By Past Nastification
You’re probably shaking your head right now, disgusted that I’m not calling this figure by its proper name, “Cobra Officer”. On paper, you’d be right. Technically, it is simply a Cobra Officer, released by the GI Joe Collectors Club in 2007 as one of the Night Stalkers in its “Tanks for the Memories” set.
But this one, by way of its strawberry blonde hair, is the Nights Stalkers Commander. The filecard gives the character the name of Rebecca M. Bristow and the rank of O-3, so renaming it “Captain Bristow” just makes sense to me.
I consider it a named character, even if it shares the body with the other Nights Stalkers.
The club did some nice work here, including a new chest/back, and a new head. The head features a lower face mask, so we don’t get to see what Captain Bristow looks like entirely. But no other Cobra Officers had exposed lower faces, so it makes sense. Having less of the face visible also makes repeating the head within the set more plausible as well. The chest/back merge perfectly with parts twenty years older, as well as the waist piece, which was a New Sculpt piece for Scarlett. The Cobra Soldier legs were never designed to be unisex, but they aren’t out of place. Kudos to the club for NOT using ARAH Scarlett legs, which had to have been a consideration. Scarlett legs would have looked too spandexy with the rest of the uniform.
Captain Bristow and her Night Stalkers rock a black & silver motif. It’s exactly what you’d expect a lethal Cobra sub-team to wear: practical with a dash of fancy. The exposed shoulder blades and lower back don’t really work. In fact, they detract from the otherwise soldierly appearance of the figure. Soldiers, even evil ones, might be more interested in wearing body armor than showing some skin. But this is a Cobra character, not a Joe, so I gladly turn a blind eye to the one bad design call on the figure.
The goggled helmet doesn’t look like previous Cobra Officer helmets, but that’s fine. If anything, it helps Captain Bristow and her team look a bit more specialized. Should you want the helmet to stay on the head, though, you’d better get out your hot glue gun. The two firearms aren’t spectacular and they shouldn’t be. Their blandness frames the figure better than attention-drawing ones would have. A small backpack, like the ’82 Grunt one, would have been nice. Backpacks were probably left out because of the straight-falling ponytails.
The character of Captain Bristow is also important. Excluding the Baroness, there had never been a female Cobra officer in action figure form. By 2007 this was way past due, so it was good to see the club step up where Hasbro hadn’t. A rich filecard explained that she was a traitor from the Australian Army, now leading a special Cobra unit.
This is a solid bit of work here. Captain Bristow is an example of the club creating a figure that feels new and invigorating, even as the ARAH and NS formats were soon to be replaced.