G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)
Introduced into the vintage line rather surprisingly late into its run in 1989, the Alley Viper has nevertheless become a memorable piece of the franchise. Perhaps it’s the utter absurdity of the neon orange and blue camo on a supposedly urban-setting specializing trooper, which somehow manages to make even the most fervent of anti-neon Joe fans make an exception for this one. Who knows. What I do know is that this particular Viper-variant has certainly faired better than the rest of its ’89 compatriots, with a subsequent 14 variations on its design over the years, including today’s focus, the trooper’s introduction into the Classified Series.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Alley Viper is figure 34 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, released in the newest assortment of the line, alongside yesterday’s B.A.T. and a reissue of Gung-Ho. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation. Structurally, the Alley Viper uses the Duke body as a starting point. It’s definitely Hasbro’s favorite starting point for the line, which is sensible, since it’s a basic set of tactical gear. For the most part, it’s really just the legs that are re-used, with pretty much everything else being all new. Like yesterday’s B.A.T., the design on the Alley Viper is decidedly a lot closer to the original V1 figure than some of the line’s earlier offerings. This one does update some of the details for some more modernization and a slightly more real world tactical feel. All of the major design elements from the original figure are present, and in the same spots, with some additional details to help fill in the larger canvas, which is certainly cool. I really dig the moving visor, which is one of the original figure’s coolest features, and works out much the same on this one as well. There’s also just a ton of detail work going into the sculpt, which gives him a nice feeling of depth to his design. The color work on the Alley Viper is one of his most distinctive features. He’s bright orange and blue. That’s kind of the point, and it’s kind of an important one. This figure sticks to that, and it’s super silly, and goofy, and gaudy, and I absolutely love how it turned out. The V1 Alley Viper included the visor, shield, backpack, and a submachine gun, all of which are present on this release. He also adds a pistol and two knives for his holsters, plus a larger rifle. Additionally, the backpack, which on the V1 release had a gun worked into the mold, actually sports a third fully removable rifle, complete with a grappling hook, again throwing back to the V1 version. It’s a really fun selection of extras. The two main guns both have removable magazines, and while the new shield doesn’t have the window at the top for him to look through, he does get a really cool decal showing some sort of wire frame readout.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ll admit, I don’t have much personal attachment to the Alley Viper. It’s outside my main focus for the vintage line, and the early ’00s line, which served to get me into things, was when they were really downplaying the design’s funky colors, which does sort of hamper its staying power. My favorite Alley Viper is the Resolute one, which honestly barely even counts as an Alley Viper. So, when these guys were first previewed hiding up at the top of that back-of-the-box illustration, I wasn’t jumping up and down for them or anything. When they were finally confirmed, they were of course in tandem with the B.A.T.s, which did sort of steal the thunder a bit. That said, I did really like the look of him, and I wasn’t going to pass up on getting at least one of them. While he’s not competition for the B.A.T., he’s still a really, really good figure in his own right. It’s honestly a fantastic update to the original, and I can definitely dig it.
Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.