The Steel Brigade was a very popular idea. Millions of kids sent their information into Hasbro who then created a personalized figure for them. It was the perfect way to make the fans part of the Joe universe. In 1993, Hasbro decided to take this idea a step further and allowed fans to create their own Cobra figure. Needless to say, this idea was not as popular as some might have thought. As such, the Create Your Own Cobra figure anguishes in obscurity. At least the Steel Brigade figs were kind of cool and came with good accessories. The Create a Cobras were in a horrible color scheme, lacked any real accessories, and were not heavily marketed. As such, collectors today are left with a relatively tough figure to find.
As far as anyone knows, there is only one version of the Create a Cobra. Unlike the frankenstiened Steel Brigade and Star Duster figures, this guy didn't see a long enough life span to ever have any changes. (Not that it isn't possible, mind you, it's just that no variations have surfaced as of yet.) 1993 was near the end of the line for Joe. As Hasbro was putting out figures like this guy, some may say it was a mercy killing. I am a staunch supporter of figures from 1992-1994. I think there are many great gems from those years. There are, though, more than those years' fair share of stinkers as well. The Create a Cobra is among them. They just aren't cool figures. The mold, Targat's body with the Crimson Guard Immortal's head, is great. The color scheme is terrible. Had this guy been done in Cobra blue and black, I think bagged samples would be selling on the same levels as the gold headed Steel Brigade figure.
Still, this figure does have it's appeal. I just don't know what it is. If I ever come across a spare Crimson Guard Immortal's head, I'm going to create a custom Create Your Own Cobra in the original Targat and CGI colors. I think it would look very good, and would be indicative of what Hasbro could have done with these figures. I remember seeing this in a catalog in late 1994. The color was so bad that I passed. (Like I did on all the mail ins. I sure wish I had taken the chance to get a complete Whale. I missed that boat. At least Hasbro Canada eased some of the pain.) This is a fun guy to look at, but I can't think of a single use I would have for a loose sample. At least some of the other mis-colored Cobras have some redeeming play value. With this guy, it's pretty hard to find.
These guys are tough to find. It took me nearly a year before I came across my first one. Since then, I have only seen three or four others. I honestly believe that the Create Your Own Cobra is among the 30 to 40 rarest Joe figures. Not many people have them. He's not like the gold headed Steel Brigade (which was available around the same time period) in that those guys appear both bagged, but also fairly regularly loose. I have never seen a Create Your Own Cobra figure offered loose. They have all been MIB, like the one you see here. I think the fact that kids didn't want to associate with bad guys, plus a terrible pink color scheme doomed this figure. No one wanted him and the only people who have him are dealers and collectors. Still, when these guys go appear for sale, the demand is small and you can get them for around $10-$15. You just may have to wait a while.
If you have any questions, comments, or have any new variations of the Create a Cobra, email me.