G.I. Joe Combat Heroes Review: Duke & Cobra Trooper

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A villain without minions isn’t much of a villain at all. Darth Vader had his stormtroopers, Shredder had his Foot ninja and Cobra Commander had his soldiers but the most iconic would be the blue fighters: the Cobra Troopers! Essentially faceless cannon fodder, the Cobra Troopers are known for two things, being blue and having some of the worst aim. When the Ninja Turtle cartoon came out, animators had learned an important lesson about censors: you can’t kill humans, so they made the Foot ninja into mechanical Foot Soldiers that could be utterly destroyed in battle.

As a troop builder, the Cobra Trooper is a fine figure. Cast in a blue plastic that is darker than the Cobra Commander (but not as dark as his hooded outfit), the Trooper is mostly blue with black details and red decals. While the paint isn’t the most exciting aspect of the figure, all the black details are cleanly done and really help bring together the overall look.

The Trooper’s black gloves, boots, belt, suspenders and kneepads all look like gear that would make sense for a soldier. A few pouches are along his belt and a knife is sculpted into his leg that is also painted silver and black which is a great touch. The figure’s shoulders and chest are emblazed with Cobra’s insignia.

Cobra Trooper’s face is mostly covered with black fabric, while his head is entirely covered by an odd blue helmet. His curved eyebrows let you know he’s a bad guy, but if you look at the wrong angle you can’t see them and he’s making puppy dog eyes. The Trooper is holding a cutesified sniper rifle painted silver – the exact same gun the 25th Anniversary version came with!

An important aspect of troop builders is their ability to blend in with each other in groups. The Star Wars trooper figures tended to fail at this given their odd poses but the Cobra Trooper does a good job. While the figure is articulated at the shoulders, waist and neck, he really only looks right in a single pose: his right hand holding up his gun. It’s a fine pose and one that Cobra Troopers are usually portrayed in.

I love it when troop builders get packaged together, which is why I ended up going a little overboard on the Nick Fury/SHIELD Agent & Skrull Super Hero Squad pack. Sadly, this builder ended up getting packed with one of the most non-troop builder characters: Duke!

The field leader of G.I. Joe, Duke is the All-American hero that led a band of militaristic misfits against the forces of Cobra. When one of your teammates is a mute ninja, it takes some talent to still be seen as a badass.

Much like Cobra Trooper, Duke is a Heroes-style version of the 25th Anniversary edition of his figure. He’s a guy in green pants, a khaki shirt, brown boots and a giant gun. But it’s not like he needs much more to be imposing. Duke’s sleeves are rolled up and he’s ready for action.

Duke’s sculpt is impressively detailed, his belt has sculpted pouches, a pistol in a holster and his chest strap has got a grenade attached. Even his left boot has a knife attached to the side. This is a guy who is ready to fight!

Duke’s paintwork also is up to par. The gun, grenade and knife all have their own paint applications to set them apart. His tan shirt and gray gun contrast nicely with the green of his pants. I will admit his face seems a little off, he looks way too happy with those eyes but I understand Hasbro wanted to keep the line kid friendly. Another oddity is the paint, Duke is lacking any sort of insignia or badge or his shirt. He’s just a very well-armed guy in a shirt. Nothing about his says “I’m in the military!

Duke moves at the shoulders, neck and waist. His right arm is in a victorious fist pump that looks good, but like Cyclops, looks really weird in most other poses. Meanwhile, I don’t know if Duke is left handed so having a machine gun in his left hand seems odd to be, especially the angle that it is held at since he can’t really look where he’s pointing!

Even with Duke’s slightly odd pose and the Cobra Trooper’s limited articulation, both of these figures are very well done. The sculpts look great and the paint is excellent. It’s a shame that stores over ordered Wave 1 which means you can get all four of these figures for super cheap prices. If only the line had lasted longer, then I wouldn’t be stuck with a bunch of extra Dukes.

G.I. Joe Combat Heroes Wave 1
Duke & Cobra TrooperCobra Commander & Roadblock
Bazooka & FireflySnake Eyes with Lil’ Timber & Zartan

Written by jestergoblin

May 5th, 2010 at 12:01 am

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