The Power of Packaging: Cobra Action Pack

Can a bit of beautifully rendered package art sell a less-than-great product? Heck, yes. Check out the card art for the 1987 versions of the Cobra Action Packs, the goofy little low price point items that featured (among other gimmicks) wind-up action. Of course, the packs were often outsized and some looked just too dang goofy on the figures, but they did add some much needed action features to GI Joe figures.

The card art is fantastic, and even weirdo Raptor looks nice.

Cobra Action Pack 1987 Card


  • Come on, you can’t deem all of the action packs useless.

  • Wow that card shows what a circus act Cobra was in ’87…

  • Big Boa looks like he’s on a Segway 20 years before the fact. Those look more like tools for getting around a mountain base or boring out tunnels rather than weapons.

  • The gun was cool.

  • Raptor looks alike a Master of the Universe!

  • I second Acer’s not useless opinion. Looking back on them they might seem to be an easy cash-grab, but I’m certain I owned at least three of these, and am positive they received plenty of use back in the day.

  • Croc Master, drillin like a villain!

  • Ya, I thought Action Packs were awesome back in the day. I had the Pom Pom Gun, Anti Aircraft Gun, Helicopter and Machine Gun nest(obviously went for the ‘gun’ ones more) Also the cobra helicopter vehicle pack. I seem to recall the Helicopter action pack being hard to come by. Might’ve defeated the purpose of a low price point item, but they might’ve been more effective packaged with a figure.

  • When it comes to incorporating gimmicks with toys, the action packs do a pretty good job. The pom-pom gun (despite its cheerleader sounding name) was one of my favs, and the Earth Borer isn’t bad. The rope-related ones were weak, but I still made use of them. Fantastic art, and that image of Big Boa holding his fist out as he climbs the mountain cracks me up!

  • Maybe if Raptor came with the gun he is shown with on the card. Then maybe he wouldnt have been so reviled.

  • Raptor seemed like a variation on the theme of Serpentor, like Croc Master. Each has a similar animal-themed motif and fantasy-style attire and pet matching their theme (difference is Raptor lacks a weapon). The profiles on the back are where they diverge. In all realism, Serpentor would easily fit in He-Man if a figure was molded in that line’s size/proportions. I can’t remember when I got him in 1987 but he was one of the figures who stood out to me (in a positive way).

  • The art is nice

  • The rope crossed might be a practical idea…. There are alot of zip lines around today. I know its not the same but…… The cobra missile launcher, Joe radar system, and gun packs are cool as portable pieces of kit. As a backpack, ridiculous. But that part is the toy part…..

  • I had the single barrel gun, the radar, the jet ski and the cobra missile launcher. They are cool.

  • The helicopter pack probably wouldn’t work since there isn’t a tail rotor

  • But jet and rocket packs really work, they just have very short flight times, only 20 seconds

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