G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra "City Strike" Cobra Shock Trooper
Okay, as soon as I saw this figure, I needed to know...is it meant to be a supplement to the Alley-Viper, or is this supposed to be an updated blue shirt? Where does this figure belong in the Cobra lexicon?
Every once in a while, it's obvious that a Hasbro designer had a drive to design and execute a particular figure without a real good idea of where it should "fit" into the mythology. I mean, we already have the Alley-Viper and Cobra Urban Assault specialists. Why the Shock Trooper, which is an obvious homage to the SWAT branch?
Well, the answer came with a recent issue of the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club newsletter, courtesy of a great Q & A session with John Warden, lead designer for G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra. According to Warden, the Shock Trooper had been something he'd wanted to work on for over a decade, and finally felt like he had a chance with the Pursuit of Cobra. And yes, according to Warden, the Cobra Shock Trooper was designed to be an update to the standard Cobra Blue Shirt trooper. Knowing this gives me a different outlook on this figure and this character, and actually makes him more appealing to me. I love the Pursuit of Cobra Alley-Viper so much that I was kind of upset at this figure, thinking he might somehow not be able to co-exist with the urban specialist. But knowing what John Warden's idea was behind the design, makes it easier on my part to find a place in my Cobra army for this guy. I can see myself mixing this guy with my Cobra Resolute troopers and all of a sudden, there's a pretty damn nice little Cobra army here, even with only a few assortments.
Of course, in some ways this does not necessarily work as a traditional blueshirt update...he doesn't look a whole lot different from a standard urban operations trooper and really doesn't resonate as a traditional Cobra infantry trooper.
So, I've talked about the concept...what about the figure itself?
Amazing. He truly is amazing. I was one of those folks who was lamenting the fact that Hasbro seemed to be moving away from the "animated style" with upcoming Renegades figures. But, damn, if they can continue making realistic, highly detailed, insanely articulated figures like this, how the hell can I possibly complain? This figure is incredible.
From a design standpoint, the figure is wearing a fairly basic military themed uniform. Normally, this is fantastic...in this case, well... to be honest, for a Cobra Trooper, I would expect a little bit more...or at least different. From my own perspective, I love the military aesthetic as much as anyone else, but Cobra's draw has always been from a more fantasy standpoint. They shouldn't look like traditional SWAT soldiers. That being said, the figure is executed to near perfection, Cobra Trooper or not. Intricately sculpted wrinkles throughout the nicely bulky figure tooling. Integrated kneepads and elbow pads look fantastic, but are sculpted tightly enough to not restrict motion too much.
Speaking of articulation, he's got some added wrist articulation to give him some more flexibility with how he holds his weapons.
The head sculpt is a very nice, if somewhat generic, masked head.
Layered on top of a fantastic figure are some even more fantastic accessories. His webgear is insanely well detailed with pouches throughout and even a removable walkie talkie that attaches to his back.
For his weapons, he's obviously patterned after your typical SWAT "Breacher", the guy who is the first one in the door. He's got a sledgehammer to slam the door down with, a big shield to hold back the counter attack, and a plethora of other offensive weapons to battle back with. The shotgun is a familiar one, the helmet and facemask are some of the same stuff we've seen. However, his two submachine guns are insanely cool. It's amazing at how much improved a couple of decent guns can make a figure. I mean, this is a great figure anyway, but with this assault rifle and submachine gun, he somehow becomes even better. Lastly, he also comes with a pair of "stun sticks" connected by a string, which are some pretty neat, different weapons that actually give him at least a little bit of a "Cobra" feel.
He's got great tooling. A nicely authentic (though barely) Cobra color scheme that has the feel of the evil terrorists, but is not overly garrish and unrealistic. Fantastic accessories, soup to nuts.
As a figure, they don't get much better. Yet another terrific installment in the Pursuit of Cobra line. It amazes me that a figure like this and a figure like Storm Shadow can co-exist in the same assortment. They are absolutely miles apart. Here's a hint... the Shock Trooper is the one you want.
If I could possibly have any nits to pick, it would be the fact that I'd like a Cobra Trooper to have more Cobra aesthetic. This guy looks almost too much like a traditional military trooper, which really isn't Cobra's style. But the pure quality and detail of the figure is too good to ignore, even if I don't really agree with how they use it.
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