The Enemy AKA Cobra Trooper (1983)

Well, here it is folks, the original Cobra trooper. It’s taken a while. I’ve covered the weird and the wild over the last year and a half, but somehow this guy hadn’t fallen under my gaze till now. Wait a minute, isn’t the code name Cobra? Not according to the file card. Although, the early file cards were odd in that the figure’s specialty was displayed on the tab rather than the code name. Of course, the Cobra Officer also had the same code name. Interesting? Not really. Pointless? Pretty much, but I felt like mentioning it anyway.

The mold made appearances later in a troop builder and comic pack, but never with the entire original arms. That was a little disappointing, because I really like the little details of the spare rounds (I’m assuming they fit the weapon that’s on his right chest strap) and especially the garotte wire on the right bicep. There just haven’t been enough villain toys made with weapons used to strangle their opponents. Maybe the guesomeness of the wire as a weapon is the reason the arms haven’t been reused since. The arms are also interesting in that they don’t appear to have gloves, but rather are one long sleeve with gloves attached. Seems like an expensive kind of uniform for Cobra to manufacture, not to mention weird.

I never had very many Cobra troopers as a kid. My collection of named Cobra characters surpassed the troops within a couple of years. I guess the army building concept escaped me. Ten year old Rob had more interest in playing with his toys than lining them up in formation. Plus, I would have rather used my limited funds to pick up the good guys and bigger baddies. The few basic troopers I had seemed to suffice. I was usually playing with Cobra Commander, Destro, Major Bludd and later Zartan, Firefly and Storm Shadow as my Cobra forces. Even before my fascination with GI Joe, I wasn’t an army builder. As a Star Wars kid, I only had a couple of Stormtroopers. I did amass quite a few of these guys in their later multi-pack and comic pack iterations, and they do look quite impressive en masse.



  • If you look closely at the cuff lines, I think the hands were meant to be gloves. Hasbro probably didn’t want to spend what little was left of the original budget to paint them.

    Don’t forget that the entire mold was used for another trooper character this same year: the Viper Pilot for the Viper Glider.

  • I think i have more Cobra officers than soldiers. Never before have so few been commanded by so many

  • The concept of army building escaped ten year Joe as well. The most I had were also a couple of Star Wars Stormtroopers. I only noticed the garrote after 31 years now that you pointed it out. That’s a nasty weapon to give a kid’s toy and might be the reason the arms never showed up again. Were they shared with any other figures? In any case, it drives the Cobra Trooper up a whole new level of bad-assery.

    I also wonder how many kids used this standard “Cobra” as leader of their bad guy army and the “Cobra Officer” as the lone army builder before Cobra Commander was offered as a mail-in? I never had either troop as a kid but that’s what I would have done.

    • Likewise. I had only 1 of any given figure, though ended up with 2 Dodgers due to Battle Force 2000 going from one to two-packs. My mentality was why get a 2nd figure of one you have when you can a brand new figure you don’t yet have. Armybuilding was something I was unaware of until I got on the internet.

  • Wait, that thing on his arm was a garrote? All this time I thought is was some weird built in parachute ripcord. (Maybe influenced by the Viper Pilot.)

    My trooper was always jumping off stuff and parachuting to safety on his invisible parachute.

    Thanks to this retcon, I have a whole lot of dead troopers now.

    • LMAO! Awesome post, herebewonder.

    • According to the original has bro artwork it is defined as piano wire. Po Tay to po tah to.

      This figure is cobra to me. He defines the nazi inspired villain that was cobra until they became more profit motivated.

      No other version lived up to the original. Thank goodness for the black major so we could finally get the figs in some different colors.

      • Maybe one of their specialities is piano repair? Additional revenue stream for Cobra?

        Or it’s damaged piano wire or piano wire Cobra Troopers can install in grand pianos out of tune, stealthily sabotaging pianos around to world to take the joy of (live) music out of people’s lives.

  • I always wanted a big Cobra army with every trooper, the core of this fantasy collection being Cobra Troopers. Just like the cartoon.

    In reality, even to this very day, I think you hit the nail when you say it was (is?) more fun to play (for me, more with named bad guys) than it is to set up rows of the same figure.

    It looks good in photos and set ups, but a mass of figures takes some time to move around.

    The Cobra Night watch (1st one) set) had me excited to army build, but what, did they use Duke (84?) arms?

  • The original Blue shirt! what a classic he is.

    • Agreed. While the Cobra Trooper’s successor, the Viper, looked more geared for battle (both in weapons and armor), there’s something iconic about the Cobra Trooper. They just look cool. Granted Vipers are among the coolest looking figures in GI Joe, the Cobra Trooper can still keep it competitive.

  • I’ve been customizing a few of these out of various parts I’ve found. I just finished a green cobra trooper and now I’m working on a black cobra officer. This figure is a classic, never to be duplicated. I actually don’t have a swivel arm version that hasn’t been customized-I’m going to have to get one soon.

  • I had one swivel arm trooper. My older brother had 2 straight arms and 2 swivel-arms. That with 5 straight arm officers* was enough to have some decent fights with G.I.JOE. That’s what the little army building we could do was all about. Lining up figures in rows never occured to us, except with Star Wars figures after we saw the Return of the Jedi Imperial Shuttle box that showed row after row of stormtrooper figures. LOL.

    *Small town local hardware store had them years after they were discontinued.

    • That ROJ Imperial Shuttle box was what first sold me on army building as well! LOL. All those Stormtroopers and Royal Guards looked awesome in larger numbers.

  • One of my absolute favorites ! Used him as a sniper alot. Never knew about the Garotte on his arm, I just pretended it was a shackle. He would use that pistol to shoot a line somewhere and could use that to slide to rooftops and such. Probably hurt though …..

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  • This 1982 / 1983 Cobra soldier must have been pretty popular for Hasbro to still have been selling it individually on cards up until the 1985 series of G.I. Joe action figures.

    There on the backs of the ’85 lineup, you can see this Cobra renamed “Cobra Soldier” in the same group as the 1985 Crimson Guard, etc.!

    How cool is that?

    In 1985 they were still crankin’ these basic enemy soldiers out of the factory to stores in the U.S.

    Both the 1982 / 83 Cobra Commander and Officer were discontinued for U.S. stores in 1984.

    Thank goodness for Hasbro Canada’s 1983 Cobra Officers in baggies!

    And the 1986 “Original Team” mail-away with a Cobra Officer!

    And the 1992 Chinese reissue of the 1983 Commander!

    Back in the 90’s when I first saw the 1992 “Terror in the Tundra” mail-away ads with the Cobra Ninja Viper, the blue coloring made me think of a lighter blue version of 1983 Cobra Soldier.

    We only saw a light blue 1982 straight-arm Cobra Soldier produced by Estrela in a foreign release.

    THAT would have been cool to get here in the U.S. for that Terror in the Tundra mail-away :
    a light blue original 1982 straight-arm (or swivel-arm 1983-1985) Cobra Soldier in light blue!

    But also still get the light blue 1984 Storm shadow / Cobra Ninja Viper.

    I know there are factory-produced customs of the Soldier in light blue and BLACK logo (instead of red Cobra logo) on the chest, but I prefer original Hasbro figures…

    We fans and our hindsight wishlists for the Hasbro teams of yesteryear…

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