2021 had The Black Major return to a lot of earlier figures he had done. There’d been 4 or 5 years where the figures were later army builders like the EEL, Snow Serpent or Night Viper. I’m a predominately early 80s collector (Despite what a lot of my output online has been lately) and well, there’d been enough time between uses of the first Cobra Trooper mold, that I was really happy to see these figures return.
Copperhead had a very original colour scheme, that was fairly eye catching. It didn’t turn up in too many places (There was some similarities with some of the Dreadnok vehicles, but that was about it), so it’s one of the times where a Trooper classification under a named COBRA actually fits the bill. Copperhead isn’t very important in the scheme of things, and swamps were a fairly big part of G.I. Joe, especially in the 1980s, and the Water Moccasin wasn’t really treated as a unique entry.
This figure is very well done, the quality is much higher than most Black Major releases in the last 5 or so years, which was really good to see. The paint apps were crisp, and one place where the potential for failure was high, the light green on the thighs, lower legs and lower arms, was actually solidly and straightly applied. There’s a bit of a forcep head, but it’s not as noticeable as the Storm Shadow figures were. In addition to strong paint apps, there’s no loose joints, and the bicep swivels are a tad tight at first, but upon first move they don’t wind up becoming super loose. With it being the first TBM Soldier mold, which had more of a basis on 2004 era COBRA Trooper figures, there’s no jacked up, club foot on the figure either, so he stands straight.
The figure is cast in a fairly deep green, which a very close match to the Water Moccasin, and the majority of the highlights are a brighter green, that is muted enough to invoke Copperhead, but doesn’t quite cross over into neon. I know some of the other Factory Customs, like the EELs had a brighter base colour, that might have matched Copperhead better, but I’m glad this figure didn’t follow suit. Having them match the Water Moccasin is a more useful choice, as it gives that vehicle a crew, and doesn’t make this Swamp Viper beholden to Copperhead. In fact rather than these figures being beholden to Copperhead, I’ve almost found them to be figures I exclusively use with the Water Moccasin.
I know a lot of fans tend to view COBRA with traditional rank structures and such, though that’s something I’ve never really subscribed to. One thing I do see COBRA doing is training environmentally specific units, so COBRA having a batch of swamp fighters makes a lot of sense to me, especially when the swamps are a big part of COBRA Island, as well as the South Eastern United States, which COBRA was shown to operate in. I like it, because there’s some historical reasoning you can throw behind the figures, as well as the fact it’s a little more unique locale, than the typical jungle or arctic or urban settings that often become a place for G.I. Joe battles.
COBRA Troopers have a use, and they’re a mold I really like, so when I see a figure that fits into my collection, and also provides a new take, or provides something that it would be better at, than just a basic blue COBRA soldier, I’m glad to see it. This figure does that, and it also is different enough from the typical COBRA Trooper repaint, with the split coloured legs, that it’s interesting. Do I think every army builder needs to be done in this scheme? Not really, because the law of diminishing returns would hit almost immediately, but that doesn’t take away from this figure.
Of the 2021 COBRA Troopers I’ve wound up with, this is probably my favourite. A few of them I feel re-treaded too many already done ideas, but I can see the reasoning behind doing some of these figures, as a lot of people probably missed out on them. I don’t need to see another iteration of arctic or black and grey COBRA Troopers, but I’m not all that disappointed in that, because it allows me to be choosy.