25th Anniversary Cobra Commander
Having already reviewed the Retaliation Ultimate Cobra Commander, this figure is a lot tougher to like. However, I still have to applaud at the good work Hasbro did with the first 25th Anniversary Cobra Commander figure. Yes, I got extremely tired of seeing this mold by the end of the 25th Anniversary line, but there are a surprisingly large number of things to like about this figure. Like a lot of those figures in the first box set, time hasn’t been kind to Cobra Commander, but had this been the only Cobra Commander we got from the initially limited 25th Anniversary line, he would have been satisfactory.
Since Cobra Commander is such a fancy dictator, he’s got parts unique to him and pieces that have only showed up on other Cobra Commander figures. The sculpt does an amazing job of looking like the original 1982 Cobra Commander, but there are a few things I’m still not wild about. First of all, Cobra Commander is wearing incredibly tight pants. I’ve never really liked that look on him and it’s still not ideal here. The way the legs attach into the hip sockets also looks a little unnatural. Hasbro was reinventing the wheel at the time, so it’s not surprising that the articulation was a little off on these early 25th Anniversary figures, but his legs and groin area look somewhat unnatural. Conversely, though, the torso is very well executed and I appreciate that Hasbro was able to hide his mid-torso joint a bit better than some of the other early 25th Anniversary figures just by virtue of lowering it a little and using the ab belt to hide the cut. It was a smart move, it’s just a shame Hasbro couldn’t so effectively obscure that articulation cut on other figures. His back has the fancy special molding that allows him to carry his venom pistol on his back and that’s a great callback to the vintage figure. The arms are decent and though the 1982 version of Cobra Commander had short gloves, I honestly prefer the long gloves he’s got here. My only problem is that Cobra Commander’s left hand is permanently molded as an angry fist, meaning he can’t ever hold anything in that hand. While it’s good for a static pose of Cobra Commander angrily shaking his fist at the Joes, it also means when he’s in anything but that position, things look a little unnatural. The head also looks just a bit too small. I love that Hasbro made the outer helmet a removable piece, but I think between that part being a bit bulky because it needs to be and the head being a tad too small, it makes things look really disproportionate. The helmet also looks like it rides just a little too low on his head, leaving him looking more like Beetle Bailey than Cobra Commander. I’ve talked a lot of smack about Cobra Commander here, but I still do think he’s a decent figure. It’s just that Hasbro has released some much better versions of him, so the first one winds up looking awfully dated. In a hypothetical world where the 25th Anniversary really didn’t take off and we only got two box sets and a few assorted carded figures, I’d be perfectly satisfied with this version of Cobra Commander. However, in this world, this version of Cobra Commander really is a pretty weak figure just because he’s been outclassed by other versions of the same character.
I think part of why I’m not wild about this version of Cobra Commander is his paint work. Hasbro didn’t do anything wrong, but I’m just not wild about Cobra Commander’s light blue look here. It’s not as light as I remember, but I still prefer my Cobra Commander in darker colors than this. While I’m not a fan of the base color, I have to admit that the paint detailing is spot on. The red stripes on his gloves and pants look great and really pop nicely against the blue. The black on his belts is neatly applied and the head looks very good in silver. The gold on the buttons and epaulette pins is very cleanly applied and it does add just a little flair to Cobra Commander. Gold is also used on the holster for his pistol and it adds just a little something back there, though I do wish the rest of the tech details on his back would have gotten some paint as well. As it is, the back looks just a little unfinished because there’s only gold back there. I didn’t think it at the time, but I do kind of miss the silver stripe on Cobra Commander’s helmet. It makes the figure just a little more visually interesting. Since this particular Cobra Commander is supposed to represent the 1982 figure which didn’t have that stripe, it’s not surprising, but the cartoon-inspired Cobra Commanders with their silver helmet stripe do actually look a bit better than I thought they did.
Cobra Commander only comes with one accessory, but it’s a pretty great piece. Cobra Commander has always carried a funky laser pistol and Hasbro did a great job recreating the vintage piece for this figure. It may not look like much, but it fits his hand nicely and it’s a great callback to Cobra Commander’s original weapon. Not every figure needs a big gear load, and considering Cobra Commander has always been a lead-from-behind commander, it makes sense that all he’d need is something small and easily concealable to fight with. He’s not going to be doing the fighting himself, but he has something that can pack enough of a punch that it will take care of anyone who gets too close.
Cobra Commander’s original look is iconic for a reason. He’s a sharp-looking modern dictator. For my money, I prefer the battle armor look, but it’s hard not to admit that the classic look is a great look. It makes sense that this was the Cobra Commander Hasbro gave us at the beginning of the 25th Anniversary line because that’s where it all began for Cobra Commander. Hasbro has released better versions of this particular concept, but it’s still a decent representation of Cobra Commander, even if it’s not as good as it was ten years ago.