Battle Armor Cobra Commander (25th Anniversary)
It’s hard to deny that once Cobra Commander finds a good look, he sticks with it. He doesn’t generally stray too far from the blue dictator suit and either a hood or a helmet. It makes sense that the first two 25th Anniversary Cobra Commander figures represented those looks. It’s his classic look, however, my inner kid was really hoping his battle armor look from 1987 was going to get an update. That was my Cobra Commander (even though I later learned that in the comics Cobra Commander himself never actually wore the battle armor more than once) and that’s what I wanted to see. I was exceedingly happy when I learned that Battle Armor Cobra Commander was getting released in 2008 and I looked forward to seeing what Hasbro could do with this iconic (in the sense that you aren’t going to confuse him for anyone else) yet less popular version of Cobra Commander in this new figure construction style. Hasbro didn’t disappoint here and I love having my crazy armored Cobra Commander in a modern style.
You can’t really do Battle Armor Cobra Commander without investing in a lot of new tooling so everything but his head is a new piece. The overall design is a bunch of armor worn over a blue jumpsuit of sorts. Considering the origins of this armor in Fred’s auto-body shop, it actually makes a lot of sense. I can see Fred using a coverall as a base for the prototype suit and realizing it worked so well so why mess with success. The legs have armor reaching up to about the middle of his thigh. It rides a little lower than the armor on the original figure, but it still gets the idea across. The torso has the classic y-shaped chest armor and metal codpiece. To separate the pieces, Cobra Commander has his classic belt, but this time it’s a removable piece rather than a molded part of the torso. The belt has a cobra head for a belt buckle and a floating non-functional holster hanging down to about his left knee. It’s a detail found on the original figure, but I’m not terribly wild about it. The 1987 version’s holster was about that low, but it just looks a little off being a part of this belt. The belt also has a small control pack that plugs into a spot on Cobra Commander’s back. Again, this is a small detail on the original figure that gets brought out to the forefront on this new version. I love that we finally have a little more indication that this is a powered suit of armor rather than just a lot of metal protecting Cobra Commander. My only real problem is that the hose and his backpack (more on that later) get in the way of each other when he turns and that’s just a bit of poor planning in my opinion. His back has a metal plate with tech details on it. I see it as both a mounting bracket for his backpack and part of an exoskeleton on the suit to keep Cobra Commander from hurting himself while using the strength-enhancing technology. Cobra Commander’s shoulders are a bit more squared off by his angular shoulder armor and his arms are completely encased in armor.
I’ve always thought that the legs and arms are covered completely as part of the strength enhancing nature of the armor. The arms have a lot of great armored details on them but my favorite detail has to be found on his knees and elbows. The joints themselves are not covered in metal but rather what looks to me like a ribbed high density plastic. The ribbing allows it to be bendable while the high density plastic provides some protection for those joints from enemy fire. Up top, Cobra Commander’s got a great new helmet that he wears over Beachhead’s balaclava’d head. The Beachhead head works well for Cobra Commander because he’s got a great angry stare. Of course, that’s not why I like this Cobra Commander. The modern version of his helmet is great. It’s a little less angular than the original’s helmet and I do miss the Cobra sigil on his forehead being a molded element, but it’s still a great recreation of the 1987 figure and works far better than the removable helmet they did with the 2005 comic pack take on this mold. While I’m glad Hasbro used a Fred head on a later release of this mold, I’ve very happy they went this route for the initial release. The original filecard never made any reference to the fact that Cobra Commander wasn’t actually in this armor so I see it as my version of the Battle Armored Cobra Commander where I just used him as Cobra Commander not a rogue Crimson Guard who stole his identity. I’ll admit, a tiny part of me would have loved to have seen the beatnik unmasked Cobra Commander look he had the one time he wore the armor himself, I think the black mask underneath is probably the better way to go.
Since this was my version of Cobra Commander, I was very familiar with his color scheme and they did a good job of replicating it here. The cloth coverall worn underneath the armor is a blue that is a bit closer to teal than a regular blue. It’s similar to the bright blue the 1987 figure had, though parts of me wish it was a little closer to the standard Cobra blue than this. I’ve always wished that so at least this blue is a little darker than it was on the original figure so it’s a step in what I consider the right direction. The armored pieces are silver and that’s a good call, though I wouldn’t have minded a little less silver and a little more gunmetal for his armor. The silver is the classic color but I would have preferred Cobra Commander’s battle armor look a little less factory-fresh and a little more battle hardened. The red on his belt pops nicely against the blue suit and the black on his joints and feet make it clear that while he’s not encased in metal at those places, he’s still got something a bit more protective than standard fabric. There are a few paint flaws here and there on the figure. Mercifully, the worst one is pretty well hidden by his backpack, however, on the front, the bottom edge of the armor plate on his chest didn’t get hit as well as it could have by the paint team so there’s a bit of teal peeking out.
Battle Armor Cobra Commander doesn’t come with a lot of accessories, but they represent the classic figure very well. The classic figure came with a funky backpack and a laser pistol and that’s what he has here. The backpack is a far better piece than the original one because, due to it being larger, there’s more room for Hasbro to add details. The original backpack was a pointy chunk of plastic that really didn’t look like it did anything besides look cool. However, this piece has some cables and buttons on it which makes me think it’s part of the suit’s power supply. It’s still a strange-looking piece, what with the random spikes kind of sticking off it but at least I kind of have a justification for it now. Cobra Commander’s weapon is a tricked out laser pistol. Much like the backpack, it’s quite a bit bigger than the classic piece and once again I’m fine with it. As a kid, I kind of thought Cobra Commander’s pistol looked just a little unimpressive but this time, it actually looks nice in his hands. I can see Cobra Commander fiddling with this pistol in his lab between uses to make it more effect since remember, the original figure established his secondary military specialty as experimental weaponry so I tend to think that Cobra Commander is just as much of a weapons engineer as Destro is. Cobra Commander just works with him because he lacks the production facilities to mass-produce his new weapons. With this new, more powerful looking laser pistol, Battle Armored Cobra Commander really looks at home on the battlefield and I always like it when characters that are supposed to be leaders can be just as effective on the battlefield as their soldiers, kind of like Hawk. However, Cobra Commander clearly wants to have the advantage on the battlefield, so he’s wearing a tricked out suit of armor that’s so expensive there’s no way he could afford to equip all his soldiers with it.
This figure is a great representation of my Cobra Commander. I know people prefer the classic looks, but the 1987 version was my first (and only, if you’re talking just the original line) Cobra Commander and I’ve always loved that look. I was always a little disappointed that the battle armor look never got updated during the Joe Vs. Cobra era, but I’m glad they did decide to give him this look in the modern era. I think it’s a great look for Cobra Commander and I appreciate that someone in Hasbro must have liked this design enough to lobby for its inclusion in the 25th Anniversary line. I’m normally the first to get irritated at Hasbro cranking out multiple versions of the same character, however, when the look is as big a departure as this one is from the original Cobra Commander look, I’m okay with it. They really made this figure look great and I’m glad that it got some attention. Plus, I learned while I was reviewing him that even though he’s a modern figure, he’s built slimly enough that he can actually fit in the classic Pogo that was sitting on my desk. While I liked having Monkeywrench riding around in it, I love that 25th Anniversary Battle Armor Cobra Commander can use his classic ride, just like back in the day.