The Power of Packaging: Cobra Condor Z25

I wasn’t exposed much to the Condor until I began collecting again in the 90s. I recall seeing it fleetingly in Toys R Us ads at its time of release (yes, I was peeking at the Sunday paper toy adverts in my teens). Later, I discovered the Operation Dragonfire miniseries and found the Condor in a prominent scene featuring Serpentor and Python Patrol Copperhead. The cartoon made great use of the toy’s split apart feature, and seeing it definitely sold me on the vehicle. I guess the show accomplished it a mission in that sense. 

The box art calls out the same feature in an inset panel, and also highlights the craft’s bomber capabilities. Like so many earlier GI Joe packages, the toy is presented clearly and effectively.

Condor Package Front



  • ”When the Cobra Condor Z-25 came out on the toy market,I imagined it flying along, in large squadron formations, with the 1986 Cobra Night Raven S3P Black Jet Spy plane ,just zooming above G.I.Joe Headquarters,making the joes, look up skyward, with awe/terror.”

    • That would have been even better, if the Condor would have been made in black, so that it would have visually match with the Night Raven plane. And, ain’t condors supposed to be black?

  • This was past my time. But, I saw them in the comics. To this day, I want a full set of 1988 and 1989 vehicles since I didn’t have them as a kid. I have a bunch of Aero Vipers as I think he’s awesome. But, haven’t pulled the trigger, yet. It’s on the list and this artwork may have moved it up higher.

  • I have very fond memories of this artwork since I had this vehicle as a kid. I’m guessing I probably got in 1990 for my birthday, which would have been a little late in its availability cycle, but it still could have easily been on the shelves. I definitely remember playing with it at my grandparents’ house in western SD, so I’m sure it was a birthday present. I don’t remember seeing it on the shelves as a kid, but when I saw that art, I was hooked. It’s an excellent piece, though it does have a lot of easily loseable parts.

  • Much like any of the MASK vehicles, the condor looks like it would be a nightmare to operate as it splits in half. Gaps in a fuselage don’t help aerodynamics much. It does however, make a cool toy

  • That scene in Operation Dragonfire, and then everything that happened afterwards with Serpentor, in episode 4, is without a doubt, the best part, or parts of that mini series. As for this plane, it just doesn’t make any sense. The back plane could have been designed better. Those twin machine guns on the top of the tail, it is just not possible. Imagine the weight of that machine gun. Plus it would get in the way of the aerodynamics of the plane. But the other half of the Condor, the front plane, that one, in my mind, there is no way that thing could actually fly. Now maybe if it had been designed with actual wings, then that would have seemed more realistic. And you can see the where the rounded curves on the center of the plane, when both parts are connected, that is were wings could have been done for the front plane. The plane probably would had to have been made longer, but it would have been worth it. But, I know that at that time, the Hasbro folks that were in charge back then, were thinking that they were just making toys. For kids. And I’m sure that they felt like kids back then, would not know, or would even care about those things. And does anybody know what figure is the one that is in the back plane? At first I thought it was Serpentor, but now, it is looking to me like it is another Aero-Viper. But the color on it is different than the one in the front plane.

  • My best memories of the Condor are of Duke taking it down in the jungle in the NES game.

  • That is some spectacular art! The Condor is a nice vehicle, even if you don’t make use of the split-apart feature.

  • Didn’t make any logical sense, but it wasn’t a bad toy. The bomb dropping was cool and the landing gear rolled well (compared to the Rattler and even the Night Raven). The gun on the ring was the ugliest aspect and ruins the fantasy aerodynamics they were going for.. Not sure what they were thinking.

  • I had this as a kid. I never had the Conquest or Night Raven (incidentally, the Python Conquest came out the same year). I liked the surprise in it (white, like a GI Joe vehicle, defying the usual Cobra color pattern, feeling like it was meant to be a daytime bomber as opposed to the night-favoring Night Raven) as well as the many features it had. It was a near spin on the tailgunner. Even as a kid though, I wondered how the front could fly on its own, looking like a glorified log. Per Yo stats, Aero Viper is evidently rather uncommon in numbers compared to contemporary drivers and figures. Only 1989 Payload was around as low.

    The Condor is, incidentally, the first boss in the GI Joe NES game

  • I need one. This and the Phantom X-19 got it right. I was eying one at the Chicago Toy Show, when I circled around it was gone.

    • ”How much would you be willing to pay anyone, who has both :1989 Cobra Condor Z-25/1988 G.I.Joe X-19 Stealth Fighter airplanes?”

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