The G.I. Joe fan community is a pretty fucked up place, it's full of creeps, jerks, people who dislike reading as much as they like spousal abuse, and capitalists! I'm a guy who knows a lot about these for some reason, and no one else will talk about them (and no one will read this, the lack of knowledge spreads!)
In 2008 some enterprising guy decided "Hey, I know how to make money!" and really late in the year fake Cobra Soldiers (and later Viper Pilots) appeared. These were pretty terrible, the rivets were put in incorrectly, the legs were looser than whatever whore little girl inspired the Warren Zevon song "Tenderness on the Block" and the cobra logo was a weird ass red. No one really cared except people who bought them, the only mention of them prior to 2009 was on some Yojoe! thread buried in the variant section.
I once talked to the first noted seller and asked about them, I was told something about how "They might be Hasbro Factory Errors who knows!" Either they were confused or con artists (I couldn't tell)
So that was the first batch, no one knows much about it and it's not really an issue at this point, but it says there are atleast 2 (probably 3) fake Cobra Soldier molds out there!
The second batch of them showed up from China. Murmurs I've heard about them is some dude has a secret production run (How very G.I. Joe fan like!) made, it explains the fanwank Desert Trooper using a vert obscure vehicle sticker for the logo. These first showed up publicly at a convention hosted by enemy of Smash The State, Joe Canuck. There were a few eBay auctions where these motherfuckers wound up going for like $500. Q. Who would pay that? A. Idiots. You can still find the Desert one on eBay but it's $150. It's not worth that (I paid $35)
Presumed list of figures from this batch:
Crimson Guard Soldier
Black Soldier (This one has smoke gray straps and a gold/bronze logo)
Tan Soldier (Desert Scorpion logo, 1983 Grunt colour)
Stinger Driver Soldier
Snow Serpent Solider
The plastic quality of these is really poor. Tight knee joints, really stiff arms. However they look more professional (stained rivets) and the foot holes regular G.I. Joe size.
The most common, and from a quality standpoint the best are made by The Black Major, apparently made in the USA. These showed up in the summer of 2009, and were constantly re-deco'd until January. The figures have the highest quality plastic (About 1997/1998 G.I. Joe) and most useful versions. Three figures had very intricate paint applications; Urban, Jungle and Desert. The Jungle was the most popular and unavailable the earliest. Was also retired earlier than any other ones.
List of Figures from this batch
Black (Light grey straps silver logo)
Desert Camo (Red and Black logos)
Tan (Red logo, brown webgear/facemask)
Tan (Scorpion logo)
Canadian (Arctic with Maple Leaf Cobra Symbol)
Black (Grey face mask/webgear. Skull Cobra logo)
There were also going to be a Dreadnok Trooper and some other logo I didn't recognize, judging by some eBay auctions.
A lot of people have talked about these figures and some people think they're cool but some are just fucking morons. One guy once asked me "Hey y u buy them. they not real gi joes" I wish I remembered his E-mail so I could post it here. Also the yojoe.com admin once complained about how it's not fair for someone to make these figures affordable because he spent years buying Cobra Soldiers at $20 each.
In conclusion, G.I. Joe fans are secretive jerks and complain about prices of everything.