G.I. JOE VS COBRA (HASBRO)
“COBRA VIPERS are the grunts of the COBRA legions. If there’s a dirty job that needs doing, these guys are first in line. They wear multi-layered body armor and wrap-around helmets with built-in radio telecommunications gear, and carry multi-burst laser pistols, commando rifles and grenade launchers. They know that they’re looked down upon by the more elite COBRA groups, but that just makes them fight harder so they can prove to everyone that plain rottenness gets the job done as well as fancy training. They’re ready at a moment’s notice to cause harm and do damage anywhere that COBRA COMMANDER sends them.”
For part 5 of The Day the Vipers, we move to 2002. An important year for G.I. Joe, as it returned fully to mass retail, relaunched under the G.I. Joe vs Cobra banner. The first assortment of vs Cobra figures sported all-new sculpts, of a radically different styling than the vintage line. However, when the initial line-up proved successful, Hasbro wanted to follow-up as soon as they could, and re-purposed a number of vintage-styled sculpts for a quickly thrown together second assortment. Included amongst those figures, was the Cobra Viper, who had been absent since 1997.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The three Vipers here were available in two different ways. Turquoise was available at mass retail, with Indigo as his color variant, both of them packaged with Mirage. The Crimson Viper, on the other hand, was packed with 11 identical Vipers, a Tomax, a Xamot, and a Baroness, as part of the 2002 Joe Con-exclusive Crimson Strike Team boxed set. All three figures were built on the V5 Viper mold, but now used a slightly higher quality of plastic than V5 and the Officer/Trooper did, resulting in figures that not showcase the sculpted details better, but also stand up a little better to play. All three are sporting wholly unique paint schemes. Turquoise and Indigo are the more similar two, mostly just palette-swapping from each other. Turquoise’s overall lighter coloring means the handful of details that have gone unpainted are a little more obvious than they are on the much darker Indigo. Both of them leave the hands unpainted, which don’t hate, but I do which they’d have at leas painted the edge of the glove to make it look like a strap, rather than some weird skin tag, but that’s quite minor. I dig Indigo’s blue visor, as well as the swirly, molded camo on the fatigues portions of their uniforms. Crimson rivals only the V1 Viper in terms of quantity of painted details. Just about every sculpted element is properly painted, and very sharply handled at that. He’s definitely a very good looking figure. In terms of accessories, Indigo and Turquoise are each packed with a sniper rifle and a back pack, both different from the originals. Crimson gets the same backpack as prior Vipers, but yet another rifle, which is probably one of the best when it comes to his ability to actually hold it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
After finding the original Viper in the collection that All Time Toys bought, it was actually the 2002 bunch that really grabbed my interest. 2002 was the year that got me into the small-scale Joes, and though I never actually owned these figures, I’ve still got a soft spot for them. In particular, I’ve wanted at least one of the Crimson ones for quite some time. All three figures here are a lot of fun, and while the original Viper might be objectively the best Viper I got, these three are my favorites.