ELITE INFANTRY  
  Code Name: COBRA AIR TROOPER  
 

Like the Paratrooper, the Air Trooper was another variation on the ubiquitous Cobra Trooper mould. It wasn't, as far as I'm aware, based on anything from any particular past media or figure. The toy was issued in 2008 as a card single figure in the 25th Anniversary line, and is a good deal more ubiquitous than other variations of the Trooper.

It's more an intelligent use if a few existing ideas. The base figure was initially issued in the Cobra Legions pack, before coming out singly. The helmet design was based on the gas masks used in an issue of the Marvel comic (previously used as the head design for a comic pack figure in 2004), while the jet pack is modelled on the original JUMP Jet Pack (and directly taken and recoloured from the updated version given to Stalker in the Target-exclusive Ultimate Battle set). The parts gel nicely, and remind me of the Nazi propaganda reel from The Rocketeer - i.e. it looks marvellous even if you're pretty glad it never transpired in real life.

It has some of the same faults as the basic Trooper, in that the hip design isn't the most flexible, while the soft plastic 'standard' helmet (which has the moulded triangular 'officer' insignia) can pop off relatively easily on some examples due to the frictionless bald head underneath. What's really impressive about the figure, though, is that the larger helmet can be removed and replaced by a standard Cobra Officer version, while the face has the red mask in place. Similarly, a standard rifle is also included, so the guy can basically convert to being a normal blueshirt easily.

All of which makes the Air Trooper probably the army builder figure of choice. The visual changes are all the best available, including the more visually impressive red mask and yellow webbing, not to mention the textbook Cobra rifle. It's one of the cheapest 25th Anniversary figures too, and basically comes with a free jet pack and extra helmet. Excellent stuff.

 

G.I. Joe Air Trooper
G.I. Joe Air Trooper
G.I. Joe Air Trooper
G.I. Joe Air Trooper
 

With thanks to the Magical Truth-saying Turtle!