COBRA COMMANDER 1991 (Battle Mask)
The 18th figure for the Re-Color Project is none other than the Commander himself. This figure was a bit odd in appearance but as it turns out, the oddness was mainly attributed to his color scheme. I could tell what the intent was at the design department for this figure and the 1992 Commander that was released, they wanted to produce a modernized remake of the two original classic Commanders, one with battle mask and one with hood. A good idea in concept but they should have invited the art team to that company meeting too so everyone would be on the same page. As it stands the figures ended up with color schemes that did very little remind you of the originals, therefore the homage to the classics fell flat. A shame too since all it took was a minor adjustment of the colors to make both of these figures a lot more respectable.
For this battle mask version of the Commander the body pretty well stayed the same with slightly modified coloration. The blue parts got lightened to the signature sky blue color used on Cobra Commanders battle uniforms and the metallic areas went from gold to silver. The only real change to the color arrangement of the body was making the belt buckle crimson red instead of metallic, so it would be more like the original classic. I thought about adding some red stripes down the sides of his body sort of like the original except I was going to do the stripes down his legs and arms both. The problem I ran into is that the elbow joints don't get painted with details, so any stripe going from shoulder to wrist would have this blue gap in the middle at the elbow. Because of this I reluctantly decided against the red arm stripes despite it looking really cool in my test pictures, after all these figures are suppose to represent what the factory could have done and the factory never painted elbow joints. I did intent to still put the red striped on the legs but alas I got in too big of hurry and forgot, only to notice after I had taken pictures and was cropping them. I will fix this and perhaps take some new pictures at some point. Final detail for the body was a nice new Cobra logo to add a touch more red.
The head was the part that required some major changes. That transparent red faceplate was a really bogus gimmick designed to make kids buy this figure so they could rip his mask off and see what his face looked like underneath, something that should never have been done because some things should be left to mystery and imagination. Doing the red faceplate also went totally against the classic "chrome dome" look that Cobra Commander is famous for. While the original Commander has a solid blue helmet, this helmet had too much detail to do it a single color so I had to think of something extra. I knew that the face dome would be silver, so the rest of the helmet had to be blue, black, or red in order to make the silver visor stand out well. I knew the base of the helmet would be blue, and decided that since the original Commander uses red very sparingly it would be a good idea to limit the use if red on the helmet if used at all. In the end I decided to paint the snake on his head black since that much red in one place would be overpowering, and if painted silver it would blend into the faceplate and not give any contrast. The helmet still looked a bit plain with the black snake so I decided to paint the trim on the helmet black too. At first I considered silver, but since it butts right up to the faceplate it would look more like a sloppily painted faceplate rather than an intentional detail. After all trim work was done I made an attempt to put a small touch of red by painting the snakes head, this looked crappy however since it stood out too much from the rest of the helmet so I repainted the snake head back to black. The final detail for the helmet was painting the lower half of the faceplate blue, since having the entire thing silver made his face look very bulbous and goofy, especially with that ridge across the middle.
The end result is a figure that makes for a much better homage to the original with mostly subtle changes aside from the helmet. Now to me at least this figure looks a lot more like Cobra Commander, where before he looked more like some new type of Viper trooper.
Figure: Cobra Commander 1991 (Battle Mask)
Scheme: Battle Command
Notes: A front and rear view, with a group shot next to the original battle mask Cobra Commander.