Super7 Spotlight: G.I. Joe Cobra Mothership
If you know Super7, you know we love a good deep cut, so of course our collection of G.I. Joe ReAction figures are going to include the toys we always wanted but no one ever made before. The latest addition to this mission is our first G.I. Joe vehicle: The massive 3.75" scale Cobra Mothership! We spoke to Super7's VP of Design Josh Herbolsheimer about the project.
The Mothership is a deep cut reference from the original G.I. Joe Animated Series. Was it something that was part of Super7’s vision for their G.I. Joe program from the beginning?
We knew from the beginning that we wanted to make a vehicle as part of the ReAction G.I. Joe line. The vehicles were such a huge part of the classic toys we grew up with, it felt natural to build it into our assortment. The tricky thing was that so many iconic vehicles have already been made, some several times over. We wanted to find something that had not been made previously that would be big and impactful. The Cobra Mothership gave us the opportunity to realize something people knew about from the cartoon intro, but nobody had ever made.
This is the debut 3.75" scale Super7 ReAction Figure vehicle. How similar or different was the design process for this compared to the 7” ULTIMATES scale vehicles done for ThunderCats and TMNT?
Fundamentally, the process is the same, but carried out with different design constraints driven by the scale and stylization of each format. ULTIMATES is typically a more detailed and realistic format, so the playsets and vehicles reflect that in how we execute the design, proportionality and sculpted detail. ReAction skews more retro-toyetic, so in addition to being smaller in scale, the detailing is simplified to what is essential to tell the story.
The Mothership only appears very briefly in the original animated series. How was the complete exterior design completed without existing references?
We looked at the history of G.I. Joe vehicles for inspiration, as well as all manner of other military and spaceship toys and playsets to build a convincing visual language for the Mothership. Using the reference that exists as a starting point to build around, we filled in the blanks with elements that felt consistent with G.I. Joe and just felt fun.
The interior of the Mothership contains many details and features that make the ship come to life and seem like it’s always existed. Were any of these inspired or based on scenes from the original animated series or the original 1980s toy line? Or was the interior completely designed for this project?
Just like the exterior, the interior was based upon the reference that does exist, and then expanded to something new. We wanted to make something that essentially felt like a G.I. Joe version of the Millenium Falcon, with a few different rooms, cockpit, opening panels and sculpted detail to indicate parts of the ship that were not practical to realize as a ‘room’.
The same question about the accessories and figures included and offered with Mothership: Were any of them - the characters, weapons turrets, Trubble Bubbles - inspired by the animated series or the original 1980s toy line?
Yes, they all come from more or less the same set of inspiration. We skewed more toward the cartoon for reference, in keeping with the direction of the ReAction G.I. Joe figures, but of course some influence of the classic toys is always present.
As a toy designer, what past experience was valuable in making the Mothership a reality when it never existed in 3D form before.
Certainly other vehicle and playset projects we’ve done in the past, the ThunderTank, Cats' Lair, Snake Mountain, even Mandora’s Electrocharger are useful from both a creative process and mechanical perspective - How do we approach a solution a big creative problem as well as how did that one trap door work on this or that project. Generally speaking though, I’ve been very lucky to work on a huge variety of projects at this point, and the experience on all of them is additive in helping to inform how we build something like the Mothership.
The original 1980s G.I. Joe toys are some of the most iconic collectible toys. In addition to the original animated series, did any inspiration or design guidance come from that original toy line?
Definitely. The Mothership is part of the ReAction line, which differs in format from the classic 80s Joe toys. The creative challenge though, is to create something within the ReAction line that can still family well with the classic O-Ring figures. Ultimately we made a ship that both your ReAction and vintage G.I. Joes can play in.
When creating something that is so huge in scale, what was required to envision Mothership living in the 3.75” scale ReAction Figures world?
The main thing is getting away from what a ship that size would literally be and translating it into a toyetic representation of the ship. It can be easy to get lost in well, if the cockpit fits 12 people in the show, and Cobra Commander is six feet tall, then the windows need to be this size, and therefore to correctly fit 3.75” figures the ship needs to be forty feet long. That may be technically accurate, but it’s less fun and wildly impractical. Instead it's about finding a balance where we make something that feels like the literal ship and functions like a 3.75” scale toy. Could this design of the Mothership actually fly in real life? I have no idea. Is it a kick-ass snake spaceship? Most definitely!
What is your favorite feature of Mothership?
The poster of Cobra Commander in the jail cell, adding insult to injury!
Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?
I hope people enjoy playing with the Cobra Mothership as much we enjoyed making it!
For complete details and to pre-order Cobra Mothership visit HERE!