Cobra Combat Ninja (2013)
When I first saw the packaging for Retaliation, and its focus on ninja themes, I was more than a little concerned. Even the back of the package, which mentioned the GI Joe team having top-secret ninja training, made me wince in anticipation of what that could mean for the movie. Would Roadblock really be a ninja commando? Would Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow be the focus of the story? Would the Cobra Trooper figures be branded as ninjas? Well, one of those questions was a yes, and it wasn’t the end of the world. I can get why the ninja label was tacked on to give a bit more kid appeal. Nerd rage abated.
The Cobra troopers in the latest film had an interesting look about them, and certainly make for a more attractive toy than the strange looking Neo-Vipers from the Rise of Cobra. Painted with a kind of urban digital camo, this figure doesn’t quite match up exactly to its movie counterpart, but the basic appearance is there. They’re obviously not anything like the first wave Cobra trooper. I wouldn’t mind at all having a small squad of these guys.
The ninja aspect of course seems thrown in, as the figure is equipped with a katana and an alternate head. If you take the vest off (thankfully there’s painted camo underneath), replace the head and give him the sword, it makes for a fun alternative look. I’m all for extra parts that add a little more play value to a toy.
The extras continue into the weapons and accessories, as we get a very cool Cobra flag, a substantial missile launcher, and several rifles. The arsenal included with many of the modern figures is really a welcome sight. As much as I sometimes blather about the new figures not having enough kid appeal, having a metric crapload of weapons available across a single assortment would have freaked me out as a kid. And hey, they’re not red or powder blue, either.
Sure, there were a few changes from the figure that was shown in previews, but the basics of a solid, newly designed basic Cobra trooper are still here. I’m happy with the bright, funky look of these guys, even if the paint applications are a bit short of what we expected.