COBRA VIPER OFFICER & VIPERS
G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)
Does this count as the eighth entry in the Day of the Vipers if that day actually wrapped up four years ago? Eh, I’m gonna count it. I love me a continuing bit. So, for Part 8 of the exceedingly long Day of the Vipers, we’re jumping to the far-flung year of 2022. Woooo. The future is now. After revamping the brand and moving to a 6 inch scale in 2020, Hasbro added an updated Cobra Viper to the line in the form of a rather impossibly hard to find Target exclusive, which hit in early 2021. It was decidedly not so much fun for the fanbase. To make it decidedly more fun for the fanbase, Hasbro decided to follow-up the initial Viper with a whole pack of Vipers. I am much excite. Very much excite.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Cobra Viper Officer and Vipers three-pack is a stand alone release for G.I. Joe: Classified Series, and is numbered 47 in the line-up, fitting the continuing trend of absolutely nothing in the Classified Series going un-numbered. It’s still kind of amusing to see it on such a large-boxed item, though. The pack includes the Officer and two rank and file Vipers. All three are built on the same sculpt as the Target-release Viper, with the Officer receiving a complete paint overhaul and the two Vipers getting some minor tweaks. Of note, all three uses of the mold have a slightly different composition on the plastic for the goggles, so they fit a little bit better than the first release.
The Cobra Viper Officer is actually a rather new concept, since the Vipers have classically been seen as the lowest on the totem pole, meaning their commanders would just really be any other Cobra officer. When the Viper molds were re-purposed to be a Cobra Officer and a Cobra Trooper in 1998, Hasbro added a little bit of ranking with the colors, but not officially applied to Vipers proper. Our first taste of the concept for Vipers originated in 2006’s Viper Pit set, which amongst its six Vipers included one with a golden face plate, albeit with no denotation of any added rank. In 2014’s 50th Anniversary line, we got our first proper Viper Officer, who got not just the changed face plate, but a whole new color scheme as well. That figure seems to have served as the primary inspiration for the figure seen here, though they do both seem to take at least a page out of the 1998 Cobra Officer’s book in terms of coloring. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. Since the sculpt is the same as the first release, the main change-up here is the colors. This guy pretty much just copies the 50th color scheme, translating the officer to primarily light grey, with some red accenting, as well as the expected gold for the visor. The application is generally pretty clean, though there’s some fuzziness on some of the change-overs, as well as a bit of slop at the edges of the forearms. The depth of detail on the paint is also a little more involved than on the prior figure, with things like the lenses of his goggles getting their own coloring as well, which gives him a little extra polish. The Officer gets the same scarf used on the Target figure, as well as a backpack in an updated color scheme, and a unique pistol, which even has a port at the front for effects pieces.
Backing up the Viper Officer, there are two lower tier Vipers. By design, they’re meant to be interwoven with the Target-exclusive release, allowing those who already got some of those to not have to start over from square one. Exactly how well that works is up to some debate, though. There are a few little changes, not just from that release to this one, but also between the two figures in the pack together here, as well. As with the Officer, these guys share their construction with the standard Viper, with their color scheme being the differentiating thing. These two are very similar to the standard Viper, but the reds and blues are both shifted to be a little less saturated and just a touch darker. It’s nothing major, and something that can be easily missed when not comparing the releases side by side. But, if you’re some sort of weirdo that has to have every possible version, well, I guess you’ll see it. The application is largely consistent with the prior release, but there’s the extra detailing again on the goggle lenses, to match up with the Officer. I really like it. While the standard Viper, as well as all prior Vipers from the brand up to this point, stuck with a consistently lighter skin tone, this set adds in just a little bit of diversity to the Cobra ranks, with one of the two Vipers sporting a noticeably darker pigment to his neck and forearms. The other Viper is *supposed* to be lighter skinned, but, well, that’s not exactly how it worked out. The neck is the intended color, but the forearms are the same darker brown as the other guy, meaning his skin tone doesn’t match. I at first thought it was a fluke on my set, but after checking out a few additional sets, it appears this is an across the board issue for this release. It’s not the end of the world, since the forearm bracer’s totally hide the issue, but it’s frustrating that you don’t get the option to go sans-bracers, since that’s kind of my preferred look. Both rank and file Vipers are packed with the scarf, the back pack (with slightly tweaked colors), and the same sidearm as the Target Viper.
In addition to the parts that are clearly tied in with each of the specific figures in the set, there are also a selection of accessories that can go with any of the three. There are two of the rifle included with the Target Viper, three different styles of more realistic assault rifle, a silencer, and nine different blast effects, which can be fitted onto all but the standard Viper sidearms. The extras here are really great, because they do a great job of selling the army building potential, given how many options there are here with weaponry.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Have I mentioned that I really like Vipers? Because I do. I was not thrilled about the first one being a Target release, since it made doing any sort of army building pretty much impossible. By a stroke of luck, I got two of those, but I was certainly not counting on getting any more. I was very happy when this set was announced, and I like being able to just get a squad in one swoop. The Officer’s a fun concept, and I like his uniqueness. The two standards are just different enough to be different. I do like the new colors and the improved paint apps, as well as all the cool new goodies. I’m not thrilled about the mix-up on the one Viper’s forearms, and I’m curious to see how that pans out in the long run, and if Hasbro chooses to address it in any way. I’m not expecting it, but I’m curious. As it stands, that’s my one flaw on a set I otherwise really, really like.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.