Cobra Night Raven designs by Steve Reiss

Cobra Night Raven by Steve Reiss tease image for Tim Finn's G.I. Joe blog

Steve Reiss attended CCS, the College for Creative Studies, before it had that name, back when it was called Society of Arts & Crafts in Detroit.  It had long been a school with a reputation for vehicle design.  After Reiss joined Hasbro in 1985 he was soon designing G.I. Joe vehicles, like the stunning 1986 Cobra Night Raven, based on Lockheed’s also-stunning SR-71 “Blackbird.”  For your reference, here’s the real thing:

SR-71 NASA photo by Judson Brohmer as comparison to Steve Reiss G.I. Joe Cobra Night Raven toy for Hasbro    And here are Steve Reiss’ six pages of designs, the basis for a rough, three-dimensional model.

Cobra Night Raven design pg 1 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

Cobra Night Raven design pg 2 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

Cobra Night Raven design pg 3 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

Cobra Night Raven design pg 4 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

For play value, Reiss added a one-person drone that latched onto the top of the larger jet:

Cobra Night Raven design pg 5 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

And here’s the parts breakdown.

Cobra Night Raven design pg 6 by Steve Reiss for G.I. Joe 1986 toy line

The final toy is black with opaque red accents, and the clear red cockpit windows are a lovely, extra detail.  The Night Raven is also quite long, and I recall always needing two hands to support it.  It’s one of the most attractive products in the entire Real American Hero product line — elegant, sleek, and aggressive.


Filed under G.I. Joe Behind the Scenes, Toys and Toy Art

11 responses to “Cobra Night Raven designs by Steve Reiss

  1. Wow! This really brought back some very cool memories. Steve was one of the best and most creative vehicle designers on the GI Joe brand.
    Kirk Bozigian

  2. Thanks for sharing Tim. This brings back some great memories! I’m sure you’ve heard the story about the packaging….

    • Welcome, Dan. One of the marketers pushed for black spot varnish on the box front, only where the jet was, and someone higher up said “no, too expensive,” and the first person did it anyway — that story?

  3. Wow, Tim, this is astoundingly cool. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Fantastic stuff. I seriously cannot wait for your book to be published.
    You are to be commended not only on the years of research you’ve put into this (and the awesome material you have uncovered), but also on your good English and friendly writing style. My hat is off.

  5. David Arenas

    Amazing stuff, Tim!! You must know you have loyal followers in Spain!
    Hope you can finish soon your book!

  6. DavidK

    Steve did an amazing job on those drawings!!! Gregory Berndtson did much of the finished design as he built it in 3D. Every line was hand scribed by Greg into the toy you love.

    • Thanks for clarifying, David! I don’t mean to exclude anyone in the texts here — Berndtson gets several paragraphs in Chapter 5, and shows up in a photo or two — but the nature of these posts is that they’re incomplete samplings, so I appreciate gaps getting filled in the comments. As much as I can in the book itself I try to attribute credit to more people rather than fewer.

  7. RAVEN

    The 1986 COBRA NIGHT RAVEN S3P BLACK V.I.P. JET TRANSPORT/SPY PLANE! The 1 and ONLY! Very popular vehicle, mass-produced by Hasbro, in the 1980’s, STILL makes everyone remember the commercial jingle: ”COBRA RAVEN, COBRA RAVEN, There’s no haven from the Cobra Raven!”

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