Friday, January 10, 2014

2006 Cobra Mortal - Convention Exclusive

Foreign Joes are cool. There is no denying that. Owning a piece of Joedom that was only part of the childhood of kids in completely different continents with different languages is a great way to grow a collection. But, foreign Joes have some issues. They are not easy to find. They are expensive. And, they are very brittle and prone to breakage. As such, there was a vocal minority who clamored for remakes of foreign Joes so they wouldn't have to spend the effort to get the originals. In general, I'm all for incorporating foreign characters into the American Joe line. However, my feeling is that if you're going to do it, make the new figure a definitive upgrade. Sadly, in the case of the first foreign character to really join the Joe line, this was not case. Instead of thinking of a new take on the classic Cobra Mortal, Master Collector took the coward's way out and produced a figure that was nothing but the vintage Cobra Mortal with swivel arms. A chance to do something truly creative was lost and collectors were left with a figure that is outdated and highly derivative.

The Cobra Mortal as a character would have been a disaster had it been released in the U.S.  Collectors would largely ignore a chrome and red Snake Eyes figures had it been produced during the 1983 - 1984 timeline.  Because the Mortal was exclusive to Argentina, and extremely rare, though, collectors have warmed to it.  As such, the figure gained popularity that the mold, in and of itself, probably doesn't warrant.

The Cobra Mortal was first released in Argentina is the ultra rare 2nd series of figures.  This wave included 6 figures, all of whom were exclusive repaints/characters to the Plastirama line.  The wave included Redmack, Glenda, Manleh, Shimik, Topson and the Cobra Mortal.  Why Plastirama produced a full wave of exclusive figures and why they were so limited are lost to history.  But, they did and the resulting figures are among the rarest in the history of worldwide Joe releases.  Few carded samples exist of this series, with some figures not existing MOC at all.  So, there was definitely something amiss with the whole wave.  The figures, as such, have taken on an aftermarket mystique and most collectors are aware of them, even if they have never seen the figures in person.

This figure is a straight repaint of the vintage, swivel arm Snake Eyes with the 1986 Roadblock waist.  As a mold, it is not interesting as we've seen it dozens of times.  The paint job, though, is interesting.  The figure has many, intricate paint details.  But, the true value of the figure is the vac metal coating.  This shiny addition to the mold makes the figure stand out. It was a nice expense to be offered for the figure.  (It also caused the Mortal to be cast in harder plastic as the soft plastic that was common to the era would not hold the plating.)  Visually, the Mortal is interesting.  But, collecting wise, he still falls flat.  Had a later Snake Eyes mold been used, the figure would have been much more exciting.  This figure simply feels derivative and stale.

Prior to the 2006 convention, collectors were "pre-selling" Cobra Mortals for $75 each. After the convention, that seemed to be the going price...for a while. In short time, collectors tired of the Mortal and prices fell precipitously. For a few years, it was possible to get a mint and complete Cobra Mortal for under $30. As dealers didn't want to take that kind of hit on an item that they had speculated on at higher prices, the number of Mortals for sale has declined. You can easily find dealers offering the figure for $65-$75 for a figure. But, those rarely sell. Offered to the market, Mortals tend to break $40 these days, but not much more. They are, far and away, the most expensive 2006 convention set figure. But, they aren't worth what many dealers want them to be. As such patience can yield a Mortal for decent prices. But, even at $30-$40, this figure is a stretch. It is cool to have a chrome Cobra who can stand among the 1983/1984 Cobras. But, it's not $40 cool. As an oddity the Mortal is interesting. But, as an essential figure, the Mortal falls quite short.

2006 Cobra Mortal, Convention Exclusive, Argentina, Plastirama, Rare G.I. Joe Figures, 1984 Stinger, Bootleg Cobra Trooper, Snow Serpent Trooper, 2007 Rip It


  1. This Cobra Mortal is neat in that "all things shiny" kind of way, but if you look at it for a second, it starts to look like a knock-off. It would've been interesting to see this chrome on a more creative base.

  2. I love the convention Mortal. He's an ugly, brittle, and useless version of a totally overused mold! I think what I like most about him, is he's an accurate portrayal of the G.I. Joe talking point "If this figure was common and released in America, he'd be panned" because this figure definitely is.

    I know the re-hash of the v1 SE mold is one of the biggest criticisms, but honestly I can't see the color scheme being flattering on either the 89 or 91 molds, and I think if something like the Night Vulture or even the '85 Snake Eyes mold being put to use for the Mortal would've been an even bigger PR disaster.

    1. I think master collectors was doomed either way when they went with the character. Had they done something different, that kept the name and maybe an homage (like the '07 Stardusters blue undershirt) but made for a figure that was just good, it might have been better. But, time has proven that collectors really don't care much at all about these sets anymore. It's all the new stuff. That might be a fitting fate, though.