The Stone Cobra figure or Special Stone Cobranda (石にされた特製コブランダー), the name it was promoted with during the Mail-Away Promotion is considered one of the most rare Battle Beasts. And this is for a reason because it was only available in Japan as a Mail-Away item and for a limited period of time since the promotion ran until January 31, 1988.
How to obtain?
In order to obtain the Stone Cobra back in the days there were a few steps that needed to be followed. At first you needed to complete the so called Stone (Cobra) Tablet which consisted out of two halves that were included in two specific boxed sets namely; The Red Phoenix boxed set (Blazing Eagle Playset) and the Burstsun Special set (Sunburst Box). Both holding one side (halve) of the Stone Tablet. Supposedly the Left side was found in the Blazing Eagle box and the Right side in the Sunburst box. Once the Stone Tablet was completed by adding the two halves together the biggest task was done from the promotion point of view.
(Image Credit: Toyarchive)
BUT was it actually about the two halves of the Stone Tablet?
Because it looks like in the end, after doing a bit more research and looking into the translations, it´s highly likely that the Stone Tablet was just an extra dimension to the promotion since in the end it were the two questionnaires/surveys that were included in the boxed sets as well, alongside the Stone Tablet halves, which had to be mailed to TAKARA.
Thanks to WhiteLeo there is a rough translation of the Stone Tablet around as well.
There is no word about actually sending in the completed Stone Tablet and looking at the way they´ve been produced it also wouldn´t have been very likely that´d be the case. As they´re of a quite nice quality and not really of a size that you´d easily mail in a simple postcard size envelope, unlike the two surveys. And IF the Stone Tablet had to be mailed to TAKARA, assuming it´s not returned again together with the figure, the number of them being around would´ve probably been even lower considering the fact they´re more easy to get lost in time compared to the actual figures. The Stone Tablet halves are rare pieces of Beastformers History on their own because they show the interesting promotion that´s surrounding the Special Stone Cobra Promotion!
Although BOTH of them had to be send in, as a confirmation that both Stone Tablet halves were obtained the pamphlet itself was identical for both sets apart from a little line at the bottom of the backside which either mentioned; レッドフェニックス (Red Phoenix) or バーストサンスペシャル (Burstsun Special). A subtle but very efficient way for confirm to TAKARA that the requirements were met.
Alongside these two questionnaire/survey pamphlets a little letter on which the answers were written was included as well as a 120円 (120 Yen) stamp for mailing you the Stone Cobra figure. In the end this stamp was returned with the Stone Cobra figure unused ¨due to circumstances on our end¨ as was explained in a letter TAKARA included with the Stone Cobra figure.
Before looking at the actual Stone Cobra and the whole ¨package¨ you´d receive as Mail-Away Gift first let´s have a look at this questionnaire/survey pamphlet a bit better because it´s a nice way to learn about the strategy of TAKARA back in the days in order the receive solid feedback and input from customers. Since this has been a well thought out promotion by not only supporting customers to buy two of the more expensive box sets, compared to the individually packed figures, but also to require them to answer the included questionnaire/survey in order to obtain the Stone Cobra. It´s a win win situation for both because the customers were given a free rare figure while TAKARA gathered valuable information about how the line was doing and received by the public.
The images of the questionnaire/survey shown, above on the left and on the right, are from the one that´s included with the Burstsun Special boxed set.
Thanks to Bachamn’s Forming the Beasts page there is also a translation around of what´s actually written on the front side of this pamphlet and what questions were asked on the backside. The Pamphlet used there was the one coming from the Red Phoenix boxed set but as mentioned this was identical apart from the last line where the note was made from which set the pamphlet actually came.
Remarkable here is that question number 4 is missing but it is not so weird considering the fact that 4 is an unlucky number in Japanese culture because of the fact that it sound like shi which in Japan also means 死 – death. This on purpose missing of the number for also has received a name called; Tetraphobia which is the practice of avoiding instances of the digit 4 and it´s known to occur not only in Japan but also in Korea.
Back to the Stone Cobra because with everything send in on time, Postmark deadline January 31, 1988, it´s a matter of awaiting the mailman and watching your mailbox in order to see when the Stone Cobra Mail-Away figure would show up!
The Mail-Away package
Sadly enough it´s unknown what and how exactly you received the Stone Cobra but it´s safe to say, considering Japanese perfection, that it´s safely packaged and it was accompanied with a little A5 size letter printer on rice paper. A very delicate piece but luckily and thanks to Bachamn again this piece can be shared with the BB Community as well.
Flame Burst Presents
You got “Cobranda”!
Thank you for answering the “Flame Fortress Red Pheonix” and “Burst Sun Special Set” questionnaires.
Your gift for participating is a “Special Stone Cobranda”!
This should make a nice addition to your collection.
By the way, do you know about the “Mystical Serpent Seal” that trapped Cobranda’s soul?
There is a chance that the “Mystical Serpent Seal” will be included as a surprise present with any currently available BeastFormer purchase.
Your BeastFormer buddies can grow even more numerous!
Collect many and leave your friends’ collections in the dust!
Thank you for applying.
Also thank you for including the return postage necessary to send this present. We apologize for this troublesome process.
Due to circumstances on our end, it became unnecessary to use the postage stamp you included, so we have enclosed it herein.
Please continue buying our products in the future. Thank you.
Questions regarding this present may be addressed to:
Pre-System Creative 09 (987) 2904
Contact: Matsumura / Tamura
Translation Credits: Adam Chamness
Mail-Away Promotion Letter Review
Although the little letter spoke for itself there are a few remarkable things that pop up. Of course it´s the apology for the troublesome process with including the stamp. Which back in the days wasn´t that abnormal with promotions held by companies. But it´s clear that something changed along the line on the TAKARA side meaning you did indeed get a completely FREE Mail-Away exclusive Beastformer; Stone Cobra. Otherwise it´d still have been a great score at only the price of a stamp (120円).
The most remarkable and mysterious lines are obviously the following;
By the way, do you know about the “Mystical Serpent Seal” that trapped Cobranda’s soul? There is a chance that the “Mystical Serpent Seal” will be included as a surprise present with any currently available BeastFormer purchase.
Referring at the chance of a Seal that´s supposed to be included with ANY of the available Beastformer items…?
Although a lot about the whole Special Stone Cobra Promotion has been known and clarified by not this mysterious ¨Mystical Serpent Seal¨ is still a subject of discussion among the BB Community. Because what is it, this 妖蛇封印 (Snake Seal)?!
BUT also here after a closer inspection with the various available translations a part of the mystery is solved because it´s referring to the Stone Cobra Card. Which could be randomly found as a lucky insert within, at least, the earlier versions of single boxes in which the Beastformers were sold in Japan. Those were the ones referring to the Transformers Connection. As explained here: Autobots vs Decepticons on the side of the Red (Autobot) and Green (Decepticon) boxes a promotion of this lucky hit could be shown. It showed the Stone Cobra card with over it the text; 妖蛇封印が当る!! which roughly translates into ¨Find the Serpent Seal¨
The Serpent Seal on the Stone Cobra Card?
Now it´s know that they refer to the Stone Cobra Card for the ¨Serpent Seal¨ as a chance to find it in any of the Beastformers products it´s also clear that this Stone Cobra ID Card was NOT included with the actual Stone Cobra as part of the Mail-Away. So it was yet another item to trace.
Sadly enough there is, as far as known within the Beastformers Team, no translation done on this card yet which still leaves a few questions unanswered. Because was this card actually representing the seal or was there a seal attached to it in a way similar to the lucky hit card that held a Sunburst rub on it!?!? For now these questions remain but hopefully this will be explained soon.
The Stone Cobra Card itself is a pretty nice piece of artwork as well and it is possible there are two versions of it around because the one within the Beastformers Collection shows a more yellow/gold outline and ¨seal¨(?) on the front whereas other images, like the one from the LittleRubberGuides shows a more red/purple outline. On the card Cobranda or King Cobra is visible but over it the head of Pirate Lion shown… Is this the ¨Soul¨ the letter was referring to?
On the back it looks like a regular Beastformers ID Card with obviously the Stone Cobra being a Decepticon Beast as well but until this card is fully translated it´d be speculation so this is where it stops for now.
Back to the Stone Cobra figure, the Mail-Away item it´s been about all along.
The Special Stone Cobra figure
One of the nice things about this premium Battle Beast is that each figure is a unique piece on its own based on the way how the marbling effect has been applied onto the figure. In the base the Stone Cobra is cast in the mold of the regular King Cobra, hence the reason you can also find Stone Cobra´s with the letters A,B or C underneath their feet. But it´s molded in a different base color namely grey instead of brown (like the original figure) and on top of this grey base a marbling effect has been applied by dipping it into a ¨bath¨ which has a film layer of special paint on top of it. If you want to know more about this process have a look at the term: Hydro Dipping. This process results in the fact that after the figure has been pulled out, it´s not completely submerged so the bottom of your Stone Cobra will always show the plain grey from the base color, a unique marbling pattern is covering the figure. Unique because the way how this film layer attaches to the figure in combination with the movement is impossible to repeat in the exact same way. Making each Stone Cobra unique.
From a distance it might look like ALL Stone Cobra´s are the same but if you look into detail carefully they are all unique in the way the marbling effect has been applied. Thanks to this great procedure the Beastformers Team has also been to reveal the Stone Cobra SCAM earlier on. A sad discovery but as with most rare toys there will always be people who try to scam collectors with reproductions.
Here are a few more shots of the Stone Cobra´s that are part of the Beastformers Collection (front and back side).
The Special Stone Cobra, a unique figure within the world of Battle Beasts and as explained above this is for a reason, a true Premium Beast…
Although there are still a few blanks in the story line/promotion surrounding the Stone Cobra this is the first time the whole story has been published this complete so it will hopefully give you a better understanding of the history of this Beast.
Thanks to all the support and input from the BB Community and a special thanks goes to the following pages for the research done there;
Forming the Beasts – Stone Cobra – Mail-Away Promotion – Red Phoenix Questionnaire
Forming the Beasts – Stone Cobra – Mail-Away Promotion – Letter
STA Toyarchive – Battle Beasts – Stone Cobra Page
As well as the various comments of fellow collectors in topics concerning the Stone Cobra on LittleRubberGuys
The Beastformers Team