COBRA OFFICER & COBRA TROOPER
G.I. JOE: THE REAL AMERICAN HERO COLLECTION (HASBRO)
“The COBRA Officers are “officers” in name only. The only real rank they have is over their own little squad of Cobra Troopers. They are among the meager handful from the teeming ranks of COBRA Troopers that, for some reason, whether it’s previous experience, personal ambition or dumb luck, manage to show some level of initiative, organization or leadership skills. Ultimately, somebody has the keep the ranks together and moving with a purpose, so that even these bottom-of-the-barrel COBRA forces can achieve their given objective, because nobody else wants the job.
The COBRA Troopers are the most basic, bottom-of-the-barrel soldiers in the COBRA regime. They have to work their way up to even become Vipers. They come from all over the world. They are thugs, mercenaries, pirates and assorted lowlifes that have committed so many atrocities that they only organization that will have them is COBRA. They are given the most basic level of training, which amounts to little more than organizing a handful into a reasonably cohesive group, giving them the most basic of uniforms, handing them equipment, and telling them to go out and cause trouble. The COBRA Trooper divisions were the first of COBRA’s notable forces. They’re not specialists. They’re not qualified for anything than the most low level of infantry. They only advantages they have are pure nastiness and sheer numbers.”
For part four of the Day of the Vipers (!), I’m not actually looking at Vipers at all. Weird, huh? Yeah, there were *technically* no Vipers released in 1998, but I’m focussing pretty heavily on that “technically.”
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Cobra Officer and two of the Cobra Troopers were released as one of the three triple-packs of figures from the second year of The Real American Hero Collection. That’s a lot of numbers going on there, isn’t it? Don’t worry about it too much. The key thing about these two figures is, that despite the name they may be sporting, their both effectively Viper figures, using the Viper/B.A.T. hybrid body introduced with the V5 Viper. Presumably, the original Officer and Trooper molds were lost, and, as with so many other figures in the 97-98 lineup, they had to improvise a bit, grabbing the just recently frankensteined Viper from the preceding year. So, they’ve still got those square butts. Poor guys.
Paint is what differentiates them. The Officer is grey, which was a change for that rank, but makes him easily distinguishable. The Trooper goes for a more familiar dark blue. The Officer has larger sections of silver, with gold accents, while the Trooper gets the reverse. Curiously, neither of them actually gets a Cobra sigil. Maybe they’re trying to be more covert? Both figures included the same accessory selection. A pistol, a rifle, a stock, and a backpack.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
These guys are absolutely on the “Ethan was already buying a bunch of Vipers” train. I wasn’t planning to get them, given their comparatively bland appearance, but I was already getting 7 others, so what difference did these two make? I was actually a bit baffled by them at first, since I wasn’t able to find any reference to Vipers in this style, but eventually realized they weren’t Vipers at all. So I didn’t have to buy them. Great. Nah, I’d probably have bought them anyway. I actually ended up liking both of these more than I’d expected to. That said, in my mind, I’m always going to consider them Vipers.