Thursday, 16 April 2015

Elite Dangerous Space Bar - Cobra Cosmetics

Hey space cadets, What is going on?
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the Space Bar

In this simple roundup we'll be looking at the Cobra Colours. I'm not going to detail different Cobra outfits - The final ship I flew was this Classic Cobra Outfit that we used on a recent Tourist Trip to Sol in advance of the upcoming Earth Day on April 22nd, 2015.

The serpent cobra is a professional looking two-tone design that really plays of the strength of the cobras iconic form factor. The strong diagonal lines mirror the wing shapes and compliment the design of the ship, and the dark trim and vents work really with the colours.

Available in a black body with bright red panelling or a two-tone yellow with dark panels the serpent cobra looks sleek and stylish. The coloured panelling displays subtle shifts in colour that help pick out the detail of the ship in close up inside the broad geometric shapes.  Its a tragedy that there aren't more serpent options, nor a serpent scheme available for other vessels as this would make a great fleet colour.

Both the broad base colour and flat panelling accept the pale decals very well, and present your rank with pride and purpose.

The red and yellow options both look good in a variety of lighting, although I found the yellow more versatile overall. With the only complaint I could level at the Serpent being that I wanted more, this is a paint scheme to look out for in the galaxy.

The rattler features a bold central racing stripe and is available in blue or orange.  While the Blue variant looks better in promo shots and in the store and its tones look just grand in the outfitters bay, the striking orange and white has more definition in game and looks cleaner under a larger variety of lighting conditions.

The cool racing stripes on the rattler look great, the clean flat areas accept decals well.  The blue rattler comes out better in this regard with the white decals accented with sky blue cutting a strong contrast to the blue body and black stripe.  The Orange rattler sports yellow decals that somehow lose clarity on both the orange body and white stripe.

Overall I think the orange rattler looks great in space, its got an industrial feel and looks great contrasting against bright suns of dark planets alike.

The Urban and Polar Camo patterns available for the cobra differ in style to the choice of Urban, Polar and Jungle camo paints for the Eagle and Sidewinder but can still be considered a single theme. I'm going to go ahead and say its a different artist on the Cobra, or at least a different brief, when this was put together.

Noteworthy here is that the cobra camo patterns are bespoke - the Urban and Polar patterns are different compared to the lowly Sidewinder where the same camo pattern has been cheaply recoloured to produce three products.  This additional attention to detail, along with the different palette of colours used sets the cobra camo aside.

The polar camo cobra includes black trim around all of the wing tips, vents and utility mounts and shows good attention to detail. While the promo shots provide a splash of colour, the gloss camo pattern doesn't really break up the outline of the ship and it becomes apparent that there is no practical purpose to the camo pattern - its there because camo is cool.

Decals appear a little out of place on the camo, although as observed its a decorative rather than practical camouflage pattern and the presence of the decals isn't too jarring. The decal colours don't stand out very strongly, although the white decals on the polar camo look a lot better than the pale metallic feel of the decals on the urban variant.

The short-lived onionhead is fresh punky design and the first paint pack to include custom decals, however its asymmetric design does little for the eye, doesn't respect the shape and contour of the classic cobra.  While its random paint-can style is initially eye-catching, its perfectly clean factory finish is a reminder that this "alternative" style is going to leave you identical to all of the other pilots who want to look different.

I don't like the colour, I don't like the way the base black is lost against the darkness of space and I don't like the poor decal placement.  For a pack that provides additional decals, I really wanted something that "goes together", but the provided decals don't have space to sit and be admired on the visually busy wings. Firstly one wing already contains a decal pattern, and neither wings have space to accept the lime colour decal with any clarity.

The pirate skin is another departure from symmetry, and while both the Camo and Ignition packs were asymmetrical and spanned several different ships, the Pirate scheme rightly claims the crown as the first faction paint.

The matte black and gloss red colours look good by themselves and the white skull motif, although a little squashed, complete the look and feel and compliments the colours.

The cobra stands out in being the only pirate ship with the Skull painted on the right side, making it a mirror image of its six counterparts.  This oversight jars me more than it should, and a simple mirror image of it would really help.  However, I have no intention of ever flying pirate colours so while that counts against the image, it's not going to make me less likely to fly it.

Lastly the decals are a disappointment on the vessel. Their placement isn't really respected by the black, red, or white areas of the ship and the blue colour is lost among the other patterns. Lack of pirate specific decals bring home that we are also missing Federal, Imperial and Alliance decals too but hopefully faction paints and decal sets for these are not far behind.

Like the Camo before it, the Ignition series spans both several ships and colour variants. This made it possible to fly a wing of different Ignition ships, so long as Sidewinders and Eagles are your style. The striking ignition patterns with its matte black to gloss red sunburst is also available in an all-gloss maroon and orange base, both with metallic flames.

The gunmatal trim finishes the scheme, and while its far from subtle the Ignition cobra looks good both docked or in flight.

The general badassary of the ignition patterns put it as a contender for my top pick. Both the orange and red base look good, both have great front gold decals although the wing decal spots are a a little visually busy with the flame. Its a minor complaint, but a little more clearance for the wing decals would have been appreciated.

Lastly, the vibrant cobras are available in six shades - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple. Out of all of the other patterns, these look the worst in the store. In fact, the store and promo images look fairly poor. However, once on a ship they look surprisingly good and play to the strengths of the retro solid geometric roots of the game.

The trim and decals all work well with the vibrant paint packages and are tinted to match the overall colour.  There is subtly and variation in the design in different lighting conditions that doesn't show through on the storefront pictures. Unlike many of the other options the vibrant packs allow you to match your fleet together from the smallest sidewinder to largest lakon and everything in between.

Being able to match colours with other ships is a really strong selling point on the vibrant pack, and hopefully it paves the way for more cross-ship paint schemes that will really help to bring the galaxy to life.

And finally...
The cobra paints give the ship new life and form a link to the past and eye to the future of Elite. The Cobra is a versatile ship that is fun to outfit and fly, and with a choice of colours you can make it feel a little more your own. The development team were obviously listening when we asked for a set of paint schemes that looks the same across multiple ships, and here's hoping that the vibrant range gets complimented with Serpents, Ignition, Camo or other great faction designs so that we can fly in style.

I'm Cmdr TwingTwang, and this has been the space bar. What is your favourite ship and colour combination? Do you love the versatility of the Vibrant paint or hate its simplicity? If you got a ship, loadout or paint you'd like to see then drop me a line.
Please, like, favorite, +1, share and subscribe.  Until next time, fly casual.