Cobra (Code Name: The Enemy)

Cobra wouldn’t be where it is today without the legions of nameless and faceless troopers that make up the backbone of its ranks. In the early 80s, these voluminous villains were perfect fodder and foil for the Joe team. Before the myriad Vipers and all of their specialization that would come, we were happy to collect hordes of blueshirts to throw against the good guys.

The first Cobra trooper I got came in the Cobra Missile Command Headquarters, and though the Officer was I thought the cooler looking of the troop builders, the basic trooper nevertheless had his own interest for me. I couldn’t ignore just how cool his rifle looked, especially compared with something like Grunt’s familiar M-16. Though I had no idea it was a real-world weapon at the time, the Dragunov was a fantastic armament.

Like Scarlett, there’s a lot of weaponry built into the sculpt. Knife, pistol, rounds and a wicked cool garotte wire are all extra bits that could spark a kid’s imagination. That garotte wire in particular is quite a sneaky inclusion for a kids toy, and I can’t imagine a sinister detail like this making it into an action figure these days.

One thing that really strikes me with this figure’s card art is the focus on weaponry and equipment. The Dragunov rifle is front-and-center, as is the chest-strapped pistol. The Cobra may seemingly be one of the most nondescript bad guys, but you’d be well advised to give him some respect. And don’t turn your back on him, he’s got that wire after all.


  • ”Very first Cobra Soldier/Trooper.Always in the thick of battle against G.I.Joe in the Sunbow made cartoons.”

  • I recall reading that the pistol was a grenade launcher and the large shells on his left arm are for it but who knew at the time? It’s also never been made a useable item on any 4″ version. And the garrote thing…had no idea what that was, neither did anyone I knew as a kid. Was it a padlock for his bike? Makes one wish for the Battle Corps cards that point out the details (which ironically, many Battle Corps figures left undefined by limited paint ops).

    Mixed feelings about the original trooper. He’s classic, but he’s also got a big head and looks out of place next even figures from just a few years later.

  • SpiritoftheBeachhead

    It is a GREAT looking soldier. Art is amazing too (just noticed that it looks like there is no trigger on the rifle in the art). And yes…the wire on the arm!

    Always thought the sniper rifle looked better with the officer and the AK with the fodder troops. But that’s just what the 80s showed us with every bad guy trooper in TV and film.

  • I always thought the trooper should have came with the AK and the Dragunov should have come with the officer.

  • I had no idea it was a piano wire (as described in the concept art) and that is a grim detail that showed how dangerous these guys really were.

    They are still my favorites as they show Cobra in their terrorist role rather than the full blown military they would later become.

  • SpiritoftheBeachhead, totally agree on the weapons. I think the officer would have the sniper, and the grunt would have the assault rifle. I think this guy should have been the officer…he just needs the officer’s helmet.

  • The gun just never made sense……..why arm every single trooper with a sniper rifle lol? I liked these guys in the sunbow toons but was never fond of the toy. He looked skinny and lame with a big ol noggin that looked out of place literally the year after. And then the 200x redos gave these guys super skinny slim heads. What gives? It wasnt until the 25th and on the we finally got some cool looking cobra troopers!

  • The one thing I didn’t like on him was the asymmetrical webbing on his back. Apart from that, he’s the first and best of all the Cobra Troops imho.

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