Review: Sideshow Collectibles' Cobra Commander Diorama

March 22, 2012

Over the last few years, Sideshow Collectibles has been producing high-end interpretations of G.I. Joe characters in a number of different mediums, some of which G.I. Joe collectors are familiar with while others are new to the brand. The mediums include sixth scale figures, quarter scale premium format figures, fifth scale polystone statues, as well as amazingly detailed polystone dioramas, like the recently released Cobra Commander diorama.

Sideshow's Cobra Commander diorama showcases a powerful Cobra Commander--flanked by a pair Cobra’s elite Crimson Guards--standing atop stone steps with an ornately decorated Cobra throne in the background. The piece does a great job conveying the Cobra Commander's personality and nuances and you can almost hear Chris Latta’s raspy voice channeling out from the Cobra Commander sculpt.

Sideshow didn’t skip a beat when it comes to detail on the diorama and the sculpt on the piece is top notch. From top to bottom, front to back the diorama is full of small intricate details that make this truly a stand out piece. Things like the folds on Cobra Commander’s uniform, to the carpet laid before the throne, to the imposing Crimson Guards both holding assault rifles, give this diorama great presence. Even around to the rear of the piece, where focus might not be paramount, there is a large Cobra symbol accompanied by two crossed spears draped in black banners.

Cobra Commander's thinner body frame isn't as muscular as the Crimson Guards surrounding him, further exemplifying the thoughtfulness that went into the piece. The throne itself is a tad small but I think Sideshow did a really great job with the sculpt of the serpent-themed chair while keeping the footprint display friendly. The diorama does require some minor assembly as all three figures and the throne fit into the base via pegs. Once assembled, the piece is sturdy and hefty, weighing in at 15 pounds.

The paint on the diorama is crisp, sharp, and evenly applied. The blues on Cobra Commander, in particular, are in subdued hues, but not drab enough to be a distraction. For me, the highlight of the diorama is the paint applications on the Cobra throne. The gold tones on the throne really pop adding to its regal characteristics. The Crimson Guards are also well painted with no drips or runs on small details like the boot buckles, silver tabs on the belt pouches or rank insignias on the chest. Unfortunately, the Cobra logo across the chest on the Crimson Guards’ uniforms was omitted, despite being depicted on the box. While it’s certainly not a deal breaker in my eyes, consumers need to be aware of the omission before deciding on a purchase.

As with most of Sideshow’s products a regular edition and an exclusive edition are available for this piece. The exclusive edition of the diorama is limited to 200 pieces and comes with not one, not two, but three switch-out portraits to choose from; two masked and one hooded. In addition, Cobra Commander’s left hand, which holds his Cobra staff and right hand with clinched fist, can be replaced with an exclusive laser pistol gripping right hand and saber wielding left hand. These additional pieces make customizing the diorama to display your favorite interpretation of Cobra Commander incredibly fun. You can really appreciate the value of the diorama when you start mixing-and-matching the additional swappable pieces included.

The Cobra Commander diorama is a great addition to Sideshow Collectibles’ growing G.I. Joe lineup and it displays beautifully next to Sideshow’s two other G.I. Joe dioramas or simply as a standalone piece. If you’re looking to add something unique to add to your G.I. Joe collection, you can’t go wrong with the Cobra Commander diorama--it literally demands your attention.

Both the exclusive edition and regular edition of Cobra Commander diorama are now available from Sideshow Collectibles for $299.99.

Jose GonzalezJose is a pop culture connoisseur and child of the '80s. He spends his free time collecting and restoring vintage 3-3/4-inch G.I. Joe toys from Hasbro, which he chronicles on his Web site. Jose also collects items from Sideshow Collectibles and keeps busy reading comics from DC and IDW, watching movies or animation, writing, and being a husband and father of two. You can follow him at @therealjosegon on Twitter.

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