Cobra Commander (1983)

I remember back to 1982, and it was a time when Star Wars was the big thing for me. From 1979 to 1982 I was all about Star Wars. If it was a birthday, Christmas or any occasion where I could get a gift, my wish was for anything from that galaxy far far away. However I do remember seeing a commercial for GI Joe figures one morning while watching the Great Space Coaster. I think that the animated segment of the Joe commercial subliminally planted the seed to sell these things to me. I remember being intrigued, especially by the one guy in black, but not particularly enthused enough to beg my parents to buy them for me. My mind changed when in 83 I participated in barter day at school, and traded a Star Wars figure for this Cobra Commander. I was hooked.

Cobra Commander is the very definition of a classic GI Joe mold. In a series where most of the Joe figures shared parts, the Cobra figures were refreshingly different designs. It’s often said that the heroes are only as good as their villains, and that’s been the case with Cobra. The RAH line would not have succeeded without compelling opposition as part of its play pattern. You can’t get much more compelling than a faceless villain outfitted in an ensemble that would make even the most stylish would-be world conqueror jealous.

In fact the battle helmet is such a strong design element that it not only influenced later popular Cobra designs (i.e. Vipers) but it continues to be the de facto image of the character 30 years later. Even the lastest redesign echoes elements of the original Commander.

The built in laser pistol holder/charger backpack has always been my favorite element of the mold. A figure who can store his accessories has always scored big points with me.


  • I’ve always preferred the battle helmet as well and wish Hasbro had gone back to that design during the vintage era as they are doing now. It’s very cool that you still have your figure from the school barter day. I wore out and gave away my two CCs by the mid-80’s.

    On a side note, The Hub is finally showing the 1986-1987 seasons of G.I. Joe and The Transformers. I’m happy for the kids who’ve been watching G.I. Joe these past year who will now be introduced to a whole new batch of characters in 2012 just as we were in 1986.

  • Of all the figures to act as a launching pad for collecting, that is one king-hell of a good one. Impressive how good of condition he is in, too.

  • I was beginning to think I was the only kid to watch The Great Space Coaster…

  • No g-news is good g-news with Gary Gnu

  • It’s funny you mention “barter day” at school. I arranged a private barter relationship with a classmate in 5th grade. Looking back on it I was a complete moron, but I kinda think I’d still do this deal today: I traded him a bunch of my Star Wars figures ( I think they were all from Return of the Jedi) for his M.A.S.K. figures. I was always a G.I.Joe guy, and Star Wars was kind of in the background. I think I was a sucker for articulation too, and those MASK figs had the knees that bent! Great post, brings back the memories. And as for CC, this is one of my favorite action figures of all time. He is one of only FOUR original joe figures I still have today.

    • Several of my friends and I would do trades like that too. I remember trading several Star Wars figs to get 85 Snake Eyes. Never found him in a store. I still have my original of him, 87 CC and 83 CC.

  • The ’87 Battle Armor version of CC is the one I grew up playing with the most so I always tend to lean slightly toward that one as the definitive leader even though I love this one and the hooded version.

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