G.I. JOE CLASSIFIED [Reveal Review]: Trapped Behind Enemy Lines.

KJ Johnson

You heard him on A Toy Kinda Mood, but in case you did miss the episode (and shame on you, collector!) here are KJ’s in-depth thoughts on each of the Wave 3 x Cobra Island G.I. Joe Classified action figures revealed last week at Hasbro PulseCon!


The Cobra Infantry figure retains the instant classic look of Fred Aczon‘s Cobra Trooper design while incorporating more of an aesthetic inspired by the Sunbow A Real American Hero animated series. What the Infantry figure lacks in accessories, it makes up in availability and affordability. Thanks to numerous retailers, the Infantry figure is much more attainable than its poorly-handled Target exclusive counterpart, now obscenely inflated in cost thanks to artificial scarcity, arbitrary street dates and unscrupulous resellers/scalpers.

Unmoored from the shoddy infrastructure of Target’s website and lack of human verification measures, more fans and collectors can actually start filling out their Cobra ranks in their dioramas and toy photography. The poseability and POA (points of articulation) are sure to be kept in this new iteration, making the Cobra Infantry destined to become one of the most successful army builders in action figure history.


Where some of the other translations into 6-inch scale have left characters like Gung Ho and Scarlett unrecognizable from their earlier incarnations, Zartan joins the likes of Destro and Beach Head in the Classified Series’ top triumphs.

Brought to life by Fred Aczon of Boss Fight Studios and Hasbro sculpting lead Cory Cantelupe, this Zartan figure was a highlight of the recent Hasbro PulseCon and its wider availability has taken the sting out of the other Target-exclusive Cobra Island releases. Complete with his comics-inspired hood, a monkey’s paw (!) and a face mask paying tribute to the 1970’s Adventure Team era, G.I. Joe collectors simply cannot wait for the leader of the Dreadnoks to make his debut in spring 2021.


Firefly is a long-awaited Cobra villain finally making his Classified Series introduction via the Special Missions: Cobra Island sub-line, exclusive to Target. And as such, preorders evaporated within seconds upon its launch. That’s a shame because this Firefly is loaded with detail, like his bomb-scarred face, his tool pack, and his sinister remote drone. Fans of the classic aesthetic may find this version of Firefly overdesigned and visually busy, but I don’t mind.

The key signature of Classified Series is this tug-of-war between the simplicity of the early 80’s figures and the texture of modern military apparel and weaponry, with a heavy dose of cinematic science-fiction. And while this bulkier Firefly isn’t sneaking around anytime soon as a ninja saboteur, his tactical gear makes sense as a hi-tech present-day explosives expert. Finding him in stores and on the pegs however will be another matter entirely.


The Cobra Viper is the latest troop builder in the G.I. Joe Classified Series, and it is an amazing figure. So amazing, it hurts because once again it has been relegated to the Special Missions: Cobra Island found only at Target (and depending on who you ask, in theory only). This Viper might as well be trapped behind enemy lines, because only a handful of fans and collectors were able to successfully preorder on Target’s app and/or website. But top to bottom, this may be my new personal favorite in the Joe line.

The update is savvy, loaded with high levels of detail, paint apps, and fun callbacks to the earlier 1986 figure like the goggles on top of the visor. The Viper even introduces removable magazines to its rifle, a notable feature that other higher-end manufacturers like Mezco and CrazyFigure have long carried. Hopefully, this level of detail and texture will continue throughout the Classified Series going forward, and that fans will be able to access another version of the Viper in general release. Fingers crossed.

-KJ Johnson

You can catch KJ and his fellow action figure fanatics over on A Toy Kinda Mood’s YouTube Show. Feel free to like, subscribe, watch and enjoy right here!

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