely modernized and updated to fit into the near-future Classified design scheme.
Key design elements like the textured forearm guards, thigh pads and boots are very much a COBRA Viper hallmark, and they’re portrayed well here, giving the figure a unique look.
The COBRA Viper’s headsculpt is again, a nice throwback to its vintage look with some added texture and a nice mirrored finish on the facemask. The goggles are removable (though I added a dab of super glue because they tend to fall of at a moment’s notice).
I find myself really loving the tactical vest as well with its elaborate straps, textures, ammo pouches and a sculpted COBRA logo near the bottom of the vest, all providing spectacular modern twists to a familiar vintage aesthetic.
Back in the day there were some questions about how the COBRA Trooper and COBRA Viper- co-existed. Clearly, back then, the COBRA infantry was clearly a less armored and less “tactical” operative while the Viper was geared out for real front-line combat. In G.I. Joe: Classified the lines get a little bit more blurred as both the Trooper and the Viper appear almost equally tactical. That being said, it gives me great pleasure to heave both within my COBRA roster, I think there’s definitely room for both.
In a way, it seems odd to have a section in these reviews for articulation — after all, nearly every Classified figure maintains the same high standards for articulation and COBRA Viper is no different.
The COBRA Viper manages to balance fantastic design aesthetic and almost flawless articulation, with none of the great range of motion impacted by any of its various secondaries. Butterfly shoulders, double jointed knees, elbows, rocker ankles, the neck joint, hips– this tactical COBRA soldier can achieve nearly every pose you’d want.
I feel it necessary to point out that there is just something different about the way Classified figures are engineered that I’m really drawn to. Whether its a result of the gear they’re typically wearing, I’m not sure, but they feel larger, bulkier, and almost more solid than the typical Marvel Legends releases, yet in spite of that thicker buck, they maintain an impressive array of articulation that is prevelant throughout each and every figure release.
So here’s another double-edged sword.
One item of note about the COBRA Viper accessories — the goggles on his helmet are removable. In fact they are so removable that I elected to use glue to hold them to the helmet. That’s why you don’t see them in the image above. Of course, his removable gray scarf is also easily removable, I just plain forgot to include that in the above image.
Beyond those two items, the COBRA Viper comes with a pretty vanilla weapons compliment, including a backpack that’s nicely evocative of the vintage version (with some great updated colors rather than the plain, drab black). He also has a futuristic rifle and the same pistol that Duke and Beachhead both come with, only this one in pure black. With the same leg holster as Duke, this figure can hold his pistol very well, and interesting, the rifle has a removable magazine for a nice little extra touch.
The accessories lack the creativity of Firefly and yes, the rifle is a bit more “laser rifle” than assault rifle, but as with other examples, I’m cool with that. This rifle doesn’t look wildly space-aged (like Roadblock’s) and it’s a design that I’m more than happy to live with.
Considering how close the standard COBRA Trooper is to a “tactical” special operations kind of soldier, I’m honestly quite surprised Hasbro dipped their toes into the “Viper” waters this early in the line. With COBRA Trooper, Red Ninja and now COBRA Viper, it’s getting easier and easier to grow an army (well– it would be easier if you could– you know– actually buy the Viper somewhere). There are still some key core characters in the COBRA hierarchy missing, but you can rest assured when guys like Major Bludd, Scrap Iron and others arrive, they will have plenty of troopers to command and control.
I’m happy to say, though, regardless of how much I question the choice to go with a Viper this early, the fact remains that Hasbro absolutely KILLED this figure from an execution standpoint. Sculpting is flawless, the combination of new parts and re-used tooling blends to give us one hell of an update to the vintage figure.
I’ve said it hundreds of times already, but I just want to reiterate — G.I. Joe: Classified is hitting every single high point for me. I understand some folks are frustrated with availability (which, I should note, is likely a good deal due to the global pandemic that people seem to comfortably forget about when complaining) but the figures that have been released are just about as close to a perfect combination of vintage and future aesthetic as I could ask for.
I think people are pretty aware of my diehard love for Sigma 6… I know it’s still early in the line’s history, but these figures are nudging very close to Sigma 6 for one of my all time favorite iterations of the brand. Keep ’em coming.
G.I. Joe Classified COBRA Viper (Special Mission: COBRA Island)
Yes he’s only available in very limited instances through Target, but the COBRA Viper remains a highlight of the line and a figure I greatly hope to see Hasbro repaint and re-release at some point in the near future. He’s a fantastic army builder that every collector deserves to fill their shelves with, without paying the hefty after-market prices.
– Great sculpting, parts and a nearly perfect paint scheme