GI JOE Classified: Cobra Commander by Hasbro

After the frustrating hunt that was the Cobra Island exclusives, it feels like I’m suddenly getting hit with a whole bunch of great figures from the new GI JOE Classified series. I just reviewed Gung Ho last week, finally found a Baroness at Target, and got my pre-ordered Arctic Storm Shadow. But I don’t think I was anticipating any figure more than old Bumper Face himself! Let’s take a look at Cobra Commander!  “…Wasssss once a man…” Holy shit, that still creeps me out every time I think about it.

That’s right, fans of the hooded serpent will be disappointed, but that’s OK, because I’m sure we’ll get that variant eventually. I’ve always liked both looks, but you only have to look to the Sideshow Cobra Commander that I have to realize that when given both options, I do prefer the helmet and chrome face shield. Maybe they could have tossed in a hooded head with this one, as I think the hood would look fine on this body. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a shot of him in the package, and everything looks as great as ever. Hasbro continues to number these, and Cobra Commander ranks in as Figure Number 6, but the actual system for numbering them doesn’t always make a lot of sense.

The box features some really nice wrap-around art, which surprisingly gets a lot of the coloring on the figure completely wrong. In the artwork, the silver trim on the figure is replaced by gold. That’s really odd, considering this is an original design, but whatever. I also really dig his skill icons. The puppet icon is hilarious, but what the hell is the lightning bolt brain supposed to be? Mind control, maybe?

Classified Cobra Commander looks regal as all hell, and I love that! While I may waffle between hood and helmet sometimes, I was never a fan of Battle Armor Commander. To me The Commander is all about puffing himself up on pomp and circumstance and shouting at his troops from as far away from the battlefield as possible. And boy does this figure design fit that bill perfectly. Yeah, I’ll admit that I was worried about what we were going to get for Cobra Commander, because a couple of the designs choices have strayed a little too far from the Real American Hero originals than I would like. Turns out I worried for nothing, because this guy looks amazing.

Our Leader sports a dress uniform with a very spiffy tunic, complete with silver lined front flap and two rows of buttons that may or may not be painted to look like serpent eyes. I’m going to just give Hasbro the credit and say that’s intentional.The shoulder area has a snake scale texture to it, as does the panels on the sides of the tunic, and the red stripes running down the sides of his trouser and disappearing into his high boots. The Cobra insignia is printed in red on his chest and partially covered by a gold ornamental chain. His forearms have silver bordered bracers, each with their own Cobra insignia as well. This is a snappy uniform and I absolutely love it. My only gripe is that I wish the blue were a tad lighter. Based on leaked pictures, it seems like we may be getting a brighter repaint, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see. The Commander has a double belt and shoulder strap, which connects to a left pauldron, which also secures his half-cape. The pauldron sports some silver paint and there’s a golden Cobra fixture holding it in place, while the cape is black on the outside with a painted red liner. The belts all have a snake-skin pattern to them. Nice!

The helmet is very form fitting and I dig how the sides are separate from the face shield. The silver “mohawk” is there as well as some black cut-outs above the ears and a silver border painted along the bottom edge. The helmet looks great, but the paint on mine is a little disappointing here, as there’s a bit of silver slop on the side. I do like the finish they used for the shield quite a bit. It’s obviously not a mirror polish, but it does have a nice luster to it.

I won’t run through all the articulation here, because it’s pretty much identical to the Classified male figures we’ve seen so far, and that means it’s very good. The lower part of the tunic does inhibit his leg movement a bit at the hips, but not terribly so. Cobra Commander comes with two sets of hands. These are a right accessory holding hand, a right pointing finger, a left grasping hand, and a left fist. I’m always grateful for extra hands, but I believe it was a rather big omission to not give him a left accessory holding hand when he comes with two accessories. I would have much rather had that than the fist. So, let’s talk about those accessories!

First up, Cobra Commander comes with a bitchin’ sword with a gold cobra-head hilt. I love the hilt, but the blade is super funky. I’m sure Hasbro was going for something highly stylized, futuristic, and cool, but I would have preferred a standard saber. This thing just looks so crazy and impractical that it took me a little while to decide which side is supposed to be the edge. It also doesn’t fit very well in the included scabbard. The scabbard actually has a slit cut in it to allow the blade to protrude out, but I think the idea is that part of the blade is meant to protrude out the top. I’ve tried it in the scabbard both ways, and concluded that the best way to go has the snake head facing forward. I don’t want to come down too hard on this piece. It’s still pretty cool, but I would have gone in a different direction with the blade.

Next up is his pistol, and holy shit this thing is all sorts of awesome. It’s basically a silver-plated flintlock with an over-the-top snake motif going on. It’s obviously a far cry from his old iconic hair dryer pistol, but as impractical and crazy as this thing looks, I think it perfectly suits the Commander. I can picture him firing off his one shot at a battle and then shouting to his troops to finish the job. while he retreats to the safety of his command center. Ugh, the lack of a second accessory hand is killing me here. I want to pose him holding his sword aloft and firing this thing. Maybe I can rig something up with one of the Snake Eyes hands. Also, notice he doesn’t have a holster for this gun. Another disappointing omission.

Clearly, I’ve had a few nitpicks here, but all those issues have just been things that I think could have made this excellent figure so much better. OK, so the one accessory hand is a pretty big gaffe on Hasbro’s part, but I don’t want to let those things detract from how much I love this Cobra Commander! The dress uniform characterizes him perfectly and it looks damn sharp. The accessories are crazy in almost every good way, and he looks fantastic standing next to Destro and barking orders. The only downside is now more than ever I want to get a second Cobra Trooper to display behind him. COBRA!!!

GI JOE Classified: Destro by Hasbro

GI JOE is back in the toy aisles, sporting some new designs and a six-inch scale! Last week I checked out Scarlett and this week I was originally going to open up Duke or Roadblock, but then Cobra’s Weapons Supplier showed up at my door and I just had to push Destro to the front of the line. Sorry guys, you’ll get your turn.

Once again, the packaging kicks ass. We get some wonderful colors and artwork, which separates these boxes from the boring presentation of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars line by leaps and bounds. Destro’s character art is freaking amazing, and I really dig the way it wraps around the corner of the box. Plus you get the iconography on the side panel showing the characters specialties. Destro’s appears to be all about making weapons and money!

And here he is freed from his box and ready to supply you with all your terrorist needs! While Scarlett was a complete modern redesign, Destro is more of a touch up, as he retains everything about his Real American Hero look that makes him so iconic. The black suit includes sculpted combat boots, knee-pads, and some reinforced patches on his chest, back, and shoulders. Destro has a metallic gray belt with some red accents, metallic gray bracers on his forearms, and red rockets mounted on his right arm. Oh man, I’m glad Hasbro kept those! Finally, he has a red holster on his right hip, which is attached to his belt, wrapping around his right thigh with a molded pouch. I love this look so much and I’m so happy that Hasbro didn’t mess with it.

But what makes this figure truly iconic is his portrait. The silver metal mask is a combination of organic curves and chiseled features with some subtle panel lining on top. It extends down to the base of his neck, where it is secured with a ring of bolts. His chest is exposed, and he flaunts his high collar with a red interior that’s evocative of a cobra’s hood. The look is tied together by his amulet and chain, which is sculpted as a separate piece and hung around his neck. Yup, that’s my Destro!!!

The articulation here is Marvel Legends through and through. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and there are swivels at the biceps. He has a swivel at the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and he is loads of fun to play with.

As for accessories, Destro comes with two guns and a briefcase. I was a little surprised he didn’t get a backpack, but what we got is still plenty good. His primary sidearm is very reminiscent of the weapon he carried during the RAH years. It has a long barrel, a scope, and a decidedly sci-fi feel to it. It sports some excellent detail and feature some red paint applications to give it some character and match it to his outfit. Destro has two trigger finger hands, so he can wield the weapon in either one, and it also fits in his holster.

His second weapon is a much smaller gold pistol, no doubt to be kept hidden as a back-up. Again, it has a strong sci-fi element to its design, and Hasbro packed a lot of detail into it’s sculpt.

Finally, Destro comes with a Cobra-branded briefcase. The Cobra emblem is sculpted into both sides, but only painted on one. Open it up and there’s a computer on one side and a bunch of money on the other. The computer side is pretty well detailed, but sadly they didn’t print any details on the money. His gold pistol can also fit inside the case.. The only downside of this case is that the hinge is just bendy plastic, so it will likely stress and probably break after a lot of opening and closing.

While Scarlett represented a complete modern redesign of her character, Destro here is just a touch-up. And a refreshing one at that! I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Destro appear sporting the design I’ve known and loved since I was a small child. It also sends a clear message that Hasbro is not looking to ignore the RAH roots. Indeed, Destro here is everything I could have hoped for in this line. He’s damn near perfection. We’ve also had some new revelations this past week, namely Gung-Ho and Cobra Commander, and I really like what I’m seeing. It feels great to want to shout YO JOE!!!! again!

GI JOE: Destro (Enemy Weapons Supplier) Sixth-Scale Figure by Sideshow, Part 2

Alrighty, I’m back to wrap up this long overdue look at Sideshow’s Destro figure. I went really long yesterday and it’s Saturday so I’m already in overtime for the week. With those things in mind I’m going to try to be brief today while still giving all of Destro’s cool stuff their proper due. Let’s start with the weapons!

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Destro comes with his trusty chrome finish automatic pistol which fits nicely into the holster on his right hip and I’m not surprised to find that the sculpting on the weapon is every bit as good as what I’m used to seeing in Sideshow’s sixth-scale arsenals. Really, these guys do a great job on the firearms!

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The slide on the gun is articulated and pulls back to reveal a painted bullet in the chamber. The magazine is removable, again showing a painted bullet at the top. You also get two more mags, which can be stored in the ammo pouches on Destro’s left hip. It sounds like a little throwaway thing, but the ability to store extra mags on their person is one of my favorite little things about many of these Sideshow Cobras. I’m also really pleased to see that Sideshow is sticking with magnets to secure the straps on the ammo pouches and holster, rather than working snaps, which tend to tear the fragile leather. These are easy to get in and out of and I’m not afraid to use them. This is a key reason as to why I almost never take the pistol out of my Hot Toys Captain America figure. Stupid fragile snaps!

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Destro’s other weapon is his laser pistol and man do I love this thing. Some may remember that I was a little put out by the fact that Cobra Commander didn’t come with his iconic hair-dryer pistol. It’s nice to see that wasn’t the case with Destro as his primary weapon is a gorgeous sixth-scale interpretation of the laser pistol that came with the vintage figure. It’s a highly detailed and very realistic looking design or a fictional gun and it includes a scope and a detachable magazine. Everything on this weapon is beautiful right down to the coloring. Since it’s a laser gun, I’m assuming that in this case the magazine is some kind of replaceable battery. Either way Destro looks great brandishing this beauty.

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The next big item on the agenda is his MARS briefcase and this thing is just full of surprises. It’s got a matte green finish, a hinged handle and has two strong hinged catches on one side to open it up. It opens to reveal…

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A satellite guidance computer! The LCD screen graphics look really nice, but we’re not done yet, because the bottom plate lifts out to reveal…

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Yeah! A hidden compartment for his laser pistol. The gun breaks down into four pieces and each piece fits snugly into the plastic cutouts that are made to look like foam. I love this little extra as it gives Destro an option for when those sketchy arms deals go south and he needs to blast his way out.

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One of the simplest and yet coolest extras in the set is this tiny manila folder full of one-sheet blueprints for some of Cobra’s most iconic weapon systems. You get one for the HISS, one for the ASP, and one for the FANG. All three fit into the folder and the folder can be placed into the briefcase. Brilliant! I don’t know who had the idea to include something like this with the figure, but I’d sure like to shake his hand!

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To go along with the Satellite Guidance Computer, Destro comes with a PDA-style satellite tracking device. This simple piece clips onto his belt and features a graphic to simulate the LCD screen. I don’t have much else to say about this piece, but it does look nice clipped to his belt.

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The last thing I have to mention is the key. I have absolutely no idea what this is, but I’m guessing that, like the ruby medallion, this is some kind of McCullen family heirloom. It can be worn around Destro’s neck, but I have no use for it, so it’ll stay in the box.

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I mentioned yesterday that Destro is sadly the last of the sixth-scale Cobra figures that Sideshow has planned as the line is going on hiatus. As sad as that might be, I’d prefer to focus on the awesome figures that we got in this line, rather than what’s been left behind on the table. Sure, it’s always possible that Sideshow may come back and give us some more figures, but with the sad state of the GI JOE franchise right now, that sort of thing seems unlikely to happen. I would have loved a Serpentor, Scrap Iron and even a Tele-Viper to go with this collection, but as things stand, I’m sure glad that we got what we did. Sideshow did a beautiful job with these figures and I think more than anything else, they show how much the company has evolved in their craft. One things for sure, these figures will always have a place of honor secured on my display shelves. COBRA!!!!!!

 

GI JOE: The Baroness (Intelligence Officer) Sixth-Scale Figure by Sideshow Toys, Part 2

Yesterday I checked out Sideshow’s Baroness figure and the two beautiful portraits, today we’re going to run down her inventory of goodies. Before getting into the hardware, let’s talk hands!

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If you read my look at Cobra Commander, you may recall how impressed I was that each of his extra hands came with its own post. Well, unfortunately that might have been a one-shot deal because Baroness’ hands all require you to share the two posts that come on the figure. You do get an extra pair of replacement posts in case you snap some, but swapping hands isn’t as simple this time around. Is it a big deal? Probably not. At no point did the posts feel like they were going to snap nor did they give me any trouble coming out or going back in. I just thought it was worth mentioning. The Baroness comes with a pair of fists attached and you get three additional pairs. Two are designed for holding her accessories and the last are in with the fingers straight out and together as if she is going to karate chop you.

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The biggest weapon in Baroness’ arsenal is her assault rifle, which features the “bullpup” configuration with the action behind the trigger housing. It’s a very modern looking weapon and I think it’s a good choice for her. The weapon features the usual superb sculpt that I expect out of Sideshow’s Sixth-Scale guns. The scope mount does not seem to be removable, however the silencer can be slipped off and the site can be flipped up. The magazine can be removed to expose the tiny painted bullet waiting to enter the chamber. An extra magazine would have been nice, but considering Baroness has a nice accessory load-out, I won’t complain. What I will gripe about is the lack of a shoulder strap for the rifle, only because it was pictured in some of the promo-pics. I’m sure I can cobble something together from some of my other Sixth-Scale weapons.

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Next up, The Baroness features a Sub-Machine pistol, which I believe is supposed to be a MAC-10, but my firearms expertise tends to lean more toward the WWII period and earlier so I could be wrong there. This weapon is a very simple, but realistic looking accessory. There’s no action or moving parts, but the magazine is removable and you get an extra mag as well. The two magazines can store in the pouches on Baroness belt just above the holster. God, I love that! The pistol itself fits snugly into the sculpted holster, and when I say snugly I do mean it! If you want to get the retaining strap to fasten the pistol needs to get pushed pretty far in and it is hard to get out afterwards.

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The final piece of Baroness’ arsenal is a nice, serviceable combat knife that fits into the scabbard on her right hip. There’s not much else to say about it, other than it fits really well into one of the extra hands.

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And lastly, you get the same figure stand with the red Cobra emblem on it. It’s the exact same stand that came with all the past Cobra releases in the line. Sideshow is now selling more elaborate stands for their Cobra figures with a raised and sculpted base with a drawer to fit extra accessories. It’s a cool idea, but I really like the simple elegance of the stock stands.

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Sideshow’s Real American Hero line continues to creep up in price and so The Baroness retailed at $179.99, the same price point as Cobra Commander. As I said last time, I was much more comfortable paying $159.99 for these figures, and while the $180 was pushing it for Cobra Commander, I have to say Baroness still feels like a solid value. Besides just being a drop-dead gorgeous figure, the costume is suitably complex and well-crafted and the selection of weapons and gear feels right. I also can’t deny the extra portrait adds a lot of value and I can’t stress enough about how the Sideshow Exclusive version has to be the way to go on this one, especially since she is still available on Sideshow’s site and most re-sellers are asking the same price for her anyway. Not to mention you earn points! Precious, precious points! So far, I haven’t regretted getting into this line and I’m really excited to see what else Sideshow can do with it. The next release will be Destro, sometime in the Summer, but in a week or so, I’ll be taking a step backwards to look at an older release that I just picked up… Zartan!

GI JOE: The Baroness (Intelligence Officer) Sixth-Scale Figure by Sideshow Toys, Part 1

Last month Sideshow Toys hit us with Joe fans with a one-two punch of Sixth-Scale Cobra awesomeness. I’ve already featured Cobra Commander and now it’s time to check out that sultry and exotic vixen of mayhem, The Baroness. As usual, I’m going to break down this feature into two parts. Today we’ll check out the packaging, the base figure, and the alternate portrait and tomorrow we’ll look at all the great stuff she comes with. To the packaging!

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If you read my look at Cobra Commander than you’ll be readily familiar with what to expect here. Baroness comes in a gorgeous retro-style box that captures everything that made the old Joe cardbacks so great. You get the character artwork set atop an animated explosive field and a filecard that is positively dripping with nostalgia.

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The front flap is secured with a magnet and opens to reveal the window and the figure inside. Baroness is packaged with her alternate, Sideshow exclusive head beside her and her extra bits fanned out around her. There’s a second tray under that one with the bulk of her weapons. If you lift out the plastic trays you are treated to some more excellent artwork on the cardboard underneath. All in all the packaging here fuses a wonderful style with a good economy of space and a convenient place to keep your extra pieces or store the figure when she’s not being displayed. But why would you not want to display her when she looks like this…

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Ooooh my! Out of the box, Baroness is indeed a stunning figure. Let’s kick things off with a look at the outfit, which manages to stride that line between iconic and modern update quite brilliantly. The shapely female buck is clad in a tight black cloth body suit that has a bit of sheen to it. It doesn’t simulate leather, but it looks good, and I like to think it’s some kind of secret bullet retardant fabric that’s been cooked up in Cobra Labs. Maybe it’s a special side project that Baroness convinced one of the lab geeks to make for her with the promise of certain… favors. Maybe I’m thinking too much about this. Her chest, back, and shoulder armor are all sculpted in plastic and held together with straps to make one rig. It fits the figure quite nicely and the sculpted front allows her to show off her lovely assets while also proudly and stylishly advertising her Cobra allegiance. Yes, kids, come work for Cobra… we have boobs! Baroness’ arms feature pleather bracers with sculpted Cobra styled guards and end in gloved hands. We’ll look at the hands more in depth tomorrow when we talk about accessories.

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Moving on down, The Baroness is sporting a complex belt rig with a low-slung sculpted Cobra emblem that is positioned in a rather obviously strategic place. The main belt is a V-Style configuration that rides up on her hips and includes a number of faux pouches with sculpted straps and painted buttons. The belt includes thigh straps as well as a holster for her Sub-Machine pistol and a sheath for her combat knife. The Baroness’ legs feature pleather boots with scalloped fronts that run all the way up her thighs. The fronts of her legs are covered with sculpted armor plates, each of which is held in place by nearly a half-dozen buckling straps. Yup, this figure has a lot of straps and buckles giving The Baroness that not-so-subtle whiff of S&M style that all the Cobra bad girls love to flaunt.

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The head that comes on the figure is absolutely fantastic. Baroness looks beautiful, seductive, and has the hint of a smirk as if she knows something you don’t… like maybe she just slipped a live grenade down your shorts. She has high arching eyebrows and clean paintwork for her eyes and lips. The rounded glasses are made of wire and do not have lenses. They also feel as if they are removable, but I don’t plan on risking it because they are made of very thin wire. The sculpted hair falls straight down to her shoulders and sweeps back. I find sculpted hair is tough to do at this price-point because you expect a certain degree of realism. I’d say Sideshow nailed it. Also, the plastic is very soft and it does not impede the head articulation at all.

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Of course, if you picked up this figure through Sideshow, you also get the exclusive extra head, which offers a more dynamic portrait and some minor differences. You just pop Baroness’ noggin off the ball joint post and push the other one on there. The exclusive head comes without her glasses on, but they are located in the tray of parts. This pair features smaller, rectangular frames and the arms slide into gaps above her ears and hair. The face itself is pretty much the same excellent sculpt as the regular head, but features the sculpted hair blowing off to the side. It’s both fabulous and frustrating at the same time, because I honestly can’t decide which head to display her with.

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And that’s where I’m going to break for today. I’ll be back tomorrow and we’ll start checking out all the extra goodies that come with this lovely figure!

GI JOE: Cobra Commander (The Dictator) by Sideshow Toys, Part 1

It seems like an eternity ago that I dropped pre-orders on Sideshow’s Cobra Commander and Baroness Sixth-Scale figures. Well, now they’re finally here and I’m beyond excited! Originally planned as a December release, The Commander got delayed a month and so he arrived at my doorstep last week along with the more punctual Baroness. I thought it would be a tough choice to decide which one of these figures to feature first, but in the end it was surprisingly easy… it simply had to be Cobra Commander. With two portraits and an assortment of gear, there’s a lot to talk about, so I’m going to take a look at the packaging and the base figure today and tomorrow we’ll check out the alternate portrait and all the extra goodies he comes with.

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If you read my features on Sideshow’s Crimson Guard and Major Bludd than you already know how much affection I have for the packaging used for this line and I was relieved to see that Sideshow hasn’t tampered with what is quite nearly perfection. The box features a classic Real American Hero deco complete with the “Cobra: The Enemy” stamp, old school file card, and the same vintage style card art that always got me begging my parents for a fiver whenever we passed an action figure aisle. This package is pure nostalgia and I love it!

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The front flap of the box is held in place by a magnet and opens to reveal the window. Cobra Commander comes packaged with his helmeted head on the figure and the hooded portrait beside him. Also surrounding him are his personal weapons. There’s an additional tray under that one, which holds the figure stand, staff, and his array of hands. I’ll note here how happy I am that Sideshow started packaging the stands differently. Previous figures had the wire post slipped through the hole in the base. Getting them separated was a precarious affair that always made me feel like I was going to snap the stand in half. Now the post comes completely separate from the stand and that’s a good thing. Last up, you get a baggie containing his folded cape. Also, behind the tray is some very cool character art. Let’s bust this guy out!

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Holy shit, I’m in love!!! There have been plenty of very cool designs of Cobra Commander over the years, but the original Sunbow version will always be my Cobra Commander. I’m happy to see that Sideshow mined that version the most for the inspiration for this figure. It’s certainly not an exact copy of the cartoon source material, but it borrows just enough from it and mixes it with a hearty dose of realism to create what I think Cobra Commander should have looked like in any live action Joe film. You get the regal overcoat with button down flap, classy dictator epaulettes, black leather gauntlets and boots, and naturally the red piping down the trousers. The entire outfit is punctuated with a belt and shoulder harness, strap down holster, dagger with scabbard, and sculpted Cobra belt buckle, which surely can only be purchased at the Gift Shop while exiting Cobra Island. The stitching on The Commander’s uniform is all nicely done and the outfit fits him quite well.

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Some initial shots of the helmeted head had me worried, but with the figure in hand, I think it came out nearly perfect. The off-white crest running down the top of the helmet matches the Sunbow style quite nicely as does the way the sides of the helmet flare out in a manner not unlike the helmet of a certain Sith Lord we all know and love. The face plate features a perfect mirror finish, which does not translate well in photography, but rest assured you can see yourself in it in the same manner that the animators of the original cartoon often depicted other characters reflected in it. Old bumper face has never looked better!

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YOU WANT HANDS???  Some of you may know by now that I’m not a real stickler about getting a ton of extra hands with my figures. If I need to swap them out to hold the gear, that’s fine, but I generally don’t consider a lot of swappable hands to be a necessity. The Commander here, however, may have won me over on this subject. Not only are all of these hands really useful, but Sideshow provided each one with their own peg. I can’t tell you how amazing that is, because it makes swapping the hands an absolute breeze. A big part of why I don’t use a lot of the extra hands for my Hot Toys figures is because it’s just too much of a pain to change them. With Cobra Commander, I can literally unplug his hands and plug in new ones without even having to pick up the figure. When you consider how much Hot Toys charges for their figures, I can’t believe they don’t do this. It’s the equivalent of getting an extra six posts in case you break one, as opposed to the two extras that come with your average Hot Toys figure.

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Ok, my hand rant is over. Besides the accessory specific hands, you also get the ubiquitous clenched fist hand for punctuating demands while on national television. You get the pointing finger hand for poking into Destro’s chest. You also get a pair of angry clutching hands, which can be used for everything from frightening children to grabbing for The Baroness’ boobs. These are great hands. There’s one more to talk about, but I’m going to save that for when we look at the accessories.

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Before breaking for the day, I’ll go ahead and give mention to the figure stand, which is identical to the ones that came with Major Bludd and the Crimson Guard figure. It’s a black disc with the Cobra emblem on it and a wire crotch-cradle. It’s simple enough enough so that it doesn’t detract from the figure, but the personalized Cobra emblem is a great embellishment and I’m happy to see that the stands for this collection remain uniform with each other. And that’s where I’ll wrap up today. Tomorrow we’ll check out The Commander’s accessories, as well as his extra noggin and his cloak.

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COOOOBRAAAAAAA!!!

GI JOE: Crimson Guard (Cobra Elite Trooper) by Sideshow Toys, Part 2

And I’m back to wrap up my look at Sideshow’s take on the Crimson Guard. Last time we looked at the amazing packaging and the figure. Today we’re going to start digging in on the extras.

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First off, you get a figure stand with the Cobra logo on the base and there are no big surprises here. It isn’t personalized to the Crimson Guard figure, so I’m guessing Sideshow is recycling this stand for other Cobra figures. The stand uses the standard wire crotch support that we’ve all seen before for figures in this scale. The prongs on this one are a little wide for my liking. It comes disassembled with the post under the base, and it was an absolute bitch to get the two pieces separated. I seriously thought I was going to break it in the process.

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Moving on to the guns, we’ll start small and work our way up. First off, you get an automatic pistol that fits very snugly into the holster on the figure’s left leg. The pistol features working action on the receiver and a removable clip with the exposed bullet painted so you can clearly see it ready to chamber when the clip is loaded and the receiver is open. I love that! The pistol is a bit light compared to some of my other sixth-scale firearms, but it’s executed incredibly well. But pistols will only get you so far when you have an entire force of meddling Joes coming at you, so you need something with a little more killing power. And for that, we look to the sub machine gun…

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Yes, the SMG. When the shit hits the fan and you need to spray and pray, no Crimson Guard would be complete without this trusty weapon. Once again, Sideshow did a really nice job with it. It has a folding stock and a shoulder strap with a working clip. There’s a detachable suppressor tube for the barrel and, of course, a removable magazine with a detailed and painted bullet at the top. You can even slide-adjust the scope on it! As much as I admire the work Sideshow put in on this piece, I’ll confess that I don’t think I’ll display it a lot. It’s one ugly piece of killing hardware and I tend to like my guns to have a little more traditional style to them. I seem to recall the Crimson Guard having a more traditional and iconic style of weapon…

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Aw, yeah… that’s better! The Siegie FAL rifle! This baby is close to what I remember my little Crimson Guard’s coming with so it’ll always be the iconic weapon of choice for these guys. The rifle includes a removable box magazine and a removable bayonet. The only problem with the bayonet is that it is delicate and once it’s attached it’s on there pretty good. I doubt I’ll ever risk removing it. Not that I’d want to. When you fire off that last round and the Joes are still coming at you it’s time to go hand-to-hand, and at that moment, your bayonet is your best friend.

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Of course, when you’ve got this many guns, you need to carry a lot of ammunition, so the Crimson Guard comes with his trusty and familiar backpack. I was really skeptical about how this thing was going to look. Not so much the backpack itself, but all the straps that hold it on. The original figures had the luxury of having backpacks that just pegged into the back. But in a more realistic sixth-scale figure, wouldn’t the straps wreck the look of the figure? Nope, because Sideshow made it so that the straps are almost all concealed. Remember that magnetic front flap on the uniform? Well, here’s where it really comes into play.

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You simply peel off the magnetic front flap. The straps pass through the epaulets in the shoulders and snap across his chest in two places. Then you just reattach the front flap and you’re good to go! I love the engineering of this.

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The backpack is sculpted in hard plastic with a Cobra emblem embossed on it. It opens up in the middle to reveal a whole supply of destructive goodies. You get two extra clips for the pistol, two extra clips for the SMG, and two grenades. Everything clips into a specific place.

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The final piece of gear is a magnetic grenade. It has a real magnet, so you can stick it on his waist for storage and easy access. When the shit hits the fan the Crimson Guard can just toss it at a VAMP or MOBOT and all his Joe troubles are history. It’s nothing special, but a cool little extra nonetheless.

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Virtually all my 1:6 scale figure experience has been with either Takara or Hot Toys so I had no idea what to expect from this guy. Needless to say I’m extremely pleased with how he turned out and I think he was well worth the $140. Sideshow really nailed the outfit, the poseability is a welcome treat when compared to some of the more restrictive Hot Toys figures and the array of weapons is superb. It’s good to know this guy will be guarding my shelf until Cobra Commander arrives at the end of this year.

GI JOE: Crimson Guard (Cobra Elite Trooper) by Sideshow Toys, Part 1

Sideshow has turned up the heat on GI JOE lately. They currently have Cobra Commander and Baroness up for pre-order and they’ve already shown off Destro. The reveals were enough to get me into this line and I thought I’d herald the pending arrival of my new figures by grabbing the Crimson Guard that they still had available on their site. These guys were always my favorite of the various Cobra legions just because they looked so badass. There’s a lot to talk about here, so I’m going to look at the packaging and the basic figure today and tomorrow I’ll be back to cover his gear.

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The packaging is… wow! Sideshow nailed the presentation here in every way possible. For starters, the deco is pure old school Real American Hero. The front has a great photo of the figure with the GI JOE logo and that great “Cobra Enemy” stamp that I always loved on the old packaging. The side panels show the figure with the classic vintage explosion backdrop and the back highlights the gear and features of the figure and even has a vintage style filecard. Awesome!

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The box is held together with a magnetic flap and opens up to reveal two windowed trays and some copy in the middle about the Crimson Guard. The left tray has all his gear and the right has the figure itself against the explosion backdrop. Everything about this package represents quality and ingenuity and it really trumps the plain jane presentation that I’ve been getting from the more expensive Hot Toys figures lately. Anyway, enough about the packaging, let’s open this guy up and see what he’s all about. COBRA!!!

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Out of the box Crimson Guard is one snazzy looking figure. Sideshow recreated the uniform in both cloth and pleather in all the right places. The tailoring is quite good and the tunic hits all the iconic points of the vintage uniform. You get the brass button down front panel, the gilded shoulder braid, epaulets, insignia medals on the left brest, and of course the giant silver Cobra emblem on the chest. He comes with high boots and a thigh holster rig for his sidearm. The Crimson Guard uniform probably wasn’t the easiest outfit to recreate, but I think Sideshow did a great job with it.

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One really cool thing about the uniform is the way the front panel is held on by magnets over the zipper-front jacket. It was a really ingenious idea and it really comes in handy when you’re outfitting this guy, but we’ll get to that tomorrow.

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The helmeted head looks pretty good as well. It’s hard plastic, but it does have a hollow feel that reminds me this isn’t a Hot Toys caliber figure, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The color of the helmet matches the rest of the outfit perfectly. I really dig the shape of the mask and there’s a little bit of silver paint apps on the edges to simulate scraping of the metal. I’m still on the fence over whether or not the head is a little too big… maybe a smidge, but it still works for me.

The Crimson Guard uses Sideshow’s Prometheus 1.2 body. That means nothing to me, but he does feature 30 points of articulation and I am really happy with how poseable he is. I will concede the leg joints feel a tad funky and it’s hard to tell what’s going on with the knee joints underneath those trouser legs, but it’s not something that really intrudes on my enjoyment of the figure.

The figure comes with an array of extra hands, as is par for the course with most 1:6 scale figures. What I wasn’t expecting was extra feet. You get a second pair of “action feet” in case you want to tweak your poses even more.

I’m going to break there for today. Tomorrow we’ll load this guy up so he can go kill him some Joes!