I'm not quite sure what the deal with Cobra Commander is, as in, which version is the rare one? Everybody claimed at first it was the black one, but I saw dozens of black ones around the figure's May launch and didn't see a single blue one until Kmart nearby got some in July much later. It looks like the very first figures may have been blue, with black being the running change/second release. If that's truly the case, blue may be the "rare" one, but it seems despite Hasbro stopping delivery of these items there may well be plenty out there.
Standing at about 4-inches tall, Cobra Commander is a slight departure from the norm in terms of articulation. He no longer has ankle joints, he has but one set of knee joints, and about a grand total of 12 meaningful joints are present. On my sample, the figure has incredibly loose legs (pick him up, and gravity will pull them down) and a right hand that pops out far more easily than most other action figures. So while the figure is nicely sculpted, with lots of pockets and cool details like Cobra knee pads, he feels a little cheap. I'm happy mine was on sale for $7.99 (what luck!) but I'm a little annoyed that my particular sample isn't up to par with the several thousand other figures I've bought from Hasbro over the years.
While not precisely like the movie, this new Cobra Commander has an awesome helmet and a lot of very toy-friendly crazy elements. To be honest, if the joints were tight, if a stand were included, and if he had ankles, this would probably be my favorite version of the character in years. The little details and the ridiculous Cobra staff are a lot of fun, although Cobra Commander does have some difficulty holding up the two-piece staff, and getting the firing mechanism to work is a little tricky. It doesn't quite click into place like other rocket launchers, so you'll have to futz with it and wonder if it is broken for a few minutes before getting the feel just right. On the bright side, it's not too hard to get the rocket to rest in the snake head without being in a position to accidentally get set off, and that's really nice to see.
His pistol fits into his holster, but the holster is not quite snug enough-- as such, it might fall out if the figure is carried around. It's a nice gun, though, sort of pale but it basically looks fine. The rifle is similarly cool, and Cobra Commander has no real problem holding it with both hands. (The hands, of course, being a separate issue.)
I know a lot of toy fans believe that as molds age and "wear out," figures might get loose joints or less-crisp detail. That's sort of how this one feels to me, except the sculpting is fantastic. I rarely buy new figures which feel worn-out as I take them out of the cardback, but it happens. Still, I love the cool snake helmet with the fangs and eyes, I'm a sucker for blue Cobra Commander figures, and this guy is a kajillion times better than the Cobra Commander from the last movie. In terms of design, this is a wonderful toy. Carded collectors should enjoy it. As an opened figure, I'm glad he can sit OK but the loose hip joints may make standing difficult-- display stand or no-- so let me know in the comments if yours was a little on the loose side, too. I suggest you get one if you can, at the right price, but be prepared for a few quibbling technical issues. (Even knowing that my sample had issues, I'd probably have bought it anyway. It just looks too cool.)
Note for future generations: the movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation was originally scheduled for release on June 29, 2012 with the toys bowing on/round May 29, 2012. The movie was delayed until March 2013 mere days before the official toy launch, so several figures made it out to market. It is unknown if 100% of wave 1 shipped, if all the blue Cobra Commanders shipped (or were being held back), and so forth at this time. It might be a very common figure when the second launch comes in early 2013. The reason given for the film's delay was a decision to add 3D to the movie to increase overseas ticket revenues, but many are speculating it's to un-kill off a major character due to an actor's rising star power. The reduced articulation in this figure is also seen on other figures in the line, but it doesn't suffer too much for it. (The loose joints, on the other hand...)
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