Research and Ideation (or Sketching)
This "Officer" illustration was signed and dated September 3rd, 1981 by Ron Rudat. Ron labeled rank markings on his left upper arm and shoulder, explosives and cartridge pouches on his chest, gloves on his hands, a fancy knife like the Commanders on his left thigh, and a modified AKM. He did not illustrate or call out the rank on his helmet, this must've been a later addition. It is interesting to note the differences between the AKM shown here and the AK-47 we received. The AK-47 (officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova) is a gas-operated assault rifle that is chambered for the 7.62×39mm cartridge. It was developed in the Soviet Union by Russian small-arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1948. The AKM variant of the AK-47 was developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov and introduced into service with the Soviet Army in 1959. The AKM features detail improvements and some parts and assemblies were revised to optimize the rifle for mass production using simplified manufacturing methods.
Kirk Bozigian (G.I. Joe Product Manager) and Ron Rudat (R&D Figure Designer) discuss how the idea for a ruthless terrorist organization known as Cobra came to be, designing the figures, and the wildly successful Cobra Commander promotion.
Unadorned Package Art
The painting above was created by Coleman, Lipuma, Segal & Morrill, Inc. (CLS&M) with art direction by Ed Morrill and illustration by Hector Garrido. Note the red Cobra logo, which was changed to silver before mass production.