The new sculpt era was filled with new troop types for Cobra. I totally dig that. After all, why create a new line if it ends up being solely a recreation of something we’ve already had? At the beginning of this new era, Cobra was free from classically styled blueshirts, Vipers, Crimson Guards, and the like. They were replaced with Neo Vipers and variations of this figure, Cobra CLAWS.
An acronym for Combat Light Armored Weapons Specialist, the troops were a close cousin of sorts to the HEAT, Flak, and SAW Vipers of the previous era. They functioned in a more generic role, filling the ranks with both missile launchers and heavy machine guns. Seems like a cost saving move on the part of Cobra Command, cutting down on the number of specialist types, and broadening equipment and training among a larger group. They’re also equipped with high tech light armor that serves to protect them when going up against heavily armed vehicles. Imagine that, a Cobra trooper afforded a little protection from enemy fire.
If the weapon looks familiar, it’s because it hails from the aforementioned original HEAT Viper. This time, the control hose plugs into the weapon itself instead of the figure’s helmet. The change makes the launcher a much easier load for the CLAWS figure to handle.
This was the first o-ring version of the CLAWS available in the original 2002 release’s color scheme, a figure which was equipped with the dreaded t-crotch. This figure was available as part of the affordably priced single carded figures that were available via discount stores like Dollar General. One could cheaply amass quite an army at three dollars each.