What a legend! And a figure I am yet to restore to my collection since the loss of this legend through swapping I believe sometime in 1988.
I purchased a random GI Joe comic in 1983. It was #15 with Snake Eyes dangling from a plane hatch on the cover. As I got addicted to the comics, it was Cobra that I obsessed with the most. That red handkerchief scarf whatever it was, wrapped around their nose and mouth. I used to tie the handkerchiefs in the bedroom draw around my face to recreate the sensation. I customized one of my Imperial figures as a Cobra with red paper sellotaped to his face. But one could not predict the excitement of seeing real life Cobra figures!
They were called Mini Action Man here in NZ. But We knew they were GI Joes. Series 1 is all we had and this was in 1985. Then we would jump to series 6 & 7 in 1987. Series 2-5 was the luxury of living in the US.
Cobra Officer was my first figure of these Mini Action Men. I did struggle with the black handkerchiefs and even considered painting it red. But I left it and accepted Cobra without any red color.
As GI Joe figures took off with me and my friends, Cobra Officer was unique to me and always a celebrity in our famous games on the Kilbirnie School center tree stump (Since removed). His rarity proven by the fact that we never again saw a Cobra Officer in the toy shops. They were all littered with his Cobra Soldier counterpart. Armed with his AK47 he was one dangerous man with spectacular articulation that had my Star Wars figures crushed emotionally. Battle after battle and within only 2 years, his joints quickly loosened and he lost his Cobra insignia. His role henceforth began to take an elderly role blessed with wisdom of the ancient past. At this point he was slumped in a Playmobil wheelchair.
My GI Joes that did not perish in the Guy Fawkes Battles were victims of a swapping campaign to gain more Star Wars figures in 1988. But something tells me Cobra Officer was not part of that and was a victim of foul play…