We've seen a lot of long, meandering reviews since our last update and those make us cry. As such, we're working hard to keep this short.
With an obscene amount of articulation, a slightly larger scale, and packaging to make everybody happy, Cobra Commander returns to stores with a blaster and a base-- and nothing else. While sporting more joints than any other Cobra Commander to date, it's worth noting the figure dropped the classic rubber band-based construction in favor of a more modern design which incorporates elements from the old figures as well as a lot of design elements which will be familiar to Star Wars collectors, like the new elbow joints and ball-socket head.
I love Cobra Commander so much, I bought in to the first wave (15 figures total) via a pre-order immediately after they were announced. I just had to have it-- I was more or less pleased with the Spy Troops and Valor vs. Venom incarnations, so this new one had to be the most awesome ever right? Right??
While this figure sports an incredibly good sculpt, there are a few shortcomings which are probably pretty obvious. For example, there's the left hand, which is just a fist. On one level, this is very cool and a great way to give the figure additional personality. Unfortunately it also limits what the figure can hold, aim, or grab by rendering one hand more or less worthless. It's a nice touch but if you're the kind of person that wants two-fisted action, well, you're out of luck here.
The figure seems very lanky, with very long legs and a head and arms that seem just a little small. If this is a result of cramming on extra articulation and the sculpt suffering, I'm not sure that more joints are going to do these figures any favors.
Since 1982, the figures had essentially the same construction. We saw few deviations from this, and this figure may be the biggest change of all time. There are two joints per knee, a new ball joint (of sorts) on the elbow, ball-jointed shoulders, ball-jointed ankles, articulated wrists, and more. Hasbro learned a lot about making figures of this size from Star Wars, and it appears some of that expertise has been translated to Cobra Commander with mixed results. While the figure can move all of his major joints, there were a few problems-- most notably, the hips. The figure's hips are obstructed slightly by his-- er-- "crotch" piece, preventing the figure from sitting properly. Now, does that stop him from making himself at home in vehicles?
Not necessarily. If you're looking to do a diorama of Cobra Commander: Recliner Testing Agent, you might have problems making him look like he's sitting properly on a toy chair. But with our tests, we found he can sit in many vehicles without too much hassle-- as you can see here in the 2005 Cobra HISS vehicle. Since he's a little taller, we don't expect him to fit in all vehicles, but you can close the door over him and you won't have too many problems.
Gun. Stand. Surprised?
The blaster is pretty much the same Cobra Commander gun you've seen for 25 years, while the personalized display base is based on the pattern from the 2006 Star Wars line in more ways than one. It's worth noting the peg on the figure's foot is now the same size as Star Wars, while the previous lines all featured a uniquely sized, much thicker peg.
For the 25th Anniversary, Hasbro got some brand new card art for the first-ever US release of the carded, hooded Cobra Commander. (Before, he was primarily a mail-in premium.) The art is nice, the logo is a shiny silver, and there's also a silver border surrounding the cardback. The result is eye catching, and while nothing will ever be as eye catching as the red LEDs used on Sigma 6, the metal logo does shine nicely when you move past it.
...that doesn't mean we love it. A basic, printed logo would be nicer if you ask me, but hey, that's me. It's all a matter of opinion. The design retains the modern J-hook on top and includes the 1982-style Hasbro logo rather than the modern one based on Mr. Potato Head's smile. If you don't like how the figure turned out as a toy, the packaged product is one hell of a nice collectible.
Finally, it's worth noting that there are no product photos anywhere on the package. All products are instead represented by artwork.
It's also worth noting the tooling for this figure was shared with a battle helmet version of Cobra Commander sold in 2007 as part of a 5-figure set. The deco and head were changed, otherwise they remain largely identical.
That still ran long. For long-time fans, odds are nothing can keep you from buying this one or at least one other 25th Anniversary line. It's a radical departure from the originals because there's no screw in the back, no backpack hole, and all the figures grew a little taller. The end result is a new figure straight out of the 21st Century, with all its benefits and flaws. For $5, this is a figure you'll probably want to buy if you made it this far. it's fun to mess with and if you don't have any Cobra Commander action figures, this is a nice one to own.
After three days with the figure, I can honestly say I don't regret buying it, but there are some limitations in the arm and leg articulation which should probably be tweaked should the line continue down the road. Every new line of Joes Hasbro does has some change early on-- in 1982, they didn't have the swivel-arm grip yet. In 2002, they dropped the o-ring construction for a while. Maybe this time, we'll see some revision of how the joints work for Year 2.
Text and photos by Adam Pawlus
Review posted on July 12 2007
Sample purchased in July 2007 at Entertainment Earth [Check availability]